Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Only Guilt

Did you read what Mandi said?  You should.  She guest posted over at Bonnie's place and it resonated so deeply.

From another mom of few to the moms of many.  We love you so hard and we're trying to show that love so much, but we're working through some things that make your life look like a storybook. 

Then I started thinking about how I'm reading about that storybook from the comfort of my nap time lie down....sans baby.  Just me, taking a little rest break because the tornado alarms went off at 3:45 am (thankfully sans actual tornadoes!) and I'm exhausted.

Sometimes when I'm taking a siesta, I think about all the moms that are slogging through their day with no breaks.  I have those days, but they're not as frequent as I imagine them to be for moms of many.

Molly did such a great job talking about that guilt.  That guilt we moms of few carry.  Because when my only toddler is napping and my nearly 9 y/o is reading a book (or maybe doing the dishes), I can read, watch a show, take a nap, work from home....lots of things that maybe aren't possible for a mom with many young children.

It's so true; out of all the feelings we feel, "that guilt lingers the longest."  Because who is to blame if not our bodies?  Who are we to fault if it's not us?  Maybe I wasn't grateful enough for my first child.....I carried that thought around for five years like a noose, ever tightening. 

Secondary infertility carries heavy doses of guilt.  That I have an easier time parenting (although there's magic in playmates and two has been easier than one for me); that I have a child and am still depressed by the longing for more, as if I must not be a good mother to not be wholly satisfied with one. 

Guilt for having the time to go to the movies with an only, then the resources to buy that child a generous birthday gift.  Guilt that the only child doesn't have siblings; that the siblings aren't close enough in age.  Because somehow, I will ruin this child without having the siblings for her that I perfectly pictured would line up in my perfectly ordered family.

Guilt over the people who look at me every Sunday and think that I'm not open to life.  Guilt over the congratulatory conversations I seem to find myself in with people who think that two is a choice. 

No, it's not my choice. 

But here's the thing.  Here's what I started to say in Molly's combox before it became way too long.  That guilt is really heartbreak.

It is a hurt so deep, you can only blame yourself for finding any joy in your life.  Because how could these moments feel peaceful and easy when I'm dying inside for another child?  How could I for a moment feel contentment when I am praying for more?

Because God is so good.  That's why.  That guilt is not your conscience guiding you towards openness.  We're already there, waiting at the threshold of new life for our turn to carry it again.  We're not guilty because we need to be reminded of the goodness and beauty of carrying and caring for little souls. 

We are guilty because we do not fully understand that God brings comfort, even in our greatest afflictions.

I didn't understand this until a mom of many pointed it out to me.  I was in the midst of losing Sweet Baby.  I looked at my friend and admitted something I had been carrying that made me feel like the worst mother to ever walk the earth (okay, maybe top five worst). 

I said, "You know, I would give up just about anything to keep her, but part of me thinks how much easier it'll be when she's not there.  She's so high needs.  Then I think about what I've just admitted to myself, and I feel like I'm an awful person.  I would choose the hard, but I just know it won't be as hard to parent when she's gone."

She looked at me and said, "But don't you think God would bring you some small measure of comfort in your sorrow?  If it's easier in some ways, just take that as a gift and a reminder of His love."

That was the day I stopped feeling guilty that I can take a nap or watch a movie with my oldest daughter, or go out for ice cream with the girls because my finances are not tight.  We're not rich, but with two girls and my ability to work from home with my super manageable brood, we're much more comfortable than we would be if we had many. 

I don't have to feel guilty about that anymore.  God gives us all consolations in our sorrows.  I choose not to let the guilt weigh down the joy He has for me. 

Share your gifts, share your time and talent.  Give to the world your voice and your heart.  But, when it's 3pm and your only is sleeping, eat the secret ice cream.  And when you do, remember how much God loves you, that even in your hard times, even as you walk through the sorrow of secondary infertility, He brings you comfort.  Don't lock that away from yourself because you think yourself unworthy.

You are beautifully and wonderfully made.  I have walked the path of infertility for eight years now.  It's hard enough, enjoy the moments that come easy.

I am continually blessed by the beautiful women who walk this path of infertility as well.  If you struggle with your abundant fertility, your sub-fertility, or your infertility, know that I offer the cross of my struggle for you.


  1. I read both Mandi and Molly's blogs and found yours thru there. Thank you for this post. I needed to hear this and will be rereading it for the words to sink in. We have 5 beautiful, healthy children with us. And then this past year we lost 3 precious baby boys to miscarriages. It has been a long and difficult road and I have much to learn and lots of healing to do on this journey. Thank you for sharing your story.

    1. Amanda - I'll be keeping you and your family in prayer. God bless!

  2. This is really beautiful, Annie! I am definitely going to keep the idea of the ease raising my only child as "God's consolation in my sorrow" in the front of my mind. Thank you for linking to my post too.

    1. Thanks Mandi! God is merciful, it can't be ALL downside, right?! Prayers for your health and fertility!


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