She’s got angel’s hair. You know the kind. So blonde it’s almost white. With an angel’s face to match.
She’s four. And precocious. She already carries a fierce stubbornness that is going to make her a challenging teen but amazing woman. She’s in her question-asking stage – you know the one. Why this? How that? I know some of the answers, but not all.
As we sat together and watched Up, she narrated. He likes balloons, she’d say with a grin. Her giggle was infectious as the love story of Carl and Ellie unfolded.
When they started painting the nursery, she turned to me with a conspiratorious smile and half-whispered she’s going to have a baby.
I then saw her head go sideways when the next scene shows Ellie sobbing in the doctor’s office: why is shy crying?
Ah, this answer I know. She’s really sad because she isn’t going to have a baby like she thought, I answered. Why can’t she have a baby? Well, not everyone gets to. She let that answer sit – I could see that it was brand new information for her brain.
But did she get happy again?
Yes. Yes she did.
How? Well, she had a different adventure.
Contended, Charlie snuggled in, took a deep sigh, as if the breath she’d been holding had depended on how I answered that question.
The rest of the movie continued question-free. But as I snuggled my arms around this fierce-wee-angel-girl, I too took a deep sigh, knowing that in that moment I wasn’t only answering for Ellie, but for me.
It’s National Infertility Awareness week again. I’ve written a lot already about the grief of infertility, giving voice to some of the unique aspects of this type of loss, especially as your hopes, your faith, your marriage and your friendships are all affected when a pee stick becomes your companion.
This year I want to dedicate a few posts “from the other side”. Not the other side of infertility. That will always be a part of my story. Even if I get pregnant someday. And yes, also if I adopt someday.
I mean the other side of “trying”. The other side of the ugly tears. The other side of the doubt and crippling fear. Sometimes it’s tricky to share about grief and it’s honest depths because it’s easy to leave people feeling like you’re perpetually in that state. And it’s equally tricky to share about “the other side” because there are people that like to pretend that the ugly never happened. May we never be pretenders, my friends.
Because the reality is this: “the other side” has parts that are stronger, parts that are still tender, and even parts that are actually, well, awesome.
If you’re grieving, be it through infertility or another sacred loss, you will have a different adventure than the one you’d hoped for. I don’t know what that is. And I DO know what it’s like to want to punch someone in the face when they use those words to “console” you. I also know that grief is a window, not a wall. That if Ellie hadn’t sat in her tears, hadn’t sat in her backyard to grieve the future she was losing, then her “adventure book” would have had an undertone of unresolved resentment and not even three hundred colorful balloons could have redeemed the movie. But she did sit through it.
So when her different-and-not-at-all-what-she-expected-adventure continued, she was ready for it. She found her happy ending by being honest in her sad beginning.
So this week, in honor of the “You are Not Alone” theme set out by Resolve.org, I want to share that not only are you not alone, but you are not doomed.
Did she get happy again? Yes, yes she did. She had a different adventure.
P.S. Next week I’ll be releasing an E-Bible Study: Friday’s Rain: revealing what grief washes away. It’s a journey alongside four characters in Scripture, journeying through their grief. I know God has a lot to say to us about loss and grief, whichever “side” of it you’re on. Subscribe here to receive download link.
P.S.S. If you want to know more about the basics of infertility as a disease, click here. Or about NIAW, here.