Friday, June 3, 2011

Hope Deferred

A Candle for our Angels
I remember the sparkle in her eyes the day we told my sister in law we were pregnant.  She confided that they, too, were hoping to get pregnant soon.  We daydreamed of little cousins playing together.  But she didn't get pregnant then.  A couple of years later, when we were pregnant with ourson, her sparkle hadn't dimmed, but I knew there was an ache there, too.  When we became pregnant with our third child, I almost didn't want to tell her.  I told my husband with tears that I felt guilty somehow for all the happiness we were going through and how easy things had been.  They were always so incredibly generous with their joy for us.  They didn't share much of the pain they were going through, but I winced for them at idiotic and insensitive comments, at all the little daily reminders of hope deferred. 

As a child, I watched my mother go through miscarriage after miscarriage.  At the time, I couldn't come close to grasping the physical and emotional toll it was taking.  Still, I knew that these lost little ones, so tiny, fragile and barely formed, were real, and that though she had never held them in her arms, she had held them in her heart.

I have had friends go through secondary infertility.  Although they are grateful beyond measure for the child or children they have, the desperate desire for another is coupled with pain from the callous disregard of others.  "After all, you have a child already.  You should just be thankful."  Muzzled by lack of understanding or compassion from those around them, they may not ever express the pain and disappointment of broken dreams.

Infertility is cruel.  The emotional exhaustion and pain of having your hopes rise persistently only to get washed away with blood and tears a few weeks later is unspeakable.  You may try so hard *not* to hope, not to set yourself up for the crash, and yet, however well you prepare yourself mentally, there is still that bitter aftertaste of swallowed grief.

And my own blood has boiled while listening to unthinking comments and platitudes that negate any right to mourn.  Doubtless, most people mean well, but please, for the love of decency, don't say this stuff to anyone, ever.

The story of my wonderful SIL has a happy ending.  My precious nephew is here, running around and playing with his cousins like we had dreamed.  But I know that for many, those dreams don't come true.  I don't know why, and it seems very unfair.

I hesitated to write this post.  I feel in a way that I have no right, because I haven't experienced the pain that you have gone through.  But I think that is why I *must* say something.  Because silent grief is the hardest of all, and you are not forgotten, "less than" or unimportant.

To all my dear friends who have longed for babies that you haven't been able to hold except in your heart, I ache for you.  I am sorry.  It is not your fault, there are no "shoulds" that I can give you.  But I can give you my ears, my tears, my prayers and my shoulders.  Whether we have ever met or not, your stories matter to me, and if you would like to honor us by sharing them in the comments, they will be welcome. 

6 comments:

Pearl in Oyster (Pio) said...

Thanks.

T-Man said...

This is so beautiful! Thank you for posting. You write with such compassion and even though you haven't technically "been there" it's easy to see that you get it. <3

Malena said...

Your post brought tears to my eyes. Through your empathy, you have ministered to many. You are amazing, Dulce!

dulce de leche said...

Thank you so much. Many hugs and much love to you all! Praying that your longings will be fulfilled. <3

Aubrey said...

"Infertility is cruel. The emotional exhaustion and pain of having your hopes rise persistently only to get washed away with blood and tears a few weeks later is unspeakable. You may try so hard *not* to hope, not to set yourself up for the crash, and yet, however well you prepare yourself mentally, there is still that bitter aftertaste of swallowed grief."
For these words, I sobbed. Thank you. It is so very powerful to read exactly how you are feeling, when you weren't even aware you were feeling that way. I was feeling so lost, so alone, and you touched my heart, with understanding, compassion, and hope...deferred hope...An abundance of love and grace to you for this wonderful message!

Anonymous said...

This is such an unspoken about topic, its great that you write about it as you knew someone close to you going through the hard times, the heart ache the tears, the pain, and you were sensitive, thank you for writing about it, making women like us who for unknown reasons struggle though the really shit rounds of Ivf and other treatments that almost tear you apart, feel like there are others out there who care too. Your post bought tears to my eyes too, but then so do most things these days.x