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.