I had a friend call me tonight. She and her husband have been unable to conceive. A friend called her tonight to tell her the good news: she’s pregnant.
I know some of how she feels. A lot of people have expressed curiosity about why Tim and I don’t have kids, but if you know me well and/or read my blog regularly, you know that our childlessness is not a choice. Nor is it a known disorder. The doctors tell us we have “unexplained infertility.” I translate that phrase as “God doesn’t want us to have kids…and he didn’t give us a reason.”
It seems like once every other week, someone I know gets pregnant. I hear the ecstatic announcement and then I turn inward and deal once more with the internal bleeding, the wound that after seven years is still being ripped open. I grab the antiseptic and bandages–I always keep them handy–and I go to work repairing the damage. It’s a slow, painful process. I ask the same questions. I cry the same tears. I console myself with the same Bible verses. They sound hollow at first, but after a while, they start to soothe. I pull back from the cliff of bitterness. I pick up the pieces of my heart, and I move on. There is nothing else to be done.
Infertility isn’t the only unfulfilled desire out there. Lots of people want things that most people have or they want things they’ve dreamed about for years, and for some reason or another, they just can’t have them. I wish I knew the mind of God. I wish I had answers. I wish I could figure out why babies are given to people who abort or abandon or abuse them…and not to people like me and my friend, who would love them.
What do you do when a friend calls to tell you her good news? Or when you hear about it on facebook? Or even worse, when she excitedly runs up to in person?
There’s not much you CAN do.
You say, “that’s great!” It is for her. You don’t want to take away from her joy.
You say, “You must be so happy,” because you simply cannot pretend that you are happy.
You say, “A baby is blessing.” You’ll console yourself with other blessings.
And you just move on. Not because it’s easy or because you are above jealousies. Because this is your cross to bear, and you’re going to pick it back up and keep trudging down the awful uphill road that most women in this world don’t have to walk. You’ll probably always be different. Always be weird. Always be outside. Always be eyed with suspicion. This was and is God’s choice for your life, and you have to trust that He is working in and through your pain. People will always be asking, “Who sinned, you or your husband, that you are unable to have children like the rest of us?”
“Neither” you may reply with finality.
“This happened so the work of God might be displayed.”
“And by the way, congratulations!”