A letter to my friends whose hearts yearn for motherhood

Dear friend,

I’ve never talked to anyone this but I was reminded of it today as I reflected on being a mother.

My husband and I had always talked about how we’d like to adopt and/or foster as well as have our own birth kids. So, when we first decided to think about starting a family we we did a sort of pros and cons exercise around fostering, adoption and having a birth kid.

At the time I was working as a Children and Families Pastor in a church so I knew masses of families and we had lots of friends at a similar stage of life. Miscarriage and infertility is not something openly talked about but at that point I was aware of a staggering number of couples who were unable to conceive or who were having multiple miscarriages. On Mother’s Day that year I stood at the front of church looking out at people for whom I know the day would bring great pain desperately trying to find the right words to celebrate and love everyone in the room.

So, when we decided on trying for a baby I could not have been more aware of how hard the process could be. The year before I’d had surgery to treat endometriosis so although at that point it was gone I knew that was something that could come back so I had begun preparing myself that it might take some time.

When we got pregnant almost immediately I was really shocked. With all the people struggling around me and what I thought might be going on in my body I had prepared myself for a much longer journey to conception.

Now, this is the stuff I haven’t told anyone, from that moment through to our 12 week scan to see how our little one was doing I felt joy and I felt excitement. But, perhaps equally if not more, I felt incredible sadness and apprehension. I would imagine over and over how I would ever manage to tell my friends who had suffered through multiple miscarriages or just weren’t conceiving that we were having a baby.

When we went for our 12 week scan I was excited to see our kid but I was also fearful that we might not see a living baby because I knew so many who had experienced that loss. Even on that journey to the hospital I found myself thinking, “at least if I don’t have a baby then I won’t have to tell those people that I do”.

When we saw our little guy and we knew that he was healthy, we were overjoyed. But, to be totally honest, my heart sunk. My heart broke. My heart was heavy knowing that I would have to tell others that for us, it had worked.  That I would have to tell others I was having a baby when I was incredibly aware that they were not.

I remember standing at the side of church sharing the news with a friend who had miscarried multiple times. She handled it with such incredible grace and love as I shared my news with tears in my eyes.

When I look at my kid I am deeply grateful for him. I praise God that we were able to conceive him and he was born healthy. But, I also look at him and I know how incredibly precious he is.

When I speak to friends who have struggled or are struggling to conceive, or carry babies to term, I am fearful that seeing my kid will cause them pain. I am fearful that I won’t say the right words or they won’t think I understand how incredibly painful it is for them.

I am so grateful that we have our little guy. We don’t know what will happen when we try for another, if we do. Fertility and conception are so incredibly fragile and life is so precious. The journey to motherhood is not simple and it looks so different for everyone.

My friend, if you are desperate to be a mother and it’s not happening, I cannot even begin to describe how much my heart breaks for you. Even when I cannot find the words to say, or the existence of my kid is like a smack in the face for you, please know that I am always here for you. I pray for you on this incredibly painful journey and I hope daily for you to experience the joy of motherhood for which your heart yearns.

With all my love x

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14 thoughts on “A letter to my friends whose hearts yearn for motherhood

  1. Annie says:

    Thank you for reading Marsha. I have had conversations with friends and people I’ve worked with who I know have seen friend’s kids and have felt that pain and desperation. So, that fear is based on genuine conversations. However, I agree that not every involuntarily childless person will feel this way so it’s a good reminder. Thank you.
    Blessings and best wishes to you and your family too x

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  2. Annie says:

    Our heart is still to adopt or foster in the future and it wasn’t an exercise which made any judgement on children in care. I say pro’s and con’s for want of a better expression. We looked at what was possible and what we wanted and the reality was the my husband wanted to try for a birth child first and realistically it would have been hard to afford a big enough house to adopt or foster where we were living. Our heart is to adopt a child whose wait for adoption may be longer, for example children over the age of four, with additional needs, from black and minority ethnic communities or who are part of a sibling group, and we want to be totally prepared for them. So, I guess the pro’s and con’s was more for them coming into our family.
    Thank you for reading.

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  3. crummymummy1 says:

    I can relate to this on both sides – I have three beautiful children but also had two consecutive miscarriages and yearned to be pregnant when it seemed everyone else had good news to share #twinklytuesday

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  4. Marsha says:

    “I am fearful that seeing my kid will cause them pain.” Yes, this is a lovely response in its own way, but…are you maybe over-identifying with others to the point that you no longer see them clearly? When the childless “see your kid,” it’s not your kid (of course) that they want. They want a child of their own. (I know you know this.) If you really want to help the involuntarily childless, then demonstrate to them that you are a *person* first, not a *mother* first and foremost. Relate to your childless friends as a person-who-happens-to-be-a-mother (not as a mother-who-happens-to-be-a-person). And, then when you see those sad and childless on Mother’s Day, you won’t over-imagine their desperation, and you won’t believe that this extends to you and your family. I’m genuinely glad that you got your chance to be a mother. Please know that the involuntarily childless can learn to find other ways to cope with the loss of their dreams. Learn how to co-exist with them, instead of imagining them at the margins of a world where it’s only parents who catch the brass ring of family-love and “have it made.” Blessings and best wishes to you and your family.

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  5. mummascribbles says:

    Such a lovely post and I totally relate. I know people who have had trouble conceiving or keeping their babies growing and felt guilty that for us, we fall pregnant very easily. It’s good to be mindful of those who are struggling and count ourselves lucky that we have our beautiful children. Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

    Liked by 1 person

  6. postcards_for_findlay says:

    Such a beautiful, honest post. When our first son Findlay was born, I reached out to others within th baby loss community – I needed their strength, understanding and support to help me survive the devastation of his death.

    But when we fell pregnant soon after with our rainbow baby I felt incredibly guilty, and was fearful not only that we would lose this baby too but that the new support network I had made would disintegrate, that I would be rejected.

    We weren’t, and I am eternally grateful to have our rainbow safely in our arms, but my heart goes out to all those who have aching arms.

    #TwinklyTuesday

    Liked by 1 person

  7. five little doves says:

    I can so relate to this post. After losing fifteen babies to miscarriage and my second son to stillbirth, when I went on to have three more children I felt incredibly guilty. Although I was over the moon that we finally had our family after so much heartache, I was so sad for those who didn’t even have one child, and here I am with four. It’s very hard, but my friends who have suffered with infertility and miscarriage were so happy for us, especially given what we had been through. #twinklytuesday

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Folakemi says:

    It’s such a touchy subject people tend to shy away from, I think in the end most people close to you will be happy for you in spite of their struggles with fertility or not. #twinklytuesday

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Annie says:

    I think, and hope, you’re probably right but I think in the midst of long infertility battles I’d understand if it was a struggle. But such a hard thing to talk about so it seems a bit unknown.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. anywaytostayathome says:

    It’s a hard thing to balance isn’t it. I do believe that most people, despite their personal position or hardships view children as a blessing, especially the children of their friends. So long as you are respectful to them and their situation. #TwinklyTuesday

    Liked by 1 person

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