Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Baby Shower Blues

As we walked our journey through infertility, and ultimately permanent childlessness, baby showers tied with Mother's Day for the most painful events of the year. It wasn't so much that I couldn't be happy for my friends, with their ever-filling homes. It was the torturous process of shopping for baby gifts, and then making small talk at the shower, where everyone was baby-crazy.

I rememeber spending three hours in one of these stores the week we started Clomid. I was so hopeful. When our neices baby announcement arrived, I went straight to the store to pick up the perfect gift. I found the coolest stroller/car seat/ basinet combo thing. It was exactly what I would have wanted, so in spite of the heafty price tag I bought it for her.

Shortly after that I was diagnosed with endometrial carcinoma, uterin cancer. I would never become pregnant, never feel life in my own body; never experience the pains of labor that bring us to a lifetime of sacrificial, maternal love; never hold my baby - counting fingers and toes... I didn't know I could forgive my body for such betrayal.

Every cute little die-cut invitation with pink bows or pacifiers brought with it a storm of jealousy. I stopped short of speaking my envy out loud, but I really didn't understand why everyone around me was populating the planet while I was saying goodbye to every dream I had.

Eventually, I just quit opening any envelope smaller than the phone bill. It was safer that way. I couldn't bare another trip to Baby's R Us or Baby Gap. The advent of online shopping made it a little easier. Going to their registration list, picking randomly and ordering saved the pain of perusing through stacks of baby items I would never need.

My husband, John, tried to console me, but he didn't see why it upset me so much. He was sad that we wouldn't have our own children too, but he was already moving on. That's part of the bias in the torture of infertility - men aren't expected to attend ritualistic events like showers, no one expects them to gush and coo over baby pictures being passed around a Sunday School classroom and fathers-to-be rarely ask their friends to feel their baby kick. They are given repreve to heal before they  have to face a world full of babies and baby showers.

I knew I had reached a point of healing three years ago. A friend from my church was pregnant. They had struggled with some possible infertility, but in a relatively short time conceived the baby that would be their beautiful little girl. Since her family lives several hours away, our small group wanted to throw a shower for her. I could hardly believe my own ears as I offered to plan the shower. It was confirmation that God was indeed working a miracle in my heart. I loved shopping for decorations, and games I once found drudgery were now part of my plan.

You may not be there yet. It's okay. Please know that their is healing for our broken, grieving hearts. It comes when we least expect it. Sometimes in the healing, a sweet baby or a particularly cute baby announcement can bring tears to my eyes...but now they are tears of joy and rejoicing in the blessing of life. Finally I can rejoice with those who rejoice. That's the power of the God who loves me.

I pray you find blessings and joy in your journey,

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