No one ever plans on infertility. No one really thinks about it, until you want to have a baby and then…you can’t.
Ever since Ben and I have been married, the unknown of pregnancy has always been a topic of conversation. I always felt insecure and guilty of the thought and possibility of Ben not having the title of “Father” or “Daddy.” It was a heavy burden on my shoulders.
We are all aware that labor hurts…a lot. However, what most people don’t know is this:
infertility hurts too.
It’s not the loud, screaming kind of pain. It’s long and slow, and quiet. It’s a different kind of labor altogether. A labor of the soul.
It happens when you toss another negative pregnancy test in the trash and sit on your bathroom floor and cry.
It happens when you lay in your bed at night and your husband holds you as you stare into the darkness with tears falling into your pillow.
It happens when you sit at a baby shower and hear all the “ooh’s” and “aah’s” over every little, tiny gift and wonder if you will ever have any little, tiny gifts of your own to open.
It happens when people come up to you and say, “Hey! Isn’t about time you two started having kids?” And you smile. (A big, fake smile). To hide your pain.
I know these things,
because I felt them all.
I lived them all.
I got so excited when we first started trying. I started looking up baby clothes and baby names and I had this HOPE that, despite all the odds, we were going to be pregnant. But we didn’t. Four years later, still here with a weary hope and wear on our souls.
I wanted so badly to be in charge. I wanted to call the shots. I wanted life to go the way I planned. A few months back I asked Ben, “Hey, what if we tried IVF when I’m 30 (which is in three years)?” I look at that question now and go, was I really telling Ben that I didn’t trust OUR GOD to heal my womb and give us a miracle baby? Was I really telling MY GOD that He wasn’t enough?
Reflecting on the last few years, God was taking me on a journey of surrender. He is showing me that He is and always will be worthy of my trust, whether I had a baby or not.
He showed me how to worship Him while my hands
were still empty and my womb was still barren.
As month after month of disappointment went by, the only thing I knew to do was to tolerate God’s will while being unable to get pregnant. I became pretty good at “tolerating” God’s plans for my life. But God doesn’t want that for me. He says in His word:
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
That was a hard verse to swallow. I’m supposed to give thanks in ALL circumstances? So, what does that look like? God was calling me to embrace and rejoice in who He is, trust His goodness despite my infertility, and to be thankful. I had to realize that it was God’s will for me not to get pregnant, so I needed to start thanking him for it (not grudgingly, but joyfully!!). So, practically, I had to find reasons to thank Him for what He was doing in my life.
- I’m thankful that I don’t have to go through morning sickness or labor.
- I’m thankful that I have so much time with my husband, that we can travel, stay up late at night and sleep in on Saturday’s.
- I’m thankful for God’s unique plan in my life, for protecting my body from something I might not be able to handle.
- I’m especially thankful for ALL the people He had already placed in my life to love, and for all He had entrusted to me.
Earlier on, it was hard to say these things out loud. Was I really thanking God for withholding the thing I so desperately wanted? Yes. It was this kind of gratitude that opened my eyes to see what God was already doing in my present stage of life.
It opened my heart to trust Him and to desire
His will above my own, even if I don’t understand it.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.Proverbs 3:5-6
It opened my arms to embrace Him, to embrace ALL of Him. For once, I was not worshiping God with clenched fists, but with open hands. I learned that only open hands can receive from the Lord—not clenched ones. As I stretched my hands open, I could finally receive what He had been trying to give me all along: Himself.
When I found my joy in Him alone, and not in what I wanted Him to give me,
I was finally content.
I was finally at peace.
I was finally happy.
“Infertility” no longer sounded like a death sentence; it sounded like a beautiful calling to something different than I had planned. I realized that even though no child lived in my womb, the Holy Spirit lived in me. If my womb was empty, my heart was full of life, and full of God. I was alive in Him and He was alive in me. That was a miracle.