The year I lost my hearing, I also broke my back. While I was very, very lucky that the fall and the fracture didn’t cause any nerve damage, it was still the most physical pain I have ever experienced. The moment I hit the ground, I started screaming. I physically could not stop screaming – I remember telling myself internally to stop screaming, but my voice was outside of my control. I still have nightmares about that pain, and I panic any time I feel like I’m falling because I’m so afraid of ever feeling that degree of pain ever again.
This year, I feel like my soul, rather than my body, is experiencing pain like that, and screaming inwardly in agony. My hearing loss and infertility are invisible wounds that people keep hurting without knowing it. I find myself increasingly angry with the world, raging inwardly at the unfairness of it all, rebelling against that unrelenting sense of pain.
The baby boom among my friends and family doesn’t help. EVERYONE is having babies, it seems, and the more babies there are around me, the more I feel like everyone sees my barrenness as a sign of failure. One person (whom I dearly love) tells me often that I can’t possibly Understand Life – in all its exhausted, frustrating, loving, joyful, stressful glory – because I don’t Have Kids. I’ve heard it so many times that capitalization became necessary! And our church, which I also love, is experiencing a baby boom quite out of proportion to the size of the congregation. They’re expanding the nursery of our brand-new building just to accommodate all the infants. The Women’s ministry has turned into a Mother’s ministry, and it seems that every week brings a new announcement of yet another pregnancy.
Each new pregnancy or baby brings out more irrational anger in my heart. It shouldn’t; no one else’s fertility causes me harm in any way. There are even days when I’m not sure that I even want to have children, since I panic at the very thought of the constant noise involved in raising children. And yet I’m angry. It isn’t fair. There is no physical reason why I should be infertile, and yet I am. There is no known reason that I should have lost my hearing, and yet I did. There is no campaign of discrimination against me, and yet I’m isolated and invisible. Why is it not enough to have just ONE source of constant pain? Why am I expected to muffle my pain and keep smiling through the hurt? Why is that NO ONE can see me?