Wednesday, November 27, 2013

God Filled My Quiver with Just Three Arrows

I read those posts. The ones where mothers of many children pour out their hearts on how wonderful it is to be pregnant with their 7th, 8th, 9th child. I love them. I hate them. I have friends still in their prime childbearing years who post Facebook after Facebook post on how if we truly trust God we would allow our fertility to take it's natural course. I have even been told straight up that I was playing God. I have well intentioned friends who are only telling the truth; having children is amazing. I don't regret a single one of my babies and if I had more I wouldn't regret those either. But I do regret whole heartedly the fact that I do not have more. Passion runs deep over family size. Quiver full...raising the next Christian generation...leaving our legacy, isn't it our responsibility even a command?

And then there is the "do it natural" crowd. Oh, don't misjudge me. I completely agree that we have turned pregnancy and child birth into a condition that requires treatment. I think scheduled c-sections should only be done under the most dire circumstances and I lament that more doctors are not willing to let birthing mothers attempt VBACs. I hate that we are poked in prodded, given medications that can have dangers side effects and often not allowed to birth in more natural positions. I believe the safest place for a risk-free pregnancy is at home with a midwife in attendance.

What these women don't know, is that I sit behind this computer screen crying. Sometimes it isn't a physical cry, but a deep emotional cry. See, I know what it is like to be told you will never have children. It is a physically painful experience, you hurt to the depths of your soul, and even though by God's grace we defied the odds, those two years ripped pieces of my heart to shreds. I know what it is like to experience a pregnancy loss. To wonder what you did wrong to deserve this punishment. To not be able to do the most basic thing your body was designed to do. Why can't I conceive and bear children without all of this?! I know what it is like to have scary dangerous pregnancies. To have it suggested to me that I induce early and just get the "inevitable" over with. To spend months going back and forth to the hospital knowing that when you leave your baby won't be coming home with you. I know what it is like to take injections in hopes that it will buy you just a few more weeks of pregnancy; just long enough for lungs to finish developing, just long enough that you have a shot at bringing home your baby. What these women don't know is that my fertility was ripped involuntarily from me. That I laid in a hospital bed making decisions that I never dreamed I would have to make. That my doctor looked me in the eye and said "your baby could die" if you don't make this decision. "You could die" if you don't make this decision. I know what those mom's are thinking...that doctor pressured me, that doctor just wanted to do some procedure on me, if God gives you more children he will protect you, or if he doesn't it was God's will. You played God.

What these women don't know is that I cried out and God answered. He answered by sending me a doctor who has been with me every step of the way from my infertility to the final decision to close off my fertility. He answered by giving that doctor the wisdom, knowledge and ability to help me realize that what God was telling me, was 4 pregnancies was what he had chosen to pour out on me and 3 biological children was what he planned for me. I listened and followed God's will for my life. I am sorry it wasn't what you had envisioned for me, but I rest on the promise that God has much bigger better plans for me than you. My quiver is over flowing.

I still struggle, regularly. I put on a happy face every time a friend announces a pregnancy. I truly, truly am happy for them, even as I hurt for myself. I hold back every time someone suggests that I should have more children or that if I would just "trust".  I realize that most women have pure intentions and don't know my struggle and I realize that my envy is not their sin.

All I am asking for is grace when my face seems to drop a little at your announcement, or when I in a moment of frustration respond with anger to a post about being "full quiver". And maybe a chance to hold and love on your baby when he or she arrives.

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Noteable Scraps said...

Thank you for sharing this post, and I praise God for the 3 children you do have and for what a wonderful mother you must be! The heartache so many women feel over infertility and losing children is hidden behind smiles, and so many people say insensitive things not realizing how much they are hurting a sister. Sharing your feelings will hopefully help others know what not to say sometimes. We cannot judge each other in these matters. God uses natural means and He also uses doctors and technology. Kudos to you for following His leading for your life and your family. May you be blessed this Thanksgiving.

Anna said...

Thank you for your kind words.

LisaY said...

I have five babies in Heaven, and nine on Earth, and can no longer have more. I grieved DEEPLY for those five the Lord took home sooner than I wished, I grieved even deeper knowing I would never again be pregnant. It took me years to accept it. However, I LOVE to hear when anyone is pregnant, it is the way God Himself wants us to respond because children are a blessing! He is the one who decides if we are to have 0, 3 or 17 children (even if we use birth control He can and will override that if He chooses). I think the big problem in our society are those who cannot see children as a joy, as a blessing, as something you should rejoice in. Too many say, "better you than me", or "don't you know what causes that" or "don't drink the water" or a thousand other nasty things when someone announces their pregnancy. They say, "so you're done now right?" or "so you got the boy so you can stop" or some other ugly comment after you deliver your baby. We all need to obey the Lord, be grateful for however many children He chooses to grace us with. To be happy for babies, period- no matter the circumstances. To know and accept that even if it is not our baby, it is His baby and that in itself is enough to rejoice over. Yes, the pain of infertility and misscariage and stillbirth is horrid- I know. We must not let that define us, do make us bitter, to become an idol that steals our joy. We need to trust Him and know that He is God. The number of children we have is not an indicator of our status, our goodness, our lacking, or any other thing- it is simply what He wants, and that is enough. I pray that you can heal and find true joy for each baby. I pray that we, as a nation and especially as Christians will embrace and be truly happy for every baby, and not be bitter for having less.