Mother's Day was an interesting experience this past Sunday. For the last few years, Mother's Day has been more of a day of sorrow than celebration. I spent those Sundays grieving and did not want to attend church. Listening to the talks seemed pointless because it would "never apply to me," regardless of what Sheri L. Dew said.
I shed much fewer tears this Mother's Day as we anticipate the birth of our baby boy in 24 days. In fact, I was at odds with myself, experiencing two paradoxical emotions. I rejoiced in the impending moment when we will be blessed with a child, but I still found myself grieving. I know there are women in my congregation that cannot have children and their pain is still very real to me. There have been a dozen or so pregnancies in our ward in the last few months. If I were not one of them, would I be able to delight in everyone's happiness? Hearing of my dear friends' pregnancies left me crying tears of joy and self-pity simultaneously. Even the success stories about how someone tried for so long and eventually conceived were far from comforting. For every success story, the bitter part of me seemed to open my eyes to the handful that still could not have children (or worse, the many that are having children but refuse to take care of the lives they bring into the world). I searched the scriptures for comfort and found 4 women who were barren (Sarah, Rachel, Hannah, and Elisabeth). All 4 women were eventually blessed with prophet sons, but I didn't want to wait until I was 90 years old before I could finally have my Isaac. I wasn't asking for a prophet. I just wanted a regular kid. On my worst days, I was angry with myself and with my body's inadequacies, as if I were purposefully holding Patrick back from experiencing the challenges of parenthood. I could be a martyr, but why did I have to get married and take someone down that path with me? Irrational? Yes. But I have never been one to think rationally when I mourn.
Raising children is a righteous desire. President Monson mentioned at the Worldwide Leadership Conference that if a person remains righteous, that desire will not go away. The constant gnawing feeling at your heart is a gap that cannot be filled with material things. Often, spiritual things only temper it, never fully healing you. The limbo that accompanies hope--should I wait and see if this works or should I move on with my career--is agonizing. The derisive thoughts--what is my purpose here if I cannot raise a family--only contribute to the torture, and the guilt from entertaining such thoughts is overpowering at times. The despair felt in finally giving up because it hurts too much to continue hoping is unbearable.
We are truly in the Lord's hands. Despite my dark moments when I was unwilling to receive comfort and companionship, He
still found ways to quietly assist me without my knowledge. Will every infertile couple conceive? Unfortunately, no. I am grateful to be numbered in those that are blessed with pregnancy and thank God daily for His mercy.
And by request, here I am at a point in my life I thought I would never reach--36 weeks.