Sunday, August 30, 2015

Over Sharing

When you go on this journey and share it and support others in it, as you are doing, remember you are healing other's hearts through your broken one. Really there is nothing much more beautiful than that.” 

A dear friend wrote me that recently, in response to my sharing about our unsuccessful attempts in having a baby.

Perhaps I’m an over-sharer.
As soon as I hit publish, I cringe, thinking about all the souls who must be thinking, “I can’t believe she would write about that and share it on social media. Where’s the sense of privacy these days?”

I might have thought the same thing.
No one has told me that outright (in fact, the comments I have gotten are quite the opposite), but I still can’t help but think that the thoughts  do cross people’s minds. And, even if they don’t, those are the very thoughts that keep me from continuing to want to share.

Maybe they’re lies.
But, I think they may be the very things that cause us to keep our mouths shut.
The very fears, assumptions, worries, that cause us to go on living in the privacy of our own homes and, even worse, our own heads. Because, if people knew… what would they think?

I want you to know that I share because I don’t think enough people do.
I want you to know that I share because, especially in this instance, I think it’s too easy to think you’re the only one struggling. It’s too easy to think that there’s something wrong with only you. It’s too easy to believe the lies.

But I can’t escape the truth of Scripture—where Jesus talks about bringing light to darkness, where it’s said that there’s nothing hidden that won’t be disclosed. I can’t help but feel that true healing can’t come about until we’ve confronted every aspect of it—until we’ve admitted, confessed, surrendered.

I can’t desire true community with others and then fail to tell the people that I’m trying to share my life with that we’re trying to have a baby. Trying, and failing. Because that affects me. It affects me emotionally, spiritually, physically. I can’t grin through my teeth and tell people I’m fine, if I’m not actually fine. It won’t get us anywhere. If anything, it sets us back because now I’m just a liar.

I share because I want you to do the same.
I suppose some part of me hopes that by me sharing too much, that you might be prompted to share even a little. Not with me… but with those around you (and not anonymously). That you might be willing to face the hard things in your life head-on. That you might even be willing to truly take them to the Lord. To sit in your car and weep, crying aloud to the Lord that it hurts, that you need Him, that you need something…and that you might allow true healing to come through Christ.  

To stop grinning through your teeth and saying that you’re fine…
But to let others know what’s really going on.
To admit to yourself what’s really going on. (because, sometimes that’s the hardest thing to do…)

I shared, in part, because I felt like a liar.
I shared, in part, because I wanted people to know how to really be praying for us.
But, I keep sharing for all of those other reasons.

I want you to know you’re not alone.
There’s hope.
Second chances.

I pray for boldness as you hurt, ponder, question, feel alone (or even rejoice)
I hope you share with someone today.
I hope you let someone in.
And I hope you can at least take a minute to be honest with yourself about whatever is going on, wherever you’re at… .that you can ask yourself some hard questions.

I think you might be surprised what happens when you take a risk.
When you hit “submit”.
When you walk boldly into the light.
May the Lord bless you and keep you;
may He make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
may He lift His countenance upon you and give you peace.
 I support you.

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Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Trying

We try like crazy to not get pregnant.
Pills, timing, uterine devices, condoms, diaphragms.
We try it all.
Anything for us to be able to have sex without the consequence of a life.

And then we try like crazy to get pregnant.

Pills, timing, tests, vitamins, herbal teas, cervical mucous.
We try it all.
Anything for us to be able to hold a little life in our arms.

It’s never really up to us, is it?
You can’t always get what you want.
And, depending on which side of the pendulum you’re on- life can quickly seem cruel and unfair.

I sat on that last blog entry for a while before finding the cajones to publish it.
It felt too personal to invite others into.
And, to be honest, after this last round of late periods and thoughts of possibilities, I walked in our house and told my husband, “I don’t want to try anymore.”

