Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Rare Moment

I had a rare moment last night. A moment that, in my not-so-distant past, didn't used to be so rare. In fact, it pretty much used to be an everyday occurance.

I sobbed in my bathroom for about an hour.

As I laid in bed last night, after a nasty fight with my DH, I began to think about all of my blogging friends, and how different their lives have become. While mine goes on, just the same as it has always been. I pictured them in their homes with their not-so-new babies, and thought about those who are close to having, or are working on bringing Number 2 Child into their lives. All the while the days in my life pass me by as I get older and have absolutely no prospect for ever being in their shoes.

Yes. I was insanely jealous.

And while I have come to accept my childlessness, even the fact that it may be indefinate, it doesn't mean I'm happy about it.

So, I ran to the bathroom and weeped and weeped. The real ugly kind, sucking snot, choking on mucus, sounding like a dying cat. I cried out to God, "Why do you not hear me??" It seemed to me, last night, that God heard the passionate and desperate cries of every single one of my blogging friends who have been blessed by pregnancy, adoption, home study approval, etc. But He has seemingly turned a deaf ear to my crying and mourning. Why?

I was suffering from the "unfairness" of the whole thing. (And we all. know. that life. isn't. fair.) But in my mind, last night, the devil was running rampant. I was thinking how dare God give multiple blessings to so many of my friends while continuing to pass me over. (Yup. I actually thought how DARE God. It was not a proud moment. But hey, this is blog-worthy material at least. No recipes tonight.)

I thought back to a time when I was in high school, when I was SO WRONGED that to this day it still hurts me. My NY varsity basketball team played a tournament in Delaware, and I had just gotten over bronchitis and still went. I was a bencher. The tournament was 3 days long. My father traveled all the way and stayed in a hotel to watch us play all 3 games. After the first game, when several of us "benchers" had not played even a minute, our coach told us in the locker room that NO ONE would be played if they complained about not being put in. I kept my mouth shut. The girl I roomed with got terribly sick one night in the hotel, and yet despite her illness, she was played the next day. After the second game, I saw one of the new members of the team (I had been on the team 2 years already) crying in the corner of the locker room to the assistant coach, complaining about not having played at all. The assistant coach calmed her down and told her not to worry.
The next day, she was put in the game. I remained the ONLY. person. not played for the entire tournament. With my poor father watching every second.

Last night as I cried out to God from my disgusting stink bug-infested bathroom, I remembered this incident from high school, and how I remembered "playing by the rules" (not complaining about not getting playing time), how the new girl "broke the rules" and complained, and how she got played and I didn't. And I likened that experience to my jealousy about not getting my "rightful" gift of the miracle of life, while those who "complained" got it abundantly.

It really seemed unfair to me last night that all of my friends have transitioned into motherhood and are continuing to add to their families exponentially as I look on, and find less and less to even talk to them about. It seemed unfair that so many of them have had not one, but at LEAST two blessings and likely will continue reaping in the blessings as I remain barren in body and on paper. It seemed unfair that the women who lamented the most about their suffering, the ones who "broke the rules" were the ones to whom God came and answered their prayers.

Yes. These are the thoughts that were running through my head. And I am ashamed to admit them, but this blog has always been an honest place. My hope is that in sharing these hateful thoughts (and possibly losing some friends??) those who are reading who have had similar thoughts will see that they're not alone. Or maybe I'm the only one.

After a good hour-long cry, I returned to bed and slept like a baby. This morning, I awoke to clarity and, thank the good Lord, peace. The same peace I have had for a while. (Phew, for a moment there last night I thought I had returned to the dark place again.) I realized that my constant comparisons with others are so harmful to my mental and spiritual health. First of all, I am not OWED anything by God. Whether I consider myself to be "playing by the rules" (whose rules exactly did I think I was playing by, anyway??!) or not is not the point. I have learned that some days it is too difficult for me to visit the blogs of the mommies with growing babies. (For some reason, and I'm not sure if others out there agree, but I've discovered that the new baby blogs and the pregnancy blogs don't bother me... but the babies-that-are-now-toddlers-and-tomorrow-will-be-starting-Kindergarten blogs do... it's a reminder of just how much time has passed since so-and-so received her blessing and here I still am.) But it doesn't mean that I am more worthy of a blessing or "DUE" a blessing just because someone else has many. Why would I even think that?? Where did that come from??

