Learning to Find Joy in the Midst of Pain: Scenes From a Woman Who Desires to Have a Baby

Note-to-Self-ann-written-notesEvery so often I share things I am going through on my blog.  Sometimes it’s easy and it comes naturally for me, being the open book that I am.  Other times, it’s harder.  Today is one of those times.  But, I am appreciative of Rick, who, this morning, said to me, “you should write about it.”  For one second I thought absolutely not.  And here we are, 10 hours later and I am writing.

As most of you know, Rick and I had a miscarriage a couple of months back (well, if you count the start to finish of that super fun process it was about 5 months ago from the start…not that I am counting).  Yes, it was painful. Yes, it was sad.  Yes, I had a ton of love and support.  No, I’m not over it.  Not that anyone expects me to be, but I suppose I put this 3,000 pound pressure on myself to dust myself off and get over it.  And usually I do get over whatever it is I am going through.  Well, this situation isn’t that easy. Why, you ask?  Oh, let me count the ways.

First, I have always said (quietly to myself with nobody around) that I would never be one of those women who after having a miscarriage would envy or feel anger when hearing of other women who get pregnant or have children.  Second, I have high expectations of myself.  Third, miscarriages and trying to have a baby is hard.  Knowing that, let me share with you a few scenes in my  life that. actually. happened.  (As a side, when I do the whole word. word. word. thing in my blogs it’s a way of emphasizing what I am saying.  Hopefully you have gotten that by now and if you haven’t, well, that’s why I am telling you.   Just now when I typed that way I realized it may not be obvious and you guys may think I just have no idea how to write. Which I suppose could be argued.  Anyways…)

Scene 1, Act 1: Ann’s First Ridiculous Episode Post Miscarriage

Scene:  My couch
Actors:  Myself and two close friends from my bible study (we will call them Cathy and Denise for this scene).
Script:
All:  “Hey, it’s so great to see you!” (big hugs happening, coats coming off, glasses of water being drank, getting comfortable on my charcoal gray Crate & Barrel couch)
Cathy:  “I’m so glad it’s just us for a few minutes before everyone gets here.  I have some news…I’m pregnant!”
Denise:  “Oh my gosh, Cathy, wow, this is amazing!” (or something like that, reaching in for an additional hug of joy)
Ann: Awkward facial expression (half-smile/half weird lip movement to prevent frown), lump in throat, “eeehhhh, ummmm…” (Ann starts to weep, apologizing for her completely rude response to her friend who just shared with her such incredible news.)

Okay, so that was a short film that clearly didn’t win any awards at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival.  Yes, I did that.  I wept out of sadness for myself when my friend shared with me she was pregnant.  Let’s continue, shall we?

Scene 2, Act 1:  Ann’s Second Ridiculous Episode Post First Ridiculous Episode Post Miscarriage

Scene:  My couch
Actors:  All of the women in my bible study, including Cathy and Denise from original scene
Script:
All:  “Great to see everyone…what’s new, what are the updates before we dig into our study?”
Denise:  “I’m pregnant!”
Ann:  Same scene from above, but no crying and Ann held it together physically and later that night, she prayed/yelled at God and cried herself to sleep.

Are we having fun yet?  Oh, no?  Okay.  Let me continue on with this humiliation.

Scene 3, Act 1:  Ann’s Third Ridiculous Episode…No Further Description Needed
Scene: South Florida, hotel bar
Actors: Myself and two colleagues
Script:
Colleague 1:  “So, how are you doing with everything, Ann?” (and by “everything” she means miscarriage)
Ann: Starts weeping in front of her colleagues in the middle of drinking a Moscow Mule.  Classic.

Haven’t had enough of my meltdowns?  Okay, fine, I’ll share another.

Scene 4, Act 1:  Ann’s Fourth Ridiculous Episode
Scene:  My boss’s house
Actors:  Myself, my colleague (note, different colleague from South Florida scene and note, my boss was upstairs and missed this scene)
Script:
Ann:  Takes a conference call that didn’t go well, comes into the room with her colleague and starts…wait for it…wait for it…yep, crying.
Colleague 1:  “Oh my gosh what is that matter?!” (she comes in for the big hug)
Ann: Weeping, “I just had a bad conference call and it’s been a hard week and everything with the miscarriage and my hormones and WAH WAH WAH…”

Yes, that was me, AGAIN.  Thankfully my boss was in the other room and didn’t see that disaster.

You see, the last few months have been hard. And the harder issue is me trying to mask the pain, not talk about how I feel and think I am just going to be okay.  The reason I share these embarrassing, real stories with you is that in the last couple days, my pain has deepened and I have been trying to work my way through it and. I. can’t.  (There is the emphasis thing again.)  But, I am learning something very important.

