I always dreamed of being a mommy. By always, I mean from the time that I was able to tote around baby dolls and know what a mommy actually was. My other dreams came, went and changed with my interests, but that dream remained the same: I wanted to be a mommy more than anything in the world, and I wanted more than just two children. By my teens, I was somewhat scared I wouldn’t be able to conceive or carry a child, from watching others struggle with fertility and miscarriages.
When my time came to have my own baby, however, I got pregnant beyond quickly. The second time around, I was expecting within a couple of months of going off of birth control. The third time I conceived I was actually on birth control and went off of it when I realized I might be pregnant, but I sadly lost that baby. This time is my fourth pregnancy, and I was pregnant literally immediately. We joke that all my husband has to do is look at me when I’m not on birth control and I’m pregnant. It’s a blessing, but never stops surprising me, especially now, since they had to remove my right ovary during my son’s emergency c-section due to a huge dermoid cyst that apparently had taken over that ovary’s ability to function long before I was even expecting the first time. I am an unlikely Fertile Myrtle.
That being said, my awareness of the very real struggle and pain of infertility leaves me feeling guilty. I feel guilty that I become pregnant with no effort whatsoever, even though it’s pretty miraculous under the circumstances. I feel guilty that I am expecting my third child while many of my friends are still dreaming of being able to have even one precious child. When it comes time to make a happy announcement or share brags about my babies, I feel guilty and worry that it might hurt my friends who aren’t able to have children so easily. Maybe I shouldn’t, but I do feel guilty because of their sadness and my own joy.
But then I think…
I expected to marry at a very young age, due to the way I was raised, but I didn’t marry until I was 27. Our first daughter was born two days before my 28th birthday. I remember wondering if I’d ever find someone to share my life with, as I watched my friends find their special someone one by one. I recall hoping I’d be a mommy myself one day, as I saw them welcome their little ones into their lives through birth and adoption. Even now, as I see their mothers doting upon them and their children with such love and pride, I wish with all of my heart that my own mom could have been here to do just that with her grandbabies she’d also dreamed about, because even when she was dying she said missing out on them was her biggest regret.
Did it upset me for them to share the joy of their engagements, weddings and babies, even while wishing for those things for myself? Honestly, no. I was happy to be able to rejoice with them, and loved seeing the pictures and being part of their lives. Do I resent that these mothers and grandmothers are enjoying the next generation while my mom is missing it? Of course not! It sometimes makes me wistful, but I am glad to see that love. What would have been then- and would be now- a much sadder thing is to be left out of all of that happiness just because people didn’t or don’t want to make me feel sad or left out.
With this perspective, do I still feel guilty? Being for real here…yes! However, having that perspective makes me just continue to talk about my children, share their oh-so-adorable pictures, delight in the announcement of a new life and share it with everyone, including those who I so much wish could have these things for themselves, as well. Yep, I feel that twinge of guilt sometimes when I think about it, but I am going to love my little ones and share that joy with all of my friends and family just as if I didn’t feel it. 🙂
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Do you ever feel guilt about something you can’t help because you fear it might hurt someone you care about?
This looks like a good book for those who are struggling with infertility, and for those who are wondering how to reach out to them: Infertility: a Silent Struggle and a God Who Hears
If you don’t have a Kindle, but want to be able to read e-books like the one above, here is a free app that will help you out: Amazon.com – Read eBooks using the FREE Kindle Reading App on Most Devices
To see the youngest member of our family, head on over to my special announcement!