Sunday, June 22, 2008

The pain that never totally goes away

As you may or may not know, we live in the Midwest. The Midwest is known for a few things – corn, soybeans, corn, flooding, corn and coming into trends about a year after they were trendy. One such trend is the movie Juno.

Brian and I watched Juno last weekend together FINALLY. As I suspected, I found the movie witty, surprising, intelligent, sharp and fun. One reaction that took me off guard, though, was painful. Yes, painful. The movie made me cry. For fear of harsh embarrassment, I held back what were actual sobs inside my body. My head was on Brian’s lap and I found myself crying streams of tears down the side of my face for half the movie.

Why? What about this clever flick could spark such emotion?

The pain of infertility.

I have never given birth. As far as I know, I have never even been pregnant. I have tried to trick my body into being pregnant. I have taken many prescription drugs to convince my body to become pregnant. I have been poked, prodded, tested, squeezed, punctured, scraped, enlarged, starved, etc. – all in desperation to become pregnant.

My children are mine through the womb of another. I have the UTMOST respect and admiration for all birth parents and their difficulty in the decision to choose adoption. Because of these birth parents, my children are mine as yours are yours. There is never a day that I do not feel like their mother. There is never a moment that I do not feel the deep piercing love for those two boys that only a mother can feel. Never.

And I am resolved that we are meant to only have these two boys. I am resolved to the fact that God created these two little boys through the seeds of 4 others to be ours. I REALLY AM SO OKAY WITH THAT.

Why then is it that, out of the blue, something happens to make me yearn and ache?

I have become accustomed to the fleeting moments –

Like when a close friend or relative announces she is expecting, and my internal reaction is a fleeting moment of jealousy and pain. A fleeting moment that seems to last an eternity and I pray they do not see the sting their joy just caused me, because my infertility is not their fault any more than it is my fault. A fleeting moment that gives way to delight, enthusiasm, and excitement for their own good news - for THEIR moment.

Or like when friends and colleagues share birth and pregnancy stories, not realizing, (How could they? Why SHOULD they?) I feel intimidated, embarrassed and insignificant when the topic arises. For a brief moment, I don’t feel female. The feeling soon gives way to general interest in their own personal accounts.

I have become accustomed to those moments and they seem to be fewer.

Sometimes, however, the moment haunts me and lasts for hours. Juno brought out mourning for a part of my life I never expected to forego. A part of my identity as a female. A part of my life I thought was a RIGHT. A part of my life I think I have come to terms with, only to feel a deep surging of anguish overcome my demeanor and resurface the same emotions as the years of unsuccessful conception attempts. My right to carry a child.

I cried tears of resentment when Juno was talking so callously about the pregancy at first. I have never had a positive pregnancy test. I cried tears of jealousy when Juno and her family and friend were watching the ultrasound. The only ultrasounds I have had administered showed the size and quantity of my follicles developing from the fertility drugs - follicles releasing eggs that would never develop into a child. I cried tears of empathy when Jennifer Gardner put her hands on Juno’s stomach to feel the baby move and awkwardly talked to her potential child-to-be, knowing that is the closest she or I would ever come to feeling life begin. I cried tears of understanding at Jennifer Gardner’s guard for the prospect of the adoption falling through - knowing baby showers and shopping trips are for pregnant people only. Adoptive parents have showers AFTER the baby is a sure thing. Then I cried tears of mixed emotions in the hospital - sympathy for Juno and her loss, yet respect at her decision and excitement for Jennifer Gardner and her new beginning. I cried tears of compassion at Juno’s father’s gentleness and counsel telling Juno someday she would be there on her terms. The whole movie sparked emotions in me I once felt so deeply and emotions I thought I had stifled.

I am then reminded that movies like Juno only amplifiy emotions I experience on a regular basis. A resentment I feel at stories like these teenagers and their pregnancy pact and a bitterness that so many of them were so easily successful in their pregnancy attempt. A jealousy when seeing unplanned celebrity pregnancy adorning the covers of most Gossip rags. Ugly, ugly emotions.


