Saturday, October 24, 2009

A blog about this blog

This blog has been up for almost a year, and last week I checked out the Google Analytics trending results. I looked at the traffic sources, and reviewed the keywords that individuals typed into the search engines to find this site.

Here is the list. Read it, and at the end I’ll tell you my reaction. I wonder if it will match up with yours.

childless not by choice
childless church
childless in church
childless couples church
childless pastor
support groups for childless women
"childless women "+"the church"
"childless women"+"church"
"focus on the family" "have children" or "have kids"
"til children do us part"
articles on childlessness
bible childlessness
bible verses "today is the day the lord has made"
bible verses of encouragement for couples trying to get pregnant
biblical encouragement for childless women
blog "childless not by choice"
blogs written by women who have decided not to have children
books dealing with childless not by choice
books on childless not by choice
childfree couples church
childless church member
childless couples by choice judged in churches
childless couples painful
childless couples, church
childless deeply wounded
childless in the church
childless not by choice hurts
childless not by choice not infertile
childless pastor couples
childless pastors
childless second class
childless support groups
childless women bible
childless women by choice
childless women support group
childlessness and hope
childlessness grandchildren
childlessness in biblical times
childlessness prayer
childlessness support
children's lessons for psalm 46:1
christian book about woman who can't have children
christian church childless couples
church and childlessness
church childless couple
church childlessness
church for childless couples
coping with being over 40 and childless
dealing with childlessness
delayed motherhood arguments
delaying marriage personal growth
divorced, childless and over 40
faith and childlessness
first time motherhood late 30's
focus on the family + childless
forgot to have kids
getting over being childless
getting over not having children
helping the childless
how can church help infertile couples
how churches can help infertile helping pastors on mothers day
i feel like i don't belong at church because i'm infertile
infertile couples who never have children
is church relevant to childless couples
jesus healing for childlessness
mid-life crisis childless
midlife crisis no childless
new mothers should be sensitive to childless friends
no i did not forget to have children
no place in the church for women without children
pastor childless
resources for women who can’t have children
stones for childless
support group for childless women
support groups for older childless women
support groups, childless
the childless pastor
the church and childlessness
ttc midlife
why did i not get to have kids
will i ever get over being childless
women forgetting to have children -quotes
women who didn't have children
christian book about woman who can't have children not by choice

My first reaction: Heartbreak for all these women in pain. Amazed at how women can feel so lonely and in pain in their church community. Heartbreak for pastor’s wives that cannot conceive. Sadness that women (and men?) turn to search engines to help find answers to their grief.

Clearly, such a list is driven from the content on the site. I took a few anomalies off this list that referenced authors and book titles mentioned in this blog, etc. There is one article on the site from 12/2008 called “Childless in Church” which obviously drew in much of the traffic. Obviously, dealing with this issue of being childless not by choice is something that is painful to deal with for others too, and that one place we turn to find resources is the Internet.

My second reaction, however, was that I should reach out to my church and make sure they are sensitive to the needs of the congregation. (In process!)

My third reaction - perhaps I should revisit my friend’s idea of starting a bible study for like-minded women in church to connect, praise God, and get to know one another. I’d hate to think that I am attending worship service on Sunday and sitting next to other women in my same position who go home and address their feelings by turning to the Internet, alone.

Instead, we should be turning to each other and the bible for comfort, support, and hope.

I don't remember posting Psalm 46:1 in a previous post, but guess I must have. I am glad to be reminded of it now.

"God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble."
-Psalm 46:1

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Going Through The Motions

This post, in fact this blog, has been very hard to write. I have descended down what I’m calling my “thermometer of hope,” and it has been a hard ride.

Since February, I have been going through the motions of meeting with my OB/GYN to monitor the size of some cyst activity on my ovaries and the fibroids. At that time, I was on the “fading hope” side of the thermometer. I actually was doing more than going through the motions in February due to quite a few problems over the course of a few months that caused the fibroids to grow substantially. Things calmed down this summer and I felt better, which, of course, allowed me to put my head back in the sand.

One day, when I went back for a checkup, the sonographer saw me coming down the hall and said, “Haven’t you taken that stuff out YET?” In her imaging room she leveled with me. “Look, I had my hysterectomy and finally I felt better – if you aren’t going to have kids, just take this stuff out!” My doctor said the same thing – these things aren’t getting any smaller, let me know when you want to take them out. This was the first time I really started facing the fact that - really, no, really - I’m not going to have kids.

I sought a second opinion after searching hard to find a doctor that was GYN only (no OB, hard to avoid babies in the waiting room), female, and experienced in surgery. I found a great doctor who gave me more explanation, more options, a better description of possible outcomes…and essentially ended up with a more cautious, “You are in a gray area, but it would be reasonable if you wanted to go ahead and take this stuff out.” That day I crossed over from fading hope into no hope. But not right away…I first had to go to dinner with my husband to cement that passing.

The dinner marked another turning point for me. I wanted to go out to eat and chat about what I had learned with my husband. Maybe I shouldn’t have had two Texas maragaritas or struck up a conversation with the happy family next to us with two cute girls. Either way, the conversation at our table took a turn for the worse and ended up with me leaving to sit in the car and sob like I had needed to for a long, long time. It had been under the surface for months, bubbling up often at stop lights, listening to the radio, watching other families, etc. It felt really good to have a good sob. I guess I hadn’t had one in…years.

What would any husband do with his slightly intoxicated wife a complete mess in the passenger seat after an argument about the most sensitive topic in their marriage? He left me there and walked home. I didn’t know what was going on until I stopped heaving, but then I realized I was all alone in the car. He did come back and get me after an hour or so (we only live a mile or two from the restaurant), and he apologized the next day once we had another discussion about more appropriate ways to act in situations like that.

My defense mechanism for this specific issue to that date was avoidance. Change the radio station. Don’t look at the family. Don’t drive by the soccer field on Saturday morning. Don’t visit girlfriends with young children. Leave baby showers early. It seemed to be working for me. I normally am very communicative, solve relational problems quickly, vent quickly and move on. In this case I had just been skipping straight to move on. It really wasn’t working for me.

Or I should say isn’t working for me. Nothing has happened as a result exactly, but I am now headed into the “acceptance” part of the thermometer. Acceptance that this uterus ain’t birthin’ no babies. Acceptance that for my husband and me, adoption isn’t an option. Acceptance that if I don’t have surgery soon, I won’t be able to take advantage of the fact that this year’s insurance deductible is met, or take advantage of laparoscopy surgery instead of the alternative. I’m going through the motions and have found a third, very experienced surgeon who takes my insurance. I will probably have a hysterectomy by the end of the year.

This phase doesn't feel like acceptance yet; it feels like resignation. And, I still am a master at avoidance and not sure what to do about that. Today, hubby is out of town and I made myself sit down to write about it. I don’t want to talk about this with friends – I have done some of that and find I get opinions that stem more from their issues with having kids or not having kids than help for my issues. Maybe counseling. Maybe a women’s support group (I’m on Hystersisters and CNBC – but I’ve been avoiding them). Maybe meet with someone at my church.

Maybe I should do something rather than nothing - something other than going through the motions.