I got an email today that took me back to a tender bruise on my heart. A mother of three was writing about her disappointment and sense of loss over discovering that despite her and her husband's desires to have more biological children, her womb appears to be closed for business.
I have another friend struggling with infertility right now as well. She has yet to bring a child to term.
I can identify with them both.
When I discovered that I would be unable to conceive without medical assistance (and that was not guaranteed) I mourned. I mourned that it wouldn't get to be surprising, random and miraculously joyful. Something so natural was going to become clinical, scheduled and emotionally trying. Pardon my frankness, but I mourned that I would never just skip a cycle, tee tee on a stick and get to creatively break the news to my husband. I wanted the fairy tale.
What I didn't know when I received the news of my ovarian issues was that I would get my own kind of surprise (triplets!) and because of the very struggle I had dreaded it would feel even more miraculously joyful. It has been a very different kind of fairy tale.
In the months leading up to the delivery of my children my OB asked if I desired a tubal while he was already operating (during the C-section.) My husband and I declined. Many, many women overcome infertility after a successful pregnancy. We had no intentions to use reproductive assistance again, but wouldn't it be just like God to surprise us with another miracle baby, spontaneously conceived after our trio? We hoped so.
After my cardiac issues were addressed I was informed that I had a 50% chance of death with a subsequent pregnancy. A tubal was scheduled for as soon as my heart could handle the surgery. It felt like getting another infertility diagnosis. All of my hopes for a second chance at the fairy tale were crushed.
I had several well intentioned people attempt to comfort me with the reminder that I should "praise God for three healthy children." While I certainly agree that there is MUCH to be thankful for--I don't think you can really understand the mourning that happens (regardless of how many children you have) when the decision is just MADE. So much of a woman's identity, role, dare I even say worth seems to be connected to our womb. Knowing that a chapter is closed takes some getting used to.
Tonight as I was thinking about all this I was reminded that fertility is just one example of the many losses people mourn--the chapters that get closed for us--the fairy tales that we don't get to live out. Sometimes God just says No.
May we never forget that His plans are not random. His Sovereign Will is not arbitrary. He has a purpose. In the words of Beth Moore, "Every No from God is because there is ultimately a better Yes."
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. Isaiah 55:8 (NIV)
Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21 (NIV)