I used to be funnier.
I used to be happy. All the time. I was one of those…
I used to laugh and smile and joke.
I used to skip and jump in puddles and stop to smell the flowers.
I used to be sweet.
I used to have this convoluted notion that one day, when the husband and I were ready for it, we would have a spontaneous, romantic intimate encounter and a few weeks later I would wake up just knowing that something was different.
I would go out and buy a pregnancy test, and get a positive result. I would wait till the husband came home and surprise him with the news. We would laugh and cry and hug and call to tell our families the joyous news. We would plan out some elaborate way to announce our pregnancy to our friends; maybe a Facebook photo of the ultrasound or a clever shot of a bun in an oven.
We would make plans for that empty second bedroom. We would talk about names and paint colors and finally choose a church. We would warmly embrace the life that was so generously given us, and make preparations for our new family.
Now I laugh because I realize how naïve I was.
It’s a bitter laugh.
Even just a year ago, I was far more able to handle the thought of pursuing more aggressive treatments. A year ago I felt hopeful that a different approach would do the trick. A year ago I never thought I would still be doing this.
I think the hardest part of infertility is the grieving process.
I’ve grieved the thought of having three kids by age thirty. Or having any kids by age 32.
I’ve grieved the idea of my kids having cousins their own age.
I’ve grieved the dream of calling to tell the doctor I’m pregnant, rather than the doctor calling to tell me.
I’ve grieved the experience of creating a child out of a loving act between husband and wife.
It doesn’t get easier.
It hurts so much sometimes that it’s like a burning in my chest. Sometimes I hold my breath just to keep the tears from falling. Sometimes the happiest dreams leave me feeling bereft when the morning comes. Sometimes I just want to quit.
I feel like I’m on a train.
I’ve gone through some beautiful countryside on this journey, but recently I’ve been taken through rocky canyons and along steep cliffs. I’m in a dark tunnel and have no idea what’s on the other side.
It might be more beautiful countryside, a place where a young family can skip and jump in puddles and stop to smell the flowers.
Then again, there’s also a good chance the tracks may run out. I could emerge from this in a free-fall into darkness.
Never again to be the girl of light and laughter and love, destined to live out the rest of her days in darkness and despair and depression.
I pray that’s not the case.
I know that God has a plan for me. I know that God wouldn’t bring me to a challenge I wasn’t built to handle. I know that God loves me and is preparing me for something bigger than all of this.
And yet, it’s hard to have faith some days.
Still though, faith is what gets me by.
I have faith that I will have a child; perhaps not by age 32, or 33, or even 40, but I will. One day.
I have faith that my child will be loved by so many, regardless the age of his cousins.
I have faith that the joy of knowing I am going to be a mother will diffuse all of the resentment I have towards my body’s betrayal.
I have faith that my child will know he is loved, regardless if he was conceived in a petri dish or in my womb or in the womb of another.
I have faith, but I also know that I will never be able to be that girl again.
The carefree girl who laughs and smiles and jokes.
The sweet, happy, funny girl who doesn’t have a reason to cry.
I know I will never be the same after this.
But I know that I will be okay.
Even after a long period in a dark tunnel, it takes your eyes some time to adjust to the sunlight.
I won’t be the same, but I will be stronger, wiser, and have more depth than many. I will have experienced loss and longing, and I will have had to fight for the life I want.
I will get up tomorrow and continue down this dark tunnel.
I will find my way out the other side, and regardless what’s there, I will survive.
More than that, though; I will thrive.
…I used to be funnier. And I will get back there one day.