Grief, Dreams, and a Rocking Chair
by: Suzanne Kane
The day after my husband and I returned home from our honeymoon, we closed on our first home. In a short few weeks, two of my dreams had come true and I was glowing inside and out. As we settled into marriage and homeownership, I quickly became consumed with finding the perfect pieces to make our home our own. I scavenged through garage sales, estate sales, and Craigslist. I was inspired, and my passion was fully alive through decorating and creativity. One afternoon at an estate sale, I came upon an old red rocking chair. It captured my attention. We certainly did not have the need for a rocking chair as we were planning to wait a year before actively trying for children. Despite our plans, I decided to give the chair a try, and once I sat in it, I immediately imagined rocking, nursing, reading, and singing to our children in it. It just needed a little work for my vision to come to life. I paid for it, packed it in the car, and unloaded it in the garage where it sat and collected dust. After a few months, my husband had enough of it taking up space and asked me to follow through with my plans. It felt premature to have it reupholstered, but I gave him my word. I packed the chair back in the car and drove it across town. As I searched through the hundreds of fabrics, it felt strange to be planning a nursery for children who were a distant dream away. I decided on a pattern and the once old red rocking chair became a green rocking chair perfect for our someday family. Three years later and long after our plans for having children, the rocking chair sits in an empty room collecting dust again.
As my social media fills up with pregnancies, births, and little one’s milestones, I am reminded over and over about the emptiness in my heart and my family. The word infertility invokes my deepest fear. I fear that to think or say the word aloud would be damning, because the answer is yet unclear of whether I can or cannot bear my own children.
Control is my default when my truth is ugly. When shit hits the fan, I pick it up, make plans for it, organize it, and meticulously clean it off the fan. Control treats my grief just the same. Control lies to me. It tells me that my grief is not real. It tells me that my God and body are failing me. Control convinces me that I cannot grieve something I have never had. Control persuades me not to share my pain with others, and it assures me that I can handle it on my own. Control tells me to ignore the exhaustion, frustration, anger, confusion, sadness, and tears. Control turns me away from the beauty of my infertility.
Today, I throw control out the window. This gift of surrender gives me the permission to be fully in grief and to feel all that comes with my infertility. It gives me the courage write about my infertility. It reminds me that I am not alone in this journey. It allows me to continue hoping and dreaming of motherhood and the day I can make use of the green rocking chair. But most freeing of all, it permits me to trust the plans my God has for me are far better than my own.