In honour of National Infertility Awareness Week, put on by the incredible RESOLVE.org, I’m posting a few articles about our journey with infertility over the last 3 years. Though we have our precious little girl now, the dark days of infertility are ones that will forever be imprinted on our hearts and minds.
I don’t post much about my faith. And yet, it permeates everything I do and every moment of my life. When we first decided to start trying to expand our family, we prayed for God’s hand in timing. He had brought us through every other major event in our lives; why would having a baby be any different? I prayed that the baby would be healthy, that I wouldn’t have too much morning sickness, that our finances would be in order. I never thought to pray about actually getting pregnant.
Like so many other women, I just assumed that once we started trying, pregnancy would happen soon (if not immediately). At 22, I never expected to have any problems. Isn’t the whole point of high school health class to instill the fear of pregnancy in you? Look at a boy, and you’ll be knocked up before you can say ‘prom night’. And yet, here I was, married and ready, and the first pregnancy test I took was negative.
So I continued to pray for God’s timing. I continued to have faith that when it was supposed to happen, I would get pregnant. And, I continued to be convinced that any day now, the obsessive peeing on sticks would result in the positive I wanted so badly.
Though its easy to tell the world that you have faith, internally it is much harder to keep that faith when things don’t go your way. Though I told God that I trusted his timing, what I really meant was that I trusted that he would do what I wanted, when I wanted it. By the sixth month of trying without success, I began to lose heart. I grew frustrated that God was telling me ‘no’. I grew angry with people who told me ‘It will happen when it is supposed to’. And I grew increasingly more bitter with those who seemed to get pregnant by accident.
As the months dragged by, as doctors and nurses and reproductive endocrinologists insisted there was nothing really wrong with us, I turned to God again, demanding to know when exactly this baby would be given to us. After all, so many (well-meaning but ignorant) people I knew insisted that a woman’s sole purpose was to bear children. And yet, somehow, I was reassured that, despite our circumstances, we would be parents one day. It may be through treatments, it may be through adoption or foster parenting, but one day, we would have a child.
There are so many cases of infertility in the Bible. Sarah and Abraham were unable to conceive for decades; it wasn’t until they were both very old that they were granted a son. Elizabeth and Zechariah were barren, until finally an angel came to visit them, and John the Baptist was born. Rachel was unable to have children for a long time, until again God came through and gave her sons. But the most notable and heart-wrenching story (in my opinion) is that of Hannah. A complete view of infertility is given; we read about her hurt, her longing, her desperation. Haven’t thousands of infertile women made drastic promises to God? Haven’t many of us poured our hearts out in tears at the feet of our Creator? And Hannah’s words, when Samuel was given to her, are words that sustained me through my journey.
If these women could have children, despite the odds that were stacked against them, why couldn’t I? Isn’t our God the God of miracles? I had been shown so many times before that His timing was better than the timing I could have come up with on my own. A five year plan is only as good as your ability to see into the future. As I continued to pray, as I kept believing that one day we would have a baby, I realized that I was making motherhood my idol. I was literally worshipping the idea of being a mom; to the point where it consumed every waking moment of my life. I spent hundreds of dollars on books, supplements, appointments, apps, and research. The only time I connected with God was to insist he provide me with an answer to my infertility. And it was at that point that I realized my priorities were all wrong. J and I could be a family now; we didn’t have to wait for a baby. We could buy a house, we could start new jobs, we could go on vacations – there were literally dozens of memories to be made that didn’t involve a baby.
It was this healing, this realization that my infertility did not define me, that allowed me to move on. That allowed me to take some time away from my obsessive charting, temperature taking, and research. It allowed me to reconnect with J, and to restore my relationship with God. I focused on getting myself in a healthy place (mentally, physically, spiritually). And, in the truest sense of the word, I had faith that God’s plan for my life was better than what I could plan for my life.
And so, twenty three months after we began our journey, I stared down a positive pregnancy test. As I write this, three and a half years after that story began, my daughter is sleeping in her crib a few feet away. And whether you agree with me or not, whether your faith is intact or shattered, I believe that God’s plan is the best plan for our lives. This is not to say that if you are dealing with infertility its because God wants it that way. But he is able to work through that pain to accomplish miracles.