The Broken Doll

by lisha epperson


I fell in love with this doll the first time I laid eyes on her. I bought one for my daughter Ila and one for myself. So this is “my” doll. My very first “Barbie”. As far as I could tell, she was “perfect” when I bought her.

We’re in the doll aisle of the most famous toy store in the world – FAO Schwarz.  The choice is overwhelming.  From your basic Barbie to the most precious and life-like baby doll you’ve ever seen – she even comes with a birth certificate and a nurse will hand her to you if you’d like to hold her – this store has it all.  You’re not sure just which doll to buy today.  They are all so beautiful.  So perfect.  You continue to walk until one catches your eye.  You spot her on the top shelf, just before you exit the aisle.  This is the doll you’ve been looking for and no matter the cost, you plan to walk out of the store with her.  Today.  This is THE doll you were looking for and you didn’t even know it until you saw her.  You reach up on the tips of your toes to pull the box off the shelf and gaze at her.  She is gorgeous.  Gleaming skin, bright eyes and glistening hair styled just so.  Her dress, made from the finest of  fabrics is like nothing you’ve ever seen. She is perfect.

You protectively clench the sides of the box as you gaze at this wonder of creation. You want to open it to get a little closer to all this loveliness, so you gently pull her out to get a better look.  It takes you a full five minutes to find that something is off.  It’s her left eye.  1 of the perfectly placed eye lashes is missing.  She isn’t perfect after all. No one would notice this slight oddity.   Barely discernible, this lash thing,  but YOU know. Placing her back in the box and sealing it you return her to the shelf and choose another one because this doll….is broken.

Infertility can make a woman feel this way.  Broken.  The problem is something that is going on internally and to the eyes of her friends and family she is perfect.  Perfect until someone asks her when she and her husband will start trying to have a baby.  Perfect until she starts trying to get pregnant and finds out that something is wrong.  6 months , a year, 2 years, 5.  Her body is not performing a natural function for which it was designed and although it would seem that her day-to-day life is not affected, emotionally, she is operating on an empty tank.  The flaw of infertility has made its presence known.  She eats right, exercises, finds joy in her brilliant (or not so brilliant) career – is alive and seemingly well.   But she feels broken.   This thing that no one else can see has clouded her vision and she no longer knows who or whose she is.   She suffers in silence while her faith mutates into a cancerous combination of fear, doubt and unbelief.

If I could offer any encouragement it would be this…you are not broken, you are fearfully and wonderfully made.  Remind yourself  that infertility is only a season.  One of many. If you could find the strength within yourself to know that God has a plan designed specifically with you in mind you would smile quietly to yourself – content in His love for YOU.   You would get excited because you’d realize that the future is a magnificent mystery.  You really have no idea how big God is until you truly trust Him. I would never belittle the pain that you are going through.  It is real and I have been there.  I’ve refused to go to baby showers, cried silently over the phone when my best friend told me she was pregnant…again –  and felt as if my heart had literally crumbled on my living room floor as  I cried out to God after a second miscarriage.   Those were the hard days.  On the other days – and the other days far outweighed the hard ones – I confessed His word and believed what He said about my body and my life even if I sobbed throughout my barely audible prayers.  You can get through this.  You can change the way this season affects the rest of your life.  You can seek God and make decisions. You can listen and follow His instruction.  You can find a way to balance your desire for pregnancy so that it does not consume you.   Hopefully you will find that if you rely on Him you can turn this into  a season of rest.  You can relinquish control and hand it over to the only one who can fight this battle for you.  In doing so you will enter into your very own Sabbath and can be assured that the outcome – if you are truly seeking Him – will be His best.

So what happened to the doll?  Like your situation there are many options and outcomes. She will most likely be purchased by someone who won’t notice the slight imperfection. If it is noticed she may stay on the shelf and go on sale -flaws and all-  to be purchased by a fortunate girl who will love her like Lisa loved Corduroy.  In the end it won’t matter. If she is like any of the dolls in my house she won’t stay “perfect” for long. She will be loved almost to the point of destruction.  Mussed hair, no clothes, ink markers on her remaining limbs.  These are the dolls my girls love the most.  They are an important part of their playtime fantasies and are wrapped in their memories forever. They are the dolls with experience and value far beyond anything you will find “new and in a box”.  Real “dolls” live and living makes them beautiful.  The point is, she will be alright.  And you will too.  Stay encouraged dear friend.

copyright revision in process


This is Ila’s doll. Aminata. Pretty as she was my doll never got out of that box. My doll was never named. 5 years later Aminata’s hair has fallen out at the crown. Her makeup a bit faded, jewelry – gone. I have no idea what happened to her original garments. She can usually be found naked – or close to it – in the doll house. Her left thumb is smashed. She is no longer perfect, but still quite beautiful. Maybe even more so.