First of all I need to apologize for not writing about this sooner. It is a very painful subject! and truly I did not want to be reminded of the pain I used to have. I say I used to, because all of our dreams have come true through adopting our 2 wonderful children. I did not miss out on a thing from adoption and actually now I am so glad it worked out this way! God did have a wonderful plan for us. If he gave us what we wanted at the time when I was 23, we would not have loved children as we do. We would not have been Sunday School teachers. We would not be the parents that we are.
Saying that it still pains me to hear your stories and at times we have wanted another child, but adoption is just not an option anymore as we are older and our social worker is gone. It would be years of starting all over again with the process. My husband is now 50 and I am 43. Our children are 6 & 11.
We gave it up to God and if it is meant to be, I would miracously get pregnant-oh my, I cannot even imagine that happening, but I do know that my husband prays for it. Do you believe that? One vacation, I opened his prayer journal and in it he asked the Lord to give us another child. I sat there reading it over and over. I was so shocked! We were done with our family and I thought he he did not want anymore children also.
I am not going to get into all the medical procedures here as that alone pains me. I do remember it was 10 years of it. Many doctors, every test done, clomid, a hormonal drug(parlodel-hated the side effects) to get rid of the high prolactin I had. Too many gyno exams, test results, intercourse at specific times-1 x a day, every 2 days, all different ideas that we were told. Standing on your head afterwards, ok this is crazy! The thermometer-I do not want to ever see a basal thermometer again! So many home pregnancy tests I took, pregnancy tests at the Drs. when I was 1 day late for my period and obsessed with this.
Every month the same hopes of conception and every month the same disappointment when I started bleeding. Such a roller coaster ride that I wanted off of, but I could not stop myself from riding.
Suggestions from male friends: Do you need some help? NOOOOO!
Suggestions from girlfriends: “Just relax and it will happen, I know so & so…”
Jealous co-workers who rubbed it in my face that I was infertile.
Another co-worker who spread it around the office that we we were not being considered for adoption because we were so reserved and laid back.
When we were thinking about adoption- comments: “I would not want to adopt someone else’s problems” “If you adopt a colored child, people will think that you had an affair”
OK WHO CARES WHAT OTHERS THINK!
But the main problem is that not too many people would want to talk to me about it. They just did not know what to say! This truly pained me as you have to think of my mindset. Everyday that I woke up, I would be thinking of how I wanted a child, I truly was obsessed and it took over my life. I guess I am goal driven as when I set my mind out to do something, I will do it, hence the reason for the 10 years. One day I finally came to my senses and stopped. I had gone to another new Dr. who had said that we need to start over with the tests and another laporoscopy and I went home crying and said” I will never go to another gyno again” I had it with Drs. appts., tests!.....I did not even go for yearly check up’s afterwards for the endo pain and all.... I think I went for 1 pap smear in 10 years.
Pain, Pain, Pain!! Baby showers-the ultimate pain! I suggest you kindly get out of it, give her a nice gift, try to explain as this is shear torture for you to go to. If it is your best friend/sister… than I think you need to go anyways, but try to talk to her about it and find some ways to cope with that day as it will be traumatic. Think of ways to cope before you go and what you will do, how you will act. Will you cover up your pain as you certainly do not want the shower to be about you. How can you handle this, can you go for just a very short duration?
There is so much more about all of this, my husband and how he felt and all. He just wanted me to be happy and did not understand that he was not enough for me. He was also hurt and felt that it would never happen at the time, gave up on the entire thing, but went along for the ride. He was very wonderful!
Things that stand out:
Everyone around me was pregnant! Ones on drugs who conceived and then I saw them smoke during pregnancy...some who accidently got pregant but were not happy about it.
The grueling adoption process...pressures, forms, meetings, home visits and being under scrutiny.
A 6 hour adoption interview.
Many funny times also:
-When my husband had to give a fresh sample-cannot explain everything, but it was funny.
- During an exam, the gyno asked for a lightbulb in here.
-Before doing an overnight test, I mistakingly took the string & wrapper off of the sponge-the dr. had a good laugh!
-That wonderful probe that they use-excuse me, at least buy me dinner first.
We applied for adoption not thinking it would ever happen as it was 2 ½ years that we were waiting.
