Tuesday

Becoming a Mother

I'd like to apologize to a select group of readers for an oversight in yesterday's post.

In my attempt to be light-hearted in sharing my daughter's video, I wish I'd rephrased and included women who are struggling with infertility, struggling with becoming a mother. I should have clearly stated that we don't have the power to ultimately decide on how many children we have, or if we have any. This decision is God's because He is the author of life.

Please forgive me. I've walked the dark road you travel. I know the mourning you feel when your dream dies again each month. I know the grief of miscarriage. 

I know the desire to become a Mother.

After around 2 years of marriage, my hubby and I, youth and children's pastors at the time, decided to start our family. In the early months, even the first year, there wasn't much disappointment. We were young, working and enjoying our time together. But when months turned to years, the disappointment turned to pain.

We didn't have insurance that covered infertility treatment, but we decided to pursue it anyway. It didn't take long after rounds of fertility drugs (which made me hysterically odd by the way), procedures and office visits to drain any extra money we had.
 
I learned to hate Mother's Day. I refused to attend baby showers. I rolled my eyes every time someone told me to relax and uttered a sarcastic quip when unwanted advice was given (a coffee enema, seriously?) I wept bitterly when a girl in our youth group got pregnant without being married. I was a mess.

I struggled with my identity. I felt like a failure.

My infertility consumed me. I lost myself in my journey to become a mother.

We decided to pursue adoption. We found a private Christian agency who offered pastors a discount. We had physicals, took HIV tests, and set out to prove that we would be good parents. We scraped together the initial fees, created a book to entice some young woman and we waited.

It was in those months of waiting (again), that God began to chip away at my bitterness. He lovingly reminded me that He was there in the midst of my pain and the unknown. It was during that time that He gave me the assurance that one day I would become a mother, either thru natural means or by the miracle of adoption.

I'll never forget the day we got a call from someone across the United States telling us about a three week old baby girl who needed a home.

I took a pregnancy test the same day. After years, it was positive for the first time in my life.

The adoption fell thru and I began the journey of pregnancy. 

Years later I faced a miscarriage, a high risk pregnancy, a premature birth---all out of my control.

But that's what it's about, isn't it? Yielding the control to the One who controls it all.

For me, becoming a mother wasn't easy. I don't know why it was hard for me. I don't know why it's so hard for you. But I do know that you are not alone.



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40 comments:

Kristi said...

"But that's what it's about, isn't it? Yielding the control to the One who controls it all."

Amen.

I am Barking Mad said...

I don't know that I have the words to adequately articulate how generous of spirit this post is.

Thank you for sharing this bit of your soul and your past.

Audrey at Barking Mad

Melissa, Multi-Tasking Mama said...

God has laid it on my heart before to reach out to the infertile because my ministry focuses a lot on how I became a mom as a teen. I know that teenage moms are a bitter pill for ladies living with infertility to swallow... bless you for being so open to the Spirit and for reminding us all that we have challenges in one way or another!

Courtney said...

great post. I am the mother to one 28 month old here on earth and our second was born at 37 weeks still. I am now pregnant with number three and even though it is the hardest pregnancy ever and I got to hold and long to hear baby number 2 cry or open her eyes, we are hoping for more. I didnt think your post was upsetting to me at all yesterday. i am sorry.

ohhollyf said...

Beautifully shared !

Mindy Skains Barefoot Book Ambassador said...

Your words were very beautiful and a blessing.

May the Lord continue to bless you and your beautiful family

Jendeis said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story. It's wonderful to know that there are mommies who have had to struggle down this path that my husband and I are currently struggling with.

What I would like those who have not be touched by infertility is to know is that even with faith, this road is hard. Even with yielding myself to G-D, there is still grief and pain.

I hope and I pray, but I also take action to bring about the family for which I hope and pray.

Leslee said...

Thank you for this post. It's ones like these that give us hope. :) This journey is long & emotional...but inside I know...God has a miracle planned for us. :)

elise said...

In you I hear and see Jesus. "For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." May you and yours be blessed. You have blessed me with your great humbleness.
In His Love,
Elise

Isabella said...

Yes, sadly many couples go through this. It seems more today than in the past, doesn't it? Do you think it's because we talk about it more so it just seems more prevalent. I wonder.

Great post.

Rachel said...

Thank you for sharing this. It's beautiful, just like your heart.

GritsGirl said...

Thank you for your post and being open and honest! your story is very similar to mine! We also we working on the adoption paperwork and just recently found out I am expecting after trying for years and being diagnosed with infertility!
I am high risk but i know God can work wondrs!

AngelaVL said...

Thank you for sharing. I have not walked this road, but my heart aches for those who do. Beautiful post.

Hilary said...

I know I'm in the complete minority here. but I am a labor an delivery nurse who tried for 3 years to get pregnant and I wish with all my heart that people didn't have to apologize for stuff like that.
Honestly, I don't think we should have to.
It's normal to want a baby, it's the norm. to be a mom -- and that doesn't mean that our heart doesn't HURT for all the women out there who can't have kids, but theirs should rejoice with ours.
Frankly, I think they're two different subjects.
Go ahead, throw your rotten fruit. I just had to say it.

