Hey there sweet friend,
Have you ever googled “Thankful for infertility“? I have. And all of the articles at the top of my search were written by women who had reached the other side. They were the ones no longer in the trenches and throes of infertility. The ones who have had their adoptions finalized. The ones who have given birth to healthy babies. The ones who have had their dreams fulfilled, no longer pouring every last penny into medicine and doctor appointments. And they were the ones no longer gasping for air from the deep heartache of a miscarriage or a failed adoption.
Given the fact they were living on the other side, I believe it was easier for them to look back and be thankful for all that infertility had taught them. They could see through the eyes of grace how it strengthened their marriage, renewed their faith, and brought them blessings in disguise. They could see how their journey through their miscarriage made them stronger and braver. They could see how everything that went wrong, helped make all things right. And they could see all of this because they were on the mountain top looking down.
But you– the one still fighting for your dream. The one whose heart is still painfully aching from a miscarriage. The one who just discovered another treatment cycle has failed. And the one who is hanging onto hope by a thread. I am writing this article for you. Because I want you to know that this Thanksgiving, as you carve the turkey, pass the stuffing and put way too much whip cream on your pumpkin pie, it’s okay if you are struggling to be thankful.
Sure, you can name one thing or even several things…your home, your job, your spouse, or even the food in which you are about to partake…but the one joy you thought or hoped you were going to be thankful for this Thanksgiving holiday, you can’t mention. And maybe it is because you have recently learned that the miracle that once filled your womb isn’t going to fill your arms. Or the plans you made in order to make this year different, have failed. And failed miserably. Or maybe it’s because the dreams you believed were coming true, have instead turned into a nightmare.
And my heart aches for you. Because I get it. I understand. I even understand the pressure you are under to still be joyful and thankful for all that still remains. And I understand the guilt you feel when you can’t and the shame you have when you aren’t, even though you know you should be. You know you live an abundant life, but it’s just so hard to see it right now. And so this guilt and this shame on top of all of this heartache? It just makes the stress of the holiday much more difficult to bear. And it makes you feel like a horrible person, am I right? But friend, as you venture into Thanksgiving this week, I want to tell you something from my heart to yours: It’s okay.
It’s okay if you are unable to fight back the tears as you gather around the table to give thanks.
It’s okay if you can’t see how your miscarriage could ever be woven into some master plan of good.
It’s okay to be sad…even outraged…that your life isn’t going according to plan.
It’s okay if you need to lock yourself in the bathroom and cry when the emotions become too overwhelming, the thoughts become too painful, and the heartache you have becomes too strong.
It’s okay to be angry and confused at the unfairness infertility brings.
It’s okay if you don’t sweep your emotions underneath the kitchen rug you are standing on while you peel the potatoes, but rather open up and tell your family how your womb aches. Your heart hurts. And the hope you have is fading.
And it’s okay to shake your fist to the heavens and tell God exactly how you feel. Not holding anything back.
It’s okay to question why your plans are not good enough or the timing isn’t right.
It’s okay to be mad that you have spent thousands of dollars and countless hours at the doctor’s office just to be given a chance to have what seems to come so naturally and easily to others.
And it’s okay to hurt, to cry, and to still feel disappointed even though others think you should have moved on by now.
It’s okay to tell your Aunt Judy with grace that it’s not really her place to ask when you are going to have children.
It’s okay if while grocery shopping for thanksgiving dinner you see a pregnant woman in the same aisle as you and you need to turn your head. Even move to another part of the store. Or wipe away a tear.
It’s okay if you decline the invitation to hold your cousins baby or walk away from a conversation about motherhood.
It’s okay if you decide to cook a meal for just you and your spouse…forgoing the traditional family affair.
Friend, basically I want you to know it’s okay to not be okay this Thanksgiving.
So give yourself the gift of grace. Because you are not a horrible person. You are a normal human being with normal emotions after experiencing loss and constant disappointment and heartache. Even the most perfect person has occasional trouble seeing the joy through the pain. So, sweet friend, don’t beat yourself up or kick yourself down. Just do the best you can and try to remember through the holiday season that it won’t always be this hard, or this overwhelming, or this stressful. Because just like the women in the articles wrote, night always turns to dawn. Seasons always change. And the valley you are in today might be the one you are looking down on tomorrow. But until that time comes, just know that it’s okay to not always be okay even if it is Thanksgiving.