Full Heart, Empty Arms was originally started to address infertility and all the sadness, pain, relationship issues and self-esteem issues whirling around not being able to have children. In the months since its introduction, we’ve expanded to discuss all kinds of other related topics such as Parental Alienation, sexual abuse, incest and even Aspergers.
In this blog post, I’d like to circle back to the original topic of infertility because Rhys and I are still childless, both biologically and legally. Infertility has ‘robbed’ us of having children of our own. Parental Alienation has ‘robbed’ us of Rhys’ kids, my step-children. We are childless twice over.
For me personally, as a woman of faith, the worst part of infertility is that it feels like a personal judgement from God. That I’m not good enough to have children. That, inexplicably, God drug-addicts, abusers and teenagers more worthy of bearing children than me. As though they are better parents than me!
Intellectually, I know that logic is flawed, but that doesn’t stop it from hurting, from eating away at my self-esteem. Why are children sent to the most unworthy of parents? One person made this suggestion: maybe a baby is God’s last, desperate attempt to reach out to that person, helping them see the error of their ways and clean up their act for their child’s sake. To my human logic, that doesn’t make much sense, but it’s the only halfway logical reason I’ve ever heard for God sending children to those who, by any yardstick, will be terrible parents.
Maybe it is a wake-up call. Many people have given up destructive ways of life when their baby was placed in their arms.
So why are my arms still empty? Am I so unworthy? Beyond the pale in some way?
Or does God, in His infinite wisdom, know something I don’t. Does he know, perhaps, that Rhys’ ageing sperm and my ageing eggs would produce an offspring with terrible birth defects? Does He know already that flaws in our DNA would be passed down to our offspring? Is He, in fact, protecting us from ourselves, from emotional pain beyond anything we can imagine?
Does He know that something horrible lurks in our future, something that would make juggling children and that horror impossible? What does He know that I don’t know?
They say that ‘after every wedding is a marriage‘. What everyone forgets is that ‘after every cute baby is a toddler, child and teenager’. Am I so sure I want to struggle through those hormonal years of teenagehood, battling wills with yet another wayward teen. Five step-children later, I’m not so sure. That experience has left me bloody and bruised. Plus, there are no guarantees that raising my biological children will be any better than hosting my step-children for visitation. No guarantees at all.
No guarantees that my child will like me or love me. No guarantees that they won’t move to Thailand and leave me struggling in my old age. No guarantees that I won’t be left alone and struggling in aged decrepitude despite having children.
My one New Year’s Resolution for 2019 is to accept infertility with grace. To stop eating my heart out and taking it as a personal insult and a blow to my self-esteem. To stop rueing my empty arms and just get on with it. Create a legacy in some other way. Express love in other ways. Find joy in other ways.
Empty arms are not a judgement. They may in fact be, in a roundabout way, a blessing if only we have the faith to see it.