January seems to bring out quite a mix of emotions amongst people. There is the post Christmas low, the countdown to the next pay cheque (which seems to take forever) and the seemingly endless wait until the next holiday.
But then the flip side is the year of possibility which lies ahead of you, the resolutions we set and the hope those 12 months ahead hold.
For me, January arrived just in time. The last months of 2014 were odd. I felt strange, distant, outside of my norm.
Anyone who follows our blog regularly will know that we began our fertility treatment in the summer. We expected the following months to be taken up with scans, blood tests and the cycle of treatment, waiting, testing and starting again. It wasn’t that we weren’t hopeful for a positive outcome, we have learnt that life just doesn’t go to plan all that often.
And here is where I flounder. I’ve sat down trying to write this post for months. Because I truly don’t know how to be fully open without causing unintentional hurt to others. Please bear with me as I tell you that I’m pregnant.
It is something we’ve longed for throughout our marriage and particularly over the last five years. Although we were hopeful as we began treatment, we didn’t hold onto the outcome tightly.
My struggle over the last few months has been about genuinely living my beliefs out as I accept the gift of this pregnancy. There is not much guidance out there for pregnancy after infertility. There are no guidelines on how to carry your story with you into the next chapter.
A life-saver for me has been beginning counselling with a fertility specialist. For Elis and I, as we face becoming parents, it felt important to do so with open eyes, hearts and mouths. Speaking our truths to one another even when they were difficult. But counselling has helped me to shake off my guilt and sadness attached to this pregnancy. Guilt that I am undeserving of this gift when those I love are still living through childlessness. Sadness that the group I most identify with need space to grieve away from me. Which, as you read this, might include you.
I was carrying such a heaviness because I didn’t know how to hold on to the life I’ve been given over these last few years. To remember the lessons I’ve learned from our struggle through infertility and allow them to be a part of this new adventure.
Well, I felt I had betrayed the people who had brought me back to life. Who had walked the way of vulnerability, weeping and rejoicing together, living out our lives with honesty and openness and hope.
I felt lost.
By admitting how I felt I began to release some of that heaviness. To let go of imposing strict guidelines on myself for how I ‘should’ behave. To fully inhabit this moment.
Here is what I’ve learned.
I will carry my story with me and it is already shaping the parent, friend, wife that I desire to be. But I need the people who have walked this journey with us to help me stay true to what I have learned. To be with me. It is easy for people to assume that being pregnant, getting the baby, solves all your problems. That isn’t true. I could pretend and immerse myself in all things Mothercare but that isn’t where this story is going. My hope is that I will keep remembering those years of struggle and not look on them as something to be forgotten but on the place where I met God. Where I fully understood brokenness and healing love. Where wholeness happened.
There is no formula for successfully navigating infertility. I wasn’t prepared for the tumult of emotions I encountered in the first few months after we knew we were having a baby. Having people to share those thoughts and feelings with is vital. Let them out otherwise they will lead to ungratefulness, guilt and self-contempt. Trust me on this one.
My final thought (and apologies for going on) is that the greatest gift I’ve had is a spirit of thankfulness. And this didn’t start when we got pregnant. It started just over two years ago when a group of women met together and shared their stories, cried together, laughed together and prayed for one another. I went home from The Tent that day with a full heart and the knowledge that I was alright. I was enough. I had life in all its fullness and it was filled with good gifts if I took the time to look closely. And now, we have one more gift to thank God for. One of many.
“Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, Carrying seed to sow, Will return with songs of joy, Carrying sheaves with them.” Psalm 125: 5-6