Saturday, 6 April 2019

I'm sorry, my friend

Lately I've been really struggling with the tension of feeling like a burden and wanting to be a good friend and support my friends like they have supported me. I know I have huge room for improvement in this area. I hope this post will act as an apology and explain why I may come across as a self involved, rubbish friend sometimes.

All my life I've struggled with a fear of rejection and failure. I've also always struggled in social situations, particularly where I don't know what's expected of me or don't have a model of what is accepted behaviour in that situation. This means I often withdraw our stock to what I know and what is comfortable and familiar. I know this can appear rude.

Since struggling with infertility and baby loss/failed adoption this struggle has been magnified as I've often felt very sad or uncomfortable if surrounded by people who have what I so desire. It's also been harder as the years add up as I feel like people must think I'm just attention seeking and never happy. It's often hard to balance my happiness for others and my sadness for myself. I know people must think I'm rubbish and only think about myself. I hardly ever ask people how they are doing as I'm so scared they will reject me or just say I don't care. I really do care and I'm so sorry that my pain and fear have got in the way of some really good friendships. I know I've lost some really good friendships due to this over the years, and recently and this makes me very, very sad.

I want to say to these friends I have grown apart from, I am sorry. I also want to say I really do care although I know it looks like I don't. I do pray for you often and care about what is going on with you even though it must seem as though I am only wrapped up in my own stuff.

I know my social awkwardness and my ongoing pain and sadness has alienated people and meant people have pulled back from me. I pray I can be a much kinder and better friend and benefit from restored relationships maybe.

I'm also struggling with my relationship with God at the moment. I feel like a burden on everyone including God. Fertility wise I feel like all I'm coming up against is unanswered prayer. How is that a God who cares? However, I don't feel able to talk to anyone about this, partly due to my fear of rejection, but also due to feeling like a constant burden. I need to get to a place where I can pray for myself and believe he can answer.

I need to get to a place where I can pray to God to help me be a better friend. I need to get to a place where I don't feel so lonely.

I am sorry to the friends who have, understandably, withdrawn from me both recently and in the past. I will try to be a better friend. And I will make an effort to ask 'how are you doing?' and not talk about me.

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Hope crushed... Again!

I'm going to let you in on a secret. I thought I was pregnant this month. It was the first month in many we had even been intimate at all and the first in probably a year and a half that we had been intimate at the right time to conceive. We only did it once and (to be graphic) my medical condition meant things were only where they needed to be for seconds but we had the tiniest of chances. We had more of a chance than we have had in years. So we prayed. We prayed for a miracle. We prayed like we've never prayed before.

Over the years I've lost hope to pray for a baby. With each miscarriage, loss, and heartbreak my hope that God would come through on this for us would chip off until there was virtually nothing there. When we started the adoption process hope stated to creep back in and I began to pray that God would give us a child this way. When it was abruptly brought to an end my hope, and faith, was completely shattered. I have slowly been building my faith and hope back up. Before Christmas my family received since miraculous healing news which really helped me to realise God does answer my prayers for others. It's meant I've been able to start praying for myself for little things and things unrelated to babies. As some of them have been answered I've been able to slowly start praying for my desire to be mummy. When I realised that we had a slim chance of conceiving this month I thought it was the perfect opportunity to exercise my faith and progress to God answering the biggest desire of my heart.

I'm not pregnant. My body is very painfully reminding me today that I'm not pregnant. I'm drowning in disappointment again. I'm not sure what this has done for my faith and hope. I'm trying to remember everything else God has done for me and others I've prayed for. I'm trying to thank God rather than be angry that he's not worked a miracle again. 

We've just been to a church prayer meeting where people were talking and praying about how we can bring people into the church community who are part of it but feel on the outside. I realised that, during this, seemingly never ending trial I often feel on the outside of the church community. You wouldn't know it though. I'm on various serving and ministry teams, go to prayer meetings and midweek groups. But, a lot of the time, I feel like I'm on the outside looking in. I feel like I'm isolated by my struggles. I'm not sure what to do about this feeling, or if I need to do anything at all. Maybe I'll always feel like I'm on the outside looking in. Maybe that's ok. I don't know.

I'm hoping that I can continue to pray for myself and, maybe even pray for a baby next month. Maybe I should be praying that God will give me peace whatever happens with baby stuff. I'm not ready to give up on being mummy one day, maybe.

Friday, 28 December 2018

Goodbye 2018

You began with such hope that we would become parents.
You progressed with solidarity and education as we meet other prospective adoptive parents and learnt about our potential.
You encouraged me at work with opportunities to develop my teaching skills.
You gave us nice times together and with family and friends.
Then March and April happened.
We were forced to move out of the flat we thought would be the home to bring home our child.
We were dealt a blow from the adoption agency that would plunge us into depths of heartbreak we didn't know existed.
We would not become parents this year.
We don't know if we will ever become parents.
We struggled in our marriage and in our relationships with friends and family.
Work started to be a struggle- teaching opportunities were taken away as quickly as they came, people were mean.
We struggled to come to terms with all that happened.
There were good things.
We found a great flat to move to and were blessed with friends to help.
I had a job created for me where I can exercise my mother heart everyday.
We discovered the blessing of a retreat holiday that refreshed our relationships with God.
I embraced my fundraising challenge and raised£2000 for 12 different charities.
We found ways to revitalise our relationship.
But then you got hard again.
Family health issues heightened.
My new job was threatened with change which plunged me into depths of work stress I've never faced.
I had to deal with difficult people without much support.
Memories of the failed adoption plagued my mind and took over.
Our relationship suffered hugely again.
I was plunged into darkness.
It has ended with little glimmers of light in the darkness, some bright flashes of hope.
My biggest stress at work is over and my job is safe again.
My family received some miraculous health news.
Our relationship has benefited hugely from some rest and time away.
We have had lovely times with family.
People have reacted with love and support since I opened up about my struggles and darkness.
We know it's not god's will for us to adopt and I'm ok with that (sometimes!).
I have hope to pray for my miracle again.
I have realised that this year has been a year where I have deepened friendships and relied on people and, most importantly for me, helped people.
You were not the year I thought you would be. You were hard, impossibly so at times. But I am coming out of you stronger than I was at the start.
Goodbye 2018.

