Every now and again, we here at TwinGo have the awesome honor of featuring a unique family whose lives have been changed by the TwinGo Carrier. Maybe you remember reading about the Unicorn Mom? This amazing MoM that we featured back in June had not one, not two, but THREE sets of twins.
Today is no different - we have the profound privilege of featuring Natalie Brenner and her tale of the "Virtual Twins" - being blessed by a pregnancy at the same time as completing the adoption process. Natalie has recently completed her book, This Undeserved Life: Uncovering the gifts of grief and the fullness of life, and it has already skyrocketed to #1 on the Amazon in the adoption, family health, childbirth & pregnancy categories, and more. Today we share an excerpt from her book and we sincerely hope you enjoy learning more about Natalie and her family.
Life began to be calculated by cycles. Cycles consume time. Questions loomed, challenging what we knew as true: isn’t the growth of our family supposed to just happen rather than become this obstacle of distraction and waiting? God is a big miraculous God, isn't He? It happens for many others, two, three, four times over. Everyone in the world is pregnant except us. Why do we have to remain in this painful limbo of patient suffering and weighty waiting? Has God forgotten us? Has He cursed us? What ever happened to, “God will give you the desires of your heart?” Isn’t that what He did when He convicted us of our birth control, our fight to control when we had babies? Didn’t He place a new desire into our hearts, a desire for babies, for life, for the chaos of family-growth? He replaced our fear of them with a conception of longing for them. When will that conception be birthed into reality?
We kept this waiting-ache mostly to ourselves, wondering if we were worried for no reason and being dramatic as we remained without blessed expectation. Without promise. Without child. Without the experience of what all our friends were receiving in being, “blessed.” It had only been a little over year or so since we started trying.
Often, I found myself walking through life covered in a silent, isolated shame because I felt sad about how long it was taking. Shameful that I cared about experiencing a pregnancy, when I knew adoption was a valid way to create a family. I was so tired of fearing people’s words and opinions; the product of most people’s response to our wait was more hurt. I was tired of that pain, of surface level well-intentioned responses. I was tired of being sensitive to these well-meant phrases that feel like bayonets to the heart:
You're too young
You've barely been married
You're so young you have years of fertility
You barely know one another
You idiot, enjoy the silence and the sleep, take a vacation while you can
and on and on.
These frequently spewed statements kept us from sharing our lonely wait with many. Together in the confines of our bedroom we eagerly prayed for my womb to welcome babies. Twins? Maybe even twins, God. We prayed life and healing over my body, day after day, tear after tear, cycle after cycle.
Part of me was tempted to feel wronged by Jesus, which was embarrassing and humiliating to admit to even myself. I knew how selfish that thought process was, so I judged and criticized how wrong I was to feel anything other than gratitude for the life I lived. I don’t deserve the life I am living, I often shamed myself. There are people being beheaded across the ocean. There are millions starving and lacking clean water. I am not being trafficked, I am not being beaten, I am not being murdered. The shame I felt for feeling wronged was insurmountable. I felt like a spoiled brat. The voice of our pastor, Matthew, whispered in my heart: “you are prideful, entitled,” and therefore not Christlike.
I wanted to be a mama more than anything else. I wanted to create and birth life between my husband and I, to not have a barren and broken body. I wanted to make big dinners and mickey-mouse pancake breakfasts and convivial calendars for the summer days. Right along with the long nights rocking in the chair, the tears soaking my shirts along with the puke and poop, the constantly cold coffee. I longed to feel the miracle of a life inside of me, the kicking, the swelling, the stretching. I craved to conquer birth. I wanted the magical-meeting moment, to experience those first breaths of oxygen, as the shriek of a first cry escapes, and the sweet closeness of skin to skin immediately, my tears soaking my baby’s head, daddy cutting baby’s cord. I wanted to live the magical moment of meeting the baby I birthed, the moment I had assisted so many times as a doula and documented as a birth photographer. I wanted it to be my turn. I wanted the beautiful mess of motherhood but instead was counting life by cycles, living the weight of the wait.
Natalie Brenner is a wife, mom to virtual twins, and photographer living in Portland, Oregon. She is the best-selling author of This Undeserved Life. She likes her wine red, ice cream served by the pint, and conversations vulnerable. Like you, Natalie is a fierce believer in the impossible and hopes to create safe spaces for every fractured soul. She's addicted to honesty. You can love Jesus or not, go to church or not: she'd love to have coffee with you. Natalie is a bookworm, a speaker, and a lover of fall. Connect with her at NatalieBrennerWrites.com and join her grace-filled email community.