Thursday, August 14, 2008

Where Do I Go from Here?

I've been thinking a lot lately about whether I should continue to pray for a child. I just don't know. I've been praying for quite a while, and I think God knows what I want. Maybe it's not what He wants for us . . . maybe not now, maybe not ever. I've been trying not to plan my life around anticipated due dates, and that's led me to wonder what we should plan for our life if we never have a child to raise. Will we be OK if that never happens?

I think about it, and when most of my friends were getting married, I was still in grad school, praying for a husband. I hated being one of the last single ones at friends' weddings. I threw my bouquet from the church steps because I was so sick of being the last one urged to go out on the dance floor to fight for the bouquet, and I didn't want to do that to my single friends. (My 16-year-old cousin caught the bouquet, and she was thrilled!) By the time I got married, my close friends, with two exceptions, had children, were in the process of adopting, or were expecting their first baby. Heck, half of my bridesmaids were either pregnant or had brand new babies. I just feel like I'm going to be so old when I finally have children!

I've really been reminding myself a lot lately that I have no idea what goes on in others' hearts. I'm just having an envious moment here. I had to wait what felt like an awfully long time for a husband, and now I'm waiting quite a long time to be able to bring a child home. Why don't others have to wait? I always hoped to get married and have children young. It didn't work out that way. I sometimes resent the years that I didn't know my husband. I wish I had been there in the stories he tells about the years before we met. This cycle is the last chance for us to have a child before my next birthday. I see our chances decreasing as I age, and I see the risks increasing.

I didn't mean to be so gloomy. I'm usually so optimistic and philosophical about the whole thing. I've written before that I think God has used this experience of infertility to give me greater compassion and to soften my heart. How much softer can it get? Everything gets me choked up. I don't mean that I'm depressed, but I'm just so sentimental. We had a special mass a couple of weeks ago for students going off to college, and they gave away two scholarships at the end of the mass. A girl a few pews behind us won one of the scholarships, and I just about burst into tears. She looked so young and hopeful, and her parents looked so proud, it was just about too much for me! I am really struck by the beauty of the families that I see. I just feel like I have no place.

And I know. I know that I have no idea what those young families are suffering. I do know some of what my friends who didn't wait so long for their spouses and children have suffered--the loss of a parent, conflict in their families growing up, serious illness. I can appreciate the blessings that I do have--health, living parents, a happy marriage, and the list goes on. I know that the years I didn't know my husband helped to make us ready for each other when we did finally meet. I know that God's plan for me will be, ultimately, better than any I could imagine for myself.

So, I think for now, I may stop praying for a child. I may try just praying for the grace to accept God's will for my life. We'll keep doing what we need to do to give ourselves the best chances of having a child--biological or adopted--but I think for now I might need to stop asking. I need to focus on living my life the best I can, and if children come, then that will be wonderful. But I need to fill my life in other ways right now. When I was in grad school, I volunteered at a home for homeless pregnant women. I really believed in it and felt like I was making a significant contribution. A few years ago, I collected information about maternity homes and pregnancy centers around here, but, for obvious reasons, I don't think those would be the best volunteer options for me right now!

So . . . any great ideas? I think I need an attitude change. My life needs to be focused on something other than waiting.


allyouwhohope said...

I have had all of those same thoughts. If you're growing tired of asking for a pregnancy, my advice would be to focus on praying for God's will. I've gone through several different phases of what to pray, and now I mainly pray for His will. I still sometimes pray for a biological child, or sometimes I pray that God will bring me my children (leaving it open how that may be accomplished). He knows our hearts, but it is still good to communicate that sometimes, if even for ourselves.

It also sometimes makes me feel better to tell God I'm ready for whatever He has planned for me (or I ask Him to help me accept whatever He has planned). That's a good prayer when you're tired of asking for a pregnancy, and I think it pleases God as well.

This_Cross_I_Embrace said...

I've had some pretty selfish prayers this past cycle... and what did it amount to? AF showing up today. So I know I have to go back to praying for God's will, too. It's just so hard.

I don't have any big ideas for you... except have you ever considered being a Creigton Practitioner? I always feel extremely lucky to have stumbled upon that path, helping young girls find the cause of their irregular periods w/o bcp treatment, helping other IF couples learn when they are fertile (or why they aren't fertile, then getting them help to correct it), and helping married couples to NOT use contraception and be open to life. I think you, too, would really enjoy this work- and you'd be a great asset to the System with your undying faith.

And don't feel too bad about not praying for a baby... because I'm still praying for one for you.

Jen said...

I'll pray for you to get your heart's desire, whether that is clear at the moment or not.

What about volunteering at a nursing home? Or I've always meant to walk dogs at our local animal shelter.

maggie said...

I just wanted to say I'm sorry. I've had to change my prayers for things too- always a good thing in retrospect, but hard in the moment.

I volunteered at nursing homes for a few years and really enjoyed it.

LifeHopes said...

I am right there with you on all of this.

I have prayed for God to help me to be life-giving, since that is what our true vocations as women are. It is then up to Him to determine how to answer that prayer.

MT said...

Oh Sweetie, I understand what you are going through, I too had two m/c in the past seven months. I married older as most of my friends already did and had children. I know again find myself in a place of waiting. I do think God is trying to teach me patience. But, whatever it is I have to learn from him I am always thankful. I too pray to God for his strength in whatever he has planned for my husband and I. I pray for peace to accept his Will and with that I dust myself off and keep going with hope and faith that one day soon I will have the baby we want so badly.


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