I eluded in the last post about spending time processing and grieving what will never be. I have done that some, and while there’s more to do…more to process, writing is one of the ways I process, and if you’re walking in this season with me, you need to know what I’m walking through.
When we were little, we likely had a thought has to what our life would be like when we grew up. Likely that included getting married and having children because that’s “normal” and what everything around us says is the goal of our life.
Think back to movies or books about the way life used to be. There was finishing schools or college for the purpose of getting your Mrs. degree. The goal of a woman was to learn how to keep house, take care of a family and find a good man. While feminism would say we’ve escaped from this, have we really? I don’t think we’ve gotten that far away from that. While girls have hopes of doing other things, the thoughts are still that we need to have a family as well. That’s the goal.
I was hanging out with an almost 5 year old yesterday, and she was telling me about someone’s graduation party they went to. She told me that person is “going to college so she can get married.” I said, oh is that what college is for? She said, “Well, you learn stuff, but you’re supposed to have a husband when you leave.” I said, Oh, I might need to go to college again. She laughed and said, “No, you’re done, but you’re okay because you’re a sister. Sisters don’t have to have husbands. Well I have sisters and I’m going to have a husband, but….I think you’re okay.”
Oh dear…haha. I mean you have to laugh at the things little people come up with. They are amazing and life affirming. They work to make sure your self-esteem is going to be intact because even though you didn’t do it right, “I think you’re okay.” Plus, I’ve literally gone to college (and graduated) multiple times….like 4….and she’s right, I’m done. I can’t afford to spend any more tuition looking for a man (not that that’s why I went).
But at one point in my life, that was the goal, not to go to college and find a man, but to get married and have a family. That was the dream. In fact, at one point in my youth, I was going to have ten kids…in multiples of all things. Literally the plan was 2 sets of twins and 2 sets of triplets. Goodness…I’m glad God didn’t give me that dream ’cause that’s a lot. But nevertheless, a family was the dream.
I was going to be good at that dream. While my cooking skills were questionable (as my family likes to remind me, even though now my cooking skills are pretty good), I was going to be good at raising babies. I volunteered in the church nursery. Babies liked me. I liked babies. I would skip everything to just go hang out in the nursery with the babies. I mean I was going to be great at it.
Then I went to college, 4 years…no man. I mean I had some dates, but nothing lasting. I mean I looked around some thinking that’s what I’m supposed to do, but I never found anyone who made me want to hang out with them long-term.
But I’m supposed to. And I made a commitment to save everything for marriage, so there’s no way I can have children without marriage and while I don’t necessarily want marriage, I do want babies….I mean I better find a man to have a family. That’s where my line of thinking was. (and I went to college 3 more times and still no man…but 3 more degrees, so that’s something.)
Fast forward to now. I’m 41. I still am single, so I don’t have any babies. And three weeks ago, I had a hysterectomy. The “dream” is officially dead. As I discussed a little in a previous post the hysterectomy didn’t kill the dream. It just put the final nail in its coffin.
So, part of the emotional and spiritual “healing” after this is dealing with the death of the dream. It’s grieving what will never be. I think that’s important. “The dream” of what life will be is big; it’s so important. It’s what’s kept you going. Now that it’s over, it’s important to grieve that and feel it. I think that way you can let it go. Because, until you let it go, you can’t leave the door open for the new dream that God has for you.
I mean this was my dream. 10 kids…and I guess a husband. But, obviously God has something better for me, something different. And whatever it is, it’s probably going to be great. No, it IS going to be great. I have to believe that. If I hold on so tight to “the dream” I had, I’m going to miss the dream God is dreaming for me. I know that, but y’all, it’s hard!
I don’t regret my decision to have surgery because it’s going to improve my life in the long-run. Maybe not here in the immediate recovery stage, but eventually it is. Knowing I’ll never have a child is hard. Now I know there are other ways to have a family, have a child, and I’m not shutting the door on those ways, but I still have to grieve that it’s not going to happen the way I thought it was going to happen, the way it was “supposed to happen.”
I think that’s one of the biggest challenges we sometimes have in our Christian walk, to allow the door to close on how we pictured our lives in our mind. But even then, it’s still hard. I have friends who are younger than I am having babies right now. And while I’m excited for them, right now, in this season, it’s hard to listen to their excitement. But, there is hope in the fact that it’s getting easier. And while I wasn’t ready for “Mother’s Day” church today (I watched it at home), I’m gonna get there. I’m gonna be okay. It’s going to get easier. It has already gotten easier.
There is hope for the future still. It’s gonna look different than I thought it was supposed to, but it’s gonna be so good. I have hope in that. I don’t know what it’s going to look like. It might be adoption. It might be loving on my nieces or other little people who I’m not a mother too, but still helping to “mother.” It might be a lot of things. But it’s God’s plan, so it’s going to be worth it in the end. It’s going to be worth waiting for. Because God said I was worth dying for, and He wants what is best for me. I have to hold to that.
But for a little while, even in my hope for the future, I have to continue to say goodbye to my ideal of what the future was supposed to look like….the future that will never be. I have to fully trust that God’s ways are not my ways. Even when it hurts, God’s got me, and He’s walking with me and I’m good (as long as I don’t let go and try to run ahead).