Monday, November 12, 2012

Similarities and Differences

This is not meant to be a "I have a worse situation than you do post," it's just some compare and contrast I've pondered and it is probably biased as I've only experienced one side of the equation.
I've had quite a few people in my life who have struggled with infertility, some have since successfully realized their dream and desire of becoming parents and some are still struggling with the uncertainty.  I've often considered the differences and similarities of that struggle to my own struggle of being single and not married and desiring it so strongly that those painful tears come unbidden at times when the hurt is too strong.  I'm not bitter or desperate, those that know me well will attest to that, I'm happy most of the time and enjoy life most of the time, but it is a struggle to be surrounded by happily and perfectly matched married family and friends.  I think that is one of the similarities between my situation and those of my friends' and family who are struggling to start or continue their families.  I don't personally know that ache that comes from desiring children and knowing there's something "wrong" with you that won't let you fulfill that desire, but I ache for children and a husband and struggle with the feeling that there's something "wrong" with me that has prevented that dream from being realized so far in my life.  One of the problems is that what's "wrong" with me cannot be diagnosed with medical tests as so many infertile couples can at least have an answer, though, yes, I do realize there are many that don't even get that.  I don't like to publicly discuss my single status as I detest coming across as bitter or desperate or without hope, that is so far from the truth.  I still have hope and I don't think I'm bitter or desperate, but those men who have been the recipients of my attention are better than judges than I am in that department.  But there is a deep sadness that never fully goes away, as  I can only imagine is the case with those people who struggle with unrealized hopes of children.  But there's also a sadness I experience for a desire for children and realizing that window of opportunity is slowly but surely diminishing in my life as I am steadily approaching an age that will decrease my ability to bear and care for children as well as have a partner that shares the desire for a larger family than he might already have.

The major difference that I feel with my "singlehood" and another couple's struggle to start a family is displayed perfectly with the word couple.  There is another partner that shares similar feelings of doubt, despair, hunger, and sadness with you when you are dealing with the unfulfilled desires of parenthood.  When you struggle with the unfulfilled desires of marriage, there is just you.  Yes, my family and friends sympathize with me as the childless couples' friends and families sympathize with them, but as I'm sure the couples will agree with, it's not the same as having someone in the same situation as you.  Even other people in the same situation as you isn't the same, though it might help a little more knowing you are not the only one struggling, but their experiences are not the same as your experiences, so they cannot fully comprehend your struggles as you cannot fully comprehend theirs.  But your spouse has gone through every step that you have with the hopes and dreams and disappointments and heartaches along the way, they know what every day has been like.  Other people live their own lives, as they should, and cannot completely empathize and sympathize with your situation.  Those of us single people do not have that luxury of the shoulder to cry on that can fully commiserate with us or the completely understanding arms to hold each other up through the dark days of loneliness and pain.

I'm not trying to paint a dark, sorrowful, depressive picture here, honestly, most of my days are exciting and fun and I fully enjoy life, and I have had many experiences that I cherish that would never have come into existence because I have been single for as long as I have, but there are those dismal, depressed days with sobs tearing me apart for a companion of my heart and soul to walk along beside me.  I realize marriage and companionship comes with its own struggles and heartaches, but those are struggles and heartaches I gladly welcome when I have a companion to help shoulder those burdens and increase the joys (and share the blame). =-) 

I do not know what is "wrong" with me that I have made this journey to this point in my life alone and with no visible change in the near future, but I fully believe in the promises that have been delivered to us by the mouths of the Lord's servants, and I know that I will not spend eternity single and alone as those couples will have an endless posterity, but there are those days that occur that singleness seems too much to bear and I do not know how I'll make it another day, and I want to give up and not go forward another step.  But I do make it another day and I keep pressing forward and I do know the Lord is with me every step and I have felt Him pick me up and carry me forward when I have fallen down without the strength to rise again.  He will show me those things I need to change and work on in my life, and He cries with me on those nights that are so bitter and I soak my pillow and He rejoices with me on those days I laugh and dance and sing.  And there are more days than not that are full of laughing and dancing and singing, both for me and I'm sure for those of my family and friends who wish so much for children or additional children to join their small families.