Friday, January 4, 2008

Where is the Line?

Where is the line between too much hope and not enough?

We did something stupid. It was about 2 weeks before Christmas, and it was about that time of the month where hope insiduously creeps in whether you want it there or not. You begin to question every twinge, every jumpy feeling in your stomach while praying with all of your heart that it is beginning of the coveted morning sickness. (Yes, IF women desire to throw up. I can't explain it.) You lay awake at night wondering if, after all this time, this is IT. Back and forth you go, hoping and doubting. Hoping against hope, doubting because history has made it seem so impossible. We wondered, we hoped. And, unwisely, we let ourselves go there.

You know the where that I'm referring to, fellow IF readers. The happy land of "What Will it Be Like?". We talked about how perfect it would be to tell our families over Christmas if we found out in the next day or two that we were pregnant. We considered with glee the stomach upsets I'd had all week. Then we did the unthinkable:

We strolled through the baby department at Target.

Wow, that was dumb. Really, really dumb. You'd think after nearly four years of infertility we'd know better. I reserve that action solely for the absolutely-can't-skip-it-because-I'm-the-pastor's-wife-and-must-be-at-this-baby-shower-shopping. But, we were dreaming, flying high on the slim possibility that my week-long nausea was due to a miracle.

We really enjoyed dreaming, I have to admit. Really enjoyed it. But, inevitably, reality came crashing in...despair waltzed in and sat down where hope had formally been trying to taking root. It was SO hard. I wept endlessly. Of course it hurt more because we had hoped more. It was nearly too much to take. I remember saying something to my husband about having "stupid hope" and "I'll never do that again." He wisely told me to keep on hoping. We hope because it IS possible because we serve a God who is not bound by crappy statistics. He is so ABLE. I know this, of course. I needed to be reminded again.

But where, I wonder, do I draw the line between hoping just enough to get by, not losing hope altogether and then hoping so much that the devastation each month is too much to take? I think I learned from last month that hoping that much was too much for me. Hoping so much that I feel free to touch and feel the softness of the baby blankets at Target is apparently too much for me to handle. But, no hope at all makes my heart feel dried up and numb. No hope at all makes me feel like I don't believe in the power of a sovereign God anymore.

Too much? Too little? All I know is that "hope deferred makes the heart sick." That is certainly the truth.

Christmas came on the heels of our deep disappointment. It helped to be distracted. Sort of. There was a moment where we were gathered with extended family. Sitting on the floor in front of me was a gaggle of little girls, age 2 and under, playing with their dolls. I watched them play until tears stung my eyes and that familiar knot clogged my throat. I felt the eyes of a relative on me and I thought, she feels sorry for me. I looked away and had to ignore the little girls for the rest of the day. The empty ache in my heart felt like a canyon, echoing deep and wide.

Infertility is such a time game. Give myself a couple of weeks and hope claws its way back up the steep walls of that deep canyon. Whether I want it there or not. A couple of weeks after that and despair will come rolling in right on schedule. I am tired of living my life in 2-3 week increments. Sometimes I think, I am ready to move past this. No more hoping for children for me. It's just too hard. And yet, even as I type that, my heart cries out against it. For me, infertility truly is hope and despair mingled together. For even when one tries to push the other out, they are always there, co-mingling, existing together. I can't imagine my life any other way.

But, oh how I long for it. Lord, please hear my cry.


andrea_jennine said...

You describe the circle of hope and despair exactly. It has helped me to try to remember that hope in the Lord does NOT disappoint, even if hope for a baby often does. And life does eventually stop coming in 2 week increments...

P.S. I like the new blog design; very pretty!

Jen said...

I'm still thinking about my thoughts but didn't want to read and run. I'll try to return when I can better articulate. In the mean time {{HUGS}}

gracechild said...

i feel you Glenna. that's a special life path reserved for people battling IF while walking with God. We know we have a hope & a future but every now & then the waves of despair seem to overwhelm us. It's hard to remeber He calms the sea by the power of His word

Me said...

