What to Expect When You’ve Already Expected
My dear friend had her third child this week. A perfect, healthily-squalling little girl.
An unexpected surge of joy shot through me and I teared up as I watched her through the nursery glass. I was in awe over how much this little girl is already loved. Plus it looked like she wouldn’t have to spend the first week of her life in the NICU like her older brother did two-and-a-half years before her.
After I had my fill of newborn sweetness, I ambled back down the hallway toward my friend’s hospital room along with her other two kids and mother-in-law. Just before we reached the oversized door, I heard her mother-in-law ask, “Is it hard for you to be here?” I turned to face her as she said, “I read your blog.”
Understanding flooded through me. Of course! She’s thinking of mine and Jerimiah’s inability to get preggers and must have thought my tears were of an entirely different variety. Not that I’m above crying for that reason … I began to stammer my protests when she spoke again, this time in a strained voice. “My oldest is adopted, you know.” I did know. My friend’s husband is their only biological child and from what I understand, his conception was a bit of a miracle.
And over thirty years later, his mother’s tearful eyes replayed the movie of her decades-old pain. Like it all happened yesterday.
Just because she has two grown children doesn’t mean she’s forgotten the agony involved with the journey it took to get them. The anger. The impatience. The self-loathing for a body seemingly incapable of doing what every woman’s was designed to do. I realized that even if I am blessed with my own children someday, I will never escape the memory of the waiting.
At the very least, I hope I can turn the tale of my unpleasant journey into a gift of empathy and compassion. Like what my friend’s mother-in-law gave me.
“The present becomes the past that shapes your future.” – Andy Stanley
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