Matters of life and death: part one

Part the First: Life

As mentioned in my previous post, my sister in law is expecting her fifth child. SIL is married to the Husband’s brother. They are both lovely people and I care about them very much. We quite often receive emails from SIL updating us about family goings on, living as they do in the same city as the Husband’s parents, and I always look forward to them. They are always full of fun and laughter,  especially when they contain news of the four gorgeous whirlwinds, otherwise known as my nieces.We don’t get to visit in person very often, but it is always such fun when we do.

When we heard this latest piece of news, we were a little surprised. Simply because, well, to us it seems truly a blessing to have four children, but also because SIL almost died during the birth of #3.  We were all so concerned for SIL when she announced #4, but that little one arrived safe and sound, and all was well. After that, they promised that they were done.

While we stood together in front of the computer screen reading this news, my husband reached out to hug me, and it was that simple gesture that made me weep. We think this new baby is wonderful news and are very happy for BIL and SIL. At the same time, I was suddenly so overwhelmingly sad for us. Not angry, or bitter, or jealous, just sad.

Sad that we will never a house filled with four, let alone five, children. Sad that after all we have been through, we don’t really seem any closer to achieving a viable pregnancy. Sad that I have to see the disappointment on my husband’s face at the end of each failed cycle. Sad that I will probably never be able to give my husband the children that he would so very much love to have. Sad that we have to try to face the reality of a childless future.

At the same time, I am overwhelmingly grateful for all the blessings that I do have. A wonderful husband, who will be by my side far into the future, come what may. A good career. Our beautiful home in the country. Our fantastic four-legged companion, The Cat. We have seven, soon to be eight, wonderful nieces and nephews. We will welcome this little one with all our hearts. The Husband and I would like to have children very much, but if we do not, then we have much to be grateful for. Indeed, we have happiness.


  1. bunny’s avatar

    You have such a generous heart. I can vividly imagine the little scene you paint in which your husband reaches out to comfort you, and it’s so tender. So much love, so much sadness. This really is a beautiful post, particularly that last line. I so admire you for being able to focus on the happiness you do have. I won’t stop wishing and hoping it will be magnified, though.

  2. Adele’s avatar

    When you’ve waited such a long time, when you’ve gone through all the emotions that every single one of us have, I do really think that it’s sorrow that remains at the end. The other stuff gets worn down or you just get bored with feeling those other emotions. But the sadness never goes away.

    Before we went through this, and before I met my husband, if someone had asked me which was more important – husband or children – I would have said the latter. I even had plans to start trying alone by a certain point, but then I met my husband. And, interestingly, the answer to that question changed. That happiness, that sense of unity, the fact that here was another person who understood so completely…it’s one of the things I am most grateful for in this lifetime.

    It does not mean that the other won’t be, Andie. It doesn’t. I just don’t believe that for you. But you’re right on the money: the two of you have happiness. (And from what I can tell it’s pretty rare).

  3. twangy’s avatar

    Yes. I never knew, or had to know, that such a thing was possible, but I have learned that happiness can co-exist with sadness. It does, too. So strange.

    Also learning to appreciate cats – who would have thought? They are so wonderfully lazy and so fantastically full of themselves. I love that.

  4. Justine’s avatar

    It’s wonderful of you to write this … even if sometimes it’s hard to feel this way.

  5. conceptionally Challenged’s avatar

    As bunny said, you are so generous. I would certainly have been jealous. And sad.
    Thinking of you.

  6. egghunt’s avatar

    Andie, you’re a true star.

    It’s not easy to be happy and grateful when you’re carrying around a big sack of sorrow and unfair pain at the same time. I really admire you for being able to do this.

    And I certainly hope your happiness limit has not reached capacity. There must be a way for the universe to even the scales for you a bit more. I really hope motherhood comes soon for you. xxx

  7. irretrievably broken’s avatar

    I just found you. What an astonishing post, and what generosity of spirit and greatness of heart you have. It is no small thing to be grateful, and it is no small thing to admit that you suffer and yet are grateful simultaneously. Quite inspiring, to be honest.

    Now I’m off to read your whole blog.