Nights like last night used to be a part of my normal weekly routine. Now they are few and far between, and when I realized that, I realized that my blessing HAS come. My prayers HAVE been answered. I have achieved what I was searching for. Peace, and joy. (I've also learned that joy does not mean that I'm constantly HAPPY. You can still suffer while having joy, and that is what I've been striving for for such a loooooong time. I've found it.) God has heard my pleas, and for HIS reasons, and for HIS timing, it is not the time for ME to be a mother right now. It has NOTHING to do with anyone else. I accept that. And I love Him and thank Him for having my very best interests in mind, even if my bratty attitude can't always understand it.

To my friends of whom I was so envious last night, I apologize. I know it's cliche, but I truly am so happy for each and every one of you. I love your children, even those whom I have not met, SO MUCH, and really have enjoyed watching them grow and reach new milestones. You all have proven to be such excellent mothers :)

May my next breakdown be far, far away...


Chasing said...

You are amazing. I'm sorry last night was so difficult for you.

More Than Anything said...

You are definitely NOT alone. I had my first jealously breakdown a week or so ago and it SUCKS!

I hope you're next break down is far far away, or NEVER again at all.

You are very strong, and God loves you, bratty attitude and all! :)

doctorgianna said...

I'm taking a Catechism course and thought of you this past week when I was reading this: "everything that happens in our lives in part of God's providence". I wondered how your situation could be part of His providence. But knowing that God is good, your life HAS to fit into the necessary elements that God needs to fulfill His plan. It's unexplicable at this time in human terms, but hopefully it will become clear at some point.

~S said...

You are not alone! Thank you for being so honest. I have those jealousy breakdowns, and unfortunately they are not that far apart. It's something I'm still working on. I hope you don't have to experience it again.

T said...

I have so many thoughts about this post but the words aren't coming to me right now.
Just know that you are not alone and that you are a blessing to us all.

[email protected] said...

Your eloquence, faithfulness and honesty has no doubt brought many readers out of their own despair and made them find a level of peace. You are amazing.

Cecilia said...

Your honesty is such a gift to people - it really is. And your faithfulness just makes your honesty all the more refreshing. It reminds me of the hullabaloo the media made over Mother Theresa's writings where she admitted to spiritual struggles and dry spells. They acted like it diminished her faith when in reality it made her faith all the more amazing. Like you said - to find joy through suffering, to overcome feelings (which are SO hard to control, SO temporarily satisfying, and which I think we can all relate to - I know I definitely can)and choose to keep trusting...that's what it's about. Lots of prayers for you - always.

Megan said...

I wholeheartedly agree with Leila. I'm sorry that you had a rough night last night.
Your comments about having joy through suffering is very poignant, and it is something that not very many people understand. God truly has blessed you, and I am confident that you finding such a beautiful peace is only the first step in God's plan to make you a mother one way or another. :)

Sew said...

Do you need a pineapple? That always helps get any pent up issues to the surface....That would be interesting a pineapple in a bathroom.

You are doing the right thing. And being faithful in this situation is nothing short of a miracle....

Ahh, to be able to reach the joyful suffering is commendable....The Master Gardener working in His garden, pruning his tress, pulling the weeds....

I heard in Mass the other day that God didn't say He would take away our suffering, just that He would be there with us through it. Very comforting....

Oh and don't forget this!

C. said...

I'm really thankful for finding your blog! Thank you for the courage to be so honest.

Although I wouldn't wish suffering on anyone, it does help to know you aren't alone.

Thank you for that, too.

