Said to me from my brown leather couch in my sun-drenched office,
I can't even go to church.
Written in a social media post,
I can't go to the baby shower.
Shared in a blog post,
I can't believe she's pregnant...again.
From my own mouth,
They are everywhere.
In the journey of infertility these are all statements we probably have said out loud or to ourselves. I hear them in my office all the time. I also have no doubt I said them to myself in the midst of our trudge through hell a few years ago.
Only now, a few years into Ever Upward and working with clients through and after this journey, are they the phrases that make me the saddest.
When we are fighting, what at times feels like a losing battle, to have babies we often find being around children too difficult. We find it so difficult that many of us cut them completely out of our lives.
We cut out the very thing we are fighting so hard for.
But, this isn't the saddest part.
When we cut out all the children from our lives, we also shame, blame and deny, the mother we are so desperately trying or wanted to be.
We do this out of self-protection. It is natural and I suppose works decently for most of us. But I am finding and discovering that perhaps it is really only help for the most part because it is avoidance and numbing.
Both of which are short lived and not part of this wholehearted life.
Because the fact is, there is no way around this pain.
Despite our best efforts to numb and avoid, we can't. We simply, albeit not easily, must feel it, feel it all, move through it and find our ways of moving forward into our sacred truths.
Admittedly I've been on my own struggle bus of darkness this December. The other night when I was seeking support from my friend Sam I realized something else about the danger of numbing and denying our motherhood. The kids in my life, my chosen children, see me. They truly see me. They see me always, with curiosity and unconditional love. Many days I walk this earth feeling invisible, especially during these holidays. I don't have kids who are excited about Santa. I don't have every weekend booked with the Polar Express, Breakfast with Santa and basketball or soccer games. Instead, this year I am struggling like hell to even finish decorating my Christmas tree. But my chosen children, they see me. Which also means I need to be around them.
No matter where you may be in this journey of infertility and loss, hell even if it is a different, yet so much the same, journey, I want you to ask yourself: Am I avoiding and numbing from the very thing I miss and want so much?
Chances are the answer is yes.
To which, I guess, I'd like to challenge you a bit. What if choosing the joy in it is the very thing that helps us not completely lose ourselves? What if we changed the meaning we attach to it?
We can either choose to think of being around kids as the constant reminder of what we don't have. How sad, mad and unfair that can feel. Or we can choose to love them hard, laugh with them and invest in them. Because in that love, laughter and investment we honor, not only, the mother we want to be, we also we honor the mother we are.