I am battling with writing this blog. However, I had a conversation with a wonderful supportive friend last night, which has prompted me to write it, because once again – as with some of my other blogs, I realise that there is so much ‘hidden’ pain and suffering because people do not feel able to open their hearts for so many reasons, fear being one of them. I have decided to write this blog to try to once again raise awareness of a very difficult area.
I turn 42 this coming Friday. That is really quite painful on so many levels, I am not wanting to celebrate, as I have not the last few years. For as long as I can remember, I have longed to be a mother, planned for children, thought about ways in which I would want to bring them up, made mental notes of things I would want to instil inside them, even thought about names. I have longed to bring children up in the Kingdom, to serve together, to learn from, to learn with, to share with.
But, it has not happened. For reasons seemingly only known to God, I do not attract men, and am still single. There is a slight problem here, two to tango and all that. I have spent more years than I care to member being told I would make the most wonderful mother, I’m not so sure about that, I am sure I would make more than one mistake daily, but I had hoped to be able to try.
People often say to me, ‘have you thought about adoption or fostering?’ Well, yes I have. I had always hoped that once married, we would do either or both of these things, I believe it’s something that the church should be heavily involved in, it’s tragic that we have children going to bed every night believing that they are not loved.
However, I do not own a home in which to do this, and am not in a position to be able to acquire one. In addition – I do not want to be a single parent. I am under no illusions that parent-hood is hard, and I already struggle with loneliness, I do not want to use children to ease that, but plus, what do I do after bedtime? It may work for some people, but at this stage, I do not think it would be good for me to do. I had the biggest privilege to be there for a young girl for a number of weeks as a foster carer whilst I was in South Sudan, but it was also a very very hard few weeks.
Yet, my body, for 30 years has been physically ready for children. It continues, each month, a monthly reminder of all that had been hoped for, of the pain (and in my younger days, the medication I had to take to ease the pain and allow me to get on with the day made me physically shake) suffered through these things, which you put up with, because you believe something beautiful will come from it. You see, it’s not just the children – it’s having someone who loves you and wants to be intimate with you – who meets those needs, because – well – because they love you. Because through all your flaws and imperfections, has seen something which makes them want to live the rest of their life with you, work through the hard times, see reflections of oneself in the mirror and mould more into who God made us to be. To imitate something of the Kingdom with someone. When the times of sadness engulf you – there is no one even to give comfort, to hold you, assure you and walk the path with you.
I am surrounded by babies and young children all the time. My heart breaks when I hear how children are ignored, misunderstood, or mistreated, yes, I know sometimes it’s a bad day, and we all say and do things we regret in those days, but so often it isn’t. The news is full of children who have been hurt by someone intentionally, often a parent, and of course I have nursed children who were harmed in this way. It is so hard to understand how children are a ‘gift, a reward’ (as the Bible tells us) and given to people who will mistreat them so significantly, what does that mean?
I know that there will be people who think I just need to ‘get over it’ and believe me, the day I am able to deal with it and enjoy life without a sadness deep in my heart is a day I look forward to. I know I need to somehow learn to deal with life, I can’t walk away from conversations or difficulties all the time. I know even if I had found those things, life would not have suddenly been perfect, I know relationships take a lot of time and effort, parenting is so precious, but incredibly hard. My issue is singleness, but there are many reasons why people remain childless. I have talked with friends who have not been able to have children, and who have shared the number of years before they were able to hold babies, or attend certain places, ten years is the smallest figure I have heard, it is a process of grieving. Grieving for all that had been hoped and planned for, grieving of lost hopes and dreams, of children who were not able to come to be. THIS is why I am speaking out now, because I believe that there is so much unspoken, hidden pain that we are not aware of. And hidden pain can bring more pain, frustration, tears, and bitterness.