Lisa Anne said...

I will just be quiet and keep my mouth closed. lol

I stay away from these topics.

WorkingMom said...

Kristen, thank you so much for sharing your story. And the video was adorable. I, on the other hand, have considered posting one of the Baby screaming at the top of the lungs and then stopping and smiling when he get what he want, calling it "Who's the Boss NOW?!?"

Personally, I share my number not to make anyone feel bad for me, but because it is MY reality. It happened, and one thing I've learned is how many others have been through it too. (((Hugs))) to all the moms and non-moms out there.

The Rambling Housewife said...

Thank-you for sharing this. I had a miscarriage Saturday, so this is very timely for me. What a difficult, horrible thing...

But I did see God's grace and love, even in the midst of all the hurt. I have to keep reminding myself of that.

bridget {bake at 350} said...

Kristen, I know this post touched a lot of people. There are those of us who don't go around sharing why we have only one child or none at all. I went through a lot of years resenting those who would say, "you only have one?!? Didn't you want more?" Yes, as a matter of fact, we did want more. Life isn't always what you picture in your mind or plan for...in fact, it never is. We are BLESSED with our one. And there's a different picture in my head now...not a big family, but a happy family of 3.♥

Chief said...

This sounds so similar to my experience. Just I had given up, I became pregnant. I then had miscarriages for 4 years until I had my second and the first moth of his life was rocky.

We absolutely are not in control. He knows us and knows what is best

Zach and Beth said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story. It's always nice to know that I'm not alone. While I am blessed with two wonderful children now (one biologically one through adoption), it wasn't long ago I struggled with infertility. While my husband and I now discuss possibly having more, I'm already anxious and nervous about dealing with the infertility again. My heart still hurts from those years of infertility. I hope it never stops hurting all the way, b/c it allows me to be a support to someone else who is going through it.

Kristi said...

I didnt think anything about the previous post. I have one 16 month old. We are trying for baby number 2 and are on the 10th month of negative test. We havent told anyone we are trying because we want to make it a surprise when it actually happens! But its really hard when you get dissappointed each month especially when it only took 2 months the first time! Thanks for the postive post!

Dill Family said...

I'm not sure why this post made me cry, but it did:)
In great pain, there is OFTEN greater JOY! Thank you Jesus!!!

Sarah said...

Thank you for the hope.

Life is Good said...

Thanks for sharing. You easily could have been telling my story, too. I recently (like yesterday)republished the post I wrote about it a couple years ago.
It is amazing how wanting can take over your life so desperately. The roller coaster of emotions, hormones, and hopes. Its hard to understand unless you have been there.

Hannah :) said...

Beautiful, Kristen. I wiped away more than one tear.

Jenileigh said...

You are such a gem. I hope that I didn't imply that I was offended in my reply. If I did, I am sorry. I think its so raw for me, that I immediately jumped to the other side, not having a number or being able to choose our number-but that was all I was trying to point out.

I do rejoice for others and do not think that others should have t apologize because they CAN have children either.

Thank-you for sharing this. Big hugs to you. You are a tremendous example of Christ.

"But that's what it's about, isn't it? Yielding the control to the One who controls it all."

Amen!

Southern Gal said...

My aunt and uncle put in for an adoption way back in the 60's. When she became pregnant, they cancelled their adoption. My aunt then miscarried. They started the adoption process again, she became pregnant again, but they DID NOT cancel the adoption procedures. They ended up having two boys only weeks apart. They actually gave their adopted son his dad's name.

We, too, struggled with infertility for four years. We were blessed with three children. Our oldest was married in May and just found out she's expecting in June! While most are asking if this was planned, I find myself breathing a sigh of relief that she won't have to go through the pain of infertility. God's timing is perfect. His plans are perfect. We only have to trust Him.

Judy said...

I cannot underline your point enough about the God's Timing thing. My husband and I went through four YEARS of trying to conceive before we finally started fertility testing, only to find out that the bout with chicken pox he had at 24 left him almost sterile.

Almost.

Because, in those rounds of testing with the most fantastic and world-renowned team at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, we discovered I was pregnant.

And, since then, I've been pregnant twice more (I lost the one in between my two boys at 15 weeks). Truly God's hand in all of it. There was no scientific way I could get pregnant with my husband's child, at least not in the conventional way.

And now, we're watching my husband's cousin and her husband struggle with the same issues. My heart breaks for them.

Trust in Him and His plan. It is simply stated but so painfully hard to take sometimes.

Kara said...

GREAT post. I've had struggles in this area too. I got pregnant right away & had no trouble with my first two, then had 3 miscarriages in a row when we tried for a 3rd. I finally had a 3rd, then lost a baby girl at 5.5 months along the next year, before finally having my 4th. I went through all the testing and many of the same emotions you describe. It really is all up to Him...easy to say, so hard to live through.

