When I think I'm out of the woods with infertility struggles, I have to think again. Lately I've been working through maternal pressure. I can't distinguish if it's internal or external, but something is telling me I have to be a mother...and soon.
It dawned on me the other day that no one has ever told me it's okay for women to not have kids.
In fact, I've often heard the opposite message growing up in the church. Christians are supposed to have kids and plenty of them. I've read articles and heard sermons about it. Quiverfull is a good example, though extreme, of the pressure that can be placed on Christian families.
Sometimes I hear from others (and tell myself), "You're still young; don't worry about having kids now." But that implies there's a deadline. Soon I won't be so young, and I'll be expected to move forward with family expansion.
And if I absolutely cannot conceive, just think of all those kids that need loving families. Adopt! There's no excuse to not be a mom!!
I grew up feeling bad for people who never had kids. I thought the worst thing that could happen to me was dying without descendants. Now, I choose to not think about it. Is the desire to be a parent innate or learned? That's just the ol' nature vs. nurture debate.
At any rate, it affects my daily life.
There is no end in sight for the pain I regularly feel about not having kids. If I could somehow be okay within my heart, I'd still feel pressure from the outside. Somewhere in the future is a message waiting to pounce, "it's time to stop playing and start procreating."
So, how do I deal with this?
What does God tell me? He loves kids, but there's no actual command to have kids in the Bible (because I don't count Genesis 1:28, which was given to the only two people on earth at the time). Even if there was a command, I'm technically exempt due to infertility. God opens and closes the womb, right? If He wants me to have 'em, then open away!
What does God tell me? Delight in Him. Don't be anxious.
I'm obviously still on my journey to find out where I fit in this crazy world as Christian married woman without hope of easily acquiring children. We may decide to adopt or seek fertility treatment, but not to avoid societal/cultural pressure.
Every so often I see a little one hugging his/her mom's legs, and I think, "Dang it. I want that." There's no end to the pain. But that's part of living on earth, isn't it? Trials, trials, trials.
P.S. A friend of mine learned that we were infertile and responded, "Oh, I didn't know you guys were trying to have kids. Some couples don't want kids" with a shrug. I wanted to hug her and say, "Thank you for implying it's okay to not have kids!!!!" She's the only Christian I've ever heard talk like that.