I think back to my days of youth (oh the days!) and I remember how I postponed even the thought of childbearing. How I enjoyed living on my own and being single for 6 years before I got married at age 24. How I enjoyed being married and carefree for almost 5 years before we started this whole TTC journey. I remember being that girl who ran by me today - caring more about my cool workout outfit than my ovaries. (Now I'm lucky if my socks match in the morning, as I try not to allow EVERY minute to be consumed by thoughts of "So God, do you have plans to grow our family?") I think back to all those times I sat in a restaurant, walked through the mall, spent a day at work ... never giving a thought to whether or not today was a fertile day. I remember hearing stories of women who were: pregnant, newly motherhooded, or chasing around a few little tykes at home ... and I would listen to the story or anicdote, make a good-active-listener type of comment and quickly change the subject to something "important".
These days, I realize that I spend a lot of time looking at women strangers at restaurants, on the street, on the bus, wherever ... and as the ages vary, so do my thoughts:
- Under 30: Man, does she realize the gift she has?
- 30-something: Does she have children? Is she struggling like me? Is she even aware of the infertility struggle she could have or others do have?
- Over 40: Does she have children? Did she want to? Was it a struggle for her? Does she have pain around this whole topic that she doesn't share with anyone, a pain she just carries around quietly?
I was sharing this "comparison attitude" I'm having, with a friend of mine recently. We agreed - It's so easy to look at a woman (and in my case a woman who has six children) and think "why can't I be her?" But in reality, who KNOWS what kind of struggles she has? ... What if she doubts herself as a mother? what if she's drowning financially with the "burden" of all these children? What if she feels overwhelmed as a mother and then shames herself for wishing she wasn't tied down with all these kids? ... worse yet, what if she's not in touch AT ALL with any issues/concerns/hurts that she has? What if she just thinks "it's best to not have ANY issues" (and thus pretends that everything is wonderful and thus misses out on the pain AND more importantly the GROWTH that comes with affliction!)
Here is where I would add a scripture reference for not comparing ourselves to others as the Bible talks about, however, I'm not finding it ... (insert your grace here)
When I look at women I see walking around at work, riding the bus, or at the grocery store ... I wonder if they're hurting, like I'm hurting. I've found that I not only look at women through my "fertility goggles" like I've been posting about, but through my pain I've picked up a new set of goggles, "compassion goggles."
... I think God is just starting to work on my heart.