Mom and Dad are two of my greatest blessings, and I love them dearly. They have always been my strongest supporters. Mom helped me study lists of words for school spelling bees. Dad sat beside me at the kitchen table as I struggled to divide fractions. They prayed with me before bed each night and sent me to school with the words, “God be with you.” I knew they loved and supported me. They also encouraged my brothers and me to talk openly with them. Mom and Dad were always willing listeners and encouraged us to share our thoughts.
Sadly, my parents were the hardest people to tell when it came to discussions surrounding my barrenness. I couldn’t bring myself to do it. As I was preparing for my laparascopy, Jerome suggested calling my parents to let them know what was going to happen. I dreaded that call; I didn’t want them to know anything about it. Why was I so scared, so apprehensive? I was ashamed and embarrassed. I thought I had let them down. They had been waiting for grandchildren, and I hadn’t come through for them. I felt that I had disappointed them, even though I knew this could never be true.
I wanted to tell my parents that I was pregnant, not that I was barren. Thanks be to God for Jerome. He held my hand as we started that conversation. I don’t even know what we said anymore. I know that I cried. Even though those early talks are now blurred in my mind, I can confidently say that my parents’ love for me never wavered. I knew that they were still going to love and cherish me unconditionally.
Sometime after our initial barrenness talks, my mom shared that she didn’t know what to say or do. I recall her saying, “You have to tell me how to support you because we haven’t gone through anything like this.” Mom was right. This was new for our family, and none of us knew what to say or do. Mom knew, though. She loved me; she told me she cared. Our family is still learning how to talk about barrenness. I don’t think it will ever be easy because it will always hurt. However, God gives us family members to share the burden. There is great joy in being a daughter, for I know that I am a child of God. In my darkest hours, I could recall that I am the child of parents who love me, even though I may never be a parent myself.
Dear sisters, it’s hard to talk about barrenness. We’ve not heard conversations about it before, so we’re charting new territory. It’s frightening to say aloud that you’re barren. Know this, though. Your family loves you. Your value in the family does not depend upon the size of your family. You are God’s child, and He loves you as you are. I regret not telling my parents sooner about our struggles with barrenness. They knew we were hurting but wanted to respect our privacy and our wish to share things when we were ready. I had neglected to let my parents love and care for me in my grief, but God gives us family to care for us and to carry our sorrows.
When you’re ready, I encourage you to share your barrenness with your family. Yes, it will be hard, very hard. The book He Remembers the Barren is an excellent way to start the conversation. Katie states beautifully the hurt, the pain, the grief, the hope, the joy that we have as Christians who live in the Lord. Her words become your words as you struggle to verbalize your barrenness. And you’ll never be alone in your barrenness. We, your sisters in the family of Christ, are praying for you.