I'm so glad peace returned to you. I will pray (something I need to be doing more these days...) that it stays for good!

C. said...

Oops! That should read:

"Thanks for your courage and for being so honest."

Little JoAnn said...

You are expressing what all of us have felt and, even after the shackles of IF have slipped off, still, many of us continue to feel...oh, if only I could have MORE children or a better job, or be a stay at home mom, or homeschool all my children...we all suffer from the sin of jealousy.

It is in this comparision stuff that the devil really hijacks our peace and our hearts.

Can I just ask you...about the part where you feel sidelined because you didn't protest/complain enough...are you saying in your struggle with IF that you didn't complain and or break enough rules?

You know I was a crazy maniac who stood up and protested against every single practioner in my midst (even the saintly, good ones) to the point of being rude. I didn't make too many friends in my quest to defeat IF.

Somehow, though, people got over it. I had to give myself permission to be UBER demanding to be crazy. It was the only way I could summon up the necessary energy to fight IF. Otherwise I would have collapsed in despair and hopelessness.

Anger has its place in this war.

I actually learned this teaching from the study of non-violence. Satyagraha, or grasping to the Truth is a fight. It is not passivity. Fighting to be healed, fighting for justice, fighting even for peace, requires one to
FIGHT and for one's anger to be stirred.

Yes, I would try to balance my demanding ways with open communication, frequent apologies, and explanations as to where I was coming from. Many people managed to understand; some did not.

But, I don't regret all the screaming all the jumping up and down all the demands I made from the sidelines.

And, I don't care if people still think of me as that crazy woman who always asked for copies of EVERYTHING and would fax the office at 4 AM then the very next day fire her doctor.

Amy @ This Cross I Embrace said...

Haha, Joann, you have taught me so much, and for that I am forever grateful.

No, I think I was more comparing my suffering and relationship with God to others' suffering and relationship with God through it. I saw that they were lamenting and mourning about wanting a baby, when, in my human mind, I thought they had SO much more than I did. And I was trying not to "complain" to God too much. And then, what seemed to happen was that those who "complained" the most got doubly blessed, while my suffering that I was trying to handle with grace went unnoticed.

Of course now without all the raging hormones of that night, I can see how hateful that is. No one person's suffering is any greater than another's, and the WAY in which we deal with suffering is so personal - and not something that God "rewards" based on degrees. Not to mention, who am I to judge HOW someone suffered?? Moreover, where does it say that Jesus prefers us to "suck it up" and deal with our suffering silently? That's why I wrote "Whose rules did I think I was following, anyway??"

Simone said...

I am sorry to hear that you are having a tough moment. I am still TTC and I am at the place in my life where everyone is lapping me and I don't think I will ever get there. For you I have some possible good news. Dr. Beiter is moving to New Brunswick, NJ. I think he is starting in November but maybe sooner. THis might be a new start for you. Good Luck!

Brit said...

You are truly an incredible woman of faith, and such a beautiful soul reflecting humility and grace to all of us lucky enough to get a glimpse here. You remain in my prayers...

Suzie-Q T-Pie said...

I hate these "meltdown" moments. It feels good to get it out, but then I feel bad, that I was so angry and questioned His will.
You are so not alone here. I am getting older and older by the day and still no baby! I can't help but to freak out every so often about it.
Just know that you are always in my prayers as I pray for all my IF blogger friends. I pray for peace and happiness, and for all of us to one day enjoy the blessings of a child to call us mom! :)

barbie said...

Oh boy I've had so many of those, I hope they continue to be FAR far apart! Your honesty is why we love you TCIE! You remain in my prayers.

Julie said...

Praying for you! I had many of these years as we waited over 9 years for our miralce and I got more and more angry with God the longer the wait got. I cried like you described everytime someone got pregnant or adopted or gave birth. I admit I was much more selffish than you! I even went so far as to pray that these people would lose their babies so they could "feel the pain" that I am going through. Horrible, I know! I am not proud of how I handled my anger. I am so proud of you for how you have handled it! You cry, but then you pick yourself up again and find joy where God has you! Praise God for this!!

