Thursday, July 22, 2004

Jealousy

One of the things I've always wondered about is infertile couples who are jealous of those who have kids. I'm not married (& never have been) but when I was a kid it was my greatest hope to get married in my early twenties & have 8 kids. This dream was shattered, of course, when I was diagnosed with endometriosis @ the age of 19, then had to have a hysterectomy @ 26 due to overwhelming, debilitating pain. For a while, on my doctors' recommendations, I went to a support group called Resolve, for women suffering from endometriosis. I didn't go for very long, however, 'coz it seemed every meeting was spent on talking about how important it was to adopt or have a blond, blue-eyed, perfect, white child. Also, there was so much bitterness expressed, from persons speaking of their anger over friends & relatives "having the child they, themselves, couldn't" to expressions of frustration & rage that these infertile couples could only easily adopt minority children. I kept coming away from the meetings thinking of all those beautiful kids of all races (including special needs) who needed parents and how I'd give my right arm to care for one as my own. Perhaps this feeling came from having cared for so many unwanted & battered children as a pediatric ICU nurse, but I believe it comes from a strong sense of empathy that God has gifted me with (although sometimes it feels like a curse 'coz no-one wants to feel other's pain so readily).

I felt intense sorrow for these infertile couples, because how sad it is to be infertile when one longs for a child of one's own, but mostly I sorrowed over their anger & bitterness. (AND I WANT TO HASTEN TO ADD, ALL INFERTILE COUPLES AREN'T THIS WAY, OBVIOUSLY. Some are happy with the kids God has given them via adoption, etc.) I have never felt jealous of my family & friends' children, but it does cause me to reflect on what might have been. I'd also find myself weeping whole-heartedly whenever I used to see shows with people experiencing birth, etc. A pain-specialist I went to see a few years ago told me the pain of endometriosis is similar to labor. I couldn't help thinking of the irony it is that I should experience this outrageous pain similar to that which God has promised women salvation through, yet I couldn't have the joy of having a child!

Rather then be embittered by it, though, I am thankful for the grace of God that has allowed me to work with kids who've been battered, abused, neglected & thrown away by the world @ large. I can't help feeling how gracious it is of Him to allow me to have a family in that sense. These kids are worthy of being loved just for being kids & gifts from God, & He gave me the opportunity to love them, if only for a short time.

I want to make clear I am not better than anyone else because I don't feel jealous of those who are able to have kids. It's just the Lord has made me different from others. In some ways, I think it is normal to be jealous & angry about infertility, & I know I felt my fair share of anger over having to experience severe pain for so long (& having doctors disbelieve me for much of the time I was in agony). But it is worth it all if I can understand how God is helping me to grow through it all. Again, I don't believe He caused me to suffer in the ways I have, but He has allowed it to happen. If I can be lead to work out my salvation in a deeply personal way through my relationship with Christ, & the knowledge of His intense & personal love for me, then it is worth anything Satan can throw @ me. I can say, as Job does in Job 13:15 "Though He slay me, I will hope in Him."

1 comment:

Garth said...

Hi Debbie - now you are writing for an audience of at least two! Wonderful artical you wrote and a great place to put and share your innermost thoughts with others. Never heard about this site before. Will keep this site in my farvoits so that I can read more of your writings. Take care and God bless, Garth your friend.