In the last 2 years, it seems like a lot of our college friends have kissed on their wedding altars and been granted a honeymoon baby. My calendar keeps filling up with due dates preceding first wedding anniversaries. I have not yet met any of these little blessings in person, but I have spent countless hours watching them grow up in Facebook photo albums. It's a little mind blowing to think about the adventures we all had in college, and then to realize my friends are honest-to-goodness-for-the-rest-of-their-lives parents.
In the last 2 years it has also been difficult to watch my friends progress into legitimate and undeniable adulthood as parents while I wait at the sidelines.
Our first year of marriage Ryan and I decided it was best to have a go at postponing parenthood through NFP (Natural Family Planning - great Catholic stuff!). We just smiled when our friends and family pestered us about having a "bun in the oven." "Not yet, but soon!" we would offer in reply. I was definitely excited about having children, but worried about money and spending 5 years in graduate school, and a little relieved that we didn't really have to think about making life altering changes just yet. And NFP wasn't so bad after all - it just took a little planning, patience, and persistence.
Our second year of marriage NFP stopped being "fun." We could figure out the method just fine, but my body was starting to confuse itself. I had to turn off my sex drive when the hormones were on - and turn it back on when the hormones could care less and just wanted to go to bed early. It was beginning to wear on me emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I realized there is a very good reason the Church requires grave matter to postpone children - it's requires a lot of sacrifice to practice NFP, and there will come a point when the end doesn't outweigh the means anymore.
So, we decided to take the plunge and would start actively trying to conceive in October. It was supposed to be a great month - a lot of Ryan's graduate problems had worked themselves out at that point, and our grave matter wasn't so grave any more. Then the last week of September my sister-in-law's fiance, Joel (our families are very close, and he's practically a brother), had a very bad accident where he burned over 65% of his body and was put into a medicated coma for 6 weeks. Life changed in an instant. Our families pulled together and did what we could to get through a very trying time. Joel is getting better now, but his path to recovery is far from over. In fact, he has another surgery at the Mayo Clinic on Friday - please keep him in your prayers.
Needless to say, October wasn't a good time to start a family anymore. Over the last six months Ryan and I have found one obstacle after another in our way. My stress levels have been through the roof, and my normally stable fertility cycles don't make sense on the chart anymore. To top it off, we found out in the last six months that still more of our dear friends are expecting babies this summer. I am so joyful and so pained at the same time. I keep seeing my friends moving forward and I feel stuck somewhere in between.
Today just kind of culminates my feelings of frustration and inadequacy. Each month I have big plans about getting pregnant - and each month my plans go awry. And here I stand again, a new month, another failed plan, and a little less hope to carry me through it. I don't really know where to go from here.
As you can tell, I am feeling a bit depressed today - but I realize that I have so many other blessings too. God has blessed me with a very good friend (you know who you are!) to be a comforting shoulder as we both struggle in our wait for children. And this month's cycle isn't over yet either. I am so silly - I have an early (and possibly unfounded) disappointment! It's really hard to have hope today, to trust that God's plan is bigger than I can imagine. Please pray for me. I really need it.