Baby Blues

I’ve just found out that Another friend is pregnant.  (Is there anyone left?!)

I’m genuinely pleased for her – it hasn’t been an easy process and she and her hubby will be brilliant parents.  Plus, having gone through that horrible yearning, it’s wonderful to see an end in sight for people I care about. But it’s painful too because I want that to be me – I want to be yelping with delight over the right blue line too!

I’m properly pleased for her, but also properly sad for myself. So after the initial congrats and talk, I’m trying to process that sadness and make some sort of sense from it.

First there’s that punched in the stomach feeling.  (It’s a physical and instinctive response, just like sometimes I think about stroking a wee baby’s head and suddenly there’s something raw and open and powerful throbbing away, that I can’t even begin to articulate or stuff down).

Then, there’s the deep breath and the prayer. I’m squashed. But I’ve got a two-minute window before I can talk to myself or tumble down the licketty-split abyss that takes days to get out of. Sometimes distraction is good – just until I can catch my breath.  But I have to be careful  – this is exactly when I’m tempted to ‘make it better’ – using whatever it takes: a credit card or booze or fags or food or whatever.  “Whatever” being anything that will give me a quick fix and doesn’t involve looking too hard at how I’m reacting.

I feel old and ugly and this seems like the ideal time for a holiday or botox.  But part of the reason it’s hard is because there isn’t an easy fix – and I can’t pretend the messiness isn’t there. So I pray again and I think about why I want a baby and how I’ll cope without one.

I want to give my parents grandkids before they die. I want to know what it feels like to give birth and to create an actual life. I want to go shopping in Baby Gap.  I want to be like my friends.  I feel like my life means nothing if I don’t have kids.  I want to leave something lasting. I think Glen would be an awesome dad.  I don’t want to be left out.  I’m not sure what else to do with my time.  I want something that loves and needs me. I’m feeling old and useless.  My insides wobble when I see little kids.

Good reasons – and bad ones.  Lots of ‘em about me and my self-esteem. About whether or not Jesus really is Enough.  I think He is.   And as I pray and write this post, a mum sits opposite me with her newborn and I realise it hurts, but it’s (sort of) okay too.  And that’s grace I can’t explain.

8 thoughts on “Baby Blues

  1. Emma- thanks for opening this part of your soul for us. I know it can’t be easy but it is helping others. You’ve summed up so well so many of our thoughts at the moment when it comes to the ache and joy of friends getting pregnant. It’s good to know we aren’t alone. It’s a relief to know someone else aches for parents to be grandparents and husbands to be dads. It’s a wonder to find someone else battling the bitterness and fighting for Jesus to be enough whilst at the same time being honest about the hurt. Thank you.

  2. Being all of a similar human nature we all want and long for the things we see others with but do not have ourselves.

    For you it’s not being able to have your own children, for other people it’s not having a boyfriend/husband, a relationship with a certain person (a parent, colleague, friend). You look at what other people have and you want to know why everyone else seems to have what you want.

    We all pray that God will give us what we want because it’s what we percieve will fill that something missing, forgetting that really only he can do that.

    I hope I managed to say that without coming across as being rude or disregarding your feelings.

  3. Yes – it’s like Hannah in 1 Sam 1 – she finds peace when she gives to God what she most wants. But this too is a work of the Spirit.

  4. Emma –

    Thanks so much for another post on this subject – profoundly helpful and I’ve already pointed a number of friends to the ‘Childlessness and the Gospel’ post – just incredibly helpful in pointing us to the gospel in the midst of ongoing emotional pain.

    As for the “the licketty-split abyss that takes days to get out of” – brilliant phrase that perfectly describes the place I know only too well… – thanks for the encouragement and reminder to stop and pray before falling down there for yet another visit….

    Mrs Anon

  5. Hi Emma,

    A friend linked to your new book on Facebook and I enjoyed reading your blog tonight. I appreciate you sharing in a really thoughtful and edifying way. I’m not in exactly the same position as you but am heading into my late thirties and not married and finding the childlessness tough. I appreciate you sharing your experience of how the Lord is sustaining you through it and helping you respond graciously to others, and also separate out real suffering from hurt to self-esteem.

    I love the end of this post about how it hurts and yet it’s kind of okay – this has been my experience too as my friends have their second and third babies and complete their families, and it looks like that’s not going to happen for me… Just wanted to encourage you that I’ve seen albeit in a slightly different situation that God’s grace really is enough for each day as it comes. And we can look forward confidently to seeing more of his grace and goodness even if we can’t be certain that we’ll experience the kind of families we long for.

    Thanks for your writing!

  6. Hi Daisy: Thanks so much for sharing some of your own story and similar, yet different struggles: it is such an encouragement to share life with other believers.

    I’m so thankful we have the same Saviour – and as you’ve reminded me so powerfully, the same hope. Praying we will both grow in love for Him x

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