The cycle feels a little masochistic sometimes.
Those two weeks of waiting sometimes feel agonizing and unbearable as I over-analyze every possibility. What do my temperatures mean? Am I nauseous?  Could it be…? 

And other times I can’t wait to have my life back again.
Suddenly I’m thrilled to have the freedom to drink copious amounts of caffeine, relieved to live without fear of the inability to sleep for 8 consecutive hour in a row, and thankful to not have to think about the amount of maternity clothes that will need to come out of our budget.

I can’t decide if it’s a coping mechanism or if I’m just not actually ready to have kids.
And, it’s always in these moments that I’m yet again grateful that it’s not up to me. Life isn’t mine to create.
Try as I may to prevent or create, I am merely human. Too human. Inexplicably human. Hot, cold. Wanting, not wanting. Happy, sad. Crazy, sane. I’m a woman with five thousand different emotions, thoughts, desires (my poor husband).

So I’ve invited you into this journey with us.
I thought about letting that be it, but if there’s one thing I’ve heard over and over again since posting, it’s that people were thankful for my willingness to share. Thankful that I’m admitting that it’s not as simple as “have sex,  get pregnant”. Oh, and I’m a real person with a real name/face not hiding behind anonymity (which is mostly terrifying for me). 

So, with the invitation, I’ll try to be as vulnerable as I can muster. Sorry if it’s too much or if you didn’t want to know (you can choose to stop reading at any time).

Here’s where we’re at:
We’re about to enter into our “fertile days”.
This means a lot of things.
It means sex.
It means temperatures.
It means cervical mucous.
It means no coffee.
It means praying and asking that the Lord would continue to teach me, teach me, teach me, that I have to trust Him.

It means that another two week wait is just around the corner, and right now, the thought of that feels like more than I want to handle. Right now it just feels like another round of disappointments, wondering if something is wrong with me, and the realization that I’m a woman with little faith.

So here we go.
Us mere mortals, thinking we can or can’t.
But this time, I think we must surrender before we move forward.

It’s not up to us.
Never has been. Never will be.
Lord, have mercy.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Secrets Unveiled

**this was written one month ago**

I don't know if I'll publish this yet. Or ever.

It's July 12, 2015 and we've officially been "trying" to get pregnant since the end of January.

A whole slew of things led us to start (for those of you who have already put on your "You just got married: WAIT!!!" hats).  For one, we were both excited about the possibility of having kids that were similar in age to their cousins. So, when my last brother to have any children announced their pregnancy at Christmas, our timeline sped up. Also, I'm old-ish. Oh, and my husband LOVES kids (you can testify to this if you've ever seen him interacting with them). And, for you nay-sayers of quick pregnancies in marriage, by the time we would actually give birth, it would have been at least a year of marriage (that's something... right?!). The list continues...

And so we started trying.
And I've humbly realized every four weeks how I can't just decide to create a life. It's not up to me.
There's been a lot of freedom in that realization, but I can't deny that there's also been disappointment.

The thing about "trying" is that people don't really announce it. I don't know why (despite the intimacy of it), but it seems more socially acceptable to just tell all your family and friends AFTER you're pregnant. There were a few times early on when I thought about asking my family and close friends to journey alongside us in prayer about the whole process... but I think my pride prevented me from actually doing so. It seemed more fun to spring a pregnancy announcement on them than a "we're TRYING to get pregnant" announcement. And it seemed pretty contrary to anything "most" people do. And so we've kept mostly quiet-- dodging pregnancy accusations right and left while secretly hoping and talking and praying in the privacy of our own home. I've been a little surprised at how isolating it can feel.

But fortunately there's this thing called the Internet. In the process of trying, I've discovered a whole world of women who are also, anonymously, trying. I've discovered a world of acronyms that stand for things that I've had to Google many times: TTC, DPO, AF, BFN, BFP, HPT, etc. etc. etc. (I actually didn't know how to read many forums because they were so littered with letters that I didn't understand).  So many questions, so many women hoping, so many women waiting and wondering if their symptoms might actually result in a BFP (Big Fat Positive.... I don't know who came up with these). So many stories...

