Today’s post had me in absolute tears, in the best way! The heart and soul poured into this story is just beautiful. And oh, how I can relate so much… Brandy, thank you for sharing this with us. It’s like you peeked into my (and my daughter’s) soul and articulated what we are thinking and experiencing…
I remember her. She wore purple overalls and had stringy red hair. Her face was dotted with little freckles just like my own. The problem was this though: No matter how much I packed her around and no matter how much she looked like me, she wasn’t my baby sister that I wanted so so much. She was just my Kid Sister doll.
I was four. My mom had waited the average time for our neck of the woods when she got pregnant with the baby that we never got to meet. I had pleaded to Mom, Dad, and God for a baby sister and it seemed that I might be getting my wish. I don’t remember a lot of the details…. how they told me, the questions I asked, or even where we bought that “Kid Sister” doll from. But I do remember the longing. I remember the desiring of a baby sister and the not comprehending why I couldn’t just have one. I was at the age when everyone made having a baby seem so simple. In my “needing to know every detail” mind, the stork put the baby in Mom’s belly and when SHE (yes, I specifically wanted a sister) was done growing the stork would come make sure she arrived safely. That’s how it worked right? So in my mind, what could have gone wrong? But of course I didn’t understand…. I was only 4.
Thankfully, it was less than 6 months later with my mom got pregnant with Katie… the little sister I’d so desperately wanted. Years went by and that baby that we all lost was not really discussed much. I remember years after my mom becoming a Christian that she came to the belief she would see that baby in Heaven one day and what a cool thought that was. Sometimes if someone we knew lost a baby, she would talk about the time she lost her own.
I didn’t really think about the time in my life when I was a sibling-in-waiting until I became a momma-in-waiting. As the months went by and we realized that conceiving wasn’t going to be as easy for us as many of our friends, my eyes were opened to the world of infertility. I had no idea that there were so many emotions that came with it… and to be honest so many types. I started to see all the angles from unexplained infertility to male factor infertility, from low egg reserve to endometriosis. Up until that point “infertility” had just been infertility. But now there were all of these titles and amongst those came “primary” and “secondary.”
I have a few cherished loved ones who are/were dealing with (what I now know as) secondary infertility and my heart had always broke for them. So when I came across Jessi’s blog, I immediately was drawn to her openness about dealing with infertility the second time around. One of the earliest posts I read was “When Your Child Is Begging for a Sibling You Can’t Give.” It was one of the first times I remember revisiting those memories as a child. I wondered how much it hurt my mom when I asked for a sister constantly although she was doing everything she could to give me one. I wondered if her heart cracked a little every time she saw me lugging that Kid Sister doll wishing there was a real baby around for me to hold. In discussing it with my mom she shared that the hardest part of her miscarriage was trying to explain to me that I wasn’t having a baby sibling anymore. It caused my compassion for those struggling to conceive a baby sibling heighten more than ever. A thought that I continually came back to was this: During our struggle with infertility the hardest part for me was disappointing others each month when our answer was no. The list of course included my mom and sister and dear friends… but the hardest to watch was my husband. I was thankful that he longed for a child as much as I did and he obviously knew it was not my fault that we didn’t get pregnant each month. Still yet the sadness that came from wanting to give him a child and not being able to was really tough. I can’t imagine the ache of having that with your child.
I feel so incredibly blessed right now to have a sweet baby boy kicking in my womb. His estimated arrival is early February and we couldn’t be more thrilled. But can I tell you that I already have visions of him being a big brother? Can I tell you that I already pray that I’ll one day get to experience all of these joys of pregnancy over again? I in no way want to seem selfish or any bit ungrateful for the gift of this precious little boy. If God chose for this to be our only child of my womb, I would be grateful for every day and trust that He has reasons beyond my moral mind can understand…. but I would still feel as though our family were not complete. Some people have one child and they are completely done. Some children never long for a pestering little sibling. But this not the case most often and it’s something that I wish many more would recognize when many deal with secondary infertility.
I remember the day my sister was born like it was yesterday. I remember being picked up from school and being given this big button to wear around at the hospital. The button said “I’m the BIG SISTER.” My prayer is that Zoey will one day get to proudly march hospital hallways declaring the same thing. As I write this, I’m praying for each of you reading who struggle with secondary infertility. I’m praying that you will get to pull out those totes of baby items that seem to hang over your head. I’m praying that your son or daughter will one day get to be the excited big brother or big sister you’ve always imagined they will be.
Undoubtedly many of you reading this are struggling with primary infertility. Maybe before you thought that you would give anything for one child, how can someone else be upset about not having a second? Can I kindly ask you to stop comparing your situation long enough to simply pray for compassion? One of my dear friends is in her upper 30s and has never been married. I’m so thankful that when we were struggling to conceive she didn’t say, “At least you have a husband. Can’t you just be happy with that?” Instead she prayed for us and recognized the longing I had, though it was different from her own.
Maybe you are someone who has never dealt with infertility at all and these are thoughts you never really considered. Can I ask you to stop and think next time you before you ask a child, “wouldn’t you like for Mommy to have another baby?” Or catch yourself before you make unknowing comments about “what a great big sister” they will be one day. You never know when Mommy is already giving her all to see her firstborn rock a baby brother or sister. You never know when that little girl with the doll always glued to her hip is a sibling-in-waiting just like I was.