Coping with Infertility
The life I always imagined for myself included being a mom. There was never a question in my mind whether or not I wanted kids, it was always “how many”. I remember playing with dolls as a little girl and dreaming of the future family I knew I would have. Secretly I thought my grown-up life would start once I got married and had kids.
After marrying such an honorable man and then helping him cope with cancer, we decided to start trying to build our family earlier than originally planned. But I was excited, ok- ecstatic, at the idea of expanding our family and becoming a mom. I could not wait to snuggle MY sweet baby in my arms, rock him/her to sleep, nurse him/her back to health, teach him/her to love the Lord and live for Him, and ultimately, bestow on MY child all of the love I had been saving in that “mom void” in my heart since I could remember.
Being a mom wasn’t only thing I was ready for. I could not wait to be pregnant!!!! While I had heard horror stories of morning sickness, swollen feet and nightmare deliveries, the idea of being pregnant intrigued me. I had planned many times how I would announce to Hubs he was going to be a dad. The surprise ranged from buying a tiny onesie with “I love my daddy” stamped on it to wrapping up my pregnancy test. Either way, I knew his reaction would be one of pure excitement and joy as he comprehended the idea of being a dad.
Plus, pregnancy meant being able to rub an expanding belly with love, and know my baby was growing comfortably inside while I waited and prepared. Everything about having a baby, with the exception of the delivery, was exciting to me and it was FINALLY MY TURN!!
Once we officially started trying to have a baby, I was pretty relaxed and determined to be nonchalant about what I had heard could be a stressful situation. I refused to be a crazy person, so desperate to have a baby that I would grasp at straws. I vowed to relax and let God take control. And for the first year, I did just that. My prayers were utterances about trusting God’s timing, asking for a healthy baby and ultimately praying for God’s will for our lives.
After the first year without becoming a pregnant, I honestly wasn’t that worried. It is common for women to not become pregnant within year, so I decided to see my OBGYN for preliminary blood work. Everything was perfect, so I breathed a sigh of relief and was determined to do a little more research about my fertility.
I bought Taking Charge of Your Fertility by
Two and 1/2 years into our fertility journey, I started growing more concerned that I had not yet become pregnant at any point. But in that time, Hubs battled cancer for a second time, and as a pilot, was gone for weeks at a time, often missing the small window of time we had each month to conceive. So that didn’t count as a full two and 1/2 years of trying, right? There was still hope that one day our family would welcome a bouncing baby and my life would be complete, right?
Getting more and more desperate each month, I finally decided it was time to consult a reproductive specialist. After a series of tests on both Hubs and me, the results were in.
We had “Unexplained Infertility”. The short version- there was no reason why we hadn’t or couldn’t get pregnant. No rhyme or reason. It just hadn’t happened yet. In fact, doctors were optimistic that a baby was in our future.
It was suggested that we try Insemination (IUI) and the doctors were so incredibly hopeful about our chances at finally reaching the milestone of pregnancy, that I was encouraged and felt like things were finally going our way. I felt certain that the Lord had led us down this path and that His favor was in it.
The procedure itself was very short and relatively pain free. The hardest part was once it was over and the waiting began. Two weeks would have to crawl by before I would know if it had worked and if my dream of being a mom was about to become a reality. I prayed and prayed and prayed, and just had that “feeling” that God was about to bless us with a baby. And while I continued to trust Him to grow our family, I was getting more and more impatient.
Father’s Day seemed like the PERFECT day to take a pregnancy test! After all, I knew Hubs would love to find out the big news on a day set aside to honor fathers.
So I took the test in secret. I prayed, paced and held my breath as the clock ticked by. It was the longest few minutes of my life.
It ended in heartbreak.
How could it be negative? There was no medical reason as to why I shouldn’t be pregnant. The doctors calculated the timing perfectly, so I just.didn’t.understand.
To say I was devastated is an understatement. My spirit was crushed as I broke the unbearable news to Hubs. We were not going to be parents that month. He, being more logical and not as emotionally fragile as me, just comforted me and reminded me of God’s timing and plan. We both knew God was at work, yet just didn’t know how or when the plan would be revealed to us.
We decided to try the IUI again the following month, although this time I was much more guarded. I knew that God could work a miracle and this could work, yet honestly, I was doubtful. It just didn’t “feel” to me like it would work. For starters, I was very late in ovulating that month and actually had to be given a shot to make me ovulate at all. While things looked fine on an ultrasound, the added complication left me skeptical about I would actually get pregnant this time around.
This IUI was very similar to the last one. And once again, waiting proved difficult. Even with a guarded heart and stirrings of pessimism plaguing me, the news that IUI had failed yet again, was too much to bear. We decided to wait awhile before we tried this treatment again. Financially we were strained, and emotionally, I had reached the end of what I could handle.
