I’ve always hated that saying… “pain is the best teacher.” It conjures up images of negligent parents who let their kids touch red hot fireplaces and say it in a “I could care less” sort of voice as they scratch their balls and drink their beer. As if it excuses them from needing to teach or parent their kids… but I digress. Just last night I had an epiphany about pain, and how it can be a remarkable teacher.
So, yeah, infertility sucks. It sucks. It’s painful. But it has taught me a lot of things. Patience and hope are probably the two best gifts I’ve received from this particular trial. But most of the time, infertility just plain old hurts, on a deep visceral level. This unmet longing and yearning for children is primal, more than that… it’s divine, it’s the reason I believe that God put us on this earth… to raise up righteous posterity who will return to Him one day. It was the first commandment given to man “multiply and replenish (also translated as “fill”) the earth.” And “this is my work and my glory; to bring about the immortality and eternal life of man.” Having a family, raising children… it goes to the very heart of all that I believe, and all that I hold sacred. So it is a pain unlike any other for me to experience infertility.
I’ve gotten pretty good at distracting myself. I choose things to obsess about so I don’t spend my time moping about like a loon. One of my favorites is gardening. Another is reading. And still another is eating chocolate. Lately I’ve been obsessing over 3 of my favorites simultaneously… preparedness, gardening, and trying to figure out homeschooling. It’s pretty much taken up all of my free time. So since about December I’ve wanted to get pregnant (as usual) but most of the sting was gone from it. I could say in my prayers “Thy will be done” and not secretly ache at the pain that submission would cause me.
But it all changed on my birthday last week. 37. Ugh, 37. For some reason, my birthday opened wide the flood gates again, and I’ve been struggling to not fall into some sort of depression over it. Yesterday was Mother’s Day, and it was brutal. I cried most of the day. It was lame. I felt stupid. But I also couldn’t stop.
So as I knelt in prayer last night, I couldn’t help but ask why… why was I suddenly feeling this soul wrenching pain again, seemingly out of the blue. Not the “oh why me?” type of question, but really why, what is the purpose for it? I didn’t get an answer immediately… but after I poured out my heart and soul, and was totally honest about how I felt about everything, and begged for another opportunity for children… I took a deep breath and said “but Thy will be done, and help me to be joyful in whatever that is.” And then I understood, at least in part, why this pain is back. It is teaching me some valuable lessons.
Pain really is a good teacher. It means something totally different to casually say “Thy will be done” than it does when you feel as though you’re bleeding to death with pain, to still submit and truly trust that He has your personal best interest at heart, and even if it’s not the answer you so desperately want… that still, it’s the answer that will do the most good for you… and for your family… swallow your pride, your desires, your pain, and just submit to trusting Him who loves you best. “Thy will be done.” It was a poignant lesson last night. Not the first, and certainly not the last. I hate infertility. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone… except perhaps child abusers and such… but it has been such a blessing for me, in such painful ways. It has taught me so much, and blessed my life so much. And I am convinced that because I have struggled with it for so long, that I am a better parent to my 2 miracles than I would have otherwise been. I fought to get them here, and I cherish them with a fierceness, they are truly precious and truly miracles… because of infertility, I never take that for granted.