Joy Beyond the Cross said...

Oh been there, done that - well, not the bathroom floor part, but in a different room. Yep, I get caught up in the "rules part" sometimes and try my best to follow them (whatever I think they may be at that time) and then wonder why others who don't (follow those supposed rules) get X,Y, or Z. Here's to hoping that those bathroom episodes are few and very far between.

Second Chances said...

Oh yuck. I hate that you had this moment. It was painful to read about let alone go through it. I'm sorry. And I'm sorry for saying I'm sorry! I'm sure you want no more sorries. But I am glad that these moments are fewer and farther in between and that you have been graced with God's peace on a regular basis. Praise God!

Joy Beyond the Cross said...

I forgot to add, I think you described the heart wrenching pain that so many of us have gone through very well. Oh, and the tournament - that sounds painful. Ugh...

The Comeaus said...

I read this post with a lot of pain in my heart. These meltdowns are so very hard to go through. I also feel sure that it will help you grow. When you are in so much pain, God is closer than you could ever know, and we often only see that in hindsight.

I wonder: do you have an adoration chapel nearby? We recently relocated, and now we're blessed to have a perpetual adoration chapel five minutes down the road. My whole life has changed in just one month because of this. He gives peace that nothing else can give.

In confession yesterday, the priest focused largely on what Satan does to rob us of our peace. He said that horrible thoughts--especially the kind that take you totally by surprise and just destroy your peace for an entire week--are "a dagger to the heart," a way for the evil one to stab us where it most hurts. The fight with your husband must have been such a dagger to your heart, not to mention all the jealousy that you felt. God will heal you of those wounds.

As my priest reminded me, it's so important not to get discouraged after these incidents. Everybody gets jealous, and another commenter above me is absolutely right that if you had one child, there would be other causes of jealousy in your life anyway. Satan may rob us of our peace for a short while, but Jesus will break through that darkness, as He did for you this morning.

Another thing my priest told me, which has already helped me a great deal in just one day: "Where there is joy and laughter, Satan has no place. He flees from joy, so try to cultivate a joyful heart and he won't have any hold on you." I never really thought of it that way. He advised me to sometimes laugh out loud at some of the horrible things that can come to my heart and mind in a difficult moment, to chase Satan away. Obviously, that's hard to do during a meltdown, but maybe it can help from time to time.

You know, I think the cross is so lonely. You can describe your pain here and others may understand from their own experiences to some degree, but each of us is ultimately left to carry the cross alone, with just the Lord. No one can ever truly be "with" us through meltdowns like these, except Him. It's lonely, but He really is with you.

Jennifer said...

You are not alone. God hears all your cries and there are many "sisters" out here who are asking the same questions as you and going to the "dark places" in our bathrooms too. I am one of those 5-years in the waiting and trying to trust in His perfect timing and that He sees and knows better. Peace to you my friend-in-waiting.

Meg @ True, Good and Beautiful said...

Our situations are different, but I feel alone too. Not even my husband understands how and why I feel the way I do.

I remember in high school our bishop came to celebrate Mass at our parish and in his homily he told us to remember these 5 words for the rest of our lives:

The Lord is with you.

I've never forgotten that part of the homily and I think of those 5 words often. Plus he said it with a distinct Boston accent, so I always hear it in his voice in my head. Makes me smile a little, usually just when I need it.

Anyways, I hope you'll always remember those 5 words too.

JellyBelly said...

First off, you are not alone. You have typed every word and emotion that I have felt. I hate it thay we've been left behind and I wish that I could explain why we are made to wait so long for one blessing.

I continue to pray for you, my dear, sweet friend.

Hafsa said...

Love you TCIE and many prayers being sent your way. I am sorry you are going through such terrible pain and I hope in time God will heal you.

Anonymous said...

