I suppose you’re not completely hopeless for you have carried a child once. Though I don’t know that you had much say in the matter, knowing Felicity’s wild spirit, she was making it to this earth one way or another. The little egg that could we sometimes call her. But I think our adventures together may have ended with Felicity. For a time after she was born I felt a great ache in you. I wanted you filled back up. I begged you to cooperate. I wept over my tiny little infant Felicity and I can’t help but wonder if it’s because somewhere deep down I felt that she would be my only newborn. I watched in envy as my friend’s bellies swelled. Their wombs cooperating with them quite nicely. When they wanted babies, they got babies. When I wanted babies I got blood draws, medication, mood swings, anger and sorrow. You dear womb, you’re a stubborn one. You don’t like to be bothered or poked or prodded and to be honest I didn’t either.
Do you remember when I held that friend’s newborn a few months ago and I felt nothing inside? I thought he was rather cute of course. I was excited for them. I could have sat all day snuggling him, cooing to him, but my ache in you, it was gone. Where did it go? I was surprised by it’s absence.
Another friend announced to me that her womb is full. It was early, the babe tiny, but a full womb is a full womb nonetheless. I congratulated her. Did you hear me? Again I felt nothing inside. I felt like I should be happy, or sad or envious, but I felt something different, something I couldn’t yet put my finger on. Later I watched Felicity’s crib get dismantled, she moved to her big girl room. The mobile I made her is hung in the closet. The banner I sewed hangs limply on the wall as the nursery comes apart. The baby stuff is gone. Passed on, sold, some saved for that last sliver of hope. The cradle has left our bedroom, I couldn’t look at it any longer. Again I long to feel something. Where are you oh empty womb? I don’t feel you aching anymore.
My sister has a miracle pregnancy, a beautiful gift after years of hope and loss. She tells me it’s possible and while I share in her joy that feeling creeps up and tightens up my throat. It is possible surely, but I can’t shake the feeling that maybe that’s not what God has for us. That maybe he’s tugging us in a different direction. I start to recognize the feeling that has been gripping me. Contentment. Am I still a good mother if my dream for more babies is dead? Am I still a good mother if I feel like moving on?
Our peers are growing their families, but I don’t want to work with you anymore womb. I want to leave you be. You’re not very dependable, I don’t feel that I need you anymore. Brandon calls this a break up letter. You’re off the hook, we’re through. We are good with our one little spirited girl. We are good with maybe one day adopting from a more cooperative womb. I’m good with it oh womb, truly I am. I’m good with the peace that God is bringing to my heart.
It’s so difficult to write things like this. On our 5th wedding anniversary I wrote this post, I like to document how I am feeling in every season, though talking about those things in the moment can be contradictory to how I feel sometimes not long after. At the time that I wrote Myrtle Beach and the Future, I wasn’t ready to become pregnant and then 6 months later when I was, I couldn’t get pregnant. One year after that I was pregnant with Lici. Life is a whirlwind. I wrote everything above just a week ago. Today at lunchtime Lici pointed to Bingley’s belly. “Bingley has a baby in his belly?” She asked. I laughed and said, “No, you’re just feeding him too many treats.” She looked at me and said, “Mama, you have a belly in your belly.” And I nearly choked on my grape. My gut reaction was to run upstairs and take a pregnancy test which I have banned myself from doing. As if my daughter had some sort of premonition.
Why oh why did I feel that way? I had just spent weeks on this open letter that I was quite happy with, my break up letter with my womb. Contentment seemed to be washing over me. I was running off with Lici on adventures, embracing the joy of our small family while it is still small.
I was getting excited to snuggle my friend’s new babies without worry or envy because I felt that God had something else for us. I’d moved on. But Lici’s comment sent me through a loop. Was I not at peace after all? I stopped praying for pregnancy long ago and have already been praying for the foster daughter we may adopt one day who could very possibly be in someone’s womb right now. But maybe God’s teaching me to stop trying to close doors and open other ones for He’s the one who authors my life.
As much as I can no longer bear to hope for a pregnancy, my womb and my heart were designed to long for children. Sometimes, it won’t hurt and I’ll feel love and joy for Lici and those around me, truly content, as I did at the time that I wrote this open letter. Yet sometimes it will hurt. My brain, my heart and my womb will all be at odds with each other. Just because we feel these little moments of grief in a place where we thought we’d moved on, or just because we feel slightly sore from a place we thought we’d achieved forgiveness doesn’t mean that we’re not there yet. In fact I don’t even know where there is. Working through things like grief and forgiveness takes time, faith and daily prayer. Contentment is a feeling and a decision, not some place that we just get to and never look back. I think we will always look back but it’s how we continue to move forward that defines our path.