About 10-11 years ago(not a Christian), It was my best friend's bachelorette party.
We were drinking…went to a night club and this cute bouncer of the club was smiling at me as I entered the club. Later he came up to me in the club, as I immediately told him I was happily married. He said he was married also, but just wanted to talk to me.
I am assuming he saw the pain on my face as he asked if I had any children. I only said “no”
He then said” You cannot have any children can you?”
I was shocked and I said” How do you know?”
He then said "I did not know".
He immediately said ” Do you have Jesus Christ in your heart”
I said ” I am_____________(my denomination)
then ” Well maybe the Lord wants you to ask him into your heart and then you will have children”
Ok this was weird! and the conversation did not progress to this point, it was quick and to the point just as I just told you. I never forgot this conversation and I still think about it. He had "planted the seed” but as I thought about what he meant for many months..I then decided to buy a cross necklace after so much thought about what it all meant...I did not commit my heart to Christ at this time, but was thinking about it and looking back I think He was drawing me close (I am very stubborn remember) but it took many more years..see the "Journeys" page for more details. March is when we got the BIG CALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Are you ready to be a mother she said? YES!!!!!!!!!!!
March is when we got the BIG CALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ways to cope:
-Talk about it here on the forum or find someone close that you can confide in especially your husband.
-The ultimate comforter is Christ, he gives guidance.Looking back, I wish I had him at the time…
My heart goes out to you and also to the ones who have lost a child. That must be even worse than this. I am sorry that you are going through this pain.
-The weeks before we were to see our son for the 1st time.
-Going up to strangers in the mall and telling them I was adopting.
-Wanting to shout it from the rooftops!
- Calling my girlfriend at 5:00 am to tell her the great news.
- Looking at baby clothes anticipating.
- Showing up an hour early to see our son for the 1st time.
-Seeing our son and daughter for the 1st time!!!
-The 1st night at home.
-Writing here about the outcome!
-Seeing my kids this morning and appreciating the gifts God gave us. James 1:17
Right now you may be suffering but God may be calling you to him through it, he may be refining you for the plan that he has for you in the future-taking out the bad & leaving the things that are valuable and pleasing to God. 1 peter 1:6-7
If I only knew!
I would also like to share with you a story about some children who we think were placed in our lives by the Lord of course:
About 5 years ago, a knock at the door-a boy about 10 years old with the biggest, saddest brown eyes. He was asking for food. Of course I gave him some, but also questioned him about his life & why he was hungry....He told me he was poor, but I came to find out through the years about his horrible family life. He had 6 brothers & sisters. His parent were alcoholics...and basically just slept in the house. There was no care or comfort and even the basic needs were not met. This drove us crazy a bit but my husband, our kids & our church came to love them. There was so much drama, I was constantly on the phone with the social services but to absolutely no avail. They knew it was a problem, but as the officers would tell me there were so many worse situations...I did not see how it could have been worse but no matter what was done the children continued to live as they did in this home. Finally a few were taken out of the home...but many years later. During this time-3 years, they went to church with us, as they felt so loved their. They shared with us about what went on as it was worse than I imagined. This was a very hard situation as we had to limit the time with them so they did not corrupt or harm our children. I wish I could say it has ended well! but 1 of the girls is with a new family and is doing great! The boys still call us and want to go to church with us, rarely do as they do not show respect so we cannot have them under our care. I have seen the boys singing about Jesus though and it has made me cry. One of the girls who is a teenager calls us up and crys in thankfullness about what we have done for her. I hope she someday sees that it is the Lord who has done it. Another of the older girls occasionally calls us to tell us how her life it going, she has been in juvenile hall quite a bit and seems to be making her way out of the mess.
The bottom line only God knows but the way that the entire situation happened & how we were somewhat parents for them all those years I think will have an impact on them for the rest of their lives....
It would not be right to expain about my children's background but let me tell you-our kids are the happiest children ever.
The heart that you are getting for children now can possibly effect ETERNITY!
Regarding adoption: I always that it would be strange and that it would be like loving a stranger..getting to know the baby. I WAS SO WRONG! Love at 1st sight! and all those fears of how the adjustment period will be, well we certainly did not have an adjustment period. Perhaps our children did as we would not leave them alone!
