Not necessarily the most uplifting subject to start your new blog with, but it’s a topic that’s become a reality in my life. And, well, it’s something that is so brushed-under-the-rug, despite the growing number of women that deal with it every day. I feel it’s time to shed some light. In order to shed enough light, I think this post will be in 2 parts.
Part 1: My Story
60 negative pregnancy tests
4 failed IUI’s
That’s the number of days and hours my husband and I have struggled to start our family. It’s the number of days and hours we’ve tried to adjust our diet (one word…YAMS), adjust our timing (totally romantic & sexy to talk ovulation with your spouse), adjust our “positions” (he he he) and adjust our thinking (we CANNOT force this to happen, one way or another).
It’s the number of days and hours we have cried, prayed, made ridiculous “deals” with God, cried some more and watched every single one of our friends have children (round 1, 2 and 3) of their own. It’s the number of days and hours I’ve had to chin-up…to attend (and sometimes plan) each of my friend’s baby showers and subsequently, their child’s birth. It’s the number of days and hours I’ve had to grin and bear the seemingly never-ending conversations about pregnancies, child-birth, baby advice, etc. It’s quite the paradox to be absolutely ecstatic for those around us experiencing the miracle of birth and at the same time, utterly destroyed in the depth’s of our souls.
It’s the number of days and hours we have managed to find reasons to smile, to recognize blessing after blessing hiding in the nooks and crevices of our lives, and yet continue to long for the day when we can screw up parenting with our very own children. For the most part, I’ve stopped planning how we would announce our pregnancy (but I have about 100 different creative ways if anyone is interested) and stopped wandering in the baby aisle planning what cute outfits our little one would wear. One thing I haven’t stopped is buying children’s books. I’m obsessed with the amazing illustration work in children’s books and well, it’s the one thing I let myself get away with collecting for our child-to-be.
DISCLAIMER: Funny things happen when you struggle with infertility. You find yourself thinking terrible thoughts, becoming hyper-sensitive to every baby around you and feeling utterly hopeless. Some of the things in this blog post may offend, especially if you are pregnant or have children already. My sincere hope is that you meet me halfway. I will try to temper my sometimes overly-cynical-infertile-banter, if you will try to empathize with the brokenness that comes with this unfortunate – and often unacknowledged – diagnosis. Also, these are my thoughts & feelings and do not represent every infertile woman in the world. We don’t all look alike.
Season of Waiting
This time of year is particularly difficult for Jay and I. Frankly, every holiday that revolves around children (Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, etc.) is painful. This is the season of Advent…the season Christians celebrate the anticipation of Jesus’ birth. Lots of baby talk. Granted, the baby talk is about Jesus Christ, but talk of blessings, miracles and birth…it’s all painful to hear.
Christmas card after Christmas card arrives with everyone’s cute-as-can-be kiddos front and center. Hear me when I say that we LOVE and celebrate our friends’ children so much, but it does not change the heartache we feel as we make our family cards – lamenting the child(ren) we do not have. Facebook & Instagram have just become a form of “emotional cutting”. I try to stay away, knowing the risk of seeing an overload of adorable baby pictures that might send me overboard…but I cave.
It is Well
I am thankful and somehow, by the grace of God, I find myself content with this life I’ve been purposed for…even hopeful. I have a smokin’ hot husband with the biggest heart in the world. I have two adorable, yet crazy Beagles that make me smile. I even have a kick-butt job where I get to work with children on a daily basis. I’ve grown weary of the pain and the mourning. Enough is enough.
“Acknowledgement is the first step to healing.”
After five years of silent heartache, I finally decided to reach out. I had heard of an infertility support group that was starting at a local church and I felt led to go. I knew, however, that once I walked in that room with those women, I was officially acknowledging that I had NO answers, NO remedies and NO way to MAKE myself get pregnant. I was officially acknowledging that we were infertile and I needed support. I needed help to find my voice. My infertile-myrtle voice.
This small group was the BEST thing that has happened to me in this season of heartache. God has been trying to heal my broken heart and this group helped me take the first step towards that healing. I realized a couple of things in the 9-weeks of meetings:
1. I’m not alone.
There we were, 10 women – all different shapes, sizes and ages – who all were struggling with the same issue. Some had been trying for 6 months to conceive, some 6 years. We all wanted children and for some reason or another, none of us could have them. These women helped me find my voice…they helped me put words to my pain and begin that healing process.
2. There’s a breakdown of understanding.
Infertility is not something that is (or has been) talked about – truthfully and openly. In my parents’ and grandparents’ day, these things were most certainly not discussed in public and I think, unfortunately, it continues to carry that same social stigma. I think, more often than not, women who struggle with infertility are misunderstood…and consequently, women who try to sympathize and say the “right” things to an infertile woman are also misunderstood. I want to remedy that if I can. I want to talk openly and not be ashamed by this condition that I did nothing to deserve and at the same time, can do nothing to change.
3. There’s always hope.
The end result may not be a child for Jay and I. We may never have children. Even as I type that, I’m shaking my head in opposition that this can’t possibly be true. Even in the face of this intensely emotional trial, there’s always hope. There’s always God’s promises. And when He makes promises, they always happen…they may not always happen like we think, but God’s love and promises for us never fail.
God has made Jay & me a promise. It’s a great story too, one I will share soon. Stay tuned for part 2: “Keep & Give”…
“Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
– Luke 1:45