Well said, Glenna - you managed to put into words what all too many are going through. My heart aches for you as it is familiar with the seemingly unending cycle of hope and despair. Please know that I am praying for you.

Anonymous said...

I'm praying for you!

In Search of Morning Sickness said...

I just ache reading this.... I know what it must have felt like to see those symptoms and believe there must have been a reason to hope. You so poignantly describe it when you say "We hope because it IS possible because we serve a God who is not bound by crappy statistics." That's so true. As bad a chances are, we as Christians do ahve hope because we believe in a God who can and does do miracles at times.

I do so pray that you can somehow heal some from this last month's disappointment & heartache. I also pray the Lord will lend help and show the place between hope and despair. I sure don't know how to straddle that fence too well myself.


misawa said...

My heart truly does ache for you both.

Bob said...

Dear Glenna,
My wife and I are married 9 1/2 years with no children as well, but for somewhat different reasons. We both have physical problems that contribute. My heart aches to be a daddy. I promise to pray for you and Pastor William as you work through this.

My mother in law has been told she has pancreatic cancer, and nothing can be done. I would appreciate the prayers of anyone reading this, for Ursula, my mother in law, and for Ingrid, her daughter and my wife. This is devastating.

Let's all pray for each other.

Hope said...

Wow! You have captured the feelings of so many in your articulate description of the fine line between the hope and the despair. We can never, never stop hoping.

Anonymous said... Check out this sight.
I am praying for you.

waddell crew said...

Glenna, I so appreciate your honest heart. I am amazed at how you cling to our precious Saviour. I think about you often and pray for you often.
James and I have been trying for our second child for about a year now and though I absolutly do not understand the depth of your pain, when I read your blog I gain hope again. Im getting tired.
Romans 5 has often been the scripture i go back to and your blog reminded me of it.
Romans 5:2b-5
And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know suffering produces perseverence, perseverance, characher and character, hope. AND HOPE DOES NOT DISSAPPOINT US! because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
Dont loose heart, you are a beautiful child of the creator of the universe and he cherishes you and treasures you and longs for you to hope in him.
You are continually being prayed for.

Glenna Marshall said...

Anonymous...I have seen that video and I think I posted it a long time ago. Thanks for reminding me of it, though. I think it's well done. Maybe someone here will click on it who hasnt' seen it before.

Hope said...

You have such a way with your words. I felt every ounce of the pain you described and you would think with my name I would be better at this. You will be in my prayers, please add me to yours.

I still have hope, my God is in the miracle business and though my hope waxes and is still strong in Him.

sassy said...

I so hear you - thanks for sharing. BTW I'm here via Cree de la Creme

Patricia said...

Via la Creme...

You describe the roller coaster of the highs of hope versus the lows of despair in a way that we can all relate to.

I remember one cycle in particular, I was just certain I was pregnant. And so I did something very similar. I let my mind just go with it. Determined due dates, daydreamed with my husband, the whole deal. And while hope is basically what keeps me going, the higher one dreams, the longer one has to fall when those dreams come crashing down.

Thank you for sharing this with Creme.

Patricia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Billy said...

So beautifuly written.
Thank you for sharing it with the Creme.

Melanie said...

It is unfortunate that we all have to go through this. I too, have struggled with having too much hope/faith, and in turn having grief hit harder, and then having little hope and just feeling numb. I definitely think that's one of the worst parts of infertility - the grieving doesn't pan out as with other trials - we constantly are in a cycle of hope and despair.

Whitney said...

I am having one of those weeks of despair. It sounds horrible to say misery loves company, but there is some comfort in knowing you're not alone. You described with poignancy and depth the cycles my husband and I have been going through for more than 3 years. I struggle almost every day to find the balance... "Those who come to Him must believe that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him"... but it hurts so much worse when you dare to hope. I am really struggling this week. Thanks for your insight, sensitivity and openness.