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Friday, October 3, 2008

Great Expectations

There are so many different emotions I have gone through in the past seven years since I started down the path of trying to have children. One of the hardest things is dealing with my expectations. Disappointment, really, is simply not having your expectations met, right? You expect something, it doesn’t happen, and then you are disappointed. I have been greatly disappointed, over and over again, for seven years. Six pregnancies full of expectations and hopes and dreams that all ended in disappointment. For a girl who always wanted to grow up and be a mom, this has been pretty devastating.

I really didn’t have many other dreams as a kid. I never wanted to be a teacher, a doctor, or the first female president. Besides my brief stint as a sports writer in college (which was cool), I’ve never had a clear focus on any career path that was just exactly what I wanted to spend my life doing. Marriage and motherhood were what I really wanted.

Part of that desire is a direct result of my childhood. As a little girl I almost always felt unsettled, afraid, and insecure. My mom was fantastic and did the very best she could, but she couldn’t change who my father was. I don’t regret the fact that they got divorced. Things didn’t get a whole lot easier as a result of that, but at least we were out of any immediate danger. As a teenager I became very skeptical about finding a good man to marry. I honestly doubted that any actually existed. I didn’t know any, really. My dad was never satisfied with one woman. He was emotionally and physically abusive toward my mom, especially when he was drunk (which was most of the time). I prepared myself to go to college and get an education in order to have something to fall back on if I ended up with the wrong man. That sounds horrible, I know, but I’m being completely honest. There were, of course, other reasons to go to college but those were real feelings I had at the time.

Dad hasn’t changed a whole lot today even though he’s almost 70 years old. We have a relationship that is decent but not what I’d call great. We get along mainly because we don’t spend much time together. Despite his bad qualities, I do love my dad. I don’t always like him but I can appreciate his good qualities. I think he loves me too, I just think he doesn’t have a clue how to show it.

When I did find my wonderful husband I realized that there was hope for me to have that “perfect” family I’d always dreamed about. So I didn’t get to have that when I was a kid, but by golly I could make it happen for my own kids. I couldn’t wait to start fresh with our own traditions, holiday celebrations, family vacations, and annual family portraits – all the things I never had but always wanted. Maybe I could even fill that void for myself in the process. I was so excited about seeing my husband interact with our kids and watching what a father was supposed to look like.

Then, my expectations weren’t met. I faced disappointment. Pregnancy after pregnancy ended in failure.

My dreams haven’t gone away. I tell myself they’ve just been put on hold. I have no idea why I have to wait but I’m trusting in the process. Those childhood memories are painful but I know it was all part of a bigger picture. All that stuff gave me clear direction. I certainly knew what I wanted and didn’t want in a marriage. I have uniquely strong relationships with my mom and my sister that I would never ever change. I’ve grown up enough to see that some good came out of the bad experiences, and I can count on that happening again. But it’s not easy right now. It hurts. It is so hard to wait, especially when it seems everyone around you is moving ahead and going forward with their lives while you’re stuck.

There is an upside to all of this. I’ve had a total (so far) of 12 amazing years with a wonderful man who loves me and loves the Lord. We dated for 2 years and have been married for 10. We have had a whole lot of time to spend together and make incredible memories. I know that finding a husband was a pretty great expectation I had, and I have not been disappointed.

11 comments:

Andi said...

It is amazing how we can grow up with a person and really have no clue the extent of what they are going through. Your honesty is touching, and your insight is truly amazing. You are an impressive woman. So is your husband. (Well, I guess he's not exactly an impressive WOMAN but you get my drift). Love you!

Alicia said...

Thank you for being open about your lifes story. It's good to hear that you can see the good that has come out of the ugly experiences of your life. Your marriage sounds so very sweet!

Connie said...

It's hard to know what to say...I am so thankful for Chuck. I couldn't have hand picked a better husband for you (and you know I tried..sorry about that!). I am so thankful for you too, Stace. I wouldn't change a thing about our past if it meant we coudln't be as close as we are today. I love you!

sharonvw said...

Well said Stacey. I agree with you, the lessons aren't always fun to learn, and the situations do still hurt, but if we can learn from this long inferility journey then it won't have been for nothing.
(((Hugs)))

Andrea said...

Thanks for sharing that. I can't imagine going through what you've been though, but you are such an inspiration to me. I know that probably doesn't make you feel better, but it's great to see a woman who has persevered and stayed in a relationship with her husband and the Lord, even when faced with so many disappointments.

I've been praying for you the past couple of weeks and will continue to do so.

Sunny said...

I am amazed at reading your writings. So many times I could've typed the exact same words. I, too, didn't have any thing that I wanted to do when I grew up. No great career aspirations or some grand plans, in fact, I didn't even go to college. I was going to be a mother. That was it - nothing more did I want. Then came good ol' reality. Besides watching everyone else's lives move forward, I've had to sit and rethink what did I want to be when I grow up. I still have no clue. In fact, it leaves me restless all the time. I feel like I can't settle in to one thing because it's not my heart's desire (ie: I just go to a job every day not a career). I'm just praying that because Christ has the whole thing under control that I'll settle with what he does give me to do right now. Like a favorite thing my pastor says, "it's easy but it's not simple." That's what I feel. I hate that you are struggling with this journey..it's a toughy to be on.

Sunny said...

Stacey, btw, just read one of Huck's posts...why did I know he was in the computer biz? So is my Mr. Weird.

Sunny said...

Oops...just realized I reversed the order of my pastor's saying...

Should read "it's simple but it's not easy..."

that's more like it!

I Believe in Miracles said...

What a beautiful post. Thanks for sharing. I'm so glad to hear how awesome your marriage is and how at least one of your dreams is fulfilled (and the second one sort of has in that you are a mother to many angels). I pray that the second one will be filled in full soon.
**HUGS**

Patricia said...

Via la Creme...

The roller coaster of expectations born vs expectations unmet can be exhausting.

I hope that your dreams are fulfilled this year, and that God grants you peace while you wait for His perfect timing.

A n T said...

Here from the creme: Great post. Hopefully this fight we are fighting will be a victory for us in the end!