MOTHERHOOD – WHEN THE DREAM DIES

I’m not a mother. I’ve never birthed a baby. My dream was to marry a terrific man, live in a lovely home with a white picket fence, bear my husband’s children, and enjoy a loving home life similar to the one in which I grew up.

My Dream

My Dream

I often despaired of my dream ever becoming reality. Single, I was frequently a bridesmaid. While I rejoiced with my girlfriends who fell in love and married, I wondered if my turn would ever come. There’s one rather embarrassing photo of me, leaping ahead of the other single women for the bride’s bouquet, indicative of the desire of my heart.

At long last I fell in love and married. I was thirty-six, my groom forty-six. We talked and prayed about having children, but wondered whether, at our ages, little ones might not be the wisest choice. I began to pray that God would align our hearts and that either my husband’s desire for a child would increase, or mine would decrease.

One Mother’s Day church ushers greeted us, handing out red or white carnations depending on whether our mothers were or were not still alive. I cried through that entire service.

When we got home, I excused myself and went up to bed, a box of Kleenex at hand. Although my husband came to hold and comfort me, I wept throughout the whole day. I felt a huge, gaping hole inside that I feared would never be filled. I would never push a baby carriage with my own offspring inside; never nurse a child at my breast; never coo over my little one.

 I grieved, mourning the death of my dream.mother and child

 But over the next year I gradually noticed a transformation. Before, when I saw mothers with babies, my heart cried, “I want one of those.” Now my response was changing to, “Oh, look at that beautiful child”—no longer a possessive. God had answered my prayer and  changed my heart.

Although some of us will never bear a child, there are other options if we are open to receiving them. Adoption, foster parenting, or sponsoring a child in a third-world nation are some of the possibilities.

And while I’ve never birthed a child, God has given me a full life which has included many opportunities to love and interact with children.

    • Along with my other precious nephews and nieces, I got a niece when I was fifty—well past the age of having my own child. What a gift to have this baby (now almost grown) in my life!
    • I ministered with children and adults in the Los Angeles ghetto for ten years. There was great fulfillment in teaching, loving, studying the Bible, and watching young women and men see a different life model than many of the ones with which they grew up.
    • I’ve had the joy of birthing several spiritual daughters and mentoring younger women in their faith. The delight of a new birth is hard to surpass, whether of a spiritual or physical child.
      Spiritual children
      Spiritual children

I could not have had these relationships in the same way had I borne children of my flesh.

He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the Lord.” Psalm 113:9, NIV.

How has God ministered to you in your unmet desire to bear children? How are you dealing with your pain? I’d love to hear.

17 Responses

  1. MarJean Peters says:

    Dearest Carol, as you know, I did bear children and I also had two miscarriages. After the second miscarriage I felt literal pruning as I endured fruitless hard labor. Yet, God said, He prunes fruitful branches to make them even more fruitful. Then I went and stood at the nursery window and looked at all those beautiful live babies, and God clearly said to my heart, “I am even more beautiful than these babies.” I believed Him and found that every loss becomes gain if it gives me more of Jesus. Only He can fill a hole that big, but He is big enough. Loving you, Jeannie

  2. Thuan Vuong says:

    Thanks for this article. I appreciate your soul in it.
    Ruth and I never had a child for some of the similar reasons you went through. So we adopted. Yet, even as dear as our daughter Sreymol is and she will always be 100% our daughter, in some measure, it is also not the same as having your own blood child. That fact was poignant to me after Ruth died. But life is what it is, and one accepts each day for what it has.

    • carolnl says:

      Thuan, your thoughtful words mean a lot to me. It sounds like you are slowly working your way through your grief. Love your having a Saturday night a month open for dinner with friends at your home; and limiting the number so that you can have meaningful interchanges with each. I look forward to hearing more about these.
      Yes, we gradually learn to accept life as it is, to recognize the gifts we still have, and to be thankful for what we had, and for what we still have, including and especially our hope in Christ. Miss you, brother. Would love to spend time with you if you’re ever up our way.

  3. Kathy Woodward says:

    That was so well said, dear friend! And how precious that our God can change our hearts from sorrow to JOY! You are a great example of how HE loves us.

  4. sherry says:

    bless you dearly for being so transparent and for leading your reader back to the Lord, the Giver of every thing good in His perfect plan.

  5. Glenyce says:

    I don’t know what to say Carol, thank you for being so open and honest in sharing such a personal story. I love you for this. xx

  6. Fritz Buschman says:

    lovely post, Carol. I did not know those details of that part of,your life.
    God is good. You have often been a part of Kim’s life and she appreciates you so much.
    Thank you!

  7. Charise says:

    Lovely post, Carol. Thank you for sharing your prayer. And how you noticed and believed the answer to that prayer.

  8. Edie Peters says:

    this brought tears to my eyes. It is the same with my daughter and her husband. She has wanted a child for a long long time. Unable to bear a child, she now has nieces and nephews whom her and her husband adore. I am so touched by this that I want to share this with Lisa, my daughter. I want to tell her it is ok.
    God is so kind and gracious. He does work wonders. Carol, you are a blessing to me with these writings.
    Please note my new email. lost the other one.

    • carolnl says:

      Edie, Mom and I were just talking about Lisa today. I pray my experience will encourage her heart. Love you so much. Will note your new e-address. Thank you!

  9. Shirley buxton says:

    Carol, what a precious post. I weep for you, as at the same moment I salute your courage and wisdom. My love and blessings.

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