There’s a song that Spotify has introduced me to that I can’t stop playing, it’s called ‘Sons and Daughters’ by Allman Brown and Liz Lawrence…
In an interview about this new track Allman talked about how the song was inspired by normal life. Where most songs are written about larger than life moments, extraordinary moments like your first kiss or other really big romantic ideals, his song celebrates the everyday things. The whole idea of the song is just two people in a house, because when you’re really close to someone you then begin to view the objects in your life or the space you occupy with meaning. This love song about everyday life has really spoken to me. You see, I feel as though I’m inhabiting that space at the moment. Nothing spectacular has happened to us for a while, which in some ways is great. I’ve not stepped inside a hospital for over a year and I love it! I’ve not had another miscarriage and my body finally feels as though it’s recovering, but I’m not pregnant either. We’ve had two years of ‘normal’ life, of companionship, of cooking together, watching films, going for walks with Betsy, our cavapoo and hanging out with friends. We’ve been living the life described in this song. I love the harmonies and the way the song builds, describing the beauty and romance of the everyday life of a couple, but it’s the lyrics of the chorus that have struck me most:
And I'll build a fire, you fetch the water and I'll lay the table, and in our hearts, we still pray for sons and daughters, and all those evenings out in the garden, red,red,wine. These quiet hours turning to years
I don’t know if Allman Brown was intending to write a song that spoke to someone struggling with childlessness but he’s done it. For a while I’ve been trying to work out what to write on the blog, I mean there’s nothing new to report, nothing’s changed. But maybe that’s where the story is. I’m moving into this new phase of my life as a childless woman, it’s undramatic, but I think it also has the potential to be beautiful. I’m living on the other side of struggle where hope remains, prayers are still offered up but life can no longer be on hold. Dave and I are living in that precious companionship that can only be found when you’ve faced the storm together and are crawling out the other side. My faith is both fragile and so very strong at the same time. I’m discovering more about who I am and what I have to offer, determined not to rely on my fertility to define my worth or value to society. I’m trying to live a good story, a story that has meaning. In learning to accept my current situation I’ve found a new comfort from the stories of the childless in the Bible. Yes, the majority of them end up with kids, but that’s not where their stories start. In fact the writers of the Bible are often more interested in the years of living with infertility than those when the infertile are finally blessed with a child, with the storytelling often ending once parenthood is achieved.
These stories of God and His followers who are childless focus more on their faithfulness, on the daily tasks of fetching water, lighting fires, laying tables and praying for sons and daughters. That’s where the story is. That’s where my story is now. I’m with Hannah who poured out her heart to God over the years she was childless. My story is found with Elizabeth and Zechariah who served faithfully for years as a childless couple, continuing to pray for God’s intervention. My story also lies with the Shunammite woman in 2 Kings 4:8-36, she’s one of my favourites – a childless woman who used the extra space she had in her home to be hospitable, offering a bed and food for Elisha whenever he visited. Instead of writing them off because of the Disney-like ending to their lives and the miraculous babies they’re eventually blessed with, I’ve realised I can learn from them. You see, they never knew they would end up having children, they lived in the pain of childlessness for years but the stories they lived out were beautiful, messy at times, but beautiful. They tried to move forward, they fought to remain faithful to God, to respond to His call on their lives, they continued to pray but they also engaged with the world as they were, in their broken state. They didn’t do that middle-class Christian thing of pretending they’re okay, trying not to make a fuss and telling everyone, including God that they’re over it. Their stories were ones of strength and struggle, their pain still present after many years, demonstrated by their responses of fear, laughter and disbelief when presented with the miraculous news of a child, warning God, angels and priests that this better not be a joke because they wouldn’t be able to handle it.
Now I’m not trying to say that once you have a child that your life is over – I’ve heard people say this – but it’s not true, God has definitely got more in store for you as an individual as well as a parent. But so often there’s a point, when you reach a certain age or you’ve been married for a while and people start to imply the story your living would be better if it had a husband or children in it, feeding the belief that the next stage of your life is on hold until this happens. This simply is not true. The story you are living out still has meaning regardless of your marital status or family size, it is not on hold, it is not worthless or uninteresting, it has deep value. You still have a story to live out, a rich and beautiful story that God is interested in, not because of what you have, or what you’re going to have, but because at the moment you’re trying to live a faithful life even though things haven’t gone to plan. A life of strength and struggle, of repetitive tasks and new adventures, of faithfulness and frustration, of saltwater and honey, now that is a story worth telling.
Lizzie, you have put this beautifully. It rings true for me having vowed celibacy as well. People regularly ask “but what about getting married or having children” as though somehow we’re second-class citizens without them. Your words, particularly the last few sentences, say it perfectly.
“The story you are living out still has meaning regardless of your marital status or family size, it is not on hold, it is not worthless or uninteresting, it has deep value. You still have a story to live out, a rich and beautiful story that God is interested in, not because of what you have, or what you’re going to have, but because at the moment you’re trying to live a faithful life even though things haven’t gone to plan. A life of strength and struggle, of repetitive tasks and new adventures, of faithfulness and frustration, of saltwater and honey, now that is a story worth telling.”
