For months, long long months, I prayed for relief.
And then friends started to get pregnant. Lots of friends. Close friends, faraway friends, neighbors, you name it.
I had a brief and bright moment of "Everyone-Is-Pregnant-But-Me"....and then continued to pray. Asking that Heavenly Father would give me whatever I needed.
I thought maybe I needed to understand this feeling. Maybe I need to learn what it is to want a baby, given that I have been spared from ever feeling that before now.(post-edit to clarify: I WANTED all my babies...but I have never had to try very hard at all. I am well aware that that, in itself, is miraculous, and a blessing.)
Maybe I needed to understand that what I want is not always what I need.
Whatever the reason, I prayed and I waited, watching bellies grow and waiting for the worst/best part--those babies--the deliveries.
My dear sister Qait came to visit, and shared with me the news of her budding pregnancy while we stood in the kitchen. She just slipped in the announcement, almost unnoticed, amongst our otherwise-boring conversation. I hugged her close and felt a mix of aching and joy. I sat next to her on the couch each night as she nourished her body with foods I made, watched her rest, and watched her tiny swelling of a belly grow in miniscule proportions during her stay. I quietly relived the earlier months of my pregnancies, and felt some sense of happiness in watching my sister experience it for her second time.
And then on December 31st, I got to hold the still-very-new twin girls of Cara, one of my dear friends.
I breathed in their new-baby scent, smoothed the fine layer of hair on their heads, examined at great length the fingers, toes, folds, nooks, and soft curves of their perfect little bodies. I felt an ache, and worried that this was not good for me, and silently begged in prayer. And that is when something miraculous happened. Filling me up, bottom to top, was peace. The aching wasn't gone, but much less, and finally manageable. In its place was the ability to enjoy the little bodies in my arms, the understanding that I don't know the timeline God has in store for me, but that he will give me ways to handle whatever it brings. Longing. Loneliness. Unwillingness to let time go at its proper fast pace.
I held another perfect newborn only days later, and again was filled with peace. And something else was added--patience. I finally FELT what I have been trying to feel, which is, "I can wait. I can wait for whatever is to come. What I have is enough, and it is alright if it's all I ever have."
And then my sweet and dear friend, Sarah....
Sarah, who has kept me informed and allowed me to almost-obsess over her pregnancy. Sarah, who even asked me to document the birth, something so sacred and so personal. A part I miss most. And here is where I really begin to understand that God doesn't give us things we can handle, though it sometimes feels that way.
Sarah had a practice run, otherwise known as prodromal labor, an extended and painful episode (complete with back labor) that had her, her husband, and me in the hospital on Sunday night. (I would like to state for the record "prodromal" does not always mean "false" and most definitely not "ineffective") And while it didn't amount to much that Sarah could see, it proved instrumental for me. (Sorry, Sarah...I grew at your expense.) Once again I was watching someone I love and reliving the moments I miss--and once again that longing was tempered. I least expected to feel relief in watching my friends and family go through the experiences I crave so much, but I firmly believe--actually, I know, I know for myself--that God knows what I need. He knows how to teach me, how to help me, and most definitely, how to give me more than what I want.
So....with a lot of gratitude in my heart as it is, I'm thanking my pregnant and/or new mom friends for their (however unaware) participation in what has been a healing and learning process in the last few months for me. All my love to you.