Will it ever go away completely?

Maybe what I need to come to terms with instead is… no.



  1. Angie, I am not going to even try to say something inspiring, witty, clever, etc. because I will fail horribly. I am not in your boat. I'm sure I'd feel the same way you do if I were in that boat, only I would not handle it as well. The only thing I can imagine to say, is that the Lord has given you an amazing place in His plan, and without you Gavin and Grant may be who knows where??? Without you and Brian, they may be in a home with parents who don't know God. With parents who don't understand His saving grace. God's plan for you to be Gavin and Grant's mother was a plan for them to know Him and to share eternity with Him.

    And BTW, not to make too light of the situation, but I'm jealous of anyone who has kids AND a flat stomach. (me sticking my tongue out at you)

    Love you Kid!!!

  2. I am sorry for your pain. I am so happy you became a mother in spite of your infertility. Thinking of you tonight.

  3. AnonymousJune 22, 2008

    I have no words. I haven't been in this boat. The closest, which isn't even that close, is the miscarriage I had before getting pregnant with A. A lot of strong emotions in those months. I wish I had strong words for you, but nothing I say would be right. I'm sorry.

  4. I struggle with something similar.

    I'm sorry you have to feel this way and I wish I could say something to make you feel better.

    I think all you can do is embrace your feelings - recognize them instead of trying to stiffle them. They will probably never go away but in time they won't cause you so much pain.

    Hang in there.

  5. Angie,

    I am sure I don't have any words to make your pain go away. I am sorry for your situation. I am happy though that you are a mom to your handsome boys - I can tell you are a wonderful one too!

    You are in my thoughts.

  6. Angie,
    Thank you for sharing this part of you... It struck a deep fear in me as well when I saw this movie. I hope one day that I will be able to have a child naturally.. maybe two :) But people such as yourself have shown me over the past few months that if I can't, it will be alright and that there is great joy and a will of God in the adoption of children. Thank you. :-)

  7. AnonymousJune 22, 2008

    Although I struggled to have children, I cannot relate to your situation. (Thanks for commenting on my story about it, btw.) We discussed adopting and often had people suggest it when we were having difficulty getting pregnant. But I was never convinced that I would make a good adoptive mom.

    I admire you for embracing the children you have - even though you didn't carry them. Your boys are so lucky to have you as a mom.

  8. Hugs.

    That's it.

    Oh, except maybe also to say, GREAT post.

  9. Girl, I feel ya. We suffer (ed) with infertility for 6 years before our modern medicine miracle 'worked'. It was a miracle in every sense of the word. We went down multiple paths (including adoption) all of which led to heavy heartache. So when I saw Juno, I cried too. There is comfort, though, in knowing some things are out of your control and just are or are not meant to be.

    This post got me right in my left aorta my friend.

  10. Wow. I know several women who have struggled with infertility...and I feel the way you do FOR them...and I'm sure they feel it too, but I have questioned why there are so many 'Oops' pregnancies for those who don't want them...and those who have no greater desire are not blessed.

    Only One knows the answer...

    Hug those boys tight...God picked YOU to be their mother.

  11. I so appreciate how you share yourself on your blog - even though I guess I am a "stranger," your blog makes me think about lots of things.

    I just saw Juno two weeks ago (see, you aren't really that far behind) and it brought up a lot of emotions in me as well.

    I pray it is a movie that keeps people talking!


  12. I too wish I had something great to say that would make this all go away, but I know I can't.

    I appreciate how real you are on your blog. That you share it all, and let us know you.

    Just know there is someone is Arizona thinking and praying for you tonight.


  13. What an amazingly honest post. I am so sorry that you have that grief to deal with. And, I know that it goes without saying that it has nothing to do with the love that you have for your sons. Although I haven't been through infertility, I'm an adoptive mom too, it's an awesome journey - and a slightly different one than pregnancy and childbirth. I get it! Hugs.

