I haven’t written in a while. What’s the reason, you may ask. It is not any one singular thing. It is not just physical ailments or brain fog. But perhaps those two do contribute to this maladie as the French call it. Anything and everything just seems to sound better in French, does it not?
We had the opportunity to spend a good chunk of time in Southern California for Thanksgiving. We went down to be with our ‘family that’s not technically family’ family. It was a reunion of the original six of us who bonded back in 2000 when both Pille and I were newly wed foreign wives. But the circle has gotten larger. Pille has two lovely daughters, on the brink of teen-dom and Sally two gorgeous little ones who ask endless questions and, in the case of Sofia, try her best to push the envelope a tiny bit more with a bewitching smile and a very Monroesque shrug of her three year old shoulders. It was there, on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving that I got asked the question by a little one: Gina, why don’t you have any kids? Cough, cough. Alrighty then.
I tried to keep my voice steady as I explained I did so want to have children a long time ago but due to my illness, I cannot have any. The little sweethearts proclaimed their dismay but tried to console me by informing me it is okay as they can be my substitute daughters. Sweet.
Oh the carefully bounded up, fragile mish mash that is my heart! As the days passed on by, the wall I so diligently built, erected up so strongly after each miscarriage, began to gently crack with each little hug, with each little tickle fight and each little kiss on the cheek. I left California over two weeks ago, but still think of our conversations and smile; our little back and forths and giggles, our hugs and I choke up.
And as I go through a new treatment for the newly diagnosed Dercum’s Disease, once again, I go through moment of utter depression and hopelessness. Moments where empty outstretched arms will never know the embrace from the unconditional love and sweet comfort a tiny body that is your child’s can bring. I have found myself curled up in the fetal position, just bawling my eyes out. And every time, I feel the gentle comfort of the Holy Mother. She who cradled the baby Jesus, also held the broken body of her son crucified. She who sang the Magnificat, also wailed the depths of sorrow at the loss of her child. Mary, the namesake whom my grandmother and I were named after. As the song goes,
When I find myself in times of trouble,
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom,
Let it be, let it be.
I am no theologian nor a seminarian. All I do know is that through all the times I have been in emotional turmoil and in the valley of the shadow of death, I have always seen her face and felt her motherly comfort. I have often wondered if this is induced by the fact I never experienced true mothering from my own mother. I do not know. What I do know, is the unfailing calmness I have experienced countless times, over the span of my life, where she has indeed come to me, pointing my eyes to her Son, my Peace, my Comfort.
It may take me much longer than I imagined to accept my childlessness. Maybe I never will. I am learning that too is okay. It is okay to feel my throat choke up watching another’s child run into their arms. It is okay to feel the emptiness in my womb. And it is also okay to allow another’s child to flood my heart with joy. It is wonderful to feel the arms of a little one around you, regardless of who he or she belongs to. For a child reflects all that Jesus taught us. Trust unwaveringly. Love unconditionally.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14 (NIV)