3.02.2009

SUPERMOM SERIES: The Very Deserving Mother Heart

This is Reachel:
Many of you know her from the fabulous Cardigan Empire. Reachel and her husband Andrew are dear friends of ours. And what a wonderful little family they are. Like many, they would love to add a happy new addition to their family, and have gone through/will continue to go through a lot to make that possible. I don't know two more deserving people than Andrew and Reachel. They will one day make quintessential parents. I asked Reachel to share a few of her thoughts on Motherhood. I love this Supermom post—and I know you will, too.

*****
I am not a mother. After 63 months, hundreds of pregnancy tests, a five-digit sum for a 10 syllable label, and two counts of attempted adoption, I’m pretty positive.

Andrew’s seed is essentially flawless, and I’ve seen live footage of the inside of my uterine soil. Personally I think it looks lovely. Soft, squishy pink walls with minimal endometrial fluff, floating around like perfect little baby pillows. And the overly chipper doctor performing the exam agreed. (By the way, it is my personal opinion that gynecological doctors specializing in infertility should be shrouded and discreet when performing their service. I do not appreciate small talk during examinations or any emotional discharge whatsoever during our time together. I prefer services be rendered quietly, efficiently, and a treat be dispensed upon completion. I really do think I should get a treat.)

Anyways, like I said, it’s been a five year sojourn spanning Western and Eastern medicine including Clomid, Novarel, hormone therapy, acupuncture, blue lasers, hypnosis and understatedly more.

And I can’t complain.

Well I do complain, but I shouldn’t. I seek to celebrate infertility eating sushi in hot tubs with soft cheeses whenever possible. I do realize that I can go out to dinner on a whim and travel internationally without finding a sitter. I have to admit, it is a little glamorous.

But I still ache with emptiness when I allow myself to recognize the absence. I have heavily acronymed diplomas, drive a two door car, wear dry clean only items at least three times a week. But I would swap it all for one little muffin.

Some days I point out little children to my husband, and ask him how far down in Mexico he thinks we could get before their parents realized they were gone. I usually favor the odds of large families with a similar gene pool. Andrew typically opts for toddlers, just bordering on verbal skills. But I don’t really want those kids, even the remarkably cute, well behaved ones. Because I want my kids. I don’t want any of your kids. I want my kids.

My kids.

They don’t need hazel eyes, or a propensity for turn of the century literature. They don’t even need to fancy candied ginger. I just want to know that when I hold them, they were given to me. That God entrusted them to me.

In the Old Testament Jacob’s wife Rachel declared, “Give me children, or else I die.” Her sister Leah was in a procreating frenzy and every other verse, handmaids Bilhah and Zilpah are pregnant, but it seemed Rachel’s womb was fixed shut. Then when you least expect it in verse 22 of Genesis 30, there’s the one line I cling to: “And God remembered Rachel.”

God remembers me too. And someday, I know I’ll hold a child that looks to me for all-inclusive support. But for now, I don’t know if the world needs more children or more mothers.

There are hungry father-in-laws, and overwhelmed sisters, there are friends suffering from too little clean laundry, and husbands who need foot rubs. People need to be prayed for, listened to, and looked after. People are sometimes hurt, lonely, and exhausted, and regardless of whether they are minors, they need mothers. Even mothers need mothers.

And for now, that’s what I look for, opportunities to mother. You don’t need to possess someone to love them. Loving is not synonymous with possessing; and possessing is not necessarily loving. But loving and nurturing is mothering. I believe that makes me a mother, regardless of whether I’m capable of creating double lines on a pregnancy test.

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Beth said...

I don't know of any person in the world who deserves to be a mother more than Reachel. That post sent tears down my cheeks, it was just achingly beautiful. It is hard to understand why things do or don't happen in our lives. But blessed with children or not, Reachel touches the lives of people all around her everyday for good, she is one of the most amazing and kind and lovely people I have ever met. Thanks for the post, and thanks to Reachel for sharing those innermost feelings.

