Sunday, June 26, 2011

Welcomed home by a pregnancy announcement

After an amazing {and tiring} week at camp with my high school girls, I was on cloud nine. Seriously, these girls are so much fun and overall are really seeking the Lord. Witnessing God's work in their lives is such a joyful gift to me. I can't imagine my life these past 6 years without doing youth ministry, especially as I have walked this painful road of infertility. I am thankful that I have gotten to watch God working first hand, which has always been a reminder to take my eyes off of myself and my sorrows and put my trust in him and his purposes.

Anyway... I came home from camp to an email from a friend with the subject line of, "News." I bet you have gotten those too, huh? Where you know what it is going to say before you even open it?

The email was from a dear college friend of mine. We have been friends for 12 years now, were in each others weddings, and still live in the same city. We get coffee one morning a week before work. She has been very sympathetic to our infertility struggle, and I know that all of the tears I shed yesterday were completely ME and my pain, and not her.

But with that said, it is one of those friends with which it has been particularly difficult to not feel competitive in life. Isn't that weird? I don't have many (any?) other friends that I struggle like this with, but for some reason I do with her. She has definitely had her struggles and seasons of waiting, so she is not one of those people who seem to "have it all easily," so I don't know why...

We were trying to conceive for a full year before she got married. I actually thought I might have to get a maternity bridesmaids dress for her wedding, or, if things happened really quickly, I would have a newborn! Ha! She has now been married two years. Over the last two years she has tried to be very sensitive to me in the midst of infertility, and would always talk about her own future family building plans with the preface of, "If God blesses us with children...." which I both appreciated and hated. I appreciated the understanding that it is NOT something to be taken for granted and that one may very well not be given that blessing. But I hated it because, in all likelihood, she WOULD be blessed with children and it just seemed so random to say. Obviously I just hated it because it was a reminder that I am the odd one out on that one.

She and her husband bought a house at the same time they got married two years ago, and they have spent a lot of time and money fixing it up. My husband and I have owned our house for 3 years, but due to saving/ spending money for infertility and adoption we have not done any of the projects we need or want to do. Likewise, she and her husband took a really big "before kids" vacation last fall....while I feel like the trips we have taken (DC!) have been such a stretch and a conscious decision to not let infertility rule our lives for over 3 years. And while she told me about their many vacations and house projects, I always felt those pangs of how infertility has effected so many things in my life...and struggled with jealousy that she didn't have to.

So. I'm pretty sure she got pregnant their first month trying. I don't know this for a fact, but I know in the past she had said they wanted to wait two years before trying to conceive, and based on her being about 12 weeks along that would put conception right at the two year mark. And, that means she conceived the same month as my last failed cycle in April...and our due dates would have been the same month. Every time I think of that it is just such a punch in the gut.

As I type all of this I know how whiny most of it sounds. I know. I honestly know I am so blessed that we have managed to find an affordable infertility clinic, pull the funds together, and pay for all that we did without going into debt. I know we are SO BLESSED. And we have gone on little vacations, a DC vacation, and we own our home. Who am I to complain?? Honestly, I DO feel thankful for these undeserved gifts, but as I said above it is just when I start comparing myself to others that these selfish thoughts take hold.

So I am praying that God would forgive me for these selfish thoughts and give me the strength to be a loving friend. She was very sweet in her email and said she understood if I wanted to stop meeting weekly, but as I wrote my reply to her (crying as I typed the whole thing) I knew I wanted to be there with her in this exciting time. This baby is a miracle, and this is such a special time for my friend. I would hate it MORE to drift apart in the friendship and miss out on this. I hate that my grief makes me want to ditch out on my friend, but I am praying that God gives me the strength to rejoice with those who rejoice. I think this will be another area of trusting God...but I am thankful that he can do this work in me.

I am nervous to see her on Thursday. I am scared of how much the next 6+ months will hurt. I am scared her baby will be past babyhood before my baby is mine. I have cried quite a bit this weekend. But I am trusting God, and as I was so perfectly reminded of tonight at church, God's glory far exceeds what it is I am waiting for. (Seriously, I felt like the sermon tonight was written just for me. Thank you God. In fact, the very first example of waiting he gave was, "Those of you waiting for children..." I pretty much cried through the whole thing and felt like the words were balm to my soul).


Leah said...

I think we all have a friend that we feel a bit competitive with. It's never a good feeling, but it's the reality unfortunately.

