Kiss Your Miracle

motherhood after infertility

Daddy May 30, 2009

Filed under: Infertility,Skylar Grace — Linnea @ 12:49 pm

Sky looks a lot like her daddy. She has my nose, but the rest of her face is a girl version of Adam. One of my favorite things to do these days is watch them interact. Adam crawls around with her on the floor, chasing her and tickling her till she’s laughing and shrieking at the same time, basking in the center of his attention. At ten months old she’s starting to say “ma-ma-ma-ma-ma” here and there, which I take as an attempt to call me mom. But when Adam comes home from work her entire face lights up and she says in a clear voice, “Da-da!” I make a big deal over how unfair that is when I’m the one who’s with her twenty-four hours a day, but secretly I love the way they connect. It’s one of the best parts about motherhood – getting to see my husband enjoy his baby girl, who is somehow partly him and partly me, and still entirely unique.

When I think back over the infertility, I remember how much I wanted to see Adam become a father. I always knew he’d be a great dad. There were many times when I wanted a baby more for his sake than for mine, and he often said the same thing about me. Some people might question why anyone would enter the world of fertility treatments, eagerly spending thousands of dollars to endure a string of personal, painful procedures for just the possibility of ending up pregnant. Why do we even have such a powerful drive for children in the first place? It’s difficult to explain. All I know is that when I look at Skylar Grace with her daddy, I see the answer.

stormy sky


Sensitivity May 27, 2009

Filed under: Faith,Infertility,Others — Linnea @ 12:42 pm

There’s something to be said for not assuming things. It’s not a good idea to look at every childless couple and jump to the conclusion that they’re trying to get pregnant. Not everyone wants children. But for us, the fact that we didn’t chat about our infertility at every barbecue and picnic led some people to assume we just didn’t want kids yet, and they felt free to ask us about it. At large social gatherings casual acquaintances would throw questions at us without warning. When do you plan to have kids? How many do you want? Sometimes they were slightly accusatory – Why don’t you have kids yet? Those usually came with a bonus remark like – When I was your age I already had three! I always wondered how those particular people wanted us to respond. With an apology? With detailed information about my reproductive issues? In the moment, I’d feel like I had some explaining to do. Later, usually on the way home, anger would surge up inside me and I’d think of all the things I should have said in response.

Adam would listen to me rant and rave and then gently remind me that people didn’t mean anything by their questions. “They’re just curious and we should try to take them lightly,” he’d say. “No one intends to be hurtful.” I knew he was right. “Still! You never know what someone’s dealing with,” I’d tell him. “People should be more sensitive!” I really struggled with the flippant comments. Sometimes in my low moments I’d hear their words again in my mind and I’d feel like even more of a failure. I knew God wanted me to forgive and let go, and that my identity should be in him. I tried, but it was always a major effort.

Then one day during that time I was at a Bible study and the topic of depression came up. Someone mentioned a friend who might go on medication for it and I said I hoped that meds wouldn’t be necessary. Later that night the leader pulled me aside and said, “Linnea, so-and-so (person in the group) is on medication for depression right now. Please be careful when you talk about that, okay? She resists being on meds in the first place, but they’re helping her and she needs to stay on them.” I mumbled a weak “okay” as I left, and headed out to my car feeling misunderstood and defensive. I hadn’t said it was wrong to be on meds for depression. Several people I love have benefited from medication and I felt like I’d been very supportive of them.

I kept thinking about the discussion as I drove home. Then I asked myself a question. If I had known beforehand that the woman sitting next to me in the circle was on depression medication and that she felt conflicted about it, would I have said the same thing? And I had to admit, I wouldn’t have. Suddenly I made the connection between what I had said about depression meds and the casual remarks I’d been so wounded by myself. I thought about the way my comment implied that it’s good not to be on medication, that coping without it would somehow be better. I could have simply said I’d be praying instead of injecting my opinion into the discussion. I thought again about my Bible study friend and wondered if my comment would replay in her mind the next time she sat down to take her medication. And I began to get that sick feeling I always have when I regret something I’ve said.

I made a decision that night. Anytime I found myself in a group and a sensitive topic came up – infertility, depression, alcoholism, abortion, marriage problems, anything painful and personal – I would talk about it as if someone there was in that specific situation. It’s not that I planned to assume things. It’s just that we all have struggles and plenty of them are kept private, even in Christian circles. Especially in Christian circles.

