I want to write this angry, and I want to write this sad. I suppose I should want to write this out of peace and acceptance and knowing trust, but, I’m not in any one place yet. After church this morning, I’m in a rehashing the history place, a wanting to turn guilt to grief place, a needing to know if this is a limitation to honor or fight against place.

This is about motherhood. Not abstract. The physical limitations of motherhood. See, I have three conditions which are embroidered into my life’s tapestry with one common thread: infertility. I think I was 14 the first time a doctor told me that I would have fertility issues, when a tentative diagnosis of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis was handed to me. When I experienced amennorrhea from age 18 until 23 (roughly) as part of anorexia, it was a medical matter of course that I would struggle to get pregnant from that alone. When I was in my late 20s and recovered from anorexia and in remission from hashi’s and married and finally entertaining the thought of what children would look like, I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease, and told by a doctor again to wait on trying due to the risks involved with treatment, and the likelihood of miscarriage.

You all know how this story continues; I’ve written before about my beautiful Augustine, this miracle child conceived after a short month of “trying,” who was carried so snugly, so perfectly within me, the only blip on our prenatal radar the fact that my body refused to contract even after the water broke naturally. He is a miracle.

But last summer, my thyroid bugged out again, and the rounds to physicians and endocrinologists and naturopaths began again. Each time a medical professional heard I was a nursing mom, they asked about his birth story, expecting IVF and long months of pain and miscarriage to have been a part of it. I don’t blame them, after all, I’d been told my whole fertile (?) life to expect that story. To the point where I felt legitimate guilt that it wasn’t a struggle after all. (OOPH, that’s another layer, though).

And now we’re at that typical mark of “will we have another?” and my heart wants to throw caution to the wind – look at this perfect boy, given to us so readily! But my doctors are saying “no” again. They’re saying it won’t or shouldn’t happen again. And so I find my mind going back to the patterns of protection it’s worn since  14 of “I don’t need/want/care” about this, but I am trying to be brave enough to say now that I do care. I do care about this. I am terrified of another baby and the chance for miscarriage. I am terrified at the thought of another year of sleepless nights. Of another round with postpartum depression. Mike and I are talking about the adoption possibility, too, and I’m terrified at the chances for reactive attachment disorder, of not honoring another culture correctly, of the litany of unknowns.

But I also want Augustine to know the joys and character-building challenges of having a sibling. I look at his crib and feel this tug in my gut because I never imagined it would be just “his.”

I’m terrified of doing the wrong thing.

I chide myself for being selfish. I have one darling, easygoing, bright ray of sunshine of a son that has already defied medicine simply by coming into existence. Isn’t it selfish to want more?

I don’t have to be “right” in this. But I don’t want to be wrong even in trying one thing or another.This feels like a crossroads, and today instead of fighting to know which fork is the right one to choose, I’m fighting to believe there is no hurry. That whatever kind of limitation this place and this body have us in right now, this limitation does not need to steal all joy even while it warrants some amount of grief. I know this on a level, I’m working to make it my truth.

2 thoughts on “Limitations

  1. Linda Ruppert

    Emily I have always loved and admired your ability to write your thoughts, your feelings and what is in your heart.

    I cannot relate to your situation personally. Obviously I had 5 healthy children and was able to get pregnant very easily but I did have one miscarriage so I know how devastating that can be. I want to share a story about my niece. She had a rare heart condition that was found when she was in high school. Her life changed drastically as she was in several sports and had to stop it all immediately. She was told too that she should not have children because it would be too hard on her heart and could result in her death if she tried. But her “heart” desired children… so she took the chance. She was very careful so ended up carrying and giving birth to 6 very healthy children. (She has the same as Kailan 5 girls and 1 son). My point is simply, trust God to give us the desires of our hearts. Trust that He care about this for you. I love you very much. Always have, always will.

  2. Da

    I love you all, and am so very proud/ anxious/ saddened/ blessed by this posting. Do I want another grandchild? Of course. Do I want you to feel any pressure to “produce” one? Absolutely not. Your family is perfectly delightful as is; and it would be an incredible gift to see it grow – through birth or adoption.
    My love, support and prayers are yours, as always.


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