Updated: Apr 20
I must say, it feels very strange to sit down and write this letter to you all. I have been very private about many aspects of my life over the last few years, and the topic of children was one of those areas I did not often touch on. Over the years of putting myself out there on the good ol' internet, I was finally able to let go of the idea of owing people anything, and feeling guilty If I didn't divulge every aspect of my existence that was inquired about. I am a firm believer that privacy is very important and that we have really lost sight of how sacred certain parts of life are because everyone puts everything out there in such an unfiltered way. In order to maintain some depth of peace, one needs to have healthy prayerful boundaries when it comes to letting it all out there on the internet. I do however also know that the Lord has used what the enemy has intended for evil, and used it for good and for the glory of the kingdom. The internet has provided us with the ability to learn new skills, find others who are like minded that can encourage us, and help us research topics and grow our understanding and knowledge. I am hoping that this letter today will be an encouragement, and above all other things, bring glory to the Most High God, my all in all.
I know that this is a sensitive topic, and that everyones experiences are different. I want to tread lightly on the hearts of others, while also being transparently honest about my own journey. Please know that everything I say here is intended for good. I also know that If I continue into my 40's and beyond, and the Lord has still not chosen to open my womb, that there will be different layers of growth and grief to walk through. I know that the journey through all the challenges of this life is an ever changing one, and I certainly do not have it figured out. I have however, found a lot of peace along the way.
To summarize my story a bit, I began to have my first symptoms of endometriosis when I was 12 years old, but was not officially diagnosed until I was 19. I have been through the full scope of the conventional medical and alternative medicine worlds in the past 24 years to try and mitigate all the health issues that come alongside stage 4 endometriosis. Some things have helped and some things have unfortunately made things worse.
In my 20s and early 30s, it was easier to keep the reality of the possibility of not having a child on a back shelf, something I would think about from time to time but I could always push facing the reality off on the year after. At the time of writing this letter, I am 36, and will be rolling on into the age of 37 this coming October. I have been married for a little over 7 years (8 years in October), and my precious husband is 12 years older than me. I have had to confront the realities of barrenness in the last couple of years in a way that I never had to before, and what a journey that has been. In the last 8-9 years I have also found the Lord (or He found me), and knowing Him has dramatically changed me inside and out. Knowing Him, has changed how I've processed and responded to the situations and inner dialogue regarding the topic of children. I am still in this strange in between place where I am ticking up into my late 30s and watching the silver hairs grow on my head, while still not being old enough to have reached the stage of fully "letting go". As I said previously, I know the journey will be ever-changing as the seasons of life roll on.
At my age, the topic in unavoidable. For years, whether on the internet or in person, it is a topic that people naturally bring up, mostly with good intentions. Some people have rudely made assumptions about why we are without children, but for the most part, I believe it is simple curiosity. I am also at a season of life, where I have watched most of my peers and friends have babies, many babies in fact. One little fact that most people don't know about me, is that I am a certified birth doula. I have worked with friends during pregnancy, birth, and during their post-natal period for the past 15 years (yikes where does time go?) I have been auntie Lea for many babies. I have been there when they breathed their first little breaths. I have held them, rocked them to sleep, wiped noses and tears, sent them gifts on special days, prayed for them, and loved them like flesh and blood. I have watched dear friends go through all the stages of motherhood and hold their precious little miracles close to their breasts. I have fought through the fears that the enemy has whispered to me, about having no one to pass on a family legacy to, and about being old and alone. I have sat on the floor many days questioning the point of writing the recipes down for my recipe box If no one will be there to care about them someday. I have cried the tears and prayed the prayers that can only come from the deepest part of oneself. Through all of that though, I believe the Lord has shown me the most important things about this journey. The first is that His grace is sufficient for our life. He has redeemed me and given me the gift of eternal life by His grace through His Son Jesus Christ. The Almighty God owes me not one more thing. I am not entitled to have children, or any other thing for that matter. He owes me nothing, and yet, He has been SO abundantly faithful to me. He has supplied my every need, granted me deliverance, restored that which was broken, made beauty from ashes, touched me with much healing, and the list certainly goes on an on.
Another important lesson that He has taught me through this journey, is the deep importance of being joyful for others. Romans 12:15 "Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep." Rejoicing with others goes hand in hand with contentment. When we are content with the sufficiency of God's grace, it is so much easier to rejoice with our neighbor. To get to a place where I can feel genuine joy for other women when the Lord touches their womb, has been a balm of healing. If you are not there yet, its okay. It takes time, prayer, mental discipline, and showing grace to yourself when you're not able to rejoice as you'd like. Have the honest and open conversations with the Lord; He already knows your thoughts anyway. He is your Creator, He knows every hair on your head, and has all of your days counted. Tell Him you are angry, scared, sad, or discouraged, but that you refuse to stay there. Refuse to live permanently in a state of mind that is less than the joy intended for you. Meditate on all you are grateful for and do it often, as it will be salve on any wound.
Avoiding close interaction with children may be needed for a season, but don't allow yourself to be robbed of that forever. Children are such a source of laughter, joy, challenge, innocence, and all that's wonderful about life. Find ways that you can pour into children, even If they are not your own. My husband and I have started something called Little House Story Corner, and it has been such a joy to be able to be a part of the lives of children all over the world.
He has shown me that my ultimate identity is in Him. There are beautiful roles I am privileged to play in this life as a wife, daughter, friend, sister, dog mama, but those things are not my ultimate identity. I am a child of God, with a distinct calling and purpose here in this life for the glory of God's kingdom, for as long as He grants me breath. Anything can become an idol, children included, when we begin setting the deepest part of our identity in anything else other than our Creator. I have been asked many times about interventions such as IUI or IVF, and we were convicted years ago that those things would not be the path for us. My God is the author and Creator of life and I trust His sovereignty and power in this.
He has shown me the areas where my trust is lacking, and while that has stung, it has also greatly grown me in my walk with Him. I will never be alone at any stage of this life, because my God goes with me. He goes before and behind, and hedges about me; I am never truly alone, and If you are His, neither are you. His ways are higher than mine and His understanding surpasses my knowledge. Some day I will understand all that He allowed, but for now, we live and breathe by faith. I do not know what I would do or where I would be without His Spirit alive in me and His Word and hand to carry me along. If you do not know the Lord, I would be happy to talk with you and share more of my testimony. The hope, peace, and joy that is found in Him... nothing on this earth can compare.
If you know someone who is involuntarily childless, just know that they are working through an ever changing journey that contains highs and lows, sensitivities, and strengths. Try not to be offended If they are in a place in their journey where they can't attend the baby shower. They love you, but pain is complicated. They may be trying to avoid stealing your big moment with their involuntary tears. Do not disregard their thoughts on children just because they don't have any. Childless women have motherly instincts built into them too, and may have something helpful or wise to offer. Don't leave us behind. We understand why you gravitate to other women with children after you have your own, but don't forget us, we love you and your children and want to be with you. Indulge the fact that we see our pets as our children. You may not think it's the same, but humor us. If the moment seems right, ask us how our heart is. It may be a tough and sensitive topic, but don't think that we never want to talk about it just because it's hard.
I truly hope todays blog letter was of help to someone.
With all my love,