{april kennedy} said...

That was as breath-takingly beautifully written as you are, Reachel. I read it slowly....I didn't want it to end.

I believe you have found the secret to life and that is finding joy in womanhood!

melmck said...

your strength is amazing to me. you are such an example of enduring to the end. thank you for your wonderful, graceful example of strength.

stephanie said...

so beautifully written, reachel. what a wonderful mother heart you have.

Shorty said...

I loved this post, too. I hope things brings comfort to a lot of women in the same situation.

Christy said...

Oh Reachel I don't know you, but I was in your shoes until last year...we had to use all those means you mentioned, for years...it was so physically, mentally, and psychologically exhausting, but it eventually worked for us and I am sure, as you are, that it will work for you too. Best of luck to you and your husband.

KmS said...

What a great post! I have two {unrelated} questions for you....

1.when will that sweet baby of yours finally be here? I am dying to see her picture. {call me selfish}

2.would you be willing to share with me the name of the font that you used for your {first} name in your header? I love it!

Your designs are fantastic, mine don't hold a candle to them. :)

Lauren said...

That was the most beautiful post I have ever read. I am in tears...

rachel said...

What a touching post. Thank you for sharing.

Maria said...

Beautiful. Thank you for sharing this....

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

My arms were empty for many years. But not a day passed that I wasn't convinced that I would have a baby. Matthew 17:20.
Our son Ian (which means gracious gift of God in Gaelic) has added joy to our days since 2001.
Keep the Faith sweet Reachel. I am praying for you.

Sarah said...

Thank you for this beautiful post! I have admired Reachel's grace and beauty through the blogging world and see her as the perfect example of a great big glorious mother heart. She inspires me to be better.

Kirsty said...

Thank you for so eloquently andn generously expressing something so tender and close to your heart.

You truly are a godmother. I think God has entrusted many lucky souls to you. Thank you for taking such good care and being so lovely. Saying a prayer that your long, brave wait will end soon...

Emily said...

Reachel, that was just gorgeous. You are a mother, that is for sure, of the most nurturing and loving variety to be found anywhere.

Becky said...

That was one of my most favorite conference talks ever ("And God remembered Rachel") -- and He will remember you too. Thank you for this lovely post.

Noelle said...

I have never met you but I am shamelessly in love with your blog cardigan empire. I too, have experienced infertility. It is a difficult thing, words are hard to describe, how it feels to experience it firsthand. But I want to share my hope with you and my miracles. I have 3 boys, 3 beautiful, perfect boys that are each my miracle. 3 boys that came even when one Dr. told me I would most likely never have any. They attest that God did not forget me either. 5 years we waited to be blessed and then we got our long awaited wish and when he was born and they laid him in my arms all the tears I had cried, the heartache I felt, sorrow and anguish was gone-and I could remember it no more. The Lord sanctified our sacrifice and made me whole. I know that ache of empty arms-and I want you to know that I pray for those mothers still because I was one and was blessed beyond measure. I know personally that God rememembers each of us and his hand is over us. He does not forget us. Reachel, I hope one day to meet you in person and enjoy a wonderful friendship. Thank you for sharing your heart. You are an amazing woman.
-Noelle

Elizabeth said...

This is truly a beautiful expression of motherhood. Reachel, I want you to be a mother, too.

I offer my prayers that this may be God's will.

Emily Ruth said...

Reachel has always had a way with words. Thank you for gifting those words to us.

Misty said...

That was absolutely beautiful. Thank you Reachel for sharing.

Amanda said...

Thank you so much for sharing that little glimpse into you, Reachel - outside of the fabulousness of Cardigan Empire. I KNOW God remembers you, and there is a plan for you.

jennielle9 said...

This is so beautifully stated. You have an utter gracefulness about you!

Tia said...

