Last week on my Wednesday instagram post, which is always a quote I’ve found to be helpful on this journey, I shared this from Amateur Nester: “With a baby or without, you are valuable, you are whole, and you matter.”
And then I named my truth, something that’s been on my mind a lot recently: at this point in life, I’m not sure I want a child anymore.
It felt big and brave and scary and confusing and conflicting to share that. It still feels big and brave and scary and confusing and conflicting to share that.
Big and Brave
It’s big and brave because I’m able to admit that I can find joy and purpose and feel whole and valuable without having a child. I am slowly figuring out life without that next step I always expected. I replaced the SUV with a convertible. My sewing room has a permanent sewing table and a cubby shelf specifically for displaying my fabric. Our living room shelves have breakables and bottles of scotch and there are uncovered electrical plugs everywhere.
Our dogs receive the source of our daily care and we appreciate that we can leave them at home for hours at a time while we go out to do whatever. Steve, our chocolate lab, often tags along on our visits to see family or on vacation. The house is tidy and orderly, the way I like it. We have a hard time managing meals, but there’s no guilt in going out to dinner again.
It’s big and brave because I can say I am happy with my life despite my infertility.
It’s scary because what if people think everything I’ve written up to this point (and plan to write for my book) is false, that I’m a fraud. By claiming to be happy with my life, maybe people will think I was never really that sad about my infertility. That maybe I wrote all that to get attention or something? It’s scary because what if I wake up tomorrow and I’m not okay without a child and then what I wrote in this post will be false.
It’s scary because I’m not 100% convinced that I really believe it. What if I’ve convinced myself that I’m happy with this life in order to trick myself into “relaxing” (didn’t you know that relaxing cures infertility?!) and then, miracle of miracles, I get pregnant and everything is okay. Then I can brush all that infertility nonsense away.
It’s scary because maybe I do want a child and I’m trying to trick myself out of it.
Confusing and Conflicting
It’s confusing and conflicting because I’m still sad about not being able to have a child. I still grieve the life I hoped for and expected. I grieve the child I anticipated holding in my arms. I’m sad that I can’t watch my child grow up with the amazing cousins in our families. I won’t ever see my siblings be aunts and uncles to my child or our parents grandparent my child or my husband hold our child.
How can I say that I’m happy with this life and at the same time still grieve for the life I wanted? That is confusing and conflicting and I don’t have an answer to the question. I just know it’s true. I know that I love my life and I miss the life I yearned for. I know that I am living a good, full life and I am grieving years and years of experiences I thought I’d have.
It’s confusing and conflicting because I miss the child I don’t have and love the life I do have.
It Is Good
I’ve gotten comfortable with both/and. I’ve been writing about it for years. I’ve had to get comfortable with it, otherwise I’d be a miserable person. I’ve learned to comfortably hold two seemingly contradictory feelings in my open palms: grief and joy, tears and laughter, realism and hope, pain and comfort. It’s all there, all the time. And it’s okay.
I don’t have to have everything figured out. I continue to learn from my feelings. I trust my body to know what’s best for me. I lean into the hard moments and celebrate the joys.
Life isn’t perfect. That was never promised to us. But it is good and full and beautiful. In the beginning God looked at all of creation and saw that it was good. God knew the pain that would soon come, God knew the joys that would surely be experienced. God knew the risks in creating this beautiful, fragile world and looked around with confidence and saw that it was good.
In the midst of it all, I look around and see, it is good.