I have debated writing a post like this for some time now, but I knew it was necessary. It’s hard to be able to write about your struggles and emotions, especially in a day and age where we only put our best on social media. It’s hard to be truly transparent when you are dealing with something and facing a trial. I’ve been MIA on my blog for a little while because it’s been hard to not write about this topic, and I wasn’t ready to. This isn’t just my story to tell, it’s also Ryan’s.
As most of you know, Ryan and I met in the fall of 2007, got married the fall of 2010, bought our house summer of 2014…and that’s probably the last you’ve heard about our lives. Everyone has been waiting for it, asking about it and wondering when we are going to have a little child of our own.
We started trying to expand our family at the very end of 2013 and the very beginning of 2014. I was so excited that I started numerous boards on Pinterest of what clothing our new babe was going to wear, and what beautiful gender neutral nurseries are out there and how could I forget? We needed to look for ideas on how to announce our pregnancy, the gender, the arrival of our newborn and all of our baby’s milestones. Fast forward three years, and here we are. With empty bedrooms in our new home with no babies. The photo in this post is actually a sign we bought at the beginning of this year along with a set of baby onesies I bought last year. If you open one of our guest bedrooms in our home, you will see these same exact items, leaned up against the wall, waiting to be put to use.
Three years has seemed like an eternity, and I hesitate to say that because I know many couples have been on this road for far longer than us. It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions, tests, charts, temping, etc, etc. The first few months I knew I was pregnant. I had all of the “symptoms”. I could feel every little ache and twitch in my body and knew, “wow it really was that easy!”. A pregnancy test confirmed that it wasn’t really that easy. Month after month we learned that it was negative again. Then we stopped buying tests altogether. No need to see the words “not pregnant” written out perfectly clear month after month.
For those of you that do not know, when you are under the age of 35 and have been trying to conceive for more than one year you should seek medical help. At the end of last year, we did undergo some very basic testing which is called a reproductive health screening and were told to take supplements and make an appointment if no success. We took supplements for a little while with again, no results. We haven’t been given an ultimatum, like “you will only get pregnant if x, y and z” but we plan on seeking a specialist at the beginning of next year. It’s sort of bittersweet for me. Part of me wants answers, but I know regardless of what the doctors tell me, I am still putting my hope and trust in God, not what the specialists tell us. The other part of me doesn’t want to go because ultimately IVF might be one of our only options. I’ll be honest, I haven’t paid much attention to IVF until being in this situation and after doing more research on it I feel as though getting rid of embryos at the chance of having one healthy baby that might be able to be carried until term, is still not worth it. The intent is good because you are wanting to create life, but at what cost? As a believer who believes that life begins at conception, this has really challenged my philosophy. As of right now, this is my personal stance and whenever we do see a specialist we will need just as much prayer as we do now for God to guide our next steps. I do not condemn anyone who has undergone IVF or plans to, this is just where I am at personally. Aside from any moral stance, financially, treatments like IVF are very much out of our price range. We both went to a four-year private Christian college for goodness sakes!
It’s been hard these past few years mainly because we feel like we have just been waiting with no answers. We’ve both had our strong moments, and not so strong moments. There are times I feel like, “okay God, if you never give me a biological child, that’s okay, I’m still going to follow you no matter what” and then there are times when I can’t go a full week without crying every single day because the pain is unbearable. This process has taught us to bring all of our emotions to God and to really hold true to the promise that He has this all under control.
Because I work from home, my schedule overlaps with many stay at home moms. The fun Target run on my lunch break soon turns into retail therapy when I walk right into the store entrance and I see newborns and toddlers everywhere with their moms. I can’t look at the baby section anymore because part of me thinks that if I don’t acknowledge it, then I won’t feel the pain.
The same goes with talking about it with other people. We’ve told very close family members at first and then started what felt like confessing to our close friends. And that’s what it’s felt like for me at least. Something about infertility throughout time has felt shameful and embarrassing.
Biblically, infertility has been followed by many great men and women in the bible.
Sarah and Abraham (Issac’s parents)
Rebekah and Issac (Jacob & Esau’s parents)
Rachel and Jacob (Joseph and Benjamin’s parents)
Manoah and his wife (Samson’s parents)
Hannah and Elkanah (Samuel’s parents)
Elizabeth and Zecharias (John the Baptist’s parents)
Reading some of these scriptures such as Hannah’s story comforts me and others put our situation in perspective. It could be worse. I could be in my nineties after menopause like Sarah and Elizabeth. We could wait for twenty-five years. Or we could be actually in need of a miraculous life-or-death healing. We are both healthy, and for that I am beyond thankful. One thing I have learned is that children aren’t a need. They are a want. As heartless as that sounds, think of it this way. I am not on my death bed because of my lack of children. I want children. It’s in my nature to want them. My life doesn’t end because I do not have them.
At first, this revelation was challenging to accept. It’s very difficult to bind my flesh’s wants. Especially when I know without a doubt that we would bring up our children in church. I’ve learned that getting what you want in life, no matter how “right” it is or may feel, doesn’t mean it will automatically be given to you, or that it should.
Waiting is sometimes viewed as a negative thing. It’s painful because we are in a society where we constantly want things as soon as we can have them. However, the bible shows us that waiting is an integral part of being a Christian. Waiting builds our faith, and if are wise, we allow this opportunity to allow us to grow in the process. One of my reasons for waiting so long to see a doctor (I can’t necessarily speak to Ryan’s) is because I didn’t want to idolize having a child. I am by no means saying that if you decide to seek help immediately that it becomes an idol. Every situation is different, and we felt after much prayer to wait. I’m sure I will get some eye rolls from this, but throughout this process we have been wanting God to teach us what we need to be taught and lean on him for all understanding. Sure if we went and saw a specialist that doesn’t mean we would conceive right away, but seeking a doctor’s advice over God’s in this situation is borderline risky. I think there are some moments in our lives where God tells us we just need to be still and take comfort in knowing who is in control.
I titled this post as “Part 1” even though we haven’t experienced the “Part 2” yet because I know God is going to bless us. Whether we are blessed with a biological child, whether we are led to adopt, or if we are childless and are in the will of God, I would still call that a blessing.
I’m trusting God for a part 2 where I can tell you that it gets better. That a blessing comes because God works in impossible situations.
I can’t live life circling around a question just because it hurts. I’m tired of pretending that I am okay, especially on Mother’s Day. It’s hard to celebrate on that day when your mother has already passed, but it is even more of a heartbreaker when you question whether you will ever become one. What used to be a sad day reflecting on the fact that my mother would never be able to see my future children, has evolved into a feeling of wonder if I will ever have children.
Please continue to pray for us. Pray that we would continue to grow in Christ throughout this process. We would like to have a formal sit down with specialists but are also praying that God continues to lead us throughout this process and our thoughts on adoption.
We wanted to bring awareness to those who have not been touched by infertility and bring encouragement to those who have. Many couples do not tell many people, sometimes not even their close friends or family because they feel as though no one will understand. I want other couples to know that they are not alone, which is a feeling we’ve had throughout this journey.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11