Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Choosing Infertility

This post is a bit personal, and I have struggled with whether to actually post it. But, the one thing that I have learned in my struggle with infertility is that there is a loneliness and sometimes hidden pain. So, in writing about it, I hope it might resonant with others who have felt the same anguish.

For those of us who have been blessed to have been mothered by women who are generous and caring-- who embody God’s love, then celebrating Mothers Day is a joyful experience [for more reflections on my own mother www.goniagleanings.blogspot.com/2007/03/inclusiveness.html ]. However, for those who struggle with issues of infertility, Mothers Day can be a very painful day. And for me, this was the case.

For many years of my life, my deepest desire was to give birth to a child. [to read more about this see www.goniagleanings.blogspot.com/2006/06/to-bear-children-or-not.html ]. For several years, before we knew it would simply not be possible, I found myself frustrated and then finally devastated. I had to mourn the loss of those “dream children“ that I would never birth. In time, I made peace with the fact that we would not have biological children. Instead, we were blessed with an adopted child who is every bit MY child as if she had come from my very skin and bones. [ www.goniagleanings.blogspot.com/2006/05/poetic-thoughts.html ]

Now, as I am approaching the end of what might be termed my child-bearing years, I will have surgery this week that will finally close the door on that chapter of my life. The surgery is minor, and I didn’t chose to have it done because of the contraceptive issues. Those implications didn’t dawn on me until later. And when it did, I realized that even now, 16 years after first beginning to wrestle with this, I still have a sense of loss. I thought that I had gotten past all these issues, but I am finding myself once mourning a loss. After so many years of trying to have children, it is completely foreign to think about finally ending the possibility of ever giving birth, The pain is not as intense as in those early years, but it is a dull ache.


Steve West said...

Oh my gosh! Rachel, I did not realize you had a blog and just stumbled upon it from your FB post. I will start following you. Having just flipped through a few of your posts, it's quite beautiful.

I really appreciated your thoughts and feelings shared here. Coincidentally, Sandy is facing the probability of similar surgery this week. She will see the doctor on Friday to find out for sure but she's had terrible abdominal pain during the past two weeks, including a visit to the ER which determined that she had ovarian cysts and referred her.

I know it must be a strange grief for you this week. I hope that in your writing you find a sense of wholeness and peace.

Amelia said...


I hear you! Even though I have been blessed with a child, I still deep down wanted more than one and struggled with issues of infertility during all these childbearing years. To finally agree with my husband that we were not going to have any more children was very painful. And Mother's Day is still a hard day for me. I can remember (after having multiple miscarriages) being wished a happy Mother's Day by folks in my church - ugh, what an awful feeling that was. So, I am very sensitive for folks that don't have children or have struggled to bear children of their own on that day. My mother was not able to have children and I know that was painful for her when her own mother was pregnant 8 times (one stillbirth but everyone else was healthy). And of all ironies, I know my own blood mother had four children of her own. Today I know that it was "something" about me that made it hard to have children - will never know what. And although I have yet to make the kinds of medical decisions you are facing, every year that I get older I do think of how far I am from the possibility of giving birth. Someday I would like to have a service on Mother's Day for women who find that day to be a hard one. Blessings and prayer for you!

Rachel said...

thanks for your kind words

Thanks so much for sharing your story.. I would LOVE to participate in the type of Mother's Day service you mentioned. When we were in the midst of all the infertility stuff, I shared some of it in a sermon. I was amazed by the people who came to talk with me after that. So many people hide their pain. thanks again for sharing! Rachel

Rebecca Schweisthal said...

I can associate with all of your feelings. I am in the same place. I can't try to have kids. You saying mothers day is a painful day made me realize that is why I have had such a rough week in regards to constantly thinking about the fact that I can't bear children. I will be praying for you today.

Rachel said...

Rebecca, thanks so much for sharing. would love to talk more--email me anytime! rachel.gonia@gmail.com