Over a year is a long time to feel intense disappointement and sadness on a regular basis! No wonder I feel emotionally exhausted constantly. No wonder I find myself placing barriers in my heart against thoughts of pregnancy and babies. No wonder I quickly delete birth announcement emails. And the thing that scares me is that I just don't know how much longer this roller coaster of emotions is going to last. I could, God willing, get pregnant this very cycle. Or I could never get pregnant, ever. I really need to figure out how to cope with these negative emotions, and with being childless, for the long term, because I don't want to be in tears for the rest of my adult life!
My Lenten sacrifice of offering up to God my desire for a child has been hard these last few days too. I want to think it's part of a purification process, purifying my desires and my heart. One realization I had, sparked by a(nother) tearful but very healing conversation with Mr. M, who is so wise, is that part of offering up my desire for motherhood to God – entrusting God with this most precious desire, and asking for nothing in return but His love – is that I need to be content with our "life as two." That is, if I'm really serious about trusting God with my future children, and not clinging to the hope of motherhood as to a life preserver, as if it were the only thing that will make me happy, I need to see the positive good of this time when it's just me and Mr. M – realizing that it's within the bounds of possibility that it could always be just me and Mr. M. My first reaction to that scenario is one of bottomless sorrow. To think of never being a mother is a thought I shove to the furthest regions of my consciousness because it is too painful. And of course it's good and natural to desire motherhood. But I'm afraid I'm starting to resent married life with Mr. M for what it is not, instead of rejoice in the goodness that it is.
I don't know if that makes any sense. I do know that something I'm learning from my Lenten offering is to truly, sincerely appreciate the state of my life right now. If I really mean it when I say that I trust God with my desire for motherhood, which is an extension of trusting Him with my happiness, then I need to be able to relax and let it be – let this childless time of my life be what it is: hard, yes, but also so filled with goodness! Genuine goodness. Goodness that is at danger of being overwhelmed by the ever-encroaching shadow of my sorrow.
So last night, I was lying on the couch feeling completely awash with emotion and longing, and I looked for a long time at a picture of us on our honeymoon in Rome, dressed in our wedding garb, clinging to each other and radiant with joy. And I thought, "I love that man. I love our life together" and it was such a life-giving, heart-warming thought. A thought I need to repeat again and again, say to myself more than I say "I want a baby – I want a baby – I want a baby." I guess what I'm trying to say, clumsily, is that the flip side of offering my desire for motherhood up to God is loving my life right now, as it is, childless and all.