Wow, thank you for sharing this. I am travelling down a similar road and haven't done a very good job of being optimistic. I loved your reference to the bible story - thank you so much!

KmS said...

Well then I must say, you have a gorgeous signature! :) I was sure that it was computer generated. ha ha ha

Rebecca said...

I am starting my own "journey" of fertility treatments soon so I know a little of how you feel.

So thank you for your post, it really touched my heart.

Luisa said...

The word "mother" is both a noun and a verb. Reachal has the verb down. Eventually, the noun will come.

One of my friends, after suffering a tubal pregnancy which resulted in the loss of one of her fallopian tubes, was told by her doctor that she only had a 50% chance of getting pregnant (or something to that effect -- I can't remember the details). She cried to her mom about it, and her mom said, "If Heavenly Father wants you to be a mother, there is a 100% chance that you will be a mother."

(My friend didn't get pregnant, but she adopted one of the most beautiful baby girls I've ever seen. Her mom was right.)

Anonymous said...

Your post was beautiful and really shed a new light on my outlook on life. I am a single 30 year old and have always longed for the day to be a mother. After reading your post I realized how often I try to be a mother to my brothers and nieces and nephews. Always looking to fill that natural instinct of mine. I guess we just have to be happy with where we are in life and make the most of our experiences here. I know you will have a child of your own one day whether it is adoption or giving birth. Heavenly Father always has your best interest at heart and at the proper time he will make all important blessings available to you.

{Hilary is} said...

You made me cry and remember the miraculous gift it is to be a mother! My life is full of trials, but I've been blessed with 3 and in the end, that's all that matters to me. Reachel, you are already a mother, with words like that is clear that you truly understand what mothering is. Heavenly Father is just waiting for that extra special spirit to be sent to you! S/he WILL get here in time and when s/he does, you both will always know how lucky you are to be mother and child. Thanks for sharing with us. x

Grandma Sue said...

And Reachel's mom would love to be a Grandma. We will take hers or adopted. We will love that Baby.

Brian and Tonya said...

Oh, I'm crying. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post. Reachel, you deserve to be a mother, and sometimes it seems so unfair that those who are so deserving are not, and some who are undeserving are. Thank you for your viewpoints on mothering and helping me see the person I need to become.

Lybi said...

Tears! Thanks for sharing. I understand some of the pain and difficulty of wanting to have a baby and not getting one. And then there are the ladies who talk of nothing other than their deliveries, of their kid's milestones etc. There are many opportunities to feel the hurt over and over again. I too was told that I might never have a baby, but now I am pregnant with my fourth!

Anyway, you are in good company. In the scriptures, it seems that every time a woman with infertility is mentioned, it is a powerful woman of faith--Sarah (who finally had Issac), Rebecca (who had Jacob and Esau), Rachel (who finally had Joseph and Benjamin), and Hannah (who received Samuel and then many children after). In every case, they DID eventually get their children.

The same is true of the wonderful women I know who have struggled at length with infertility. My dear sister tried everything possible for 8 years before she finally received the answer to her prayers, through both adoption and egg donation. And now she is positively swimming in diapers and boo-boos, and is the most adorable mother of toddlers in the world. Good luck to you in your journey!

Leslie said...

that was lovely, i relished every word. i'd never really known that story of rachel in the bible in that way. it takes on all new meaning now. thanks.

Melissa K said...

speechless!!! I loved every word and took it all in. I read it twice because it made me feel happy at the situation I'm in now! I love Reachel and I don't even know her!! THANK YOU

Tiffany said...

Beautifully written. Thank you for sharing.

EmileeHopeBinkleyTurner said...

