To My Sister Walking Through Infertility…
I remember walking out of the doctor’s office with the words still ringing in my ears: “undiagnosed infertility.” It had been a little over a year since we had officially begun trying to conceive and our fears were unfolding right before our eyes. I sat in the driver’s seat of my car with tears streaming down my face and thought back to before we began trying to have a baby. Naively, I thought it would be easy to get pregnant simply because we were healthy, happy, and ready. I was mad at myself. Mad that I didn’t push for us to begin trying sooner, mad that I assumed we were exempt from challenge in this area, mad that the Lord had given me such a strong desire to be a mom and then didn’t allow that to happen right away.
I write this article as a woman still waiting. Infertility isn’t a thing of the past for me and my husband. It is still a very real, active part of our life but I know we are not alone. According to this article, one in eight women experience infertility. Because of that, I feel a strong burden that the church should be speaking for those “ones.” But if I’m being honest, I have put off writing this article for months.
I’ve had the desire to write about my own infertility journey, but each time I began typing, I was flooded with thoughts from the enemy that have stopped me from doing it: you’ve only been walking this road for two years; so many people have been going through this for much longer. You have a supportive spouse while many women walk this journey alone. You have an incredible community around you, loving and caring for you every step of the way through this journey; what gives you the right to write this?
However, just because the Lord has blessed me with these good things, doesn’t mean I have to remain silent. My hope in writing this article is simply to share what the Lord has done in my and my husband’s life and with that, hopefully encourage the woman desiring children, and help the people around her know how to love her through it.
Let me start by saying infertility is hard. There were days where I struggled to get off the couch, and many moments where I fell into the temptation to withdraw from my community and spend too much time in isolation. There was a period of time where we underwent test after test, looking for an answer without any leading results, and we felt so alone. It is a roller coaster of emotions: confusion as pure desires do not come to fruition, disappointment and sorrow as you receive a negative pregnancy test month after month, and a whole gamut of questions.
Yet, by the grace of God, that isn’t the way we view our story of infertility. Although infertility has been one of the most painful trials we have endured, it has also been one of the biggest blessings we’ve received as a couple. I know that sounds crazy, but through these last two years, the Lord has used this trial in tremendous ways, and we are thankful for that.
After a few months of trying, the Lord revealed to us that we did not have to waste this trial or dare I say, this opportunity. In fact, we could (and should) use this season for his glory and to become more like Christ! By his grace, we grew as a couple, had our hearts opened to respond to the call of foster care and adoption, and most importantly, he has drawn both of us closer to himself. Had we ignored the call given to us in James 1:2-8 when he tells us to count all of our trials as joy, I believe we would be in a very dark place today.
For the Woman Desiring to be a Mom…
Run to the Lord. God is sovereign over your infertility. No matter where you are in your journey, whether that is the testing phase, the waiting phase, or simply the “taking a break from trying” phase, the first thing you need to do is run to the Lord. Open his word and allow the words to wash over you and be a balm to your heart. It can be so tempting to seek comfort solely through social media, blog posts, and support groups. While none of those things are inherently bad, they simply cannot be the first thing we run to. He is the only one who has the power to carry us through this.
Count it all joy. James has become one of my favorite books of the Bible during this season, particularly because of the way he tells us to count our trials as joy (James 1:2-8). Now, don’t be confused—he isn’t telling us to be happy about infertility—but to have joy in the trial, knowing that this will allow us to become more fully formed into the image of Christ. Trials are an opportunity for us to grow. At the end of the day, even if infertility does not result in a baby, Christ is enough, and we can still find all the joy we will ever need in him (Philippians 4:19).
Give grace to your community. Most of us have people in our lives who have never experienced infertility. Praise God for that! But because they have not been through it, they don’t always know what words to say or not say. Give grace in this area and don’t be afraid to have loving conversations to let your people know what is hurtful or hard to talk about.
Don’t allow infertility to cause you to sin. There were moments in this journey where the only thing I thought would bring me joy was a positive pregnancy test leading to a beautiful baby in my arms. I fell into (and sometimes still do) the sins of bitterness, jealousy, idolatry, and anger. At times it felt impossible not to fall into those sins. Yet, 1 Corinthians 10:13 reminds us that our faithful God always provides a way of escape for us. Do not allow infertility to be your excuse to sin.
Friend, I see and know your pain, but even more, I want to remind you that our Lord sees and knows your pain. You are not alone. Look at this trial not as a means to a baby, but as an opportunity to bring him all the glory he deserves. Although I do not know the end of my story or yours, I do know that whatever it is, it is for our good and for the glory of God (Romans 8:28).