I know to some people this might sound silly, getting upset over a shared Facebook photo, but on this journey? Sometimes it doesn't take much to throw you off your game. This one cut me to the core.
There have been many times where I've had to take a break from Facebook, hide pregnant people from my news feed, hide pictures, etc... I'm happy to have this option... but on the flip side, you have to see the picture before you hide it, so either way, it is in your face frequently... random surprise pregnancy announcements, people complaining about pregnancy symptoms and so forth. But this one? You haven't known love.
To this I would like to reply.... until you have been put through the microscope in more humiliating ways than you ever thought possible... until you have wrecked your body with every kind of hormone you are deficient in... until you have been jabbed with needles more times than you can count... until you have taken every medicine you are offered to make your body work properly... until you have charted every single day of your cycle and peed on more sticks than you can count, just to give yourself a slight percentage of a chance that you might be able to get pregnant... until someone has said that you can't do something that is one of your greatest desires... you haven't known determination.
Until you have felt your world coming to an end... until you have had to tell your husband that he will not be a father after all... until someone has said "I'm sorry the baby is gone"... until you have passed the tissue of what was your baby... until you have felt like your womanhood was completely stripped away... until you have said goodbye to your child before they even had a chance to live ... until you have said goodbye to someone you love unconditionally with all your heart... you haven't known loss.
Until you have been beaten down by life... until you have been so broken that you were laying in the pile of pieces that was once your life... until you admit that you cannot survive this by yourself... until you would be willing to give anything to be able to give your spouse the child they deserve... until your spouse has to remind you on at least a weekly basis that you are worth everything... Until you have completely handed over your life and fallen into the open arms of JESUS... you haven't known love.
So before you judge those who are childless... take a moment to put yourself in their shoes. The fingers I count are much less in number than the amount pills and supplements I have taken to even be given the chance to try to get pregnant. The toes I count are those my fur-babies that crawl all over me and give me millions of kisses when the pressure of the world is too much and I fall into a heap of tears... The hand that I hold is bigger than both of mine put together, it is the hand of my love, my comforter when I cannot hold myself together... it still sends tingles through my spine even though our journey has been and continues to be more challenging than we ever anticipated. The noses that I kiss are wet and cold and always make me giggle through my pain. The tummy I soothe is often my own due to the countless side effects of the lengths we are willing to go to try to conceive and the hormone supplements I use every month to sustain what might become a pregnancy. The stories I read are to you, in the hopes that if you find yourself in this or a similar situation that you might be comforted in knowing that you are not alone. The booties I have to deal with are accompanied by three wagging tails... that are always anxious to welcome me home and love me no matter what kind of mood I am in. And the tears? Those are often my own... occasionally my husband's... but mostly mine, and they are wiped away by my sweet sweet spouse, who feels my pain, even when he doesn't completely understand why I am hurting.
Now I know this picture is not passed around out of malice... it was not shared as a jab to us infertile women... but that doesn't make it hurt less. One simple little share, the poster probably didn't even think twice about completely broke me down, if just for a little while.
I know love. I know it in a thousand different ways. I know the love that I have for my child even though I will never see his face until I get to Heaven. I know the love of a man who loves me for me and would turn a mountain to rubble with his bare hands if it would make me smile. I know the love of a wide range of friends who have been supportive through my struggle even if they have never struggled themselves. Most importantly... I know the love of our Heavenly Father... who sustains me each and every day... who tells me I am worthy of said love, regardless of where I have been in my life.
That, my friends, is true love. During this Holy Week... take a moment to realize what has been given freely for you. Love. When things in life make you feel unloved, remember... God loves you so much that he willingly sacrificed His son. Christ loves you so much that he willingly sacrificed himself on the cross... If you are going to share stories of love, share them in such a way that it lifts people up... the most loving thing you can do for your fellow man is to share the gospel.
1 John 4:9-11
9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
You do not have to be a parent to know love... you do not have to be infertile to know love... anyone can know love. Love is what guides us in this life. Love is what makes the world go 'round. Love is what makes your soul sing. Love is what sustains your marriage and your relationships even when you feel inadequate and unworthy. Love is the whisper from God that says "I am here with you, every second of every day... lean on Me and I will sustain you... I have a plan for you... just trust Me."
I know not everyone reading this is on the infertility journey, I know not everyone reading this has lost a child... But the main purpose of this post is this: I want to encourage you, no matter what journey you are on, no matter whether your path is easy or hard, no matter what difficulties you are dealing with today, no matter what kind of pain you are in this very moment, no matter how bad you feel about yourself, no matter what has broken you down... even if you feel totally happy and great today!! ... you need to know... YOU ARE LOVED. You are loved by the one who created love. It doesn't get any better than that.