Through sharing our journey of infertility, I have met and talked with SO MANY women/couples who are also walking the road of infertility.
And I’ll tell you, it can be an isolating one…one with no exits or rest stops…it keeps going and going, and some people never get off.
It is such a sensitive and personal topic, that no one talks about it (which is understandable). But that is also the reason why it can be so isolating. Not many people are updating their Facebook status with:
“Well, I started my period again this month…back to the drawing board.”
Instead, they are bottling up their brokenness and pain and living their life with little hope for “normalcy.”
And what I’ve learned through sharing and having others share with me is that infertility is so unique, yet so common.
Infertility is SO unique because there are SO. MANY. different types of infertility!!
- Female infertility – within that there are bad eggs, inconsistent ovulation, tilted uterus, hormone imbalance, endometriosis, fibroids, Fallopian tube blockage, hysterectomy…and the list goes on!
- Male infertility – deformed sperm, low sperm count, poor sperm motility, Varicocele…and on and on…
- Some type of combination of the two above
- And the all-time favorite…unexplained infertility…which is basically your diagnosis when all possible tests for infertility issues come back negative and there is nothing that pinpoints why you are not getting pregnant. Basically the infertility black hole.
And although there are so many unique types of infertility…it’s also so common! It’s so common in the way that there are seriously SO. MANY. couples struggling out there…
So many times I’ve talked with women, walking the road of infertility, and another commonality I’ve found is that they say how one of the hardest things to do is to answer the question:
“So, when are you guys going to start a family??”
I’m sure you can imagine the scenario…
Here is the unknowing question-asker, asking the infertile woman (or woman with a husband with fertility issues) when her and her husband are going to have children since they’ve now been married for 5 years…and there’s the woman who has been trying to have a baby with her husband for the last 4 years of their marriage trying to decide how to answer that question.
Does she tell the truth and allow for the awkward silence between them while they try to decide how to apologize for asking the question in the first place? Or does she simply laugh it off the best she can and say, “Ooh when we’re ready, we will!” as she feels that knife in her back turn slightly?
I have been there, too…on the knife in the back side. For me…I have had different knives. The first knife was the “Oh wow, you look so good for having just had a baby!!” My response would always be “thank you” even though I was tempted to pitch them my “How to Lose All of Your Baby-Weight and Then Some in 11 Short Days in the ICU” diet. While their statement was meant to be a compliment, they had no idea how badly and how deeply it hurt, reminding me of my life-changing hospital stay. I wanted to scream. I wanted to say “Oh…you think I look good? I would trade anything in the world to have all of my baby weight back on if it meant I could carry another baby someday.”
(Yikes…can you imagine if I would’ve actually said that? Looking back it sounds so ugly…so not full of grace.)
And the same thing occurred when I was asked when we were going to have another baby. “Well….I don’t know…I don’t know if we ever will. [Insert lengthy explanation of my illness, hysterectomy, and failed surrogacy attempts here]. If it is God’s will, we will.” Is that how I should answer?
And in my opinion now…yes. Yes, I should answer that way, truthfully…because what better way to bring awareness to the growing issue of infertility than to talk about? To make people aware that it is real? After all, it is something 1 in 8 couples struggle with… What better way to show that person a glimpse of God’s grace by extending them grace? What better way to let some of that weight off your shoulders, by no longer holding everything in? What better way to share your faith? What better way to make that road a little less isolating?
So, I reached around and I ripped that knife out of my back and I threw it to the ground. I am not going to let that knife rule my life. To me…that knife represents satan, reminding me of my hardships, rather than allowing me to focus on the many blessings in my life. He LOVED that I was hurting over this new path…he LOVED that I felt offended when people asked me questions, when in reality they were trying to be friendly. He loved that this stole bits and pieces of my joy in life. And he loves that it’s doing the same to you!
There are SO MANY verses in the Bible that tell us WE WILL endure hardships. We WILL face trials…but they all ensure us of the same thing…God will provide, He will pour into us, and NOTHING will separate us from Him.
James 1:12 says…
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”
Romans 8:35-39 says…
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
And Romans 5:3-5 says…
“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
Wow…can God give us any more reassurance that no matter what we face in this life, no matter how hard it gets, no matter how painful our sufferings…we are to REJOICE and remain steadfast!? We are to have hope!
Through emotional healing and acceptance, I gained the confidence to throw out those knives and begin to answer truthfully. Through God’s grace and healing hand, I shared our struggles and have felt nothing but encouragement, support, and prayers in return from those I’ve shared it with.
We ALL have our trials, struggles and pains in this life…but if you are struggling today…if you are feeling pain from yet another twist of that knife, I encourage you to be honest and open if the moment presents itself. I encourage you to pull that knife out…tell satan to step aside. This struggle will never define you or separate you from Christ. Use your honesty and your sharing of your trust in God’s will for your life as a chance to witness to those who may not have such faith.
I know this mindset takes time…acceptance takes time. It took me months of counseling and tons and tons of prayer…but I have accepted this journey as my own and it gives me great contentment knowing that God has a purpose for the trials and heartache we’ve been through.
The Bible says…
“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” [Proverbs 19:21 NIV]
I often prayed this prayer throughout my healing and acceptance and want to share it with any of you who may need it…
“Dear Lord, Please, heal me emotionally. Give me the strength to accept this path you’ve laid before me. Guide me where you want me to go. I am your blank canvas…use me for your unfolding story. Give me the strength to trust you completely, the heart to be content in my new found journey…and the peace to accept whatever the outcome…knowing that this is all in your plan. Amen.”
I know that each person’s struggle is different – whether it’s with infertility, or your marriage, or finances…I am not ignorant to the raw pain that you are feeling. And I know what a delicate topic this can be…just know that you are not alone, whether or not you are sharing your struggles with family, close friends, work friends, or the world…what you’re going through right now is all in God’s divine plan and purpose for YOU. I pray you find some comfort in that.
What are your thoughts? Are you honest when answering the tough questions? Or do you dodge them with a sugar-coated answer in hopes of avoiding the awkward moments? Do you feel a sense of relief through being honest or a sense of security through avoiding the tough questions/answers? Please feel free to share in the comments below!
His will, His way,