On Mother's Day week, I always spend so much time in prayer for infertile women.
As I drove to the library the other day, I thought "Oh, I never remember to pray for the infertile Dads. . ."
Immediately, my heart broke open. There are so many different types of fathers who are denied their fatherhood.
There are the Husbands in an infertile couple who long to receive messy crayon scribbled Father's Day cards....
Then there are the boyfriend who found true love only to have their girlfriends announce that they "aren't ready to be tied down to marriage!"
There's the husbands that are eager to have children, but the wives "aren't ready to ease back on their careers!"
There's the loving Daddy's who want "just one more" when their wives said "There is no way I'm going back there--back to pregnancy, and child birth, and breast feeding, and sleepless nights and spilled sippy cups in the back seat!"
That last category is so heartbreaking. I wore 11 week old Baby Abigail strapped to my chest at a Swim Meet yesterday and had two of these heart breaking conversations with complete strangers. It's so random. One second I'm happily cheering on my favorite back stroke swimmer, when a stranger next to me will look at Baby Abigail and start saying "Well, these are the reasons why myself, my wife, or my mother says she can't have more kids......"
Almost every time a mother, a husband or a child will seem to think that they are describing some rare aliment equal related to the individual medical history of a specific woman.
Meanwhile, the "reasons" are totally common.
Verbatum, here is what total strangers have said with tears in their eyes why they can't have more kids
"I barely have time for the two kids that I have right now"
"Every year he says he wants another, but I think I'm not ready yet"
Last night, 15 year old girl comes over. She spends 20 minutes drooling over my three little girls. She tells me all about how she loves kids, loves her little sister, volunteers at the nursery at church and then says "My Mom said ten hours of back labor with my sister were enough! So I guess when I get married, I can only have one kid."
This 15 year tell me this with all seriousness as if her Mom physically passed her on this one-of-a-kind female problem. I so wanted to tell her, "Everyone woman feels this way after labor! Every Mom says "I'm so never going to have another baby." Some of us just keeping having more kids despite the sentiments contained in that sentence."
Here's the heartbreaking truth, if your wife isn't one of those woman who the Holy Spirit shoves into having more babies (and believe me, Mr Jon Benjamin so easily could be one of those men) then you don't get to be a Father to more children.
My husband has a girl and a boy 18 months apart--aged 9 and 7. He can be the best Swim Coach, the kindest story reader, the best First Communion prep Dad. But if I choose to use contraception, as I did early in my early marriage, he's powerless. There would be three tiny girls my husband never got to Father. He'd never get the joy of filling up a church pew on Sunday, or the responsibility of buying new minivan when the old van gets filled, or the delight in bringing little sister Tagalongs to Boy Scout meetings. Have we ever heard someone tell us "Come on, your husband is such a great Dad! Risk another c-section to give him another child!"
Instead, our culture is like "two kids, especially one girl and one boy--that's all any man can rightly expect from a wife. Kids are hard."
When I'm alone with Baby Abigail in the Bijorn, I can tell immediately which 20 something wife in line at Starbucks is longing to have a baby with her husband. When I'm driving around with my messy minivan filled with four girls (and one boy), I start to notice is the joyful longing in the eyes of some Dads. My husband is a blessed man in their book.
This week I'm praying hard for the "Dads who don't get to be Dads." I hope you'll join me.