  14. No one will ever know the pain of infertility except someone who has experienced it. I see two gifts in your post. One, that you could talk and describe your feelings so well - both the joy of being a parent to your sons and the devastation of never experiencing pregnancy. And two, allowing women who have not experienced infertility have a little window into the experience.

    Sending hugs.

  15. AnonymousJune 23, 2008

    Hey Angie. I have been one of those people guilty of lurking around your blog and never commenting. I could not help but comment on this one...and you know why! I am right there with you all the way. I know the pain that goes along with infertility and you are right, it never goes away. My husbands sister recently told us she was pregnant. While I had been anticipating this type of announcement...I thought, I will be good with this...but as soon as she told us...I felt overcome by this grief inside. However, on the outside you have to put a huge smile on and be happy (which of course we are). No one understands it, unless you have been there. While I would not trade my two beautiful daughters for the world...I still yearn to feel a little life grow inside me (as I am sure you can relate). You have now assured me that the continuance of these feelings is normal. You would think time would heal those feelings...but when? There are few people who can is refreshing to talk to those who can.

    Andrea T.

    PS I read your blog daily and am amazed at your talents (writing that is). Maybe we can get together for lunch during one of our trips back to Peoria.

  16. I want to say SOMETHING... but there are no words... so, I'll just point to what willisfamily posted because that's what I believe to be true... and tell you that your post has enlightened me to the impact that some conversations may have on a woman struggling with fertility issues.

  17. What a great thing we have in the blogging world. We can open up our emotions and instantly be surrounded my numerous friends! That's what we all are here for. Cry on our shoulders and we'll give you virtual hugs!

    Hugs, hugs, hugs!! :)

  18. I am not even sure where to begin. My heart goes out to you and other women and moms in your position. Your post made me cry for not only you but my other friends. Life can be so unfair sometimes, even when we feel like we have come to be at peace with something. Those girls, the ones who made the pact, have no idea what they have done. That story disgusted me. It made me angry.
    This movie made me cry as well. At the same parts it made me cry.
    Such powerful words. I think everyone should read this.

  19. I think that there are aspects of God's plan for our lives that he keeps to Himself. I think if he revealed all to us we would be overcome. Overcome with what? I don't know, but I do know that we would not be able to handle it.

    It is so hard to make sense of the life that we've been handed sometimes. Why do bad things happen to good people? Or are those "bad things" really bad at all when you look at them through the eyes of God? Do they still hurt so bad that it pierces our hearts at times? Yes. But through the hand of God, they have been allowed for your good.

    Somehow though I have to look to the heavens and trust that God would not have planned this any other way for you and Brian and your precious boys. I say ache for what may never be for you, but also trust that this is the God who parted the seas, raised from the dead and healed the broken. No, that may not mean being pregnant for you, it may just mean healing for your heart. Only time will tell.

    He has power that we can never put into a box. I don't know what that power will do for you in the future, but I look at what it's ALREADY DONE and I stand amazed.

    I love you.

  20. AnonymousJune 23, 2008

    Oh Ang.

    I've never dealt with infertility.

    But I can relate to something here.

    The anger. The humiliation.

    The feeling of being betrayed by your own body. Not-feminine.

    After Angel died, I felt so angry at all pregnant women....teenagers especially. How could they? They were so flippant. So arrogant. I couldn't go to malls for years.

    I hated maternity stores.

    I despised the sight of strollers.

    I felt like I was defective. I felt like the world was laughing at me every time I turned on the news and saw another story of a mother drowning her baby, or leaving her kid in the SUV to die.

    But I won't say I understand your pain.

    And I got angry every time someone told me to 'move on' and 'get over' the grief. I, too, had to come to terms with the fact that it was part of my life. It got sweeter, but it will never go away.

    I love you.

  21. I was feeling so badly when I read that story about those dumb girls for that same reason. They are so many wonderful people who have trouble and these girls run off and get pregnant and are compleltly unfit. I am so thankful for the people who do give up their babies to good people and people who never give up hope on having a family and adopt or use drugs and treatment.
    YOu are such an inspiration to everyone. you are someone who truly has gone through hell to have your family, you are amazing.