It’s been almost three years since that conversation at Bible study and I’m sure I’ve said the wrong thing many times since then. I’m a talker, which can be dangerous. But at the very least I’m paying more attention. There is a verse in Psalm 141 that I often pray: “Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips” (v. 3). I don’t think I’ll ever regret being too careful with my words.


Cheerios May 25, 2009

Filed under: Motherhood,Skylar Grace — Linnea @ 3:06 pm

Sky’s favorite food right now is Cheerios. This is probably because she hasn’t yet tasted pizza, brownies, or warm, salty French fries with ketchup. For now, Cheerios make her happy. Eating them is a big production for her. She’ll pick them up in her little fists and then spread them out again on her tray, roll her arms over them, and throw half of them on the floor. Sometimes she crams as many as she can in her mouth. Sometimes she’ll delicately eat just one. She almost always sings a little tune while she eats them. Every now and then she’ll come across a stray Cheerio while crawling on the floor and immediately pop it in her mouth. (Though I guess that doesn’t mean a whole lot since she eats carpet yarn and lint occasionally, too.) I like Cheerios because a handful on her tray usually means twenty minutes of free time for me. Thank you Lord, for the little blessings in a typical day.



Clutter May 21, 2009

Filed under: Infertility,Motherhood — Linnea @ 7:25 am

I LOVE CLUTTER. Okay, that’s not true. It’s what I try to tell myself when Skylar’s toys are scattered all over the floor. In reality, Adam and I both like things clean and simple. There’s this place here in Florida that sells yard ornaments – statues and fountains and little gnomes to put in gardens. They keep the merchandise outside and whenever we drive by it, one of us usually says “panic attack” and we both take a deep breath. We’re what you’d call the opposite of pack rats. We love throwing things away. Extra stuff (like yard ornaments) stresses us out.

Every now and then it goes a bit too far. The other day Ad deleted something off the DVR that I wanted to see. When I asked him why he said, “We had over forty shows on there! I was cleaning it up!” to which I replied, “It wasn’t messy! It was full of good stuff to watch!” For the most part though, we agree. Clutter is bad. Clean is good.

Now we have a baby, and babies equal extra stuff and extra mess. But most of the time, I don’t mind the clutter as much as I thought I would. The infertility probably plays a big part in that. I’ll never forget the days when I would have given anything to have baby gear messing up our house. And it makes sense to me that there is a price to be paid for close relationships. The more people you love, the more mess naturally follows – whether it’s the actual stuff that comes with kids or the emotional junk we pile on each other as adults. I really don’t love clutter, but it’s an easy choice for me: I prefer the messiness of relationships to the neatness of an isolated life.


Hysteria May 19, 2009

Filed under: Faith — Linnea @ 1:47 pm

In 2006 my doctor removed a bit of skin cancer from a spot beneath my eye. He guessed it was basal cell cancer, the least serious kind, but the biopsy later showed it was squamous cell cancer, which falls in between basal and melanoma in terms of severity. As I drove home from his office that day, I called my friend Jen. “How do you feel about it?” she asked. “Just add it to the list,” I said dejectedly. In a month’s time my Grandma had died, our IVF cycle failed, my kitten disappeared, and now this – skin cancer. I remember thinking that God probably wasn’t trying to kick me while I was down, but that’s definitely how it felt. As the weeks passed my face healed, but when I looked in the mirror I would sometimes stare at my skin and wonder when the next spot would appear. I was twenty-nine. If I had a spot removed once a year from now on, what in the world would I look like at fifty? If I already had squamous cell cancer, how old would I be when I got melanoma?

This morning I was back at the dermatologist’s office for a routine check-up. The doctor examined my skin and pronounced me “all-clear.” After my first round of skin cancer, I assumed that regular treatments would forever be a part of my life, that my one little spot was just a preview of more to come. But it’s been three years now and I’m still without any new cancer. I’m not saying I’ll never deal with it again – my fairest-of-the-fair skin and history of sun damage mean the odds are pretty high that I will. But that doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll be at the dermatologist’s office every six months, getting new spots of cancer carved out of my skin. I might go another decade without needing any treatment at all, much less treatment for melanoma.

And as I consider that, I’m reminded of a saying my brothers use every now and then: “If possible, avoid hysterical thinking.” When your thoughts, like mine, tend to fall on the side of pessimism more often than optimism, this is very helpful advice.


Next Page »