Sunday, 16 December 2018

A whole mess of stuff!

I'm writing this post in the midst of Christmas celebrations and stress. This morning I attended and took part in our churches Nativity service. It was full of children dressed up and enjoying Christmas, as it should be. For me however it was incredibly hard. We normally avoid the Nativity service but this year there was a signed sing and the special needs groups I help in were part of it so I had to be there. This time last year we had just submitted our adoption paperwork and had our date come through for our preparation course. We were thinking that we would be bringing our own little shepherd or donkey to the Nativity service this year. However, in April our adoption process came to an abrupt end. In recent weeks we have come to the decision that adoption is not god's plan for us. The reasons behind that decision are for another post but it's a hard one to come to terms with especially at Christmas.
Several of the couple's who were on the adoption preparation course with us now have their little ones home with them and we don't. It hurts. I'm struggling largely because I feel like we're old news. Oh look that childless couple are finding Christmas hard... Again! I feel like I want to run away and hide.
I'm under an awful lot of pressure at work at the moment which doesn't help things but I feel like I live in a permanent state of stress and sadness. My relationship with my husband is tense and my relationship with God is just holding on by a thread. I'm praying for a miracle (a baby) but I have absolutely no belief that God answers my prayers for myself. I can't really pray for others either. I know God is there and loves me and wants to comfort me but I don't understand why he never comes through. Have I done something wrong? Am I not praying right? I try and try and get stress at work and nowhere with my fertility. I'm trying to have a relationship with God but I don't really know how to when I feel like this. If I'm honest I feel very alone in all this and don't know where to turn. There are counseling services, support groups and online forums for people going through miscarriage but I've found nothing for people going through failed adoption. Every time I've mentioned it in online support groups people have just told me not to give up and try another agency. But that's not where we're at, I just want support. This is hard, especially at Christmas when children and happiness are all around me.

Monday, 3 December 2018

Advent- Hannah 1

her husband Elkanah said to her, “Hannah, why are you crying? Why won’t you eat? Why are you so sad? You have me. Isn’t that better than having even ten sons?”
1 Samuel 1:8 ERV

This verse demonstrates the dilemma every infertile person faces- how to be happy with the blessings you have in life when you don't have the one thing you overwhelming desire- a child. I'm not sure I have any wise words on this topic as it's something I'm particularly struggling with at the moment. We're in a place now where we've decided to pray for a miracle whilst also finding ways to live as a family of two. Essentially we've stopped trying. I'm under an awful lot of stress at work just now which has exasperated my anxiety which in turn has made me more susceptible to feelings of bitterness and jealousy when I see pregnant people and young families. I feel the longing to have a child of my own ever so strongly just now and am struggling to be thankful for all the wonderful blessings in my life. It's hard to see the good things when all I see is what I long for but haven't got. This is also a tough area for me right now because I'm having a major wobble in my faith so struggle to see things as blessings from God. I'm finding it hard to pray to a God who I no longer think answers my prayers. I guess this is a work in progress for me.

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Advent- Rebekah

I've not posted on here much this year, it's been quite a year. We thought we'd end this year as parents but instead we're ending it coming to terms with the fact that we are likely to never be parents. To help focus my mind and sort out my headspace I've decided to write a blog post each day in advent. The posts will be based around a different infertility themed Bible verse or character.

Day 1-Rebekah
Genesis 25:21
Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was childless. The Lord answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant.

If I'm honest I struggle with this verse. Lots of people, including my husband have prayed for me because I am childless and I've not become pregnant, or I've lost the babies I have carried. I used to find hope in this verse and others like it but 7 years in I now find it tough. Did we not pray right or well enough? So we not have enough faith? I guess what this verse does for me now is remind me that God's timing is not ours, His ways are not our ways. It may be His will for us to wait years and then have a baby, it may be His will for us to never have children of our own but to act in a parental role to other people's children. We don't know. But I do know that, despite it feeling like God has let us down, he hasn't and he never does. In all this suffering He is still good, still God and still on His throne in control.

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Everything's changing but...

I'm struggling today. In fact I've been struggling for quite a few days now. From the outside you'd think I should be happy and excited as the are lots of new things happening in my life. We moved into a lovely new flat a month or so ago, I started an evening course on Tuesday to train as a pastry chef and next week I start a new job. Everything is changing but we still don't have children. I don't know if we will ever have children. I thought I was ok with being a family of two but I just seem to be fighting back the tears all the time these days.
This morning Neil and I were helping out with the group for special needs kids at church. Seeing Neil running around and interacting with the kids was heartbreaking. We should have been getting ready to adopt our own child who would quite likely have had special needs. For some reason I've had that awful meeting playing over in my head all week. Everything's just painful again.
I'm excited for all the new stuff in my life it's just overwhelming.
I was standing in church this morning watching all the families with their children, babies and baby bumps and just felt like everyone was moving forward and I was standing still. All I wanted was a hug. I'm really struggling to be grateful for what I have got and not just be devastated that we haven't got a child.
Neil is going away for two nights tonight for work and I'm really sad that that will leave just me in the flat. I'm sure I'll enjoy time to myself but it's not where I thought I'd be at 35.
We're trying naturally at the moment and not getting anywhere, life is just hard sometimes!