I'm sorry that you were met with this difficult announcement from a friend. It's weird, but I still cringe at announcements. Just the years of waiting that I don't think I'll ever completely get over.

You sound like a wonderful friend, and she is lucky to have you in her life.

amy said...

I'm so sorry, I understand your pain. The hardest part is hearing birth announcements of close friends or family...especially when it happens so easily.

Don't beat yourself up over feelings of jealousy, I think it's par for the course in the IF journey.

I'll be praying for you!


A said...

I don't think this post was whiny at all- pregnancy announcements, especially from friends who you've kept toe-to-toe with in the past are seriously unbearable. I am so glad that God blessed you with a wonderful week at your youth camp and inspired your pastor to give a sermon which spoke so clearly to your aching heart. Be not afraid, God goes before you!!

Rebekah said...

Hillary, You so eloquently put into words the feelings that only a special group can fully understand. Even being where I am today, this post brought tears to my eyes, knowing the pain and heartbreak to get that news from such a close friend. I am praying with you for your strength. I wasn't that strong in similar situations, and I now regret it so much. I often just cry about how many friends I have lost because of my own selfishness. This friend and her baby are lucky to have you in their lives!!

On a lighter note, I'm glad you had a nice week at camp! Hope you are able to have another great week!

andreajennine said...

Oh, friend. That's hard. Comparison is such a common temptation. A situation like that does make all the various losses that accompany infertility so fresh. Thanks for sharing so honestly. I commend you for wanting to rejoice with your friend, anyway, and I trust God will give you grace to do just that! I will pray that he also enables your friend to mourn with you.

Anonymous said...

I was in the exact same place as you and can so relate to your feelings. My husband and I had stopped fertility treatments and started the adoption process. My best friend (and next door neighbor) announced that they were pregnant with their second. I felt like I was being left behind. Like her kids were going to end up being my kids baby sitters. But God's plans are big. And two months after her daughter was born, my son was born. So you never know... you may end up bringing your baby home before your friend does. Keep the faith - God is BIG.

Rosie said...

I feel the exact same way when I hear a pregnancy announcement. My best friend is currently pregnant and as excited as I was for her, I felt so much grief for us. You have so many blessings in your life. But your most important blessing is that you and your husband have gotten through a terrible time in your life together, this changes you, it makes you appreciate everything even more and it makes you a stronger couple. I pray for your adoption match everyday, I can't wait to be excited for you and not sad for me :)

Jenny H said...

First of all I want to say you are COMPLETELY normal in your feelings. I admire you in you thinking this one out and wanting to keep this friendship and the hope that I hear you talk about the future with your child. I love that there is hope there for you. You WILL one day look back at your decision to keep her as your friend and be happy that you "took one for the team" to preserve your friend ship. This to shall pass. It will Hilary, it will. Many are praying and it will. The hard part is when and how. Again I love that I hear hope in your words. For it is when you loose your hope that you give up your dream.
It will be tough to see her announcements and growing belly, but you can do it. I just may be worth all the tears one day.
I was in this boat over a year ago and I totally understand the heart ripping feelings of this type of email. You made the right decision and I am happy for you. Proud of you for spelling it all out too on your blog... this will help you get through it all. Just be careful not to hurt her out of your hurt. Remember hurt people, hurt people.
love, prayer, and strength through this.
Jenny H

Melissa G said...

Oh Jess. I totally understand, and please know you are not alone. I too was jealous and sometimes resentful that our married friends were able to take amazing vacations and do fun projects on their homes, while we spun our wheels during four years of treatment, spending the equivalent of one year's tuition to an Ivy-league school... I don't blame you for feel so hurt. It sucks...

Hugs, friend.

Life Happens said...

We've all been there. I admire you for still wanting to be friends with your friend and be part of her joy. And while it may be tough, you will be blessed for being a wonderful and thoughtful friend!

Michelle said...

I'm praying for you, Friend, that God will grant you peace during this hard time. I know what you're going through. We've all been there! Just know that you are not alone, even though it feels like you are! Love you!!

Indy said...

There are somethings in life that can't be measured by what we have "materially" speaking. I think it's beautiful that you serve the Lord alongside your husband in the youth ministry. That is a kingdom investment you are making. May I encourage you today to stop looking back and look towards the finish line? I share this verse with you: 2
"Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. 17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal." - 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
I am praying for you in a special way today. May the Lord remind you of His great promises and give you the strength to love your friend as Christ would have you love her.