To My Friend Who Has no Babies

To My Friend Who Has no Babies

I’m reading a book now that you’ll be hearing much more about in the coming days, because simply put, it’s one of the best, most rejuvenating things I’ve read in a long while. If you are a woman, go buy Lady Like, by Rebekah Curtis & Rose Adle. You’ll be happy you did.

One of the chapters in it was published at He Remembers the Barren and it was so painfully beautiful, I just had to share it with you. Perhaps you have a friend who needs these words.

“I’m the one with more children than you have fingers on your right hand. I feel ostentatious and gaudy around you. I feel like having my babies with me is in poor taste, like I am flaunting my riches. I cringe to imagine that you might feel the same way, you who have suffered so much in your own mind and who are now subjected in real time, in public, to stare in the face the dream that hasn’t come true for you….

I thank you for the witness that you are to the sacred blessing of marriage no matter what the quantifiable yield of that marriage. I thank you for the witness you are to the inherent value of femininity no matter what the quantifiable yield of that femininity.”

Read the whole letter HERE.

 

 

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15 Responses to “To My Friend Who Has no Babies”

  1. Vicki says:

    Hi Kelly,

    I am being directed to another letter. Could you please check and make sure that we are being directed to the right letter when we hit ‘here’?

    Thanks!

  2. Holly says:

    Thank you very much, Kelly, for posting this. I read your blog regularly, even though I am the “friend who has no babies”. [Our only baby was taken very early in pregnancy, so even though we have no babies for the world to see, we do have a little one with whom we will be reunited someday.]

    Many may wonder why I read a blog which focuses so much on motherhood when that is a role I will never own. I read it for the encouragement, so that I can be comforted knowing that there are families out there who are bringing up children who will make our world a better place. I read it to pass along wisdom to my sister, who does have four children. I read it for commentary on the issues we should all be concerned about, whether or not we have children.

    I also love reading this blog because I love children. I have a gift for teaching, especially children, and used to read many homeschooling blogs regularly as I couldn’t wait for the day to homeschool my own children. This was after we finally decided to try to have children…..we came to Christianity in our 30s and after putting career first for years, we realized that it was time to be having our own children, not knowing it would not happen for us. [Young women who may be reading this: don’t do what we did. Have your children now and enjoy them!]

    Even though we now live in a world which hates children, a world where people voluntarily choose to have no children, those of us who haven’t been able to have children are still in a strange place. Readers of this blog get hateful comments about the size of your family – we get invasive and often terribly personal comments as well. Having no babies is an intensely personal but yet painfully public thing. I have posted comments on other blogs, trying to comfort other women who are childless and have been attacked and criticized because we have not adopted. I’ve gotten advice on which sexual positions to try, which foods to eat…I’ve been asked what I’ve done medically in determining what the problem is…I was even advised by my husband’s 93-year-old great aunt to go see her daughter, a fertility specialist, because “she can make a rock get pregnant” (yes, she said that and I have to admit that I actually thought that one was funny!). I was developing a relationship with a Christian woman my age when she told me that she really did not have time for me, and “if you had children, then we could hang out more, because then our kids would have someone to talk to when we got together”. I say all this not to make you pity me but to make you see that I understand what you go through as well, when you face harsh and insensitive comments.

    Every time we meet new people, we almost always get the dreaded question: how many children do you have? Most embarrassing of all is the fact that I can never control my response to that question. Sometimes I’m okay; other times, my husband lovingly answers for us as I pinch myself hard on the leg so as not to cry. My heart goes out to those who ask the question as I know they immediately wish they hadn’t. I’ve had to quickly take myself to the bathroom during weddings when the groom dances with his mother so as not to make a public crying fool of myself. I’ve had to carefully consider if I should go to yet another baby shower, as I have no idea from day to day what my reaction will be.

    But I don’t want to be *that woman* either. I don’t want to be the one you, mother of many children, are uncomfortable around. I met my third niece today for the very first time, my brother’s child, just three months old (they live a distance from us). Yes, I cried, and yes, some of the tears were for exactly what you think they were for. But there were also tears of happiness for my brother and his wife. I was genuinely joyful for them and so happy to hold that baby girl. What a blessing she is already. When I see large families and women with babies especially, I do get teary-eyed but please know that I am so happy for you. I never want to be the woman who causes you to see my pain instead of your joy.

    We need more grace towards one another…we need to look at each other and see first the value others have in the eyes of God. For no matter our situation, we will not truly understand one another until we truly understand this: our identity is as a child of God. It is not in our titles of mother, wife, sister, daughter, aunt, grandmother, homemaker, or whatever our career title may be. We can embrace these roles and can and should do our very best at them but we must realize we are first and foremost children of the King and when we step into eternity, that will be the title that gets us through the doors.

