My Lap is Empty

Funny how things can kind of blind side you. We've been going along pretty well here at our house. I have not had PMS the last two cycles, so the HCG remains on the shelf. I have avoided returning to charting, blood draws, and cycle reviews for now. I am enjoying, for the most part, this new season of life. I am blessed by my two children beyond words. And yet, there is still the hole of course. Of children that were conceived, yet not held, and all the "what could have been."

My 5 1/2 yr old is starting Kindergarten in the fall. We are blessed to have him in a good Catholic school. I am excited for him to go to K. Some say it comes fast, but for us he is almost six (barely missed the cut off) so I just feel grateful we got a little extra time together. And I know he is ready. My 3 1/2 yr old has recently turned a corner. He is pretending to read books by retelling them, he is trying to count to 30, he counts and labels letters wherever he goes, he is rhyming, and he has started to play Hi Ho Cheerio with us. It feels a bit like the end of an era.

I continued to look on the bright side, ahead to travels with the boys, etc.  And I was able to do something I have wanted to do for years. I switched my part time work schedule so I could participate in the diocese's women's bible study on Thursday mornings. My 3 1/2 yr old will go to Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) with all the children 3 and older, while I attend the study. I can't wait to be surrounded by practicing Catholics. I didn't have as many like-minded friends as I thought I would through the Catholic preK. I am hoping, through moving to the big school (K-8) community and the bible study, this will change. I know some women in the study, and they are awesome. Women of all ages join.

Yesterday, as I was registering, I had a realization that slapped me across the face. My baby is almost four. He will be in the atrium doing CGS. The study is large, so the woman are in smaller groups. The mom's group of the bible study are the ones with children under three that stay with them. I have no children under three. I won't be with the mom's my age. I won't be with the friends I know with their beautiful large families. None of them have a four year gap in their children. They will all have children on their laps. My lap is empty. [Cue the waterworks.]

I shared this with my husband yesterday. The women I am looking forward to being with are different than me. There will always be this divide. I won't have finally found my home, as I often thought. This is a really hard realization.

I don't fear being judged. honestly, likely only because its mostly a non-issue. I am quite open about our circumstances. I have thought about this a lot, and I don't think it is just because of pride and not wanting to look like we contracept. It's for education purposes, enlightenment, for them to appreciate what they have, and for me to spread the word about help and hope through the Creighton Model of Family Planning and Naprotechnology. It's also to break the silence. I never know who else might be suffering.

Perhaps these realizations were harder to swallow because I don't think we will ever adopt. My husband is too comfortable where we are at with the boys' ages, things being easier every day. He doesn't want to restart the roller coaster. It's also a money thing. Or maybe that just his excuse to avoid it. Either way, I don't want to talk him into something he may just resent me for later; or worse, our future adopted child. I had wondered before if fostering to adopt was just too outside his comfort zone. I am giving it over to God and saying a novena to St. Joseph for him.

So that is where we are right now. Eternally grateful and doing fine most days. Totally at peace with our decision to not actively pursue biological children, and that doesn't ever change. But still, there are moments that come out of nowhere and slap you in the face.

It's like, in some ways, I feel more infertile now that we have given up ttc. I guess that is because, on Clomid and HCG, and antibiotics, and B6, and mucinex, and amoxicillian, with endo treated and tubes clear, I could always conceive. I was always pregnant within 3 cycles of ttc. Six out of six. I know many of you would kill for that. But our love mostly brought forth death and not life; suffering not joy. And that is my reality. I last conceived Dec. 2012. Our Nicholas. This is by far the longest we have gone without a pregnancy; even when I nursed Charlie and didn't cycle for 13 months, we still conceived Anthony on the first cycle trying. This is just new territory for me. And it just takes some getting used to.


tara said...

Hi, I really understand your disappointment about being in the other group. I've been praying for several years for some good Catholic friends (we are blessed with lots of great, deep friendships, but none of them are Catholic, and also lots of Catholic acquaintances but no friendships have developed.) I've had 3 "false alarms" where it looked like everything was falling into place to have this amazing fellowship, and then something happened. (People moved, people dropped out of touch, etc.) Meanwhile I really long for that aspect of church community. And I'm a sentimental mama myself, so I can imagine how it's hard to enter this new stage!