I came upon this post through several links and I know that it was a "God-thing" because it was exactly what I needed it hear. I have only been "seriously" dealing with infertility issues for around a year and a half, but having come from an old fashioned family-riented family, I feel like I have been waiting to be a mother my whole life. By the time my DH came around to the idea that baby time was now, I had already been ready for years. It is something that you never imagine will happen to you, but once it does you discover what a huge issue it is and how many women/couples are dealing with it along with you. I really enjoyed this post by Reachel and I am so grateful for the great God we have that brings encouragement our way in His perfect timing-just when we need it! Thank you so much for posting this.

Alicia and Roger said...

Thank you for posting the words of your friend. I too, believe I stumbled upon this blog not by coincidence, but by a blessing. Reachel's faith is inspiring. And has made a few days of tears this week, turn into smiles.

Alisha and Ben Nelson said...

Thank you both for sharing this. You are both truly women that I admire. Even though I don't personally know either of you I feel as though I do and for that reason I consider you both friends. With all the love in my heart Reachel I pray for you. You more then ever you are a mother, a mother all women aspire to be. Thanks again you two!

rookie cookie said...

Well written. Bravo.

QuicheLorraine said...

keep the faith! After a foolishly overconfident *let's just let nature take its course* and 5 years sans birth control... I became pregnant at 40 and now have a beautiful one-year-old baby girl Genevieve.

Gigi Pov said...

I love Cardigan Empire but this post by far is my favorite. It took me awhile to have my two little boys..... and they are the great joy of my life( along with my husband and heavenly father of course)....You are a mother right now... after your reading your post I thought.. SHE TOTALLY GETS IT and SHE IS A MOTHER!.. and all the love and nuturing you give now is just great preparation for when you hold your babies.... and what stylish babies they will be!

Gigi P Charlotte NC
http://2poveromoboys.blogspot.com
http:prettypinkmommylifecoach.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Hey Reachel, I really enjoyed your post. Thank you for reminding me to be thankful for every second I have with my daughter. I don't consider that I ever had to struggle with infertility, so I won't pretend to know how you feel, but I hope this offers you some hope: I have PCOS, which is a medical acronym for "your hormones are all wacked out". In addition, my thyroid is a good-for-nothing freeloader that thinks it's just there to look pretty and not, uh, produce essential, life-giving chemicals that regulate my entire body. A few years back, I went to the doctor and sat in his office while he told me "Your thyroid is on the floor, your LH and FSH are all reversed, you probably have endometriosis, you're hypoglycemic, and if you ever want to have babies, you'll probably not be able to get pregnant unless you get holes drilled into your ovaries because of the PCOS."

Approximately 1 month later I was pregnant.

I had taken no drugs, not changed my diet, was not really getting my monthly friend--nothing different. Presumably, on paper, all my hormones would've been the same.

I firmly believe that if God means for you to be a mother in the conventional sense, there is nothing that can stop it from happening. It seems like you would make a great mother, whether in the way you wrote about or by giving birth, and I bet God recognizes that too. As you've probably figured out through all this, these experiences are so much about getting in line with what God wants, doing everything in our power but then surrendering to Him. That doesn't change no matter what your station in life; we just practice it in a different situation. You really seem to have grasped that. I wish you nothing but the best. And thanks for guiding the clueless with your fabulous fashion and writing on Cardigan Empire.

Poohter said...

http://poohterbug.wordpress.com/2008/05/13/my-mothers-day-talk/

I have so been there.
Heidi

Anonymous said...

A BEAUTIFUL POST FROM THE HEART. THERE IS A BLOG NAMED, KELLY'S KORNER, SHE IS A SWEET GODLY WOMAN, WHO HAS GONE THROUGH YOUR SAME SITUATION. PLEASE GO TO HER BLOG AND READ HER STORY. SHE IS ALSO HAVING PEOPLE TELL THERE ADPOTION STORIES. IT IS SO AMAZING, THE STORIES ABOUT ADOPTING AND THEN GETTING PREGNANT SOON AFTER. GOD HAS A PLAN FOR YOU BUT SOME BABY IS GOING TO HAVE THE MOST WONDERFUL PARENTS. GOD BLESS