I woke up Friday morning mad at God.  Saddened that everyone and their brother sister is pregnant and I’m not.  Even just typing that sucks.  I prayed and talked to God about it.  And do you want to know what I experienced the following morning? Get ready to laugh (or cry, depending).  Minutes after praying (literally), my phone rings and it’s an old, dear friend from NYC.  We catch up and talk about our holidays and the New Year and work.  And then she says those three fun words, “I have news!”  Yep, she’s pregnant (and has been for almost  7 months).  But something she said stuck with me.  She said, “After everything you went through, I didn’t want to tell you…I knew it may be hard…I wanted to be sensitive.”  She was the second person, second close friend, that has said something like this to me.  And for some reason this time it made me think.  And we hung up and a few small tear drops fell down my cheeks.  Why, God?  Why today?  Why amidst my heart hurting?  

My day went on and knowing I should continue to pray, I didn’t.  I medicated my pain with hours and hours of HGTV’s Love It or List It, wearing my house coat eating crappy, sugary cereal.  I have to admit, it did make me feel a little better. Rick and I then went to church and sitting within a three-foot radius of us were the following:  A cute couple with their one month old VERY cute baby.  Sting.  Another couple, wife with a big belly that she was rubbing and I could just FEEL her joy.  Ouch.  Cathy from scene above (again, my dear friend) and her husband and it was the first time I had seen her since her belly starting showing.  Double ouch.  Jeez, I wondered if I could have gotten pregnant just by being around all of these people!  Hmmm…

And as church began, another woman came in with her handicapped son, perhaps 5 or 6 years old, in a wheelchair.  I watched that mother hold her son (as he couldn’t walk or stand) and kiss him and the love she felt for that boy was pure, real love.  She held him and hugged him and smiled in his eyes.  He smiled back into hers.  A few more tears filled mine.

And then, God reminded me of a friend who recently lost her baby at 39 weeks.  And I was reminded of a couple who I don’t even know that I have been praying for that recently lost their baby at 35 weeks.  And then God reminded me of the amazing news that friends of ours just received a little girl that they had been trying to adopt for over a year.  And then He reminded me of my other friend who wasn’t able to have children and adopted a beautiful boy.  And I am reminded that God doesn’t call me to live from a place of what I don’t have, but from a place of gratitude for what I do have. And slowly, my heart started to change.  And when I think God isn’t listening to my prayers and when He has forgotten about me, He whispers, “I’m here, trust me.”

This is my journey right now that I am on.  A road that is leading me down a path of being honest with God, remembering that His plan is perfect, His timing is perfect and that while I am feeling sad or angry or hurt, I can also remember the joy, the gifts, the love I have.  And please, please don’t mistake my pain for the absence of joy I do feel for my friends who have gotten pregnant.  My heart smiles for them and I truly am happy for each of them.  And now, it’s time for me to focus on the blessings.  The massive amount of blessings that God has given me.  I can, each day, even ONE time a day, give thanks to God for these blessings.  I have said this before and I will say it again.  Life is painful.  Bad things happen.  Confusing things happen.  As humans, we long for love, for babies, for perfect careers, for perfect bodies, a large bank account, a clean home, respect and the list goes on and on and on.  And while longings are not inherently bad, the obsession of the longings can be bad.

Last night I went to bed, still in pain but with a changing heart and Rick said to me, “will you pray?”  I can’t tonight.  And he said, “well then tell me one thing you are thankful for.”  This warm, cozy bed on a very cold Chicago night.  My heart softened and I fell fast asleep.

As long as thanks is possible, then joy is always possible.  

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12 responses

  1. Wow, this is one moving blog, it was really late but I had to finish reading it! Ann, I think you are one amazing women, God will always bless you and Rick! Thanks for sharing! We love you!

  2. You have such a great support system and your faith is very inspiring. Rick was right when he told you to “just write about it”. Thank you for writing this and for sharing your heart with others. Thining about you, Ann and sending you much love from Arizona. xo

  3. If only everyone can be this open, share their real raw pain for something they want so bad…..very moving post, Ann. I hope writing this helped heal your heart in some way. I know so many women that have gone through this, and I know by sharing your pain…your helping others. There is a plan, I promise you. xo

  4. Ann, I am sorry for your pain. Thank you for sharing how you feel. It is so difficult to talk about and the honesty about your feelings helps us all connect with you even more. You are truly blessed to have such a loving husband and network of friends that care for you deeply.

  5. This was really an inspiring story..I’m so sorry your pain or anyone who has to go through this..It sounds like you have an amazing support network and are a strong woman. I’ll be thinking of you in 2013 and sending good vibes your way!

  6. This was really an inspiring story..I’m so sorry your pain or anyone who has to go through this..It sounds like you have an amazing support network and are a strong woman. I’ll be thinking of you in 2013 and sending good vibes your way!

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