So sorry you had a breakdown, but I am very happy that they are few and far between for you nowadays! Having those kinds of feelings non-stop is incredibly draining, and I am thankful I've had several weeks of relief from the complete and utter devastation and desperation. Occasionally, I feel the why her and why not me? feelings start to draft back in, but I shut them down as soon as possible. I really don't want to go down that road again.
I know that next week I could be back to the blubbering mess I was all summer, so at the moment I'm just thankful for my sanity.
I can't figure out what other people are doing that allows them what I do not have - is it the complaining? the praying? the medical treatments? reaching their rock bottom? deciding to give up the struggle? I have decided that God is not looking down on the group of us and picking "this one, and that not that one, but this one over here" to get pregnant.
I don't know why there are some of us who are "passed over" time and again, but one day I hope that we will all be blessed with children. And I hope, of course, that it will be soon...

Hebrews 11:1 said...

I love that you don't hold back--never feel like you have to censor or justify anything. I have had all those same thoughts too.

I'm so sorry for the rough patch but I'm glad those moments are not frequent for you.

I'm right there with you--I feel like everyone else is moving on with life but I am just stagnant. What will I be in life, if not a mother? I see how fulfilling it is for everyone around me. I see couple after couple blessed with miracles beyond comprehension yet with each passing day I have less and less hope that there's a miracle out there for me. I sometimes wonder if this is as happy as I will ever be...if this is as good as it's ever going to get.

So...yeah...I really didn't mean to post a comment to bum you out. Uh........sunshine and rainbows and puppies. There. I've cheered you up. :-P

Awaiting a Child of God:) said...

Loving your honesty. Those feelings are so lonely and aggravating...I had one the other night after seeing a woman have a baby on a TV show...tears started flowing immediately. HUGS:) Glad your here with me...not that you are dealing with all this, but that we are not alone.

LifeHopes said...

I can honestly say that there were many, many times when visiting the blogs of others (with babies) was too painful and made it virtually impossible for me to avoid the whole comparison ritual. It is a terrible, terrible mindtrap that - as you pointed out - is from the pit.

I remember saying to my husband, "it's already hard enough to live on planet earth, seeing my IRL friends get pregnant with #s1,2, and 3, while here I sit. Why would I want to ADD to that number of fertiles by visiting blogs every day???" And hence another reason I was never on facebook.

Yes, I am definitely - I will admit - one of the not so strong ones who complained.

I can say, however, that in the depths of our despair, in those "not so rare" moments when IF creeps up on us and tries to seize everything good in life, our cries to God serve a higher purpose, which is to grow us in our Father/daughter relationship. What small child doesn't cry out to her Daddy in her time of need? She shouldn't feel that she should always be so strong ...

You are such a BEAUTIFUL daughter of the Lord and His plans for your life (I personally believe with all my heart) include not just fulfilling your heart's desires but surpassing them.

We continue to pray for these miracles for you personally, and in the meantime, may your relationship with the Father continue to grow. Thank you sharing your beautiful soul and journey.

E said...

Keep your eyes and heart on God and He won't dissappoint. I am so glad you don't have those crying sessions weekly anymore.

Can't wait to see you soon!!

God Alone Suffices said...

I'm a lurker on your blog, but I just want to say I think you're a beautiful woman! Your honesty is so inspiring to this infertile girl. :)

God bless you, TCIE!

Anonymous said...

What a powerful, honest post. I am going through a different, painful struggle right now - it surely is taking aim at my pride and concept of myself. I am grateful for the wisdom shared by commentators and in your post - especially the line:

"I've also learned that joy does not mean that I'm constantly HAPPY. You can still suffer while having joy, and that is what I've been striving for ..."

For some reason (maybe brainwashing of our society, which uses the idea to sell stuff) I feel that everyone else is happy, secure and successful most of the time, and has most of what they want ... so why not me? I know, what a petty, foolish, childish thought. Running from my crosses instead of embracing them.