Mother’s Day: Celebrating with Empty Arms
Written by Courtnie Judy. Photography provided by Courtnie Judy.
Five years. That’s how long I’ve celebrated Mother’s Day with a baby-shaped hole in my heart. My arms have endured countless blood draws; my fingers have cramped from filling out piles of paperwork; and my hands have been thrown up in the air from complete exhaustion and anger more times than I am proud to admit. My arms are empty, and this year, I celebrate with a heart that aches deeply yet overflows with joy and hope.
I am choosing to walk in faith, believing that whatever is ahead is good.
I would’ve never picked this journey for myself for very obvious reasons. Why would someone choose to get on this crazy emotional rollercoaster ride that is infertility? Why would someone choose to suffer and watch what seems like everyone around you getting pregnant just by looking at their husbands? Why would anyone want to go into a cold and sterile room, exposed and vulnerable, to get pregnant – something that society makes out to be so simple? If I had the opportunity to look into my future and see this coming, my selfish nature would’ve run so far from it.
This journey has caused me to question and doubt whether I will ever become a mother. I even, at times, allow the enemy to come in and make me think I am not good enough to join this elite club. I must not be smart enough, creative enough, patient enough to hold such an honorable title. I wish I could say that only on rare occasions do these thoughts come to my mind, but I am human; I am weak, and it is something I have struggled with on a daily basis for five years. But make no mistake in my weakness. I have gained a strength that I never imagined possible.
In my own personal journey with infertility, I have developed a deep faith. A faith that I continue to grow every day of this wait and struggle. It is the thing I am most proud of when I share my story and what truly keeps my heart hopeful and compassionate. My faith has certainly not cured my infertility or shielded my heart from pain, but it has given me a freeing and life-changing perspective. I’ve been able to experience great joy while I wait to become a mother. I have been able to celebrate with others when they welcome their sweet babies into their lives. Does my heart ache and wonder why it can’t be my turn in those moments? Absolutely. But I also want others to celebrate with me, so I will continue to share in their joy until my time comes. This faith has allowed me to look up from my own hurt and have sympathy for others. Maybe I don’t share in their exact pain, but I can offer comfort by understanding their suffering.
But make no mistake in my weakness. I have gained a strength that I never imagined possible.
Mother’s Day is one of the hardest days for me. I never really know how I am going to feel. I’ve experienced this day fresh off a failed IUI cycle. I’ve experienced this day by starting my period and being reminded, yet again, that my body has failed me. I’ve experienced this day as a new hopeful adoptive mama, wishing so badly that a baby would soon be in my arms but also hurting for the woman who will one day make me a mother. And here I am, still waiting. This year, it’s hard to express how I am feeling. My heart hurts; there is no denying that. At the moment, it feels like our journey to becoming parents is at a standstill. There are many opportunities and directions available, but the roadblocks haven’t been removed, and we are waiting for the path to become clear. It’s hard to understand this season I am in and if I think about it too much, I begin to drown in doubt and fear. I battle this thought of, “Maybe I don’t want it bad enough,” because I feel peace, joy, and happiness. Maybe I don’t really want to be a mother, because I am okay with the pause and stillness I am currently in. So that’s why I am choosing to walk in faith, believing that whatever is ahead is good. Whatever is ahead is going to be far better than I could ever dream of. My mama heart is real and it’s been growing for a long time. I have a burning desire to love a child, no matter how or when they come to me, so I refuse to deny those feelings. I am believing that I can take this heart of mine, full of brokenness, and celebrate joyfully.
So to the ones out there like me, I know it’s hard. It's hard for me, too. I know this Mother’s Day will not be as simple as the Hallmark greeting cards and commercials make it out to be. I know this day might bring tears of anger, loss, and desperation. I want you to know that your feelings, no matter what they look like, are justified and valid. But sweet friend, I want you to know that you’re not alone in your pain and suffering. Today I am praying for you, cheering for you, celebrating you, but most of all, I see you.
If you'd like to follow Courtnie's journey, you can do so here.