  22. I have not seen the movie -- I actually had no idea what it was about. I wish I had some fab words for you but alas I do not. Just so you know being pregnant and giving birth is the last part of motherhood that actually makes you a mom. It is the worry, sleepness nights, making owies better, worry, love, giving kissed, worry, family vacations, worry. love... you get the idea. :) You are those boys mom in the true sense of the word. They were meant to be yours.


  23. AnonymousJune 23, 2008

    I cried too...that stomach aching sobs..I was on a fricking plane too which made it more difficult not to make a spectacle of myself.
    See..I'm the adoptee and I wondered if my birthmom felt like Juno..and I'm also a 40something that knows I'm never having yep I'm always bawling at those kind of movies.

    ps..I didn't know your boys were know they look like you and your husband..right..
    I get that all the time, how I have my dad's nose and look like my mom..we just laugh.

  24. AnonymousJune 23, 2008

    you are a beautiful mother!! you have beautiful children!! i felt so much of your pain in these words. i want to be so much more aware of the pain that some of my friends face because of this. the teens who would make such a pact are using less of their brain than a ten yr old!!! for real, they are sooo clueless.

  25. Because I'm learning more and more about you, I feel every word of what you have written. There are no words that can make it better, and I'm sure you aren't looking for that at all.

    Each day the news brings yet another story that just makes your insides ache for those who truly want a child, a child that they can grow, nurture,raise, and love . . . not just an accessory that they can carry on their hip. The cavalier attitudes are frustrating.

    But you . . . you have some amazing gifts. You are an awesome mother. You have an amazing heart! And you, you inspire.

    Those two miracles are your sons. You are their mother. 'nuff said.

  26. I'm with you Angie. We also have never concieved after trying ALL of the possible fertility treatments. We also have an adopted son who is amazing, wonderful and such a blessing (just as yours are :)). I also cried my eyes in the movie...also to my surprise. I sort of felt like you were reading my mind as you wrote your blog, thanks for taking the time and representing the feelings that go along with infertility so well! We just have to hold onto the hope that maybe God is protecting us from something even harder and that he has a much bigger picture that we have no clue about! Can't wait to see that big picture, huh!

  27. You continue to amaze me with your honesty and openness. Your words have blessed so many in ways you will never know. This post is just one more example of God's plan shining in your life.

    Nothing anyone ever says will take the pain away, but in embracing and sharing it you honor the struggle shared by so many in painful, lonely silence. And you bless them in the process.


  28. Like many here, I have few clever words to offer, only my utmost respect for your writing and love as a mother. I'm so sorry that the pain still surfaces. *hugs* to you.

  29. I think we all have pain that just never goes away-I know I do. And yet you have such a beautiful family.

  30. AnonymousJune 24, 2008

    Angie -
    You are an amazing writer. I cried as I read your post (and when I watched June several months ago!) Already I can see from other comments how your words have helped others. I cannot say I know what you're feeling and would never even try to claim that. My heart goes out to any women who go through what you have. I know the pain will never fully go away - it's a loss and must be mourned like one. God bless your family - you, Brian and those beautiful boys!

  31. I read this post yesterday and wanted to comment but did't know what to say. i still don't. Except here's a hug, and you've made me cherish something I didn't know I was lucky ot have: fertility.Thank you for being so brave as to post this.

  32. I thought it was lovely of the movie to end up portraying the adoptive mother so sympathetically. It made me cry, and I've never been in her situation.

    God bless.

  33. Amazing...

    Your boys are blessed to have you for a mommy.

  34. AnonymousJune 25, 2008

    I read your post and skipped the comments because I am afraid of being repeatitive and if I am, I am sorry.

    But you are amazing. You are real. You are inspiring. I cried at Juno for compeletly different reasons and would have never imagined that the movie could create such a different experience in someone else. How you epress your feelings made me tear up..

    God has laid out his plan for you.. and regardless of how you became a mother.. you are indeed a mother.. and a great one at that.. and a wife that has courage, and compassion and faith.

