Again, it is my turn to share. I am going to share about how this journey has affected me and what it is like to walk it in my shoes, but I have again struggled to find the words to say. Even though we have experienced this journey as a team (Team Light we affectionately call ourselves), the past four years have seemed to have centered around me.
Our current infertility is because of something malfunctioning within my body. The condition, whatever it is or what caused it, could also be the likely cause of the miscarriages. It is tough to know that our current status is because of something wrong with my body. Another reason that I feel our current journey has some direct connections to me is because of piece we haven’t shared yet. If you have read the other aspects of our story in the other blog post you may of realized that there is a three year gap in between the three miscarriages and our current discovery of infertility. That is because in the middle of all of that, I came down with a strange fungal infection in my lungs which took me two years to heal and recover which delayed our current knowledge.
Because of these reasons, it can be a struggle to not feel responsible for where we are. I understand that ultimately I am not responsible for our circumstances, but I often have to process through this. It is hard to not feel that the weight of our status is on my shoulders. I know it is not true, but my brain goes there anyway and at times my heart follows.
Along with this, it is difficult for me not to feel like less of a man/husband/father as I am “broken” physically, and not only that, but this “brokenness” has set us on the rocky, uncertain road we currently walk. This life we are living is not the life that I believe we were meant to have. This is not the way that things are supposed to work. My body should function. Our babies should be in our arms. However, as we probably all have experienced, life does not always follow the path that it should. So we find our self on a road we don’t particularly want to be on, but one that is ours to walk. It is very difficult to know that we are walking this road, at least in some ways, because of me.
As a husband/father I feel that part of my role is to protect my family. It is difficult to know that I can’t protect them from the pain that this deficiency causes. My heart breaks every day as I am reminded that something is wrong with me that has broken my wife’s heart. Let me be clear, Anna, does not put that on me and deep down I know that we are experiencing this fully together, but there are parts of me that struggle with these thoughts and feelings. If I had to be honest right now, I struggle with this every day. I have no way of protecting my family from this pain and that makes me feel pretty helpless and weak. These are two things that Dads/Husbands don’t want to feel.
Also as a Dad/Husband, I feel it is my responsibility to provide for my family. Again I struggle often with the fact that I can’t provide my son with a sibling and I can’t provide my wife with another child. The thing that I provide in the pregnancy and development of a child I can’t give. That is devastating. And if I can to be totally transparent, it is pretty emasculating. It is hard to not feel responsible for my inability to provide my family with another child even though I know deep down I am a victim. It is hard to honestly admit to you all that I have these feelings. To be really truthful with you, I have to tell you that for the past two to three months I have avoided admitting these feelings even to those I know would receive them with grace and love. In fact many of these people read the blog and are hearing this honesty for the first time. So instead of honoring people with my vulnerability I have struggled quietly with this pain. This then has lead to me finding ways to escape or to avoid feeling this pain. And here is the thing, I shouldn’t escape or avoid the pain because this action is often based in sin. Sin is trying to escape the pain of a reality we were never supposed to live.
One way I have done this is I have tried to strive and achieve these feelings away. There is no way for me to strive or achieve specifically for this situation yet I find myself doing this in different ways. Such as, “If I just try harder to move on from our hurt and get over it then it will be ok.” Or, “I can fake my happiness and peace until it is real.” Or things like if I just pour into my work or into the projects I need to do then I won’t feel the pain; if I can distract myself then I don’t have to feel the hurt inside. I don’t think it is a surprise that I have tried to escape the pain this way; men are natural strivers and achievers. We think if we can just double our efforts then we can work this out. Here is the truth though, it doesn’t work. I can’t escape the pain; I can’t escape experiencing the feelings that come with this pain.
Another way that I have tried to escape our grief and hurt is by wrestling for control. Men want to have control and want to fix things that are broken. There are so many thoughts in my mind about how to get back control over this situation. There are so many thoughts of “how can I fix this?” I have tried to do this in the most ridiculous ways – an example would be “maybe if I change what type of underwear I wear or take more ibuprofen or stop drinking so much coffee things would change”. One of the more common ones is “maybe I need to pursue more medical answers because there might be more wrong with me that can better explain what is happening”. I try to gain control in this way because I have anxiety over medically related things. It is actually a stronghold in my life as I worry about medical issues often. In this case, it is a way of escaping the reality that we are facing; a way to put my hope in some other answer that would change things, instead of what I should be placing my hope in.
Escape is a temptation we all face. It is so much easier to escape than to accept and feel. It is so much easier to ignore the pain or to pile things on top so that you don’t feel it. We can do this so much that we forget what the pain is we are escaping. My focus often is stolen away from the things that matter by these types of escape mechanisms. In fact, I can potentially get pretty obsessed with these types of avoidances of the pain I am experiencing. I long for things to be different and want this problem to go away. My thoughts can be filled with looking for solutions and ways to overcome that I miss out on the life around me. I miss out on the things that matter. Fortunately I am realizing this. Fortunately I can see what mistakes I am making; what sins are being used to escape the pain of loss and broken heartedness.
The truth is I can’t escape this path we are on. The damage that I have in my body is permanent, it isn’t going way; there is nothing I can do to get control over this or to fix it. Boy that is hard to write. It is hard to surrender to that reality even knowing God wants to meet me there. It is hard to lay this at His feet. It is hard to give this disappointment, grief, and hurt to the only One who truly understands. Every day this past two to three months I have been faced with a choice of bending low and giving this over to my Father or trying to work it out myself and find my own way. Most days I fail completely, but a few days I get it right.
Here is the cold, hard truth: my heart is broken. I have lost more than I can even know. I have really wanted to avoid saying that. Loss and grief can have permanence and finality to it. I know that for the rest of my life I will walk with this loss and pain. I know it won’t always hurt this bad, but I am really disappointed in this reality. I long for it to be different. But here is the thing that I forget on a regular basis: God is also disappointed in this reality. He wants it to be different. It is not His plan for us to live with such loss. Our heartbreak is His. If we allow Him to, He will take our broken hearts and make them beautiful. That is where our true hope lies.
Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.