We All Want Something Beautiful

One of my dearest friends, M, has been struggling with infertility for over a year now.  She's in her mid-20's, healthy, and loves Jesus.  It really doesn't seem "fair" that she and her husband have been unable to conceive.  Her sister is another of my close friends, and we had a conversation about two months back.  I knew that this sister and her husband were on the precipice of beginning to try to get pregnant, and I wondered if she had fears that she, too, would struggle with infertility.  Her response was one which I think will continue to affect me for the rest of my life.

She said, essentially, that sometimes she does feel tempted to begin worrying.  What if she can't conceive?  What if, like her sister, they don't know why and she has to endure months upon months-- possibly years-- of pain, the heartache of feeling called to motherhood and longing for a baby but simply unable to conceive one?  Her honesty about the struggle was profound, but it was what she said next that carried the greater impact.

S said that she realized how futile it is to worry about such things. She might worry about infertility, but conceiving wouldn't fix that.  Then she'd worry about miscarrying.  Worry at every ultrasound that something "abnormal" might show up.  That the birth might go horribly wrong.  That maybe her healthy baby would die of SIDS or contract some horrible illness.  S is a nurse at a children's hospital here in Seattle, and sees countless children of all ages suffering from horrible ailments, and she said that even if her baby survived infancy then she'd worry about the increased likelihood of accidents that accompany the maturation feat of walking.  Every unknown bruise on the shin could scare her into thinking her elementary age child might have some horrible cancer that just hasn't been found yet.  A dead cell phone and missed call from her teen out past curfew could fill her head with images of a gory car accident, her precious child dead.  On and on it goes-- the opportunities to worry are endless.

That, she said, is why she's choosing right now, before any circumstances present themselves, to rest in God and trust him for his will.  S's sister's infertility is not the problem- a sinful heart is the problem.  S can worry and fret that she might be facing the ache and pain of infertility, or she can choose to trust God and know that no matter the circumstance he loves her, he is good, and she can find the sort of refuge and comfort in him that not even getting what she wants- a healthy baby- can bring.

Image courtesy of madaise via Flickr
For any who don't know, the desire to have a baby is strong in me.  I can honestly say it's not an idol- it's not something I worship, or put above my relationship with Jesus- but it easily could be.  And I see the same opportunities for my heart to worry.  I have committed to my surgeon, due to my RNY gastric bypass surgery, to wait until I'm at least 18 months post-op (March 2011) to try to get pregnant.  Our current hope is to get pregnant in June-August of 2011 because I'd really love to have a baby in the spring of 2012.

Regardless of the timeline, I face the same heart issues S spoke of- what if I don't lose enough weight?  What if I'm still too fat to get pregnant? (I have no medical proof, but I know in my heart that when I was over 300 pounds I was infertile, which is common in morbid obesity.  We weren't trying to get pregnant, but we weren't careful, either, and I should have gotten pregnant but I never did.)  What if I have miscarriages- should we wait until at least week 13 to tell anyone if I do get pregnant?  What if we go to a routine ultrasound long past the "normal" miscarriage range and there's no heartbeat and I have to endure the pain some of my friends have, of having to either have my dead baby cut up and removed from me or give "birth" to my dead baby?  What if going through that makes me want to die?

What if... what if... what if... so many things that may never happen, and certainly won't happen soon even if they are meant to transpire one day, yet my heart can waste so much energy fretting over them.  Even if they do happen, worrying now cannot prepare me for how to endure them.  Only consistent worship of Jesus and repentance can ever keep my heart in a place where I might possibly endure such painful circumstances well, and even then it will be hard and painful.

Both sisters have been a great encouragement to me as they each walk with Jesus through their circumstances.  They love Jesus, are honest in the midst of their struggles.  M, the sister struggling with infertility, has been a great source of joy to me as I have been able to love her, pray for her, cry with her, hope with her, and walk with her through this painful ordeal. Seeing her respond to Jesus in worship, and being led to worship Jesus in kind because of her example, and that of S as she chooses to trust Jesus, has refined me and I'm very thankful for each of them in my life.

I'm certain that raising children- whether those from my womb or those my husband and I plan to adopt whether we are biologically fertile or not- will include scary moments, and I pray those won't include horrific accidents or life-threatening illnesses, particularly the horrors and likes of cancer.  No matter what I want to be filled up with Jesus.  Then and now.

1 comment:

  1. Nice. Can't think of anything more succinct to reflect my immediate response to this post... all together optimistic, realistic, scientific and honest.