Almost two years ago, I had a miscarriage. It was the most knot-in-my-stomach, speechless grief I had ever experienced. If I’m being honest, I still struggle to make sense of it. Miscarriage and the overall experience of infertility have the tendency to create an isolating effect on their victims. They point the accusing finger that invades the quiet, unconscious (and sometimes even conscious) mind, asking: Are you a real woman? Do you even have what it takes?
The Invisible Ache
There’s an unspoken idea running through many Christian circles that the pinnacle of biblical femininity is achieved by bearing children. This can be damaging for women who desire to become mothers but cannot physically do so for one reason or another. This pervasive line of reasoning creates a culture of shame that engulfs many of us. For me, that shame manifested in the form of the questions of inadequacy that haunted my mind.
I still have an insatiable desire to be a mother. The ache is invisible, but it is also quite tangible. It comes unexpectedly—on days when I should be focusing on the career I’ve so eagerly built, or when older ladies tell me I should wait as long as I can and enjoy just being married. It is then that the ache hits and, in my mind, I silently answer back:
But I see and admire how you all disciple your kids, and I want to know that joy and struggle for myself.
I want to know that whole other dimension of my husband—the part of seeing him being a father to his own kids.
I want to relate to you and you and you. I want to be able to join in the conversation about what it’s like to carry and grow a child inside of my own body.