Garden Lullaby · infertility

Why I’m Still Writing about Infertility

“This is no thaw. This is spring. What are we to do? Your winter has been destroyed, I tell you! This is Aslan’s doing.”

I have never read the entire Chronicles of Narnia series, but this year, I put them all on my reading list. I read one or two chapters a day. When I read this quote in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by the White Witch’s dwarf, of all characters(!), I loved it. It’s a beautiful, triumphant quote all on its own, but it felt so profound to the story I have lived and will surely live again.

Soon we will return to our Garden Lullaby series where I go back in time and share how God used the garden to help me see His love and the life He wanted for me though my womb was empty and my pain was deep. And somewhere along the way I could say in my soul, though not all was right in my world, “This is no thaw. This is spring!” God had healing for me inside and out. I still grieved. I still struggled. But I could breathe. And laugh. I woke up to life. And began to live. I may be taking this C.S. Lewis quote out of context, but it certainly applies!

Not all was well, but I was becoming well. Winter was being destroyed. Month after month. Year after year. When “NO!” screamed in my ears and the bathroom floor felt like home. It didn’t feel like winter was being destroyed, but God was doing it until suddenly there it was,

This is no thaw. This is spring!”

You may wonder why I am still writing about infertility when I have a son, a daughter due in a few months, and have already written about the healing in a whole book of 97 poems. So here’s at least one reason.

The miracles of God don’t get old. They don’t go away. I’m still living it!

“Come and see what God has done: He is awesome in His deeds toward the children of man.” -Psalm 66:5

Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what He has done for my soul.” -Psalm 66:16

Reminders of the spring miracle God did within me keep showing up. And will forever. In my two children, in my garden, in books I read, in poetry I’m inspired to write, in my history with God that touches my present and my future. God’s works are wonderful and they are profound.

I’m not done seeing.

And I’ll keep on sharing all I’ve seen God do.

In those years, I never thought to myself those exact words, “This is no thaw. This is spring!,” but I certainly lived it. Winter couldn’t last forever. Not even when infertility did. Spring filled my soul when nothing filled my womb. And spring greeted my children when they came around and that same spring was beautifully multiplied by their presence.

Miracles everywhere.

What light I have known and life I have lived before, during, after.

This is no thaw!

Poetry

For Young Mothers

people say so many things. . .
like you’re in a game you cannot win,
like your life has all but ended.
but maybe motherhood is a mosaic,
a hard wrought, stained glass window
where tears and laughter collide,
where wounds reopen in the working
and glisten if light filters through.

I am cut, reshaped, pieced back. . .
and I feel like I could shatter.

photo credit: Hannah A.R. Stories

“so what if you do?”
whispers the mother
beside me and beyond me.
“light will always poke itself through.”

her gentle words feel as balm
against the skin of my heart.
she holds an armful of sun,
scars from stained glass on her hands,
laughline wrinkles where
the window should hang,

but she wasn’t a game
or a life left for dead.

she was a stained glass story,
with no window to show for it.
and she held all the good things
all the people never say.
she broke and breathed,
stood long, and loved. . .
letting every inch of light
be every part of her.
she was a woman,
not a perfect stained glass
window.

and so I broke.
then shattered.
and breathed.

-S.V.F.

Life at the Blue House

BIG. . .That Was 26

Perhaps my 26th year was the ugly part of a butterfly escaping its cocoon. It was beautiful. I had wings. But it was a glorious mess in constant movement.

photo credit: Hannah A.R. Stories

So many huge things happened this year. Experiencing the fullness of my son’s first year. Planning his 1st birthday party. Putting my story of infertility and healing on social media. (Up until then, it was not secret but neither was it out there for the “world” to see.)

Our small blue house getting renovated which essentially doubled the house (maybe more, because we have an amazing loft now too!!!) All except a corner of my kitchen was gutted!

In that time we lived in a tired trailer down the way from our house. In the peak of gardening season and springtime, we had home things displaced everywhere. . .on the porch, in our bright yellow shed, in the garden itself. Not to mention us! We were “displaced” too. It was wild!

In those 7 weeks, I published my second book, Hope Gives a Eulogy. This is my first book of poetry, and I say first because I hope to write more. The 96 poems within these pages explore how infertility impacts faith, friendship, marriage, and womanhood. While infertility is a harsh pain, Hope Gives a Eulogy sheds light on the hope, resilience, and love that endures within this heartache! It is a personal testimony of the healing God did in my forever season.

I also finished weaning my 9-month-old son having followed his lead and putting no pressure on myself to keep it up. We had such a positive experience and making it to 9 months was a true dream!

