I haven’t been able to really write since we brought Sammy home. Not necessarily because I haven’t had the time, but mostly because I hadn’t really processed everything. I still find myself looking down at my son and bursting into tears because I just can’t believe it’s finally my time to be a mom. But I will admit the first couple days weren’t filled with joyful happy tears. I thought they would be. I thought I would be on cloud 9 and no amount of exhaustion could break me.
The exhaustion from years of infertility broke me several years ago. It was the scariest place I have ever been. I remember back in college going to see one of my favorite bands in concert. At one point the band was taking requests from the audience and many of us shouted, “Silencer.” It was my favorite song of theirs, and I had never heard it live. I was excited to experience it, but then the lead singer, Aaron Weiss said, “I don’t play that song anymore. I never want to go back to that place.” At the time I didn’t really understand- It was just a song about that place, it wasn’t the actually place. But ever since that dark summer, I get it. I have experienced that oppressive darkness and every now and then I will get a glimpse of it again and I can’t go back, I must run into the arms of my savior, I can’t go back. Aaron Weiss sang of a girl, and in the past several years I have felt like that girl. I have called out to God, “please take me home!” more times than I can count. That anguish that Hannah felt in 1 Samuel 1…I felt that. I thought that becoming a mother could never bring me to that place, because being a mother was the exact opposite of what broke me before.
But there I was day 1 of being a mommy and as I looked down at my little boy, all I felt was panic. I didn’t feel ooey gooey and full of love like the very first moments I met him. Now we were home and it was just our little family and I felt terrified, stuck, and unsure. I felt the rapid flutter of my heart, the tinglies in my feet and hands, and the heat slowly spread from limbs to my core. I am not describing what it felt like when I would see Dean walk into a room back in the day…no, these are my very beginning signs of a panic attack. These signs suddenly brought flashbacks of those dark days…those dark days that I never wanted to revisit. Those days when hope was like a fish in a stream, but every time I thought I could grasp it, the fish darted away before I could even lightly brush a scale with my finger. The more I tried, the more I failed, and the more I failed, the more sediment I dredged up from the bottom of the stream. And then the stream was so cloudy and I couldn’t see the fish anymore.
But now, I held my son and I cried in fear. He slept in my arms and I cried. I still loved him, I felt that love from the moment I saw his picture…no, even before then. I had felt emotionally pregnant with my son for months now (that’s another post though). I loved him before I even knew him. But right now, fear was overpowering love. I couldn’t go back there… I couldn’t…I wouldn’t survive. Luckily, God taught me how to fight. God taught me how to wield my sword of truth. And I wasn’t going to be some Bella Swan or the little mermaid…I was going to be Hermione Granger, Princess Leia, Arwen. I was a warrior; God had showed me that many times and now was time to fight for my son.
All I could say was, “Jesus come.” I sat there for 15 minutes repeating that phrase, “Jesus come.” And I knew in those words I was safe. I knew just the name of Jesus brought every creature to its knees! I claimed Jesus’ presence in my life. And the panic started to fade.
Every now and then the panic comes back, but only for a moment. It’s usually when I’m really tired and I think, “I can’t do this…” but then God reminds me, “I called you to this, I need you to remain in the moment. No more saying, ‘I’m so tired.’ Start saying, ‘God has given me the energy for this moment.’”
I want my infertile friends to know the truth, motherhood doesn’t cure those dark places. Only Jesus does that. But my infertility helped me learn how to invite Jesus in. Motherhood is a different fight, but it uses similar tools. But I will say this, nothing melts my heart much like my sons little toes. Nothing softens my frustration like Sammy’s little smirks and gurgles. In infertility it was hard to live in the moment, because I had so many goals, and so many wants, and only me to worry about. Motherhood…oh, sweet motherhood: slowing down and remaining present is easy when it means sharing smiles with my Sammy-Sam. Stopping everything is easy when my son is so in need of a feeding. Sacrificing my needs for his is one of the biggest blessings I could imagine. It’s learning to live in the moment for the betterment of another. Does that even make sense? With infertility I had to learn to do that for myself, I had to stop everything and be present with God, because I was the needy one, I was the one needing a feeding. I still need those moments with my Father, but it’s easier for me to take them, because I have to, because if I don’t, Sammy suffers too.
I get when mom’s says they have never been so tired in their life, it’s true. I have never been so tired as I am now, but I have also never been so purposeful, so full of love, so sacrificing, so fulfilled, as I am right now. Every day I spend with Sammy I understand God’s love for me, his child, more and more. The more unconditional love I ooze out to Sam, the more unconditional love I feel washing over me from my heavenly father. This lack of sleep, this 17,000 steps a day, this constant giving IS tiring, yes, but it is nothing compared to the exhaustion of infertility. I feel so blessed for my seven years of infertility, because as I struggle to fight for what’s best for my son, I remember that I’m fighting for my son and Jesus is leading the charge and I know the outcome: Victory!
I probably should just end this post on that note, but something in me keeps wanting to say something more. I want the other mom’s out there to understand why their infertile friends are so hurt by their complaints of motherhood. And I want my infertile sisters to understand why it’s so important for moms to have that time to vent about how tired they are without fear of hurting someone’s feelings or being called, “ungrateful”.
If motherhood is a soccer game, infertility is the player that always comes to the games and never gets to play. Infertility is the player that never misses a practice and works her ass off trying to get better, trying to strengthen her weak side, trying to fix her game in every single aspect so, maybe, just once, she will get to play in a game. Sometimes there are players who don’t show up to practice ever, and then show up to a game completely wasted and still get to play the entire game. And a lot of times there are players who show up to practice, who work their asses off, and who play amazing games. But the infertile player is upset, because they never get a shot. They are exhausted from the mental and emotional battle to finally be chosen. Sure they get to play during practice, but it’s not the same. And then to hear your friends run in from the field after a big win and say, “wooooo, my legs are shot! You have no idea how tired I am, because you haven’t played in a game yet.” Ouch….
But the reality of the situation is, it’s totally true! The infertile player hasn’t gone out onto the field with a crowd cheering them on and booing them! Mom’s are judged every single day for their choices in parenting and applauded or slandered. And the infertile player hasn’t experienced the high stakes energy of keeping a little human alive! But the infertile player also hasn’t experienced the celebration of a great pass, a goal, or an amazing save (if you’re a goalie) and all they want is a chance. But none of the players get to decide who gets a chance and who doesn’t. So instead of getting mad or frustrated with the other players, it’s high time with take up our issues with the coach…God.
He can handle it. He can handle your anger, your sorrow, your threats, your accusations. But just like with a coach in real life, you have to be willing to listen, and sometimes he says, “not yet.” But he never says, “you’re not good enough”.
Anyways, I’m rambling, and Sammy is calling for some love!