As 2020 came to a close I had a lot to reflect on, as I am sure many people had around the country. Words are often casually thrown around with little thought to their meaning or their effect and one of the biggest as the clock began to strike midnight was hope. Hope for the new year; hope for a better tomorrow; hope in a vaccine; hope of seeing family; hope of no more national lockdowns. Hope is vital, it is needed and gives us all motivation in the hard times to keep going but sometimes hope is the last thing that is needed. Sometimes peace is much more important.
Waiting is hard
Waiting is hard. It is hard for children as they await the thing they want the most to happen and it can be hard for adults who normally have control of making things happen, except with maybe this one thing, right now. There is no denying waiting is hard. Right now it feels like we are part of a national, or even international, time of waiting. Waiting for the end and for things to return back to normal. But for us, my husband and I, we have been waiting for 3 and half years for something that is likely to never happen.
I’m not going to lie, I have written this thing, deleted it and rewritten it. I have written it in my head only for it not to sound right on paper, so the words I am about to write I have tried to think about carefully and I hope and pray that they land right. I do not want to upset anyone or deny another’s pain. I am just here to write about my own. To write my own story about experiencing secondary infertility.
I won’t begin at the beginning of our family’s journey but not long after my daughter was born. As was to be expected, due to a chronic condition I have, I was to have my yearly check up. At that appointment I was told to expect that in the next few years I would need to go on a drug that I would not be allowed to get pregnant on. They were wrong. I didn’t fit the criteria and hopefully won’t for a long time. But what they will never know is that their words as a doctor set off a chain of events that have in many ways led to a lot of heartache. I cut my daughter’s breastfeeding journey short and my heart began to dream.
The likelihood is that the dream will never be fulfilled, or at least not in that way. I will not experience being pregnant again and will never hold my newborn baby in my arms. You may be thinking that there are other options and you are right. But right now they are not possible. Maybe one day but first I need to allow my heart to heal.
You may also wonder how my heart could need so much healing when I have my daughter, not everyone is so lucky in that respect. Again you are right. My daughter is the best thing that has ever happened to me and I am incredibly lucky. But my love for her is not diminished or taken away by the heartbreak I experience at the thought of not having a second. I am grieving the dreams and hopes I once had.
Not hope but peace
I imagine that I am not the only one who has used this time to reflect on the deepest darkest thoughts of our hearts. There is nothing like imposed isolation to make you contemplate what has been and what is yet to come. But I also imagine that I am not the only one who is going to emerge from this time changed. There is no returning to normal.
Normal has always been a fluid concept and despite our hopes and dreams to return to a time of before, of before things changed, seems like a simple hope to have right now. For many people though things will never return to as before. Things have irreversibly changed. People have lost their jobs, their homes, their security and their loved ones. There is no returning to normal for them. Their hopes and dreams for this time have to change and whether we like it or not there is going to have to be some acceptance rather than hope needed.
Three and a half years of waiting has taken its toll. It’s taken me to the point, at times, of wondering how I can carry on. How can I take my next breath? I am incredibly lucky to have people who love me and care for me. That know how to make me smile and find the joy in the times that have been difficult, even when they haven’t known what has been breaking me.
Before this experience I never understood how you could be filled with so much joy and so much heartbreak at the same time. But I have found that God can hold me in my heartbreak and allow my heart to swell with the good news of those we love. It has been this joy and excitement to be a part of the journey they are about to embark on that has kept the darkness at bay at times. It is my love for them that has allowed my heart to begin to heal. To face the demons I never dared face for fear of breaking but sometimes you need to break before you can truly heal.
Right now I don’t need hope but peace. Peace in my heart to know that I am going to be okay. That our family will be okay. That despite our lost dreams there are new places and avenues we have yet to explore. A deep-seated peace of knowing that God never stopped being on this journey with us. A knowing that He can hold the pain for me and allow love and joy to grow in the cracks. A prayer that can hold my dreams and teach me how to change.
Lord, today I don’t need hope I need peace.