“I’m praying for you to get pregnant…”
I blinked at my sister-in-law. My heart rattled as I tried to keep my cheeks from turning red. Did you know embarrassment shows quite well on redheads?
She had a smile on her face. One laced with hope… perhaps pity.
Three out of four of my husband’s sisters had given birth in the past year. The other sister was a newlywed, aka not expected to give birth quite yet. My husband and I had been married ten plus years, and no pregnancies.
No reading of little pink lines.
No feeling of a tiny person growing inside my body.
I inhaled a shaky breath and asked her to stop. To stop praying for me to become pregnant.
And I meant it.
Contentment, I’d finally arrived.
Many moons ago while my husband and I were dating, we discussed the topic of adoption. Lo and behold we both wanted to, you know, after having a few biologically. Marriage came, biological babies didn’t. However, I wasn’t concerned. “All the websites” said not to panic, it often took months and months to conceive, and military training and deployments often kept us apart.
When one of his PCS orders moved us within an hour of a Christian Adoption Agency, we thought we’d flip our tactics. Adoption first. Then the biological thing.
Did you know plans, even reworked ones, often don’t go as they should?
Real shocker, right?
But parenthood was everything I knew it would be. Holding our adopted child was beautiful. Rewarding. Awesome. And we wanted more of it.
However, every new month…
When my husband was released from active duty, he had a physical, and a few tests pointed to me being the problem in our lack-of-more-babies equation.
Me. The one person I didn’t want it to be.
I wanted—dare I say needed—him to be the weak link, so to speak, because if it was me…I’d be an inadequate wife. No. An inadequate woman.
Hypocritical, that’s what I was.
Because there was no way I’d ever think he was an insufficient husband or man for something he held no power over.
But it wasn’t him—it was me.
Enter: heavy burden. Stress. Unworthy feelings. You name it, I dug myself through it. A muddy-muck I hid internally. I may not have added any physical weight due to any pregnancy, but boy, was the mental heaviness adding up. On the outside, I looked the same. No one knew. Or at least, no one except my husband. And when we discussed the results…he mirrored everything I had thought and wanted. He said, “He was hoping it wasn’t him…”
Why? Probably because we can easily overlook a loved one’s ‘shortcomings’, but our own…well, for me, my heart whispered: I’m not enough.
Others’ pregnancy announcements squeezed my heart. Jealousy an unwelcomed guest. There were days I turned into a Job and asked, “Why? Why me?” Or fretted over whether sin was the root of the problem. Too often I wanted to shake a finger at God, “Yes, I do deserve…” Too easy to come across random scripture and take them out of context, and believe that I truly was less of a woman because I’d not given birth.
The temptation to forget that God, not me—oh, thank goodness not me, was in control tried to consume me.
But He was. He is. He always will be.
Whether someone’s waiting on a pregnancy or an adoption, people mean well. They do. Offering words of what they think are encouraging. Whether because they sincerely want to cheer you up, because of the awkward silence, or because it’s the typical thing to do.
Things like: “Don’t worry, it will happen.” Or “It took us a few months too.”
Know what? Sometimes people don’t know squat. Sometimes the heart behind their offered words doesn’t realize their ‘help’ just triggered veiled tears.
But that further proves all the answers, comfort, peace needed would never be found in or from another human.
God is enough.
And I, well, He wants me no matter how unworthy I think or know myself to be.
On our journey to parenthood, we’ve never found out the reasoning why we—or rather me—can’t conceive. And after I told my sister-in-law to stop praying for us to get pregnant, doubt slipped back in. What if my husband had been saying he didn’t want another baby just to spare my feelings? I mean we’ve done the whole sleepless nights, the diaper bag touting, plan around nap-time thing. And you know what, that was worth it. Totally. But we were really enjoying this school-age, can feed themselves, and can all go bike riding together on a rested night’s sleep stage now. Weren’t we?
Finally, after another round of mental self-destruction, I asked him. (Note to self: learn to ask sooner.) “Do you want me to go to the doctor? Maybe there is something they could do—”
“Nope. We’re good.”
Once again, I was reminded: pregnancy doesn’t define me.
On a recent Sunday, my mother-in-law said something to the affect: “I just don’t know why God opens or closes the wombs He does.” We weren’t talking about me…not initially. But in the end…we will probably always be.
And that’s okay.
We have two adopted children, and we wouldn’t trade them for anything.
Not for two pink lines.
Not for feeling a little one kick inside of me.
Not to erase all those moments of self-worthlessness.
As to all the unanswered whys of this life…one day it will all make sense. Until then, know that we are wanted by the King of Kings. All of us. No matter what we struggle with.
Megan Besing adores reading, writing, and reviewing stories with happily-ever-afters. She’s received many awards, including being a multi-category finalist in ACFW’s Genesis and a winner of MCRW’s Melody of Love contest. Her debut releases February 2018 in Barbour’s Mail-Order Brides Novella Collection. Megan lives in Indiana with her husband and their children, where she dreams of the beach and drinks way too many Vanilla Cokes. Connect with Megan on her website. She could always use another friend.