I had another session with my therapist last night. I feel like we've only scratched the surface of my plethora of issues, but already I have gained such valuable insight and tools to help me plunge deeper into this time of my life. The take home message of the evening was: "Don't squander this time... don't squander this sorrow."
Before I spoke with him, I had been thinking all day about hope.
I have not come forward with a little piece of information that I was given about 5 or 6 months ago, for several reasons, but mostly because it was so deeply personal and has been my source of hope for a baby throughout the majority of 2011. (Otherwise, I really don't think I'd have any left at all.) This piece of information involves a dream that another blogger had about me. I'll give you all of the details sometime soon, but I don't want to focus on that right now. (I also hope the other blogger doesn't mind that I am posting about this.)
Suffice to say, if this blogger had not confided in me about her dream, and the circumstances surrounding it, I likely would not have any hope left for a baby. I was contemplating this yesterday... is it a good thing that I still have hope, or should my hope be completely and utterly in heaven and in giving glory to God??
Am I selfish to be holding onto this hope, even though I have come to a place where I understand that my ultimate hope is not about getting what I want? Is it too human of me to still believe from cycle to cycle that perhaps I will conceive, or that maybe I will be able to adopt or foster someday?
I struggled with this thought during the day, because my conscience was telling me that it was ok, even GOOD for me to have that hope for a child.
I reasoned with myself that the hope is what keeps me moving in the right direction - in other words, my long-term focus remains on God, while I go through the daily trials and tribulations of infertility - but my short-term hope is that I may become a mother.
If I were to give up that hope (which was just about to happen when I received an email from said blogger about her dream), then what suffering is there to be used for God's glory? It always used to make me upset when I saw other infertile women praying that God would take away their desire for children - I knew in my heart that the desire was God-given, and even if it were never fulfilled, it was a crucial part of this cross of infertility and childlessness. Yet, this year, I reached a point when I was almost praying for the exact same thing. And it frightened me.
It reminds me of how Jesus taught the disciples to love their enemies. They had been living in a world where it was the norm to love your friends and hate your enemies. Jesus posed the question, that if you love only those who love you, what reward is there in that?
That's how I see infertility/childlessness. If you carry the cross, even to the point of embracing it, but you lack the desire to have a child... what reward is there in that? It is the intense suffering of those who desire parenthood SO MUCH and yet cannot attain it which transforms the cross into a source of redemption.
At the end of our phone appointment last night, I asked my therapist for his input: "Is it still ok for me to hope for a child?"
Without hesitating, he repeated the truth I knew in my heart: "Yes. Denying yourself hope for a child is a form of protecting yourself from the suffering. You should continue to hope!"
He went on to tell me that in days like today, when my period is imminent, I should fully go through the suffering along with my body. I told him that there were times when I felt peace in the cross, but that I was worried about its source; is my peace coming from having endured the suffering well, and now seeing glimpses of peace IN the sorrow, or is it just that I have become numb to the suffering, or worse, that I am avoiding or ignoring further suffering that comes my way? (For example, the endless text messages from my pregnant sister-in-law in which she complains about how she has to do the 2-hour glucose test and drink that "nasty sugary drink," or how her "arm is about to fall off" from all the poking and prodding they did to get her bloodwork.)
The therapist said he is looking forward to bringing me deeper through the suffering so that there will not be any confusion about where my peace is coming from. I'm tentatively excited about this. I can't believe I'm actually saying that, but it's true! I guess I just feel like I'm already so close to completely surrendering, and that there has been so much suffering already, and yet I'm still here, and I'm ok. Better than ok.
I know I can do this. Let it be done unto me.