Less than 1% chance.
I still remember the look on his face as he said those words. The doctor that had long been labeled cold, with no bedside manner – he had the look of compassion. He was talking about my chances of having a baby and, as he looked into my eye, he was talking to the heart of a childless mother. He was holding my test results, and I was holding my breath as I tried not to loose all my marbles.
Infertility isn’t a trial I had planned on dealing with. We all had the birds and the bees talk, and no where in that story is there a huge ugly dragon called infertility. How was I going to tell my husband that I couldn’t give him children? Aside from my own pain and loss, I now had a horrible guilt that I couldn’t give him the baby his heart desired. We had talked about kids since before we were even dating. We wanted a big family and didn’t want to wait to have kids. Now, as I sit in a doctor’s office alone, the dreams of that family are practically gone.
This was the start of my story to motherhood, and it is just that – the start. We went through countless rounds of infertility, surgery, and more infertility treatments. We tried nearly every way possible to get pregnant, and it just wasn’t working. My heart was slowly breaking after each round. Each month that single, lonely pink line haunted me. It was a death of a baby I couldn’t conceive. A loss of a love I didn’t even have. I was left alone at home, day after day, passing by the closed doors of our longed for, prayed for, dreamed for babies’ nurseries.
Then that morning in April came. There were seven, yes seven, sweet black and white pictures on my newsfeed – friends joyfully announcing their pregnancies. It was my rock bottom. Not because I wasn’t THRILLED for my friends, but because my mama heart literally couldn’t keep beating under the weight of this loss. Infertility is extremely isolating. Even in a room full of mamas on the same journey, it is as lonely as can be. I broke down to Jesus that morning and asked why. Why do I have to walk this path?
I cringe when people say, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” He was sitting with me that morning when I saw those announcements. He’s sat with me through each painful fertility appointment, each baby shower since, each time some one told me I’d understand when I’m a mom… the list could go on and on. Those moments when my chest is so constricted – the dark moments that scar my heart. This journey IS more than I can handle. At least it’s more than I can handle without HIM.
I sat at my kitchen table and wept knowing my mind, my body, and honestly, our marriage couldn’t handle any more infertility treatments. I was losing months and years of my life and was becoming all-consumed with basal temperatures, timing, medications, shots, appointments, more medications, and tests. That morning in April, I prayed the scariest prayer of all my prayers during this journey. I asked to let go.
I knew God had a plan for me to become a mother, and He did have one – a beautiful one! But it’s hard to look towards the future when the present is painful and the future is full of unknowns. When I asked God to help me let go, I was asking Him to take this burden.
Sweet sisters, we serve a mighty God.
He can shoulder our pain.
I wanted to lay this HUGE burden down at the foot of the cross. I couldn’t bare the load any longer. I needed to crawl up in my Father’s lap and hear His heartbeat.
“You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” | Jeremiah 29:13
Letting go was one of the hardest things I’ve done, and I have to let go daily, even now. I have to die to myself for the sake of His will. As much as I prayed for a baby during our journey of infertility, I see, looking back now, that I was distancing myself from Him. It breaks my heart looking back. I was begging for my dreams and, while that’s okay, I wasn’t letting God move. I was growing bitter. When I prayed to let go that morning, something