Let me start by saying I wasn’t sure this would ever make it to the blog. It’s just not the type of thing one goes shooting off to strangers about, but the past few weeks have been nothing if not a lesson in opening up and trusting. Even sometimes to strangers. So bear with me, please as I share a little more than you may expect.
There is something in me that has ALWAYS wanted to be a mom. I’m not sure if it was the big sister in me that just needed someone to take care of, or if I was just born to nurture. But I have, for as long as I can remember, wanted so much to be a mother. In elementary school when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said without hesitation, “a mommy.” And I meant it from the bottom of my teeny heart.
Now, as a woman who has no children of her own, who is surrounded by hoards of pregnant woman and newborn babies, and has this strong natural inclination to be a mom, I have a lot of hurt. Hurt for women in the same position as I, hurt for myself for not having a child yet, hurt for my husband for being forced to trek over these same fears and wants over and over with me, and then more hurt for myself again. I go through periods of time where I’m fine with not having children yet. I can handle it, I can enjoy my life as a wife and as a free-to-do-what-I-like woman, and I have faith that “it will happen when it happens” as so many people say. But other times… I cannot handle it, I can’t enjoy my life without children, and I assume it will never happen for me.
Dave and I have been trying to get pregnant for a while now. Long enough that I have grown concerned, but not so long that I’ve seen a doctor. We’ve got time. I know that. And kind, thoughtful people keep reminding me of that. But I’m still here waiting and hurting.
Sunday afternoon in the car on my way to a meeting about our trip to Haiti, I was stressed beyond measure with planning and worry and financial concerns and being late and I just wanted to crawl back into bed and forget that the day had ever begun. But it had, and I was in the middle of it. So I just took care of things as they came. I wasn’t thinking about “my trip to Haiti” at all, I was thinking about the heat of the room, the stress I was under, the tasks ahead. I sat down at the end of a long black table in an office surrounded by the 30 other people who are heading to Haiti with me. Slides were flicking past, one after the other, depicting the children I’m going to meet in just 2 weeks. The babies. The babies that want so very much to have mothers, but don’t. The babies who live 24 hours a day in white rooms full of cribs because the last home they had crumbled to bits in a natural disaster, and the home before that was crumbling in a completely different way. The babies who need me to hold them, and feed them, and love them. And maybe I needed that too. I was filled with such an overwhelming hurt again. Not that I didn’t have my own baby to hold, but that these babies didn’t have their mothers to hold them, and how much worse that must be.
I’m not saying that being a childless mother isn’t hard. I’m not saying that it’s not important, because it is so hard and so important. But being a motherless child… I cannot even imagine. And through my hurt, I was also filled with fear. What if I can’t help these kids they way they need to be helped, what if I decide I want to adopt them – we can’t afford that, what if my heart is softening to adoption because I will not ever conceive a child, what if, what if, what if. And more slides ticked past. And more fears ticked past. And more smiles, and more cribs, and more tiny hands and feet, and more opportunities for me to let go of my stress and my fears and remember why I’m going on this trip in the first place. People are hurting everywhere. If I can make a difference in that world of hurt, I am certainly going to try. That may mean being uncomfortable, and being punched in the gut with others’ hurts, but maybe God’s timing and His compassion is so much greater than mine.