In relation to my reading this book and still hoping to bear children of my own, I write the following:
Did you ever have a dream so personal and so dear to you that to think of it never coming true brings tears to your eyes? Did you ever have a desire and longing so deep that it felt personally connected to your soul? As if it was an actual appendage of your body? Did you ever try and try and try to make that dream come true only to be thwarted at every attempt? If so, did you struggle with continuing to hope and dream and think it would ever come true? Did you stop hoping and dreaming and trying altogether? That’s what having a baby is like for me. There is still hope. I still dream. However, the hurt is so great with each passing month without a pregnancy that the hoping and dreaming are squelched and I no longer allow myself the luxury of whiling the hours away thinking of baby names, imagining baby activities, and coming up with new and creative ways to announce a pregnancy. Instead of dreaming and hoping, I just go along in a grey haze of denial which goes a little way to guard my heart and mind.
However, I have friends who love me. I have friends who say they KNOW I will have children. I have friends whose faith in dreams coming true is bigger than mine. I have friends who stand in the gap for me believing that there will be little Bobs and Amys running around one day. I was gob-smacked on Saturday by one of these friends. Once a month, I meet with up to 5 other women for coffee and fellowship. We either meet at someone’s home or at a local coffee shop. This past weekend was our time to meet at the local coffee shop. These women are my lifeline. They love me when I am not lovely. They lift me up. They make me laugh. They point me in the right direction. They take on my biggest, heaviest burdens and leave me with little else to carry. They stand and fight bravely the monsters that send me cowering in fear. They are my friends but they are also my heroes. This is not to say that they aren’t broken and hurting and feeling lost themselves, but somehow it is easier to stand in belief of someone else’s hopes and dreams than it is for your own. These women do that for me. (Let is also be known that I do the same for them. It is easy to be brave and strong in the face of someone else’s problems.)
One of these women, my friend Lisa, brought a large gift bag with her to Saturday’s coffee chat. The front of the bag said “Happy Birthday!” As far as I knew, it wasn’t anyone’s birthday so the bag remained a mystery until it was almost time for me to leave. She finally brought out the bag and said it was for me. She said that I have been on her heart day and night lately. She said that she has been praying for me. She said that she KNOWS Bob and I will be parents. She said that sometimes in order to really believe in something, we need a tangible thing to see, touch, and hang on to. She handed me this gift bag and told me to open it. Inside was a beautiful hand made card detailing her faith in God and in dreams coming true. Also inside the bag was a bottle of baby lotion, a receiving blanket, a baby sleeper, a cute little onesie, and two cute little baby outfits. As I read the card and unpacked the bag, tears began to fall. Then great heaving sobs began. (This is always fun to do in public! Try it sometime.) I was so grateful for her faith. So amazed at her steadfast belief. And yet so fearful that she went to all this trouble and expense for nothing. (See…hoping and dreaming now goes hand in hand with doubt and unbelief because I can’t allow my hopes to get too high.)
I had to leave my friends in order to get home in time to pick up Bob for his step-dad’s 80th birthday party, but I left with a sense of amazement, love, and the feeling of being deeply understood (according to the ads for a national dating website, I believe I have found my soulmate!). I hated to leave. When I got home, I put the bag on my desk. Bob asked what it was for. I told him and pulled each item out one by one. I started to cry again. He liked the items and I think he liked the idea of what Lisa did for me, but I don’t think he understood. I put the items back and left the bag on our file cabinet.
The gift bag full of baby clothes sat on our filing cabinet for 2 days and every time I saw it, I had to squelch the hope that the sight of it brought to me. In fact, fear began to rise up at the sight of it. So much fear. Fear that I would never have a baby. Fear that I would never get to use those precious baby things. Fear that I would never know the great joy of this deep, deep dream come true. Fear that I would disappoint Lisa who believes with such reckless abandon on my behalf. Fear that I am a failure as a woman because I cannot conceive and bear a child. Fear that I will never make my husband a daddy. Fear that I will never make my parents grandparents (though they already are to my brother and his wife). Fear that God hates me and doesn’t care about my hopes and longings. Fear that if I allow myself to hope and dream and believe again that this dream CAN come true, I will just be disappointed and hurt again.
I had to take that beautiful gift bag and all its contents and put it up in our closet. I know it’s there I just can’t see it. It needs to be there right now. It needs to be somewhere where I know it exists but I can’t see it every day. I need the reminder that someone else hopes and dreams my fondest desire for me because I still don’t quite have the strength to hope and dream it for myself right now.
I hope you have friends like that. The baby things in the Happy Birthday gift bag were a thoughtful and delightful gift. Yet the best gift Lisa gave me was the gift of her friendship and the depth of hope she has in my dream coming true.