    I could write so much more but this is not my blog. I only thought to share my perspective and to thank Kelly for posting something that made me feel so very loved today.

    God bless all of you beautiful mothers! Never for a moment wonder if what you are doing is important. It is! And even though I do not personally know you, you are always in my prayers and I thank God for you.

    • 6 arrows says:

      Dear Holly,

      Oh, what a beautiful testimony you have written! It brought tears of joy to read. I must thank you very much for sharing your perspective. You are so correct that we all need more grace toward one another, and that first and foremost we are children of the King.

      God bless you, Holly, for your sweet spirit, your kind words, and especially your prayers. I will remember you in my prayers, as well.

      Much love to you, sister.

      • 6 arrows says:

        Looking back in, Holly, “tears of joy” wasn’t the right way to express what I was feeling as I read your post. I am sorry if that sounded callous. Many emotions welled up in me, and I am truly sorry for your pain as you walk this road.

        The beauty of Christ shows through so clearly in your writing, Holly, and that is very moving.

        • Holly says:

          I know exactly what you meant and I thank you for it. I have been blessed by so many of your comments here. I also think we have a lot in common if I remember correctly…former music teachers, piano players/teachers…we share the gift of music! 🙂

          • 6 arrows says:

            That is so neat to know you are a pianist/teacher, too! God is so great to give His wonderful gift of music to be enjoyed in many ways — listening, performing, playing/singing for our own enjoyment, composing, teaching…the list goes on. (I could talk music all day!) 🙂

            What a blessing I’m sure you are to your students, Holly, with not only your enjoyment of music, but especially through your clear love for children, made very evident in your writing.

            Thank you again for sharing!

    • Holly,

      Your story, your graciousness with which you told it–how very moving and beautiful, and painful all at once. My heart aches for you as I can hardly imagine the kind of pain you describe in all those situations. I’ve seen family members and friends struggle through new births and family events and my heart just aches for you. But what a beautiful thing to see how the Lord’s mercy in your life has prevented your from becoming bitter and harsh. I really appreciate your taking the time to write this. It was an encouragement to me to be more sensitive than ever, extending grace and love, and being humble reminded of God’s greater plan for all of us. You are loved and perfect in His sight.

      • Holly says:

        “You are loved and perfect in His sight”…thank you for that! I am constantly fighting the lie that I am broken and marred because of my inability to have children when the truth is that God loves me fully and completely and that makes me beautiful. Love to you and your family!

  3. Linda H. says:

    Thank you so much for this post! It was a much needed bit of refreshment as we just found out we are unable to naturally have children and that I will likely miscarry many times (after at least 2 we know of) without ever having a conception that will come to full term. It has been a huge struggle for me to come to terms with, as I’ve always loved and desired children. What made it much harder is the fact that we had a baby-boom at our church, right around the time we discovered we can’t have kids. While I’m happy for our friends who’ve been so blessed, my heart and arms ache to hold a little one of our own. So yes, there are tears of sorrow for what I will never have, as well as tears of joy for what my friends are receiving! Please know that this post spike to my heart in ways you could never imagine!! Thank you for sharing it! God indeed gives strength and grace for each day and each trial we face. I am so incredibly blessed by this blog and wanted to thank you again for sharing this today, when my heart needed encouragement! 🙂

    • My heart aches for you too, Linda, and I thank you for posting here and for your heart of gratitude through such pain. That’s what makes a true woman.

    • Holly says:

      Linda, you are not alone. The Lord tells us that “blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12).

    • 6 arrows says:

      Linda,

      I’m so sorry for your pain. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to receive a diagnosis like that. Thank you for sharing from your heart. May the Lord bring you deep comfort and peace on your life’s journey.

  4. Kristen says:

    I’ve been thinking a lot about this post. I, too, am infertile. We have no real idea why, other than that The Lord closed my womb. But, over the years we have adopted 5 children and it has been a wonderful experience. People deal with their infertility in different ways, and for some reason it never bothered dh and me that we were unable to have children biologically. Our adopted children are as much a part of us as if we had birthed them. But there is another “status” that painfully sets women apart in the church that I understand all too well, and that is singleness. I got married at age 34. And that is painful and awkward as well. Smiling through tears as all your friends get married, being left out socially because you aren’t a pair. People pitying you because “she’s such a pretty girl, I wonder why she isn’t married yet.” The temptation to marry someone who you know you probably shouldn’t because that might be your only chance. It is a difficult and painful position to be in, and it’s easy to criticize the church for not being more loving. I don’t think people intend to be unkind or emphasize the fact that we are childless or single. I think people are looking to make conversation and they work from a position of what they know. And people may come across as unkind because they feel awkward or embarrassed by their own inability to make conversation.

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