Can I know? I mean really know in the deep recesses of my mind and soul that I will never bear children?
When I was about 10 years old I told my Nanna that I felt like I knew things, knew them before they happened and wasn't surprised when they did happen. She told me that she believed the women in our family have such a gift of knowing. I was 10 so I took this as fact and didn't ask about it further. She died when I was 16 and I never talked to her about it again.
From childhood I knew that I would die at 20. This isn't as morbid as it sounds. It was one of those thoughts in the back of my mind. A statement similar to "I am going to school today" in its weight and yet not as immediately obvious as to its truth. I was convinced it was true. Yet it didn't impact me greatly, I was young and I still planned and dreamed for my adult life. The thing is, I did die when I was 20. Not a physical death, but a spiritual one. A month before Easter in the year I was 20 years old I was given the gift of faith, and as such counted myself "dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus" (Romans 6:11). In scriptural words my old sinful self died and I was born again (John 3:3, 1Peter 1:23).
During high school I became convinced that I would lose my first child. Again it was a calm knowing, a quiet fact, one that didn't bother me as much as impending exams, hormones, friends and boys. Since that time I have miscarried my first child, and numerous others.
In the weeks following my conversion to Christ I had a strong knowing sense that I would never have children. I talked about it with my Mum and she shared she had always feared that would be true for her too, and yet it obviously wasn't and she told me not to worry. At the time I wasn't worried about it. Again it was simply a fact, a deep stirring in my heart with no immediate implications as I wasn't in a relationship and had no plans for marriage.
During this most recent IVF cycle I knew I would get pregnant. I've never known before, never had that deep confidence that I would conceive. I've hoped, prayed, and misinterpreted symptoms, but never known I would be pregnant. I find myself almost unable to explain how I knew (and how I didn't know it wouldn't continue). It seems ridiculous to me, a trained scientist-practitioner, that I would support a theory based on gut instinct without any tangible evidence. Then again, I suppose that is what (a simplified view of) faith is.
So as my DH and I face another IVF cycle I am pondering this question: Do I know that I can't have children?
There is no medical evidence that I won't conceive or bear a child to term.
I do not have a direct revelation from God saying that I won't have children.
And yet I have had a feeling for 10 years that I won't have children, and a growing heart and love for children in need. Years ago my DH and I discovered our love for children, not just our hoped-for own, but all children, in all circumstances. We planned (huh!) to have a couple children of our own and then to foster children in need, to combine our desire for a big family with our heart for struggling and lost families.
I feel terribly confused. I think that the answer won't become apparent until it's the right time, but I could do with some guidance.
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