My late sister Mary suffered from infertility when interferon treatments for her first bout of skin cancer destroyed all of her eggs.
She never complained about it (though she did share her deep sadness). She longed for children and hoped someday to adopt her own.
But that wasn't to be.
Another sister of mine has had a long struggle with infertility too. Though her story has a happy ending, I know that for years there were prayers and tears.
Prayers and tears.
Prayers and tears.
I've been blessed with 5 healthy children, hopefully soon-to-be six, so I can only imagine what kind of interior suffering goes on when someone would love to be pregnant, and for whatever reason they just cannot conceive.
I realize that my approach to this issue might be too sensitive.
In sharing my reasons for not posting bump photos, I am in no way trying to cast blame on anyone who does. I do not feel called to celebrate my pregnancies with weekly photos on the internet, and I wanted to let you know why.
I know people who have lost a spouse, or who are single and would rather be married, yet I have no qualms posting pictures of me and my spouse.
But I don't do it every week.
Many, many years ago, a relative of mine who has no biological children but has a beautiful family of adopted children, wrote a lovely response to a letter in a Couple to Couple League magazine. She was responding to someone who was struggling with infertility and struggling with jealousy. Jealousy of fertile couples, jealousy of large families.
This wonderful and wise relative wrote a loving response about how she was blessed to never feel jealousy, to only feel excitement and joy and gratitude when anyone announced another pregnancy.
Not everyone is like that though. For many infertile people, pain is a daily companion. Baby showers and Christmas parties become trials of the spirit. So I make my choice to be sparing in my baby bump photos.
Though I know Mary was saddened at her lack of fertility, she was always joyful and generous towards me and my children. She cross-stitched pictures for most of my children. She knit blankets for babies she wanted to have someday. She loved my babies. She loved everyone's babies. She loves them even better now.
If you are struggling with infertility, know that you have a special place in my heart and in my prayers.
I would love to see your baby bump photos someday.