Unravelling is a fairly accurate description of my life and faith during infertility and miscarriage. Often people have commented about our honesty and faith being inspiring, but it hasn’t really felt that way, especially for me. I’ve got such a big gob that for me being ‘open and honest’ is actually the easy way out. Don’t get me wrong there have been times in our journey, especially the really low points, when I absolutely hated the fact that people knew our business, but for the most part it has been a blessing. To know that others were praying, or at the very least had enough information to not feel like they were stepping on egg shells around us was a relief.
threads is an appropriate name for this site as at times it felt like that was all I was hanging on by. I think I very quickly learned to be somewhat content with the whys. I mean, if God Himself had turned up and answered every question I had about the injustice of it all, would I have felt any less grief? Would the hurt have been somehow numbed? I can’t say with certainty but I am guessing not. And while this is not an entirely satisfying answer, it did provide me with some comfort.
Holding on to the threads of my life and faith was difficult. But I soon came to realise that infertility and miscarriage were just things that happened to me rather than being things that defined me. I believe God gave me the things I needed to cope with these hardships, both internal qualities and external factors like an amazing wife, supportive family and caring community. The only change in me was that I came to recognise and appreciate this. That’s not to say that the temptation to unravel completely wasn’t – and to a degree still isn’t – there. Life is fragile at the best of times, and when these unexpected events occur it can be very difficult to hang on. But we must try even if the only thing we can celebrate is hanging on itself.
Sharing our journey has been a great help. It’s been therapeutic for both us and for the people who have listened and found out that they are not alone. Speaking honestly about pain is not something everyone can do but as a renowned big mouth it came quite naturally to me and I discovered a surprising number of people who had had similar experiences and were encouraged by our frankness. Now I must say that although we have had plenty of email addresses passed on to us for people who have been through similar experiences in case we wanted to chat it through, we have not followed these up. For us we found the most helpful thing was to talk to existing friends or people at a similar stage in their journey. We were not the first people to go through infertility and miscarriage, nor will we be the last. At times I wanted to selfishly keep my pain, guilt and grief to myself, claiming that I deserved it. I wanted to sink like Peter on the waves, when help was just at hand. I am glad that I was not and am not alone. Whatever you are going through you aren’t either.
In summary, I’d encourage you to be honest with some close friends, learn to live with the whys, and if all you can do is hold on – celebrate that, and encourage your Christian community to make Romans 12:15 (“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn”) tangible, and remember you are not the only person going through this.
I’m not normally one for poems, but this seemed to fit the theme so I finish with this:
Once knit together,
Before You I am undone.
You sail into the harbour of my hidden hurts,
You pillage the place of my prized possessions,
Lay bay the desert of my dirty deeds,
And sink the ship of my secret sin.
Before You unravelled
Only to be knit again.
(Photo via Creation Swap)