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.
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.
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.
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.