Thursday, May 5, 2016

mr. ackerman

When I started this blog a few months ago, I told you that three months down the road I would begin the next piece of my journey through infertility. These months have at times seemed like years, but at others felt like seconds. I can't believe it is here!

Before I start my infertility journey with you (next week!), I want to tell you about my husband, Aaron. If you have read any portion of my blog, you have probably heard about him, weaved in and out of my stories, always there for me in the biggest ways. Aaron is the only man I have ever opened up to about my life and my health. For so long, I hid the things I felt and experienced from relationships around me because I thought I was different. I thought I was the one that no guy would marry because my medical issues would be far beyond their capacity. I think in some cases this is true. But relationships also ended because I feared I could never receive the spiritual, mental, and physical support I would need from them.

Aaron changed that for me. He is the most intentional person I have ever met. He was the first guy I felt like I could talk to about my health, the first person who understood  that even though it is a big aspect of my life, it is not the only aspect of my life. Aaron didn’t see my health problems when he looked at me; he saw a girl who loved to laugh. A girl who loved to smile and bring joy to others in doing so.

But I felt so guilty. How could I expect someone to carry my burdens with me? Yes, I wanted to get married one day, but my heart just wouldn’t let anyone in for fear of rejection, fear of myself, and fear that one day someone would just decide they couldn’t handle it anymore. What I didn’t understand was that wasn’t my choice to make. If I let someone in on my list, then it was up to them to decide if the person beyond that list was who they wanted. I had to trust that they would stay by my side. It takes a mature man to see past a list like that. Mature in their life and in their faith. A man who trusts God in all things, who can be selfless in many situations, and who can take on the burden of being my emergency contact.

I think the hardest thing for me, as for many women, to talk about was children. I couldn’t wait until Aaron fell in love with me to tell him my secret, what a geneticist had told me that shattered pieces of my future. I couldn’t hold back the fact that I may never be able to have biological children, especially when I knew how intentional Aaron was in dating me. I had to tell him early on so that he could make the choice. Before I was in deep enough to be broken by the situation. The thing is, before Aaron, I never got deep enough, so there was never a hole to climb out of. I cut things off at the first sign I thought someone couldn’t “handle” me. I never gave anyone a chance to make the decision. Maybe I should have, but then again, I think Aaron was my path all along. Something was different about Aaron, and I knew he just might be the one. So it was hard because I was already in the hole.
It isn’t an easy conversation, kids, especially for someone like me. Someone who had hidden her medical life from so many - but Aaron is gracious. Aaron is loving. When I told him, while sitting on the front porch, a house full of friends inside, laughing about this, that, and the other, he lowered his head and just smiled. He said, “You know Riley, I’ve always pictured myself adopting.”

I cried.

I had never let my guard down so much. I had never let myself cry in front of a man pursuing me for the purpose of marriage. I cried not because I was sad; I cried because no matter the situation, no matter the medical diagnoses, the struggles, the pain, no matter where the relationship went, I knew I could trust him to be there for me in big ways. That conversation was worth every bit of discomfort it caused in me. In that moment, every bit of fear I’d held close and every past relationship I had hidden from was melting before my eyes as this man before me began to show me he would never let me do this alone.
We’ve been walking the infertility journey since the day we were married, and in some ways, I was walking it alone long before that. I’ve said before that I’m scared of what the future holds, but I trust in the Lord to provide and give our family what it needs. I have no idea how long the physical aspects of infertility will be experienced, and I only imagine it will become harder and harder as time moves forward. I do know that it is out of my hands, and I can only give the fear, anger, anxiety, and questions to the Lord because it is only He who can withstand their weight. Not even Aaron can do that… though he tries :-)

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30

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