Mother’s Day💓

With that said, I did have some major hormone crashes + our whole family faced prolonged sickness in the spring. We also got baby chicks during those 7 weeks which we kept warm and safe in that little trailer kitchen. There truly was a method to our madness, and I don’t regret it, but also WHY DID WE DO THAT.

Shortly before our 6th wedding anniversary, we moved back into our much bigger, bright blue house. It wasn’t fully completed, but it was fully able to move into!

Ever since that May day, we’ve been settling in more and more. We still have piles to work through and things to purge, but it’s starting to feel more like the home we’ve always known together.

I’m loving it!

This year’s garden was terrible and lovely. I planted seeds so many times and was almost always being disappointed in the end.

Entire sunflower heads were stolen by squirrels before they could bloom! My rose bushes got attacked more than once. It felt like my whole garden was on the brink of total death in August, but through some extra nurturing care, spring came in September. In October, I filled a vase with a bouquet of zinnias, geraniums, and a rose.

That single October vase of flowers felt like my only true harvest of the year. Still we did have beautiful May roses, scrawny, scraggly sunflowers, and one Mother’s Day geranium (out of the 3) thrive. All while our son’s flower came back to life, a once pitiful flower bed filled with bright pink blooms, and our mums grew back in after getting their tops and leaves eaten!

We think our garden especially suffered this year as the balance of nature and wildlife was so tossed and ruffled due to house renovations. Needless to say that our garden, while lovely, was a terrible time!

Well, let’s get this post moving by rewinding to July.

PREGNANT.

The day I found out I was shocked! I was about to call it negative when that line appeared, and then my jaw dropped. I was out and about that day (or just days after finding out) and one of my friends hilariously said, “Your hair looks crazy.” Bahahahahaaa! I mentioned being tired (which was true), but also I think my crazy hair had more to do with being absolutely flabbergasted by the news of being pregnant with another child already. What a miracle!! How loved she is!

halfway with baby girl! In the 3rd trimester January 7, day after my birthday!!

Pregnancy is a season I treasure with each child I’m given, but it is difficult, and I don’t enjoy or thrive for most of it. I think many women could say that! I am, however, so excited to give birth and hold her in my arms and watch her grow just as I do Shasta. He is a delight, and the word I use to describe my son is music. And he really is music! I can’t wait to discover the word my daughter already is.

My 26th year was one of change. Of settling into poetry, into motherhood, into our home. Of fumbling with these new wings. Of being in constant movement. Of watching my son grow and holding another miracle in my womb.

Of being afraid of this good season and these good gifts and learning to trust God with the vulnerability of happiness and joy. But my poetry in Girl with Good Bones best describes these last few years so tangled in grief and joy. (You can download and read for free here.)

The year 26 has been absolutely big. That’s the word for it. Big. Big gifts. Big surprises. Big changes. Big blessings. Big growth. Big life (minus the garden, that was scraggly, holding on for dear, beautiful life).

So, I’m going into 27 with a heart ready to step into the growth that has begun, to settle into life as it is now, to celebrate knowing I am safe with God.

Certain.

That is my prayer for 27.

Certain God is with me and will be with me always. Certain His presence will always be more than enough. Certain He will heal and hold me through whatever comes my way in the future. Certain of Who He is, growing absolutely deeper in that knowledge. Certain I am safe in Him to fearlessly enjoy this life from Him.

Certain of the freedom to live unafraid in all this goodness, because “You, O Lord are my hope and trust, O Lord, from my youth. Upon You I have leaned from before my birth; You are He who took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is continually of You!” (Psalm 71:5-6, exclaimation added).

photo credit: Hannah A.R. Stories

So yes, a Happy Birthday, indeed.

Welcome, 27.

It is well with my soul!

Poetry

I’ll Remember You For. . .

it was beautiful,
but unexpected.
and I’ll remember you for–

how the garden bent and broke,
then bloomed,
and how our small blue house
grew right where wildflowers
once were.

how life folded into gold
with wrinkles and stains,
with perfection and messes,
with our summer son turning one,
and our upcoming spring tapping
her baby feet on screen.

and how I crumpled up scared
running headlong into happiness,
but God! and His presence said,
You’re just as safe now
as you were back then.
Run! Run! Run!

so, I do.

and don’t they say,
“history repeats itself”?
and if all my life is always with God
I should know just my looking back
that I can run full speed ahead.

Happy New Year.
and by that I mean
I trust you, God.
Oh God, help me.
Yes, I will run!

-S.V.F.

photo credit: Hannah A. R. Stories