I clung to the promises in God’s Word, finding comfort in His promise to never leave or forsake me. It was a relief to me that God had a plan for our lives and that while I had no idea at that point what that plan was, God knew. He loved me, knew me and was working in a way I could not see. The story of Hannah found in the book of 1 Samuel encouraged me as my birthday came and went. Another year older and not at all closer to being a mom, should have filled me with anxiety, yet I felt the Lord surround me with His peace and strength.
Meanwhile, it seemed everyone else I knew announced with gusto their own pregnancy news and the baby shower invitations flooded my mailbox. It seemed that I couldn’t go for more than a few weeks without hearing yet another friend was expecting. As each announcement came, it was getting harder and harder to mean it when I said, “I am so happy for you!” It’s not that I wasn’t excited for some deserving friends, I was just growing more anxious about my own infertility. After all, I had been trying to conceive for about 4 1/2 years without any success.
Then the unthinkable happened and a phone call changed my life. My sister and best friend, who is NINE YEARS YOUNGER THAN ME, called me with tearful news. She was pregnant.
While once upon a time I would have been overjoyed for her, the news was crushing. I was selfishly putting my own infertility grief above one of my favorite people in the world and yet I couldn’t stop it.
I wanted to celebrate with her, but I couldn’t.
I wanted to connect with her during this special time, but couldn’t.
I wanted to be there for her every minute of her pregnancy, but couldn’t.
I was consumed, five years into my infertility journey, with the harsh reality that I would never be a mother.
And yet God was at work. Just as He had used our cancer journey to grow me and mold me to look at little more like Him, He was at work in this situation.
I wrestled with God’s will and questioned why He wouldn’t allow me to be a mom. I had already promised to raise my kids according to His Word, so why?
I questioned what we had done wrong that God would withhold His blessing from us.
I examined His purpose for my life. If I wasn’t going to be a mom, then what was my purpose and where did I go from here?
How could He have placed a desire so strong within me, and leave that void unfulfilled?
I spent two months in the “darkness” and “wrestled” with God. Daily I was grieving a loss so strong and consuming, that I was unable to concentrate on much else. I wasn’t just shedding a few tears, but was sobbing incessantly as I cried out on my knees to my Heavenly Father, pleading with Him to show me the way and to fulfill my desire to be a parent. My heart was raw, ripped open with the wound of infertility, yet I was never alone.
God was there, holding me as I mourned, wiping the tears from my eyes, as I slowly released the dream of parenthood back to Him. It was never truly mine to begin with, but a longing placed within me by the Giver of Life.
And it was in my time of darkness and mourning, where God healed my wounded, bitter heart. All of my wrestling and questioning hadn’t changed the situation, I was still childless, but He changed me.
He changed my idea of the perfect plan for my life. Gone was the idea that fulfillment came from parenthood and baby snuggles.
Instead, I knew that joy and wholeness came only from following the Lord’s plan. I would still have an amazing life even if the title of “Mom” would never to describe me.
I was changed and ready to embrace MY miracle. A miracle that I had already experienced at the age of 15 years old when I accepted Christ as Savior and pledged to follow Him no matter the circumstance. Experiencing infertility had made me forget that I really deserve NOTHING in life but death. I was and still am a sinner, so unworthy to be loved and saved by the Lord. Yet a holy and perfect God loved ME enough to send His Son Jesus to die on the cross to save me from my sin and ultimately saving me from an eternity separated from Him in hell.
MY PURPOSE IN LIFE HAS ALWAYS BEEN CLEAR; TO PRAISE THE LORD, TO LIVE FOR HIM AND TO SHARE THE MESSAGE OF SALVATION WITH OTHERS! That revelation and message from the Lord transformed my life. I didn’t have to be a mom to live for Jesus or share His salvation!
He had to bring me to a point of isolation and death to self to show me how fulfilling it is to embrace God’s plan, even it is not what I had planned, and that living a life focused on JESUS instead of ME, is the only to find true joy, contentment and peace in life.
So after two months in the darkness, God’s light and path for my life was like the beautiful sunrise with the promise of a future that I couldn’t wait to be a part of. I may not be a mom in this life, but His purpose for me was clear and I emerged with a healed a heart and a refreshed spirit.
I had no idea what adventure God had in store for me but I was ready and more importantly, willing to follow Him.
Little did I know that in two short months, God would reveal His magnificent plan to me and work miracles far beyond what I ever imagined in our lives! Read about this amazing miracle here.
This post is dedicated to those who have experienced the heartbreak of infertility in their lives. I know your pain, have been where you are and have cried those tears, too. You are loved and are not alone! 🙂