From Infertility to Joy: A Brave Woman’s Journey (A Marriage Monday Guest-Post)

Hey there!
I’m scurrying around, packing and preparing for The Declare Conference that happens THIS WEEK!  (Will you please pray for me as I prepare for my keynote talk on Friday morning?!)
Last week we had a super insightful guest post by Joy McMillan with a book giveaway (on sex and how our emotional connection with our husbands can be directly linked to physical intimacy).  The winner of the giveaway is being announced by the end of today!  It’s not to late to enter to win!  Head over to this post for details of how to be entered.
Today I’m sharing with you wonderful guest post by Wynne Elder.  We met last year at The Declare Conference and I immediately loved her!  I’m honored to introduce Wynne to you.
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(Wynne just got back from Style for Justice trip to Rwanda with International Justice Mission and Noonday Collection, along with Jennie Allen and Jen Hatmaker, and several other awesome women… read about it here!)
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Whether you and your spouse are working through infertility, adoption, or know someone who is (that should be about all of us), I pray that Wynne’s story will inspire and encourage.
So here she is, friends.  The passionate, fun, beautiful, “gloriously ruined”, Wynne Elder.

 

“What do you think you’d be missing out on if you didn’t have a biological kid?”

That is the question my friend Sarah asked me late one night this week outside of Starbucks that has been reeling in my mind.  I’ve made it very clear to my people, that my desire through all this infertility treatments has been to be pregnant.  My desire isn’t necessarily to have a biological child, shocking enough.  I know that I can love a child that doesn’t have my blood running through their veins or doesn’t look like me, and so I’m not worried about that.  I know in my heart that family is more than blood.

I’ve come to realize what I desire [and what I would feel like I was “missing out” on] is the experience of being pregnant

Finding out that you are pregnant and telling your husband.  Then getting to share that joyful news with your family and friends in a fun and creative way.  Then the first heart beat and sonogram pictures.  The tiny baby bump that appears, and wearing empire waist dresses that show your belly.  Maxi skirts and high belts, and pregnant in a two piece {i know that’s a weird one}.  Then the gender reveal, and wondering how we would do it, if we would find out in the doctor’s office or wait until we were surrounded by our people that night to find out.  What kind of party would we have and who would come?  Then the baby shower, and everyone asking you how you are feeling and if you’ve felt the baby kick yet.  The maternity pictures holding a cute pair of baby shoes, and announcing it on the blog and to the world who’s been following our journey.  God would get so much glory from this right?  Then, the labor and the group text that I would have already put the names together for Stephen to send out when “it’s time”.  Our families driving in from outta town to be there for the birth, and then those first moments together celebrating the gift of life!  Friends and family coming up to the hospital with balloons and flowers and warm hugs.  Battle wounds on my body.  Learning to breastfeed.  Labor stories.  Then those first few weeks at home with a newborn.  Family and friends getting to come over immediately and hold and snuggle and love on my sweet baby [and not have to wait a few months to touch him/her].  Being able to take that baby carrier around with me every where I go and everyone coo and love on my precious little one.

That my friends is what I would be missing out on.  Nothing else.

After those first few newborn weeks, everything else is my norm.  Raising babies, giving bottles, baths, fixing dinner, reading books, playing on the porch…that is my normal.  I am a mom!

After typing that all out, it sounds really selfish to me now. It seems like it is all about me.  Wow.  It’s not all about those things [then there’s the component about my health], but I make it about that.  I make it about me and what I want and if I’m really honest with myself – I want all of those things partly because that’s what my friends have.  That’s what our culture says is the “norm”.  Those are the things I’ve done time and time again for my good girlfriends when they are pregnant and have babies.  That’s what we talk about when we are all just girls together.  I can hardly think of one time where a group of 3+ girls were together that labor stories, pregnancy or breastfeeding didn’t come up.  and when it comes up, you know how I feel? Left out.

I don’t have those stories.  but you know what God also revealed to me this week?  My stories as an adoptive mom are awesome too!

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Finding out we had a referral and skyping my sisters at 10 pm to tell them the news, printing out his picture and taking it to friends houses one at a time to share the news in different ways, a fun couples baby shower with margaritas!, then the let down of losing a referral…and then the sharing of our TWO referrals at the baby shower to surprise everyone, flying to Ethiopia with 36 hours notice and having a flood of my close friends storm in my house and do everything to get me ready, Alison meeting us in Ethiopia to take the pictures of us meeting them for the first time, and then a crowd of friends waiting for us at the airport when we returned with two babies in our arms.  meals on the porch for weeks as we were “cocooning” with our two alone.  Then open arms when it was time for everyone to be able to touch and hold my babes.

Then… life as usual. raising babies, feeding bottles, reading books, making dinner….

It’s so funny how the stories parallel.  But how they are so different.  I think maybe I don’t like being the “different one” but what’s really funny is I really do LOVE it.  I have never wanted to be like everyone else.  I drove a jacked up truck in high school for pete’s sake! I think I just want to feel known.

Known in a way that the majority understands.  Known in a way that helps me relate to the majority of women around me.  But ya know what? I’ve been able to be known and understood by women that I never would have gotten to know if it weren’t for adoption + infertility.  I’ve been able to connect with women in a whole new way because of our crazy roads to parenthood, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything!  I know that God has us right where He wants us.  I know he will use this testimony.

Just like I heard my friend Leslie say,

everything broken and lost in my life has been replaced with a TESTIMONY!”

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I have probably 2 hands of good friends that I’ve gotten to know the past few years that have all adopted kiddos.  Most have struggled with infertility, and while some are still actively pursuing biological kids, some aren’t.  I keep telling God “thank you” that if that’s my story one day, I have other girls that “get it”.  Other women to help me feel known.  But ya know what I realized this week?  I am also in that “category”! That IS my story right now!  I don’t have biological kids, and truth be told I might not ever have them.  I want to take ownership of this part of my story.  Not that I’m better than because both my kiddos are adopted, but because that’s the story God has written for our lives so far.

So maybe, through all of this I should see that while I have missed out on some pretty “normal” things that moms experience, I have had some pretty amazing things happen that most moms don’t ever get to experience.  And for that I’m grateful.  Only God knows if I’ll ever carry a baby or not, but I do know one thing: regardless of how I got here, or how I’ll get there again, I am a momma!

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And with THESE TWO??  I am not missing out at all.  I am the MOST blessed mama with these two amazing blessings that I can’t believe I get to call mine!

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