Charity said...

Thank you for sharing your story. We are going on 3&1/2 years of infertility. It is not an easy road. Your story and some of those in comments above give me hope. I'm holding out for a miracle!

johnsoneg said...

Thank you for sharing your story. My husband and I tried to get pregnant for over a year before finding out we were pregnant with twins--talk about a huge shocker. We were just starting to talk about seeing a fertility specialist and we were blessed with the new of natural twins. Since then we to have experience premature birth and the NICU. We recently lost our third child to Triploidy. It is very hard when you have to deal with these things, but we are constantly reminded that God only gives you what you can handle. Sometimes I still have a hard time with that thought. He knew my husband and I had the strength to survive almost 8 weeks in the NICU and a miscariage at 18 weeks. Sometimes no matter what we have to remember that he is in control and knows what is best for us. Thank you for sharing your story. None of my family or friends understand what we have been through in the last year and a half and it always makes me feel good when I hear that someone else has been in our shoes.

FiddlersBride said...

Thank you for this post. Yes, I am one who struggled with the original post as my dream of being a mom has not happened (and likely won't -- it's a long and complicated story). I don't think people need to apologize for having children. That post just caught me on a raw day. Being childless not by choice is something I will never get used to. I have tried to understand God's will for me and of course this path I am on now seems completely foreign to me and wrong. I do know that someday it will all make sense. I pray a lot and thank you for those who said they were also praying. I tell myself "Let me try on this new person and see how she fits." With God's help, much of the anger and bitterness has diminished (not disappeared). Mother's Day is a nightmare. Even in the Target parking lot just last week a woman said to me as I waited patiently for her to load up her kids in the mini van "you should be so glad you don't have any." Umm. How does she know that? Is it written on my forehead? And she has no idea of what I would not give for just one child. I do think mom and nonmoms can learn a lot from each other -- a lot about love, patience, hope, strength, forgiveness. I draw strength from this post today and I thank you Kristen.

Rodriguez Rock Stars said...

Your story is similar to mine. While I tried to control what should be God's timing, 9 women at work got pregnant. Nine!! Most of them unmarried, some pregnancies unwanted. And there I was weeping monthly.
We did have insurance and began the process. It's so invasive. I finally came to a point where I realized that if I got pregnant, the doctor's would get the glory. I wept in the parking lot of the hospital and cried out to God that I wanted Him to get the glory. I stopped the tests.
One month later, we were pregnant! God got the glory. And my first son was born exactly one year after my family laid hands on me. It was all God!
I too feel for women who are struggling. Because I know. I was there. Crying in the parking lots. Heart sinking every time another woman told me was pregnant.
Thanks for sharing. May you be blessed.

Racheal said...

We struggled with 8 years of infertility to get our one child. It is a long journey full of hope and disappointment. I wasn't offended by your previous post, but I loved hearing about your story. I'm glad that you got the family that you desired so much. I still desire another child, but since my dh doesn't, I have to accept whatever happens in all of it. I hate not having control over it and just pray that if it's not meant to be then God will bring peace to my heart about it.

Holley Gerth said...

Thanks so much for this post, Kristen!
I've been on the "having a baby" path for a little over five years. Somewhere along the way I came to believe that all women are mothers. God called Eve the "mother of all living." So if we're bringing life into this world, creating, in some way--whether it's through words, art, cooking, accounting, caring for a child--then we are fertile. I'm not barren...I'm blessed. It's still tough sometimes but looking at my life that way makes it easier.
Thanks for sharing from your heart in a way that helps all of us heal.

Nichole said...

I just came across your blog today and I believe it was for a reason. I needed this post about infertility - I have been traveling this road for 13 months now and the last couple of days have just seemed dark. Each month seems to get harder and harder and I try daily to remember that there is a Plan for me (much bigger than I understand). I really needed to hear this today and I thank you!!!!

Theresa said...

Thank you for sharing your heart.

Andrea said...

What a wonderful post. I am crying. Thank you for sharing. I had two micro preemies that thank the Lord are healthy little boys now. I still long deeply for another child each day. Thank you for the reminder that it is all in God's hands and that I need to be thankful for what he has already blessed me with. Bless you Kristen...

After The Alter said...

Thank you for sharing. I suffered a miscarriage this summer and found it very theraputic to talk about it and share my experience on my blog. Like you said it's in God's hands. The only thing that got me through it was knowing that "everything happens for a reason" although sometimes its hard to remember...The hardest part is knowing it is all out of your control. Now that my husband and I are returning to our TTC journey we find it difficult...it's hard when you want something so bad.
Thank you for sharing your story.

After The Alter said...

Thank you for sharing. I suffered a miscarriage this summer and found it very theraputic to talk about it and share my experience on my blog. Like you said it's in God's hands. The only thing that got me through it was knowing that "everything happens for a reason" although sometimes its hard to remember...The hardest part is knowing it is all out of your control. Now that my husband and I are returning to our TTC journey we find it difficult...it's hard when you want something so bad.
Thank you for sharing your story.