There I was, sitting in a cool crowded room waiting to start choir practice on a hot Phoenix morning when it hit me and hit me hard. I wasn’t ready for it and wasn’t expecting it. It was like getting punched in the stomach. I lost my breath. A good friend of mine just announced to the room with a blank shocked look on her face that she was pregnant. She didn’t even want to be pregnant – that was obvious. I, on the other hand, had been quietly trying to get pregnant for over two years and nothing. Not a blip on the radar.
I hate that moment – the moment when you can’t control your own emotions. The tears welled up so fast that I couldn’t contain them. How awful would it be to burst into tears while everyone else was congratulating the happy couple? I quickly stood up and tried to make my way out of the room as quickly and quietly as possible. Which felt impossible, of course. I shimmied out of my row, pushed through the crowd in the front and hit those last few steps almost a run. I didn’t want anyone to know. I didn’t want to steal their joy. I didn’t want to be embarrassed. Stupid tears!!!
While the choir room at Phoenix First Assembly was crowded, the massive sanctuary was dark and quiet. A good friend of mine saw me and within seconds was by my side. She must have caught the look on my face (or heaven forbid, everyone else did too) and came after me. She asked the dreaded question,“Are you okay?” and with that the emotional dam broke. All the pain, fear, doubt and disappointment of the previous two years came pouring out in that ugly cry where you can’t hardly talk through the gasps of breath.
She listened and gently put her arms around me.
She did the one thing I didn’t know I needed – she just held me.
With tears streaming down my face, I told her how forgotten I felt. Like I had become invisible to God as I watched all those around me get pregnant without even trying or within a month of trying. I didn’t even realize how much I had interpreted the inability of getting pregnant as rejection by God until the words tumbled out of my mouth.
I also didn’t realize that I didn’t need to bear it alone. I know, I can be stubbornly independent like that. I didn’t want everyone to know. I wanted to be strong. I wanted to be okay.
It was in that moment, sitting in a dark quiet sanctuary, that I realized I needed a good friend to listen, pray and walk with me through the dark shadows of my journey as well as the sunlight ones. Thank you, Raquel for your arms and ears, your heart of compassion and prayers. My burden become lighter that day because I shared it with someone who cared.
As I celebrate Mother’s Day with my boys today, I am reminded of that moment so many years ago. The emotional pain takes it toll and is real. Infertility can be such a lonely place to be because you don’t want to steal anybody else’s joy.
Statistics show that 2.1 million women are dealing with infertility (have been unable to conceive for 12 months in a row) right now. Fertility problems strike one in three women over 35 and one in six couples are infertile. For a generation that wait to get married well into their late 20’s and early 30’s, infertility becomes a relevant issue and effects all of our lives.
The good news is that God walks with you on your journey, whatever it is. If you are in the midst of infertility, you are not forgotten and join the hall of fame of women who God used to bring a child of promise into the world: Sarah, Hannah, Elizabeth and more. If infertility has not impacted you, you can be the arms, ears, compassionate hearts and prayers for someone who is. I didn’t need Raquel to understand what I was going through, I just needed her love.
After trying for five years, I was surprised to find out that I was pregnant with Justin Ryan Grasso. His name had already been picked out from a dream I had during the first year of trying to conceive and on May 4, 2000 that dream literally came true. Kyle Robert Grasso followed 22 months later and I was elbow deep in dirty diapers for what felt like decades.
Today I wanted to share with you my journey to Motherhood. I treasure the day now but never forget to whisper a prayer for those who have yet to arrive or have lost a child since.
There is no guarantee that our journey will be easy. We are only promised that we do not journey alone.
The Lord is close to those whose hearts have been broken. He saves those whose spirits have been crushed. Psalm 34:18 NIRV
He heals those who have broken hearts. He takes care of their wounds. Psalm 147:3 NIRV
Laugh with your friends when they are happy; share tears with them when they are down. Romans 12:0 MSG
Here’s is the picture I used when I posted this blog years ago of my two little miracles, Justin at 12yrs and Kyle at 10 yrs old.
Wherever you are on your journey, my prayer is that you are encouraged today and realize that you don’t have to walk it alone. Share your journey and be the arms that helps someone else through there’s.
Happy Mom’s Day