Monday, November 16, 2009

Today I'm thankful for some healing ...#6

Today I am thankful for some healing and moving forward. Our IF is one of the hardest things Marcus and I have had to face as a couple. The diagnosis was devastating and it was a loss we had to deal with, and in many ways will deal with for the rest of our lives, and since our diagnosis in Jan. of 2008 I have been really angry and haven't had a real space or forum to express that anger and sadness and the big ugly grieving process.  Even now with our two beautiful babies the pain is still very real.

This Sunday I preached on 1 Sam 1:1-20 which is the story of Hannah's encounter as she experiences the grief of her own infertility. I structured my sermon on reproductive loss (IF, miscarriage, stillbirth etc). and on the politicalization of IF and the treatments used to treat the IF. The sermon was deeply personal (although I didn't name our story necessarily, it's there but veiled by anonymity). The first few times I practiced the sermon I couldn't get through it without crying. The wounds and the pain of it all are still that fresh, and even Marcus as he listened to me practice could only just say, "It's really sad."

On Sunday as I was preaching I looked into the congregation and saw a man with his head in his hands crying, and I knew, just from looking at him, and his reaction, that he too knew the pain of reproductive loss, and again I had to work to remain my composure. There was a commonality, an unspoken understanding, and I was so glad that I was naming this loss in a public space. It would have been deeply healing and helpful for me to hear such a sermon during our own struggles and even now just for someone to name and recognize the reality of the loss, but unfortunately it's just a topic that's not talked about enough. I suppose unless you've been on the side of some kind of loss it's just hard to know how to approach it.

Afterwards, many people from the church spoke to me about having a new understanding, they thanked me for my words, and I know to at least one person I spoke truth about the pain, grief, anger and sadness about a longed-for child.

Although many didn't know, I was speaking from personal experience. So many commented that I must have done a lot of research, but honestly the research was from my own lived knowledge. I know the pain Hannah felt about her IF, because Marcus and I too have been in that place where we cried, wept, and begged, for a child. Naming that experience out-loud, while incredibly difficult, was also incredibly healing. I am changed because of the IF that is a fact, all I can do now is try to make use of my knowledge and understanding related to reproductive loss, and move forward in a way to be helpful to others who also face that loss, and for that empathy and understanding I am grateful.

I'm debating whether or not to post my sermon here. Reading a sermon isn't nearly as effective as hearing it, since it's written for the ear and not the eye. I guess we'll see.


Becks said...

I, for one, would really like to read it. I have struggled with IF for 10 years; when I was 16 I was told that I couldn't have children naturally. It was so painful, and no one understood the deep sense of loss and pain that I felt. I told barely anyone, and even then, I don't think anyone I told really understood. The hardest part for me was that some of the women in my church really looked down on me and judged me for not having children, assuming that our childlessness was by choice. By the time I was 24 I was so bitter, and so angry at God for the brokeness of my body, I stopped being a Christian, and I left the church.

I suppose you can imagine my shock when I found out I was pregnant! My husband and I stood in the bathroom looking at the pregnancy test, laughing and crying at the same time. We were so, so scared. Having my son, James, healed deep and bitter wounds in me I didn't even know I had. I can't look at my son without knowing that he is a gift from God, and I am so thankful for him.

Christi said...

Sadie, I am in tears reading this. I have to agree, even if you would not post it here, I would love to read it. I am so blessed not to have dealt with it, but I ache for those who have. I can only imagine the pain that goes along with it. Today, I am celebrating PAD, and I know many moms who struggle with IF also struggle with prematurity. So I will be thinkgin of you and Marcus (and those beautiful babies) today

~Jess said...

Ours' will be a lifetime of healing *hugs* I, for one, would love to read the sermon.

There was someone who did some research on the SAIF board a couple of years ago for a sermon she was working on. I saved it and will email it to you.