Regarding your relationship with your husband-Involve him in everything, it is you 2 together as a couple in this trial. Think of his feelings, he probably is thinking of how he is not enough for you. Keep talking about it and go out and travel together or do many fun things together that you will remember forever. Once the baby comes, if you are like us-overprotective, you will not want to leave you children with babysitters. It is funny, there are times we would like to get away by ourselves but it is a very rare occasion. Last anniversary-the 20th we just took our kids with us and had a wonderful time.
Dear Heavenly Father,
You know how much this one hurts, even more than the physical pain is the pain of not having a child to love. Please draw the hurting women to you and answer their prayers when the time is right. If it is later, show them how to be patient and how to deal with it on a daily basis and in social settings. If they have some growing to do in you Lord, show them how to rely on you for comfort and wisdom and salvation. Please draw the hurting children in this world to you and let them know that right now you have a special plan for their lives that may include some of the women on this site. Please comfort those children, let them know that you love them and will protect them and the trials that they are going through will end in peace with you father. Please bring these family's together in whatever way you see best and ultimately to praise your holy name.
In Jesus Name, Amen.
He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heep; he sets them with princes of their people. He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the Lord!
Statistics & more:
Since I had every test done to determine the cause, they blamed it on unknown reasons. Endometriosis I am sure is the cause, but pinpointing the exact reason was never determined. Tubes were clear and organs were not stuck together....tests showed that I ovulated. I would really suggest a naturopathic Dr. who can certainly give more insight into it if you still want to pursue it further after all of the medical tests. www.naturopathic.org
I hear so many women get pregnant despite all kinds of odds against them and some do not. Well I guess what I am saying is, I do not believe in statistics all that much. I mean if the Lord wants you to have a child naturally, then he will provide a way somehow. Please pray to Him and ask him. (see the about prayer page of this site, especially the article on the bottom about knowing God's will)
It all did work out for good reason in my case, but truly I wish I did not obsess about it. I cannot get those 10 years back. I would take some vacations and focus my mind on other parts of life, but hope for the best and Give it to God. Jesus is the source of peace and finding Him can make all the difference in the world!
9-2006 I wrote this article above many years ago. Since then I have grown more in the Lord, so I do have some different perspectives now. For instance, going to a baby shower..well if you know the Lord, I believe that He can give you the strength to overcome your jealousy and be able to attend a Blessed event as your friend's baby shower. I do not think it is God's will that you skip it out of your selfishness. You see, it is painful, but you would be only thinking of yourself as I did right?
I also cannot believe how Blessed that we are by adoption! My beautiful daughter gave her heart to the Lord years ago and yesterday was baptized. The image of my daughter's joy on her face under fearful conditions(she is afraid of ocean water) is in my heart forever. My children truly love Him and want to follow Him. Some days, I look back on it all like today and I am amazed. I am 45 years old now and well unless we are to be like Abraham and Sarah, then most likely ideas of more children are gone. That is ok! We have our hands full with teaching our children to follow on the narrow road of life.
Thank you for it all Jesus!
When You decide not to parent:
used in permission -rest ministries.
Some of us have children… some of us do not. Some of us plan to have children, some of us adopt… some of us listen to God and He says, "let the dream go."
"If I take a couple of years off after graduation and go back to college, I could have my masters degree by the time I'm 25," I enthusiastically told my mom. Despite raising me to believe I could do anything I put my mind to, her heart-felt response was, "But I want you to have a baby by the time you're 25."
Well, I am pushing 32 and the baby has yet to arrive. I married at 27, tried to have the baby in the following years and my husband and I have now been waiting for eight months to adopt. They say the "average wait" is a year and a half.
So why an article about not having children? As the director of Rest Ministries I understand that there are many husbands and wives who have made the difficult choice to not pursue parenthood. It's a choice that is more than difficult, because they wanted children. Illness may have made bearing a child impossible. For some, the idea of caring for a child seemed like a burden too great to bear. Above all else, though these men and women feel that God did not say, "Not yet," but rather, "no."
I believe that since we are a ministry that encourages people in the various aspects of their lives, we are called to address the ups and downs of parenting when you have a chronic illness. However, for those of you who pick up this newsletter and read about parenting, this article is an attempt to provide you with a feeling of "someone understands," and not a twinge of pain of not having a child.