E said...

hard stuff. I just hate infertility. hate it. i'm so sorry your lap will be empty and your boys are growing up. I see how on one side that is exciting and fun but on the other side sorrowful. Mary Mother of Sorrows, Pray for Us.

stacym88 said...

Some thoughts on ways to get involved and build community that have worked for me. I SO loved St. Anne's Society and all of the activities they have. I did as much as I could while I was on maternity leave and it was wonderful. I was quickly able to meet enough people to feel comfortable at the events and feel like I knew what was going on. Unfortunately, most activities are during the day and maternity leave was only 3 months long. We also did the St. Anne's couples dinners. This was great. We met some other great couples and have been able to know a few more people as a result. Unfortunately, the cycle of sticking with the groups is short and long-term friendships didn't really result. BUT, I think if I had time to put some effort into it, I could certainly get the groups back together for more dinners and activities and I could see some of the folks as possible "long-term friends". The book club that is organized by St. Anne's is also great. It's just 1 time/quarter so there isn't a huge commitment. I like it a lot because all people from the Parish are invited and you get a mix of ages and background. I really like interacting with people from all stages in life. Probably the reason I'm a member of the Daughters of Isabella - I bring the average age of member way down, ha! I found that going to daily Mass before I had kids and then again when I was on maternity leave was a great way to build the relationships too. Just seeing the same people daily and interacting afterward - it really makes a difference. Problem for me is all of this takes time and energy and right now, at my stage in life, I don't have a lot to spare. Know and remember that God has you right where he wants you and will lead you His way...stay in the wheelbarrow! You are in my prayers.

Stephanie @ Blessed to Be said...

"It's for education purposes, enlightenment, for them to appreciate what they have, and for me to spread the word about help and hope through the Creighton Model of Family Planning and Naprotechnology." I completely agree with this and this is almost always the reason I share our IF story, even with complete strangers!

I'm so sorry for your hurt. You're so right in saying, "But still, there are moments that come out of nowhere and slap you in the face." I can be fine for months and a mess for a weeks, usually because of someone else's pregnancy announcement or CD1. I hate that we have to be reminded again and again of our lack. If only we could live life with blinders on. They maybe we'd be more content with what we do have. But that's so dang hard. My heart hurts for you!

I hope that many blessings pour forth from your Bible study and the fear of being the only mom without a babe in her lap fades away.

WheelbarrowRider said...

Thank you, Stacy! I do like the St Anne's group, though it doesn't occur in the summer. We haven't done the dinners so if dh will go for it that is an option. I was interested in Dof I too. Thanks for the reminder and prayers.

WheelbarrowRider said...

Exactly, E. Thank to for being such a faithful friend and follower.

WheelbarrowRider said...

I will pray for good friendships for you!

WheelbarrowRider said...

Thank you. So hard to be blindsided when all was going so well. I am glad I am not the only one so open. Perfect strangers, love it!

WheelbarrowRider said...

Well, I decided to turn lemons into lemonade. I suggested I be in the young mom's group as a lap for someone in need :) I have two friends with 4-5 under five yrs old (both have twins). We shall see...I am getting back in the wheelbarrow now.

All in His Perfect Timing said...

Last weekend on NFP Sunday, the priest congratulated large families as "showing they appreciate the gift of fertility" (or something like that). As I sat there in the pew with my one child, I was so upset. A large family doesn't mean that we don't appreciate the gift of fertility or haven't given our all and then some trying to grow our families. My heart hurt for myself and also for all other women and families who are stereotyped.
My heart hurts for you that your lap is empty. Especially having to face other mothers with young children. I will pray for you. <3

WheelbarrowRider said...

Thank you, AIHPT. I appreciate the prayers and feel them! I am sorry you had a hurtful experience. I do think the priest can say good job to those families without meaning the others are doing something wrong. Yes, maybe those that don't appreciate the gift are, but you know that. And you aren't one of those. Don't take something on yourself that wasn't meant for you. I know that is easier said then done. I will pray for you too!