Or numb. I’m not sure which.
Maybe both, or maybe it’s just a good day. Or maybe I’ve just gotten accustomed to torturing myself. Wow, that’s a lot of doubt right there. But what I’m getting at is, I think I’m getting used to the fact that everyone is having a baby. (I will not apologize for the exaggeration.)
I used to almost take it personally, as if there were a finite number of babies out there that all couples of child-bearing age were competing for. If Couple A wins the baby lottery, then I’ve got to stand in the queue for the next one to become available. And where am I on the waiting list again, God? I’ve struggled very much the past two years with what I call my “metric,” my super unfair, self-righteous standard with which I would subconsciously and automatically judge whether someone who is pregnant before me should be. Yikes, I’m really confessing that on the internet. But it’s true. The criteria were: length of relationship, length of marriage, age of couple, healthiness of marriage, had the woman had a career, etc.. I know, so judgmental. I’ve done everything right! I should have a baby before them! It’s something I started to notice over time as I would be so deeply envious hearing of others’ “good news.” Not easy to see such junk in your heart.
My experience of (in)fertility has opened my eyes to just how much I think I can and should earn things in my life — even deserve. More nasty residue of the myth of the American dream and maybe, in particular, the Christian American dream-mentality. If I’m good enough, have my life together, work hard, know the right people, pray the right way, do just the right internet search to unearth that super effective fertility secret, then I can make a baby come to me. When I speak it, of course it sounds absurd, but I have to admit that those beliefs reside deep within me and do shape how I’m seeing God and myself and this situation.
It’s also a hazard of pretty much having been able to get what I’ve wanted in life up until this point. I don’t mean that in a material sense (which hasn’t been the case), but the intangibles like meeting a goal, earning an award or position, having a certain image, saving for a big purchase. For the most part I and my friends have worked hard in school and gotten into another great school to work hard in, in order to get into another prestigious school (you can begin to see the ridiculousness of it all). So very simply, and brattily, I’m just not used to being told “no” and not being able to work my way out of it. And on another level, it’s similar to how many of us must acknowledge our privilege of having grown up with financial wealth, social resources and opportunities, and systemic racial advantages. All of those things that were bestowed upon me and not earned have thrust me toward where I have gotten, and so, similarly, I must acknowledge that I cannot just work hard enough to get a “yes” with a baby. So much of this is beyond my control, and frankly, I don’t deserve a baby! No one does. It is a gift and nothing else.
I distinctly remember this feeling about a year into trying to conceive of sitting down at my computer, hands on the keyboard — seriously — convinced that I could figure out just what to google to figure this out. These “I deserve it” and “work your way out of it” mindsets are deep in there, and, thankfully, God has been confronting them in me the past two years. I really hope it gets weeded out altogether.
But today as I glanced through Facebook — which, what the heck am I still doing on that thing anyway, and why do I get into a trance of looking at all the baby pictures on my homepage, which, might I add, comprise approximately 90% of my news feed?* — I just found myself resigned to the fact that, of course all of my friends are having babies. It’s not personal. It’s not because they’re making unwise decisions. They’re not betraying me. We’re in our early 30s now, so people will be doing that kind of thing. I’m beginning to accept this. I’m also beginning to accept, along with that, this sense that I am getting left behind. Whereas before it seemed they all were just too far ahead, I’m beginning to realize that I feel like they’re on track with where I want to be but that it just isn’t happening for me. This is sad but there’s also some peace in it. (*Longest interjection ever.)
So I also spoke today with my dear college friend and she told me that she is pregnant. And I, for one of the first times in this journey, truly felt just pure joy for her. She is going to be such a great mom. She is compassionate and creative and organized and joyful and wise, and she will totally appreciate and love on that child like he or she needs. Sure, it reminded me of not being pregnant myself, but I felt zero bitterness toward her or her pregnancy. I am so grateful that she hasn’t had to fight this fight and so excited to think of this little one getting such a wonderful mommy. It made me really happy.
So maybe God’s growing me up, but at the very least He is giving me strength for today.