There’s no great introduction to this topic: infertility stinks. It is heartbreak over and over again. It distorts our reality and makes us feel foreign in a sea of women seemingly freely reproducing at will. We feel awkward around pregnant women, jealous of their beautiful bellies and loathe ourselves for feeling that way.
Maybe this describes you, or did describe you, or will describe you. More likely, you know someone journeying down this path. When we look at the cards we’ve been dealt, what do we do with them?
Our infertility story begin in the fall of 2017. We were finally ready to start a family. Debts were nearly paid off, and we had a few years of marriage under our belts. I had already been on prenatal vitamins for six months preparing for my husband’s trepid agreement to try to have a baby.
And two short months later, we were pregnant. I was beyond ecstatic. My joy overflowed into everything around me.
Then, the following week, I miscarried. I can still hear the primal scream I wailed while in my bathroom feeling my dreams leave my body. For me, that day secures the spot for Worst Day Ever.
As our infertility journey has continued, however, I have learned much about myself, my relationships and my Savior.
First, grief must be the place where we begin. My heart aches for any woman who can relate to pregnancy loss. Miscarriage, abortion and still birth are dark events that haunt us. We remember the dates every year. We count the birthdays that would have been.
For those who have never been pregnant, the start of our cycle induces grief just the same. We feel so let down for another month to pass us by. “There goes my hope for a Christmas announcement…or Mother’s Day”…or fill in your blank. Allow yourself to feel this grief.
My mom gave me great advice as a moody teenager. She suggested that I place a fence around my feelings and allow myself to feel that way for a parameter of time. For example, the day my cycle begins will always be a hard day for me. So, I feel it. I tell my husband what day it is, I cry, and I try to take a long walk or call a friend to talk about it. Make time for your grief.
Depending on where you are in your story, you may or may not want to have anything to do with God. Either way, please listen to what I have to say. I was angry for a long time. I cried every day for many days. Cried in the shower, cried on the way to work, cried at my desk, cried driving home and especially cried at church. My husband was considering renting me out to Massey to water lawns.
I felt God was there, but I was not accepting His comfort. The switch flipped for me when I was giving myself a pep talk during Easter about what I was going to do during this waiting period. I thought, how can I prepare myself to become the best parent possible?
I had never read the Bible cover to cover and thought that was a great place to start. I downloaded the First5 app and began with Genesis. This has drastically changed my life — a change that has been driven by the Holy Spirit. I never thought I was someone who would hunger for the Word of God. It is 2019. I am a Millennial. But I am telling you it is a real thing. I have learned a great deal about God, His creation, and where I fit into the fold. When faced with incredible tragedy, loss and disappointment: turn to Jesus. You don’t need a devotional on infertility or to follow someone’s pretty polished blog. Open your Bible. I can absolutely promise you will find comfort in the pages.
If you’re grieving when you need to and seeking the Lord, the final suggestion I have for you is to remember to hope. (Yeah, this is where half the room gets up and leaves!) Hope is a word we almost hate. Why would God want me to hope in something that may never happen?
You’re absolutely right. I ask myself that question often. How could He have given me hope and then taken it away, seemingly never to return? Hope seems like trickery. I will not promise you will someday have a biological child of your own, or find a husband, or be cured of cancer. I can, however, tell you that good is ahead. It’s something we say at Grace. It is such a beautiful mantra. I’d like to challenge you even further. We can choose good now—even while this story is being written. We can share our story with others, grieve with them and offer meaningful empathetic words. Others will wonder what makes you different. That curiosity can bud and blossom into others knowing the Lord.
Our stories are not over yet. We are not the ones writing them. How wonderful and difficult that is! You are not alone. I wish for these these words to offer you some comfort. I hope you feel that God is close to you. He loves you so much. This plan of His is not a punishment. You have not been demoted to infertility no matter what your past. He wants you to grow closer to Him during this journey. If you choose hope and let the Lord nourish your soul, the good can be now.
Written by Grace Orlando’s Bethany Dabel. “I would love to connect with you if my story resonates with you. There are no qualifications for us to get a cup of coffee or meet after church one day. I’d love to encourage you and be there for you. Email me.”