Secondary Infertility

Speak of the Dead

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It is risky business speaking of our dead children. We risk crying in public. We risk the discomfort of others. We risk crowds scattering before us like dust before an electric fan, everyone afraid of “catching what we’ve got.” We risk dirt flying in our faces as others furiously spade the earth to cover the ugly remains of our dead.

Perhaps, worst of all, we risk indifference. Oh, the painful silence of our dead children being acknowledged in public only to be ignored!

It is easier to hold our dead safely and quietly in our hearts where no one can offend or abuse them. But the truth is that our children did not stay in our wombs, and they do not now live in our hearts. They left our bodies to return to dust. They went before us in death, and we follow them into the grave.

This is why we speak of our dead children: because they lived and died and, we trust, live again in Christ. Our dead children are remembered and loved not only by us but by God who Himself lived and died and rose again that we all might live forever with Him in the flesh.

Thank you, Kristen, Audrey, Adrienne, and Melanie, for speaking aloud of your children that we might be comforted.

You can listen to their words here.

Mayday

No tree wants to be barren, especially in the height of spring.

And when the sun rises on the second Sunday of May, the barren tree closes her eyes against the dreaded dawn. There is no hiding her leafless limbs in this public light. Her bare bark stands out in stark, dark contrast to the other verdant trees in the forest. No blossom crowns her head this Mother’s Day, no fruit snuggles against her naked breast. She has but one, lone Shoot growing from her sterile stump.

“I can bear no fruit,” she laments to the sunrise.

“I AM bearing all of the fruit you need in this life,” answers the Shoot, sprouting leaves of salvation, truth, and love. “I AM the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me bears much fruit. By this my Father is glorified.”

“But my children are dead,” she cries.

The Shoot stretches its arms wide to shade her gaping womb. “I AM the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.”

“I am alone,” she mourns.

“I AM with you. And so are they.”

The tree opens her eyes to see a robin returning from a morning scavenge, feeding her babies nesting on a forgotten limb.

“But these are not my children.”

“They are yours to serve,” explains the Shoot. “They depend on you for support. I give them to you to shelter and protect. Love them as yourself.”

The barren tree – through no strength of her own – stands tall, lest the baby birds should fall.


Artist Edward Riojas has captured the poignant reality of barrenness in his exquisite cover artwork for He Remembers the Barren, Second Edition.

This moving painting is now available for purchasing. Do you have someone in your life who might appreciate a giclée print of it this Mother’s Day?

He Remembers the Barren, Second Edition

So Much Death

My heart can barely hold the grief.

It leaks out of my eyes as I bow my head in church. I’ve learned to pray with my eyes open, so that the tears drop straight to the floor and not onto my cheeks and clothes in tell-tale streaks.

It shudders from my lungs in seismic waves as Pastor reads the Gospel lesson. I’ve learned to hold my breath until my chest burns, camel-clutching my wayward diaphragm into submission.

It squeezes out of my larynx in pathetic whimpers as I sing, “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.” I’ve learned not to program “O Little Town of Bethlehem” for the Sunday school children lest they witness more sorrow in Advent than their parents want to explain on the drive home.

But my eyes, my lungs, my larynx – all rebels, every one. They get the better of me every Advent, because I know of more children dead than born.

So much death! How can I bear it?

And, as happens every year, I look to the image of my Lord as a tiny baby in the manger, and I remember, “So much life!”

I cannot bear it, so Jesus bears it for me. He is born to conquer death for my sake and for yours. He gives us life everlasting, and He gives it abundantly.

“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”

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Big Sister

MP900341507My young pen pal recently became a big sister through adoption last year – twice!

Here’s how she described her new life as a big sister in her most recent letter to me:

We are super busy. Sometimes I lock myself in my bedroom, lie on my bed, and try to imagine life BEFORE munchkins 2 and 3. It is IMPOSSIBLE. I can’t even think of our living room 2 years ago. 🙂 Right now, Little Brother is hanging onto my chair watching Little Sister ride her tricycle around the kitchen/dining room while holding her baby doll. She stops every time she goes by Little Brother to smile at him.

Isn’t that delightful?

Have you and your husband considered adoption?

Secondary Infertility

I met Tender Heart last weekend.

Her flaxen curls billowed around her pixie face in the September sun. Her tears were tiny, shiny glass balls dangling off the cliffs of her cheeks.

“Everyone else at school has brothers and sisters,” she cried. “I’m the only one who doesn’t. All I want is to be a big sister.”

Eight years young, and Tender Heart already knows the sting of barrenness.

My eyes moved to Mother. Silently, patiently she bore with her daughter’s grief, snuggling Tender Heart deep into the safety of her blanket arms. The only trace of her own deep sadness was the quiet network of shiny rivers streaming down her own cheek cliffs.

And I wept in shame.

For I weep for myself in my barrenness, but Mother weeps for her suffering child.

The mother of one bears a double cross.

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The Great Temptation

The great temptation of barrenness is to believe that God’s blessed favor will only come to you in the form of a child of your own.

Well, it doesn’t, though it does come in the form of a child – the child Jesus, born to die for your sins.

“Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear; Break forth and cry aloud, you who are not in labor!” (Isaiah 54:1 and Galatians 4:27 [ESV])

God’s blessed favor is for you.

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