I do not feel qualified to write this article; the sacrifice and surrender that has been made by those who have decided to not parent is something that I have not experienced first-hand. However, I have experienced infertility. I have felt the grief, the frustration, the darkness and the feeling that no one understands how much strength it takes to get out of bed and paste a smile on my face, when babies seem to be multiplying everywhere I look. Women who are qualified to write this article have not been able to emotionally commit to putting their feelings down on paper and having them shared with so many. I understand. So I have asked them questions and have agreed to share their feelings with you without sharing their identity. I hope this helps you know that you are not alone.
Sharon's Story: I have always wanted children; It was a matter of when, not if. When I was diagnosed with lupus my first question to the doctor was "what about children?" He assured me that children were still a possibility and that he would monitor my pregnancy carefully. My husband and I decided to wait until I got a handle on my illness and started to feel better. That time never came. After many long talks and a lot of prayer, we have decided to put this dream aside and start the grieving process. More than anything in this world a child should want to be wanted, to be loved. I know it sounds selfish, but as much as I want a child, my life is a mess and just being a wife drains me. I don't believe it's God's will for me to be a parent. I don't know why or how He's going to get me through accepting this, but I am confident that in time it will make some sort of sense. I know God's providing a peace about my decision for my husband and me despite the fact that it still hurts.
Christi's Story: "You've got plenty of time." "Just relax and it will happen." "You're letting your illness win if you don't have a baby." "You can always get help." When you asked me to share my story, I had just received an email from an old friend that said, "Are you every going to have that baby? You're not getting any younger!" I don't even know where to begin to explain it all to people-and then I get mad because I really don't owe anyone an explanation. I don't have plenty of time. While a healthy person may, my illness gets worse every day. Every year that passes means that I am going to have less quality time with a child and more "down time" having to make excuses about why mom can't play. Secondly, I have relaxed, as much as one possibly can while being poked and prodded, tested and drugged. I've been given dirty looks by lab technicians and doctors that have told me I have no business having a child. Thirdly, my illness is not winning. It's taken a lot from me, but I've always made my own choices based on what is best for me, not on what my illness dictates. Lastly, while some people may be able to freely hire help, we can't afford it, and likely never will. If I have a child, I want to raise him or her.
For now, I believe that it is not in God's will for me to have a baby or even adopt an older child. I simply cannot care for a child in the way that I believe God wants me to. He has allowed me to be a "big sister" for an eleven-year-old girl next door who has a difficult family life. I feel like God has given me the chance to make a difference for her and be someone special in her life. For now, I am learning to find peace about not being a mom; but I'm not putting God in a box-I open to Him changing His mind.
Donna's Story: You asked me to share a bit about deciding to not be a parent. I am honored to share this with you, but I don't feel like I am in the position to share any words of wisdom because I am still learning how to cope with it every day. My husband and I truly wanted children, but as the years passed and my illness progressed, both us begin to wonder if children were going to be a part of our future. We got a puppy and I'm it's mommy. For now, unless God sends us a sign we are not going to pursue having or adopting a child. It still hurts. I will go days without thinking about it and then wake up one morning and suddenly remember that I won't ever hear someone call me mom. The grief will hit me so hard, I will stay in bed half the day. I cry and pray and eventually get up and get on with the day. I still allow myself to grieve. I still ache when knowing that all my friends are seeing each other at MOPs (Mothers of Preschoolers) and I am at a doctor's appointment figuring out which medication to try next. It's not fair. It's not easy. I am just taking one day at a time and relying on my faith that God will get me through it.
Many of us have felt the words spoken by Rachel. "When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children, she became jealous of her sister. So she said to Jacob, "'Give me children, or I'll die!'" Genesis 30:1. While a part of our dreams may die when we decide not to have children due to our illness, we do not die. We live on. And despite the paint hat we may experience, God still calls us to serve and to be faithful.
God has given us people to care for and reach out to. He has given us children as neighbors, nieces and nephews, and we are to teach these children about His lovingkindness. Even though they are not our own, they are His, and we may be the only example of God's love that they see.
Lisa Copen is the founder and director of Rest Ministries. She lives with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia and is the author of When Chronic Illness Enters Your Life Bible Study.