Thanks Lou! I’m glad you found it helpful. I do find it funny how, like you say, the choices or circumstances that have led to childlessness can often end up making us feel like second-class citizens. I suppose our job is to focus on writing a good story with the lives we have and hopefully we can help change that opinion. I think your decision to take on a vow of celibacy is an honourable one and we have a lot to learn from you and the life you’re living. Sending lots of love to you xx
Gorgeous Lizzie as always. An important lesson no matter what stage in life you are at – trying not to live life on hold waiting for the things you are willing to happen. xxx
Thanks for the encouragement Karen, sometimes I sit down to write and wonder if what I’m saying makes any sense at all! xx
Hi Lizzie, I’ve dipped into this blog every once in a while over the last year, but not wanted to fully engage, because I have not wanted my situation to be real (exactly as you write about in your post on silence a little while back). This post is so beautiful and I feel speaks the words of my heart, as the dust settles for me and my husband after a push for fertility treatment ending in the removal of my ovaries(a long story). Thank you for sharing and writing, it definitely does make sense!
Hi Triona, thanks so much for your comment and your honesty. I’m sorry for the heartache you and your husband have been/are going through and I can totally relate to the reluctance to engage with a life you never planned or wanted. I’m glad you found this post helpful, I truly believe you have, and are living a beautiful story that has great value in this world. Please know my heart is with you and that you are not alone on this journey. Lots of love xxxx
In my journey of pain, trying to find healing, meaning and understanding it is comforting to read your words. It is also encouraging me to press on in sharing my story. keep searching to find a safe place to share the true story of my 6 babies whom I don’t get to hug until I get to heaven. Thanks for helping me to see that the grief is real and it is justified and that my babies are real, no matter how small!
Hi Ab, so sorry it’s taken so long to reply to your comment. For some reason it went straight to Spam so we’ve only just found it! Thanks so much for your comment. I’m so sorry to hear about your losses, yes, your grief is so real and it is very justified! It took me years to learn it. Finding safe places to share your story and allowing yourself to grieve takes a lot of courage, so well done, you’re doing amazing! As a fellow sister who’s had 6 miscarriages please know you’re not alone. Sending lots of love to you xxx
I could write so much in response to this post, but I won’t lol. I do however want to thank you for sharing this, because so often, it’s hard to put into words the heartache of being childless. I have not been able to get pregnant, and hearing the stories of other women who have suffered much loss, I am thankful that God has protected my heart from that pain. It’s tough to see beauty through the pain sometimes, but thank you for acknowledging that we still have lives worth living. The ordinary days that I get to spend with my husband, just the two of us, are so precious to me.
Hi Leah, thanks so much for your comment. Thank you for sharing some of your story. I’m so glad you found this post helpful, like you said, even though our stories are different there is still so much we share in the experience of being childless. Of course there are still days when I struggle to see beauty in the pain, but I do hold on to the truth that my life can still have meaning. Sending you lots of love and thank you once again for sharing xx
I discovered this song a few days ago. I can’t stop playing it on repeat. It’s perfect.
I am blessed with a happy marriage of almost 9 1/2 years. We are like two kids on a life long play date. We are always together, having fun.. Yet, deep in my heart I long for children. We have had 2 miscarriages. We stopped trying years ago, but are not preventing it either.
Like the song, your words spoke to me. I think, because we don’t like telling others of our pain. We are always on adventures so people don’t see the other side and honestly, it hurts to be looked at like we are broken so I try to avoid any confrontation about it.
What I am taking away from what you said, is that it’s okay to not be quiet about it. I’ve struggled with that for a long time. When people or family start to make comments or ask questions, I’ll jump to, “we don’t want kids right now” or “we are not sure if we ever want them.” Which is actually true, because I love our adventurous, care-free life and don’t want to lose the relationship we have.
I haven’t just faced it head on and it hurts more later than I think it helps at the moment, just to avoid a conversation.
All at the same time, I am happy with us. I love us. We make me happy. So until the day comes when we have children to hold, if it ever does we’ll still pray for sons and daughters and I’m gonna keep enjoying all the moments he and I get to have together now.
Hi Micah, thank you so much for your beautiful message. You’ve described that balance of longing for a family as well as embracing the life you have right now so well. Thank you so much for sharing, I can totally connect with where you’re at and I’m so glad that this song has helped you, it is a gorgeous song. Thanks again for connecting with the blog and for sharing your story. With much love xxx
I recently heard this song and the chorus just shot straight to my heart. I found your blog while searching for more info about the song. My husband and I recently got pregnant after 6 1/2 years of trying only to find out that the baby stopped growing at 6 weeks. I’m currently waiting on the miscarriage to begin. We’re heart broken but trying so hard to keep moving on with our lives. We have an amazing marriage and truly love to be with one another but we ache for a child to share our love with. Your blog post had so many words that I needed to hear right now. Thank you so much for writing it.
Hi Kristan, thanks so much for your comment and for sharing some of your story, it is a beautiful song and it does seem to capture something that words can’t quite describe. I’m so sorry to hear about your miscarriage, the wait is also so hard. I do hope you’re not in too much pain and that you and your husband continue to feel close to each other during this time. I’m so glad the blog post helped in some way. Sending you lots of love and please know you’re not alone, praying for healing and hope. xx
Amazing… like the two responses before, I too heard this song and felt something deep within me burst. I stumbled over your blog because I wanted to find out, what the writer thought while writing it. Thank you for your encouraging words, they are like a band aid for all us wounded souls out there struggeling with all these questions and these feelings of not being complete. Maybe one day we will somehow understand the “why”… be blessed