I've discovered that it's absolutely normal for women to sit anxiously every month in the "Two Week Wait" as they twiddle their thumbs hoping that they timed/charted/planned ovulation right and that it led to conception so that "Aunt Flo" won't appear on its normal due date.

Only to do it all over again, praying that this time, it might be different. And then still trying being okay when it's not. Most days I feel like I'm hiding, only really divulging my roller coaster of thoughts and feelings to my husband because of this secret path we've chosen for ourselves.

There were lots of things I didn't know.
I didn't know how expensive pregnancy tests were.
I didn't know ovulation predictor tests were a thing.
I didn't even know you're not supposed to drink coffee if you are trying.
I did, however, find out that pregnancy tests should not be left in the glove compartment of your car for many months. I also found out that my husband has no problem buying pregnancy tests at Walgreens (while I bolt to the car ahead of him to avoid any possibility of judgmental or curious eyes from the cashier).

I still sometimes think I can control a LOT of things.
But I cannot create life, and I most certainly cannot dictate when it shall spring forth.
Most of the time I'm glad it's not up to me. I'm glad that the Lord's timing is perfect and that He is Sovereign in all of this. In fact, our prayer each time has been to continuously trust the Lord and His will for us, whether or not that ever includes biological children. His timing is greater, and I must remind myself of that daily.

There's a little bit of shame attached to this feeling of being unable to conceive. A little a bit of feeling like something is wrong with me and how could I ever admit to others that we've tried and seemingly failed (especially when it SEEMS like everyone on Facebook is pregnant or has kids). I've read enough to know that we fall under a category where it's perfectly normal to not conceive right away and you should only go to a specialist if you try for a year and there's no pregnancy. I've also discovered that every month, I really only have a 15% chance of getting pregnant.

Pregnancy is a miracle.
I'm learning that more and more.
My brother and sister-in-law taught me several years ago that children are a blessing-- not something that we deserve and not something that we've been promised. Something that we are uncommonly blessed with. It's a beautiful reminder for me, even still. Especially now.

My life now, just as it is, is great.
I can't complain.
I can't want.
I can only trust.
And ask that He might sustain me.
And ask that He might continually remind me that the Gospel is sufficient. In all things.

I have already been given incredibly more than I could have ever thought possible.

So today, even as I write... knowing that I am in fact, NOT pregnant... I am content. Satisfied. Maybe still slightly disappointed from time to time, but learning to trust in a new way.

Maybe some day there will be reports of BFPs, ultrasounds, doctor's appointments, baby rooms and gender reveals...

But, for now, we live fully in our present circumstances, seeking opportunities to be obedient to Jesus no matter the cost. Because my purpose will forevermore be greater than being a wife, a mother, an employee... and right now we get the seize the moments more quickly than we ever might if we had children.

There's our secret.
Apparently we aren't too good at it...but we're trying.
Instead of journeying through this life-altering thing alone, we're deciding to invite others in. We don't want this to be a sensitive, hidden thing that we're going through any longer. We're asking you to pray for us, to ask us about it, to be excited for us, to remind us of the Lord's goodness and faithfulness in all things.

Let's rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.
Love in action.

(Don't worry, we've told a lot of our family/friends before posting this. We both, on the same day, thought to ourselves: Why are we keeping this a secret? It's sort of felt like people either get pregnant immediately after starting to try or they get pregnant without even wanting to. I know that's not really always how it works out, but that's more of how it feels based on when things get revealed. So we're breaking the mold a bit. We're going public. We need people to walk with us through the good, the hard, the disappointing, the waiting, the trusting, and the hoping. We need people to know what's really going on with us. We also need you to know that if you're pregnant or if you have kids, we are thrilled for you. Truly. Don't feel like you can't talk to us about it because you feel like you have something we don't. We're okay. Excited still... and completely at peace with whatever may come.)

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