Today’s guest post and response to Dear Mom Friend comes from my dear friend Natalie Fletcher. Natalie is a preschool teacher, a wife and mom. She and her husband, Wes, are raising their beautiful daughter in St. Louis. I’m so grateful that Natalie agreed to share her story of pain and grace with all of us!
Dear (hoping to be) Mom Friend,
I can still remember the emptiness in my heart that I felt day after day for several years before God blessed me with the ability to be a mommy to a baby that I got to keep here on earth with me.
My story is one of a lot of heartache and pain due to 3 years of trying to get pregnant, a miscarriage, and the most devastating event of all… the loss of my twin daughter, Kayla, at birth.
I am writing this blog to all of you women out there who desperately desire to be a mom right now, but God’s seems to have something else in mind for you at this moment in time. If there is one thing that my husband and I learned after dealing with years of infertility, it is this: no matter how much you map out your life, we cannot predict the outcome and you must get to the point of trusting God…even when it doesn’t come easily.
Here is a little bit more of my story and what I feel like God has taught me, and continues to teach me, about His plan for my life. For all of you wonderful, godly women who want desperately to be a mommy but are not there yet….do you question God and ask why? Why her and not me? Do you find yourself bitter and angry many days? Do you feel a sense of entitlement to motherhood because you are a follower of Christ?
Well, as bad as some of these thoughts may sound, I can honestly say that I felt every one of those emotions often throughout my journey to motherhood. I am a preschool teacher and I can’t describe how hard it was going to work every day and being surrounded by not only precious toddlers, but pregnant moms everywhere I looked. I remember seeing TV shows with teen moms or hearing conversations of women talking about how horrible it was to be pregnant and asking God, why do you give them this gift they don’t even want and leave me here longing for this precious life that they are not appreciating? I would get so hurt and sad when people would ask, “oh when are you going to start having babies”. If they only knew that I had been trying for years. Or on the flip side, many people knew we had been trying so I constantly got the pity-filled, “how are you”, which really meant, “How are you holding up while everyone in your life is pregnant and you continue to stand on the side lines”? Unfortunately, to no fault of their own, there was no right way to approach me, it changed on a daily basis…which then of course led me to the constant feelings of guilt!
And then of course, there was my husband. Poor Wes. He had to put up with a new version of me for years. The optimistic, godly woman he married was not only questioning her faith, but was now blinded by what all was wrong in life. Thank God for putting me with a godly man that carried me through the roughest moments of our lives. If I didn’t have my husband to stand by me through this process, I don’t know where I would be today. I know it wasn’t easy for him to see me cry almost daily, but most certainly monthly, when I got that “visitor” reminding me that yet again my dreams had been dashed and I was not to be a mommy yet.
So for all of you reading this right now saying, “Yes that is exactly how I feel!” I wish I had the magic formula for taking the pain away. I wish I could promise you that your dreams will come true soon. Unfortunately, I don’t have that ability. All I can do now is share with you how God has begun the healing process in my life. Instead I will share with you how it takes time, but just recently, I have been able to look back and see God moving when I thought he was absent from my life. So here you go…
I literally woke up one day and realized that I didn’t like the me I had become. I was tired of constantly being angry and bitter. I was tired of always being sad. I didn’t like that I had become the exact type of person (pessimistic, depressing, bitter) that most people, including myself, couldn’t stand to be around. So, I recognized, with God’s nudging, that I needed to make a change. I had a choice to get up each day and choose to be ticked off or to choose to find the goodness in life again. And slowly, one day at a time, I began to see the good things in life again. I literally began to wake up and consciously have the conversation with myself that today I wanted to be the “positive Natalie” again. I needed to make this decision not only for my well-being, but for that of my marriage.
I also had to come to the realization that God wires husbands and wives very differently. Just because my husband didn’t cry constantly like me, didn’t mean that he didn’t desire to be a father. He had that desire, but I have learned, at least for us, that there is an innate desire to be a mom long before we are pregnant. For Wes, that idea of being a father wasn’t real until he was holding our daughters in his arms in the delivery room. My emotions were not wrong or right, but neither was my husband’s- God has just created us differently. And thank God that he did because I can look back and see now that my husband has been strong for me when I needed him to do so. And when he has needed to draw strength from me, God allowed me the ability to hold him up on those days.
I also realized that it was ok to be angry and mad. God could handle it. Now, it’s not a safe place to dwell in for a long time like I did, but it is part of the grieving process. I began to recognize that God could handle my emotions and I just had to keep talking through all my questions and pray that he would continue to bring me to a place of healing. So if you find yourself angry- remember God can handle all your feelings, just don’t turn your back on him. Allow him to hear those questions and be open to letting him in to start the healing process.
Finally, I had to recognize that this pain we had to go through did not please God. Every tear shed, he caught. When he saw his child cry, I believe he wept for us. The things that tore me down and broke my heart also pained my Heavenly Father’s heart. He carried us through every single emotion and trial.
I still have a lot of unanswered questions that as my husband and I always say, “We will put them on the bookshelf and ask God when we get to heaven”. I will never know why we had to battle infertility for so long or why I only had my sweet baby girl for 2 hours before God took her home. But there is one thing I can honestly say I do know today- God brought us through those struggles and it honestly terrifies me to think of where we would be today if we hadn’t had our faith to cling to during those times. God is still good!
So, for all of you women who want to be moms- you hold a special place in my heart and in my prayers. For all of you who are friends of these “want to be moms”- love them, encourage them, let them cry, and just understand that each day bring about different emotions. Just love them like Jesus would on a daily basis!
A Mom Who Found Grace Through Infertility and Loss
Please leave your comments on the blog so that Natalie and others can read and respond!