    I wanted to hug you after I read this.. so consider yourself hugged.

  35. I just found your blog from over at Holly's... I hope you don't mind that I dropped in.

    I just read this post and my heart is breaking with you. :( i had a hard time conceiving my children, but thankfully was able to... and I have had a few very close friends go through tough times conceiving and also not being able to conceive and trying very hard to adopted, but having difficulty with that as well. It is a hard road that no one knows what it is like till they walk it too... and I'm sure I don't have a clue to half of what you are feeling or going through. But I do empathize with you and, I have shared some of those same feelings that you did while I couldn't get pregnant for many years. But thankfully, God, blessed you with two beautiful sons... and even more God blessed two beautiful boys with a loving wonderful set of parents!

    I'm sorry if I said the wrong thing... as I'm sure I didn't say the "right" thing... b/c honestly what right thing is there to say...

    sending happy thoughts and hugs your way!


  36. As a Birth Mother, I thank you for being who you are. Knowing there are wonderful people out there helped make a terribly difficult decision a tiny bit easier. It has been 17 years and I am equally dreading and anticipating that when he turns 18 his parents will tell him about me. Part of me is ashamed of my choice but part of me says I should be proud that I was able to give him something that I never could have given him.

  37. someday I should share my story with you.

  38. Angie,
    I read this old post of yours today since you linked to it, and I have to admit I was curious about your boys. Well, first I have to admit, that it wasn't until I had been following your story for several months that I even realized that your boys were adopted. Kind of funny because I often marveled at how different the two look, and wondered if each of them favored you or Brian. : )
    Anyhow, I just have to say that as much as you feel the pain of not having the opportunity to be pregnant and have a child, I am in awe of adoptive parents like yourself. When my sister-in-law and brother-in-law adopted my niece, I found myself thinking long and hard about whether or not I felt the pull towards adoption. We had two children of our own at that point, and another on the way .... but I still wondered if I was "called" to serve a child in that way as I hear so many say that they are. I struggled then to admit to myself that I don't think I could ever do it ... what if I didn't feel the bond? what if it didn't feel natural or right? what if I couldn't love that child as I would love my own?
    When I see adoptive families like yours, I have the utmost respect and admiration for the road you have traveled down. After reading your post today, it made me realize that God has a hand in all of this. It is HE who chooses the moms and dads that can be capable of such unselfish love. It is He who decides who should feel the pull towards adoption. Ultimately, it is He who decides who will or will not be able to bear a child of their own. Not to be mean or to deny you that chance, but to ensure that you will be guided down the path of adopting another child somewhere, who was meant to be yours. Or, two of them : ) Just think .... God knew when he lead you to those sweet little boys that their life would not be an easy one. They would feel the pain of losing a parent, and they would live with a mom who lost her husband. Just think of how much that says about you. God knew then, just as he knows now, that YOU could handle this, that YOU were perfect for them ... and, perhaps, that THEY would be just what you needed in your life.
    Blessings to you for being such a great mom.

  39. I came across your blog through a friend of a friend...(you know how it goes)...and I am reading this for the first time. I have not seen Juno. Now, I don't know that I want to. But thank you for sharing such wonderful honesty!!! The part about feeling intimidated, embarrassed, and insignificant...yeah...I get that. It's good to know that I'm not the only one that has felt "left out" when the conversation turns that direction.

    God has really been working on me in the area of celebrating other's victories...letting go of jealousy and envy. I have also come to learn and accept that He will be glorified through my struggles. I had someone tell me once that my children (when I have them, either from my womb or another's) will have an amazing story to tell about their mom and her faith in God that she would be a mother...kind of like how we talk about Sarah in the Bible today. I believe that for you and your boys. One day, when they have fallen in love and gotten married, they will cherish becoming a father even more because of your testimony...your struggles with and desires to have a baby (not to mention what they've been through here lately).

    Thank you for sharing! I know you have suferred a tremendous heart goes out to you. Keep sharing your heart...people (like me) are being ministered by it...God is being glorified through it.

    God bless you and your family!!!