“If not for me, do it for him.”
That’s all I could cry out in my desperation as I could barely catch my breath while pressing my forehead to the wall of our shower one late summer evening after hearing the news of a friend’s pregnancy.
Infertility is hard, and after years of crying, begging, and pleading, sometimes you just can’t cry or beg or plead anymore. You somehow come to terms with your circumstances, and you go about your day with the hope that things will soon change. But the passionate pleading you do while on your knees praying for a miracle? The bargaining you shamelessly do with God? The promises you vow to keep if He answers “just this one time”? And the tears you shed with each reminder of your failed plans and unfulfilled desires? They aren’t the same as they once were. They aren’t as intense. And it’s because you have somehow become numb.
Numb to the negative pregnancy tests.
Numb to the failed treatments.
Numb to the doctor’s reports.
Numb to the baby showers. And pregnancy announcements.
Or at least that is what it has become for me. Numbness. But one summer night, with my forehead pressed to the shower wall, my hands firmly placed on either side, and tears pouring down my face, the numbness that I had been feeling towards our inability to conceive came alive as I began to replay the moments of the evening.
Just hours earlier, my husband’s phone rang, and as I leaned in to listen, I realized it was a friend. I continued with painting our dining room walls when I heard him end the call by saying, “Nah, man, thanks for calling…I really appreciate it.” Thinking nothing of it, I heard him come slowly walking towards me, and as I turned to look at him, he just stood there. He put his hands on his hips and, with a slight hesitation, said, “That was so-and-so, and his wife is pregnant. With twins”
Smiling, I turned back to the wall I was assigned to paint and expressed my happiness for them and their two older children. Expecting him to turn back around and leave the room, I noticed he just stood there, looking down at me. Worried that he would think I was angry, perhaps jealous, or at the very least upset, I slowly turned back around to look at him. I wanted him to see that I was fine. And that I was strong. And I wasn’t crying. After all, I have become numb. But as I turned to have my eyes meet his to give him that reassurance, the numbness I had been feeling over the years started to fade away slowly. And the pain that I hadn’t felt in so long resurfaced. Because while I didn’t feel sorry for myself, nor did I feel abandoned, forgotten, or cheated by God, I felt it for him.
After all, this struggle, these shattered dreams, and crumbled plans that have been laced with so much heartache and tears are not because his body can’t create life, but because my body can’t seem to do it. And while he has never blamed me, and I know he never would, I couldn’t help but at that moment feel the weight of it all.
I couldn’t help but feel the guilt that he has been cheated and robbed blindly of even the simplest moments of life that so many others around him get to experience and enjoy, such as calling his friends to share in his exciting news.
The truth is I can handle never experiencing the moment when I can call and tell my friends and family that I am expecting, but I can’t handle the thought of him not being able to. He deserves everything he had planned and dreamed of ever having when he once-upon-a-time envisioned his life before our diagnosis of infertility.
This is why on that late summer evening, with my forehead pressed tightly against the shower wall, my hands firmly placed on either side, and tears pouring down my face, I once again begged. I once again pleaded. And I once again shamelessly bargained. But this time, in my exasperated plea of desperation, I asked Him not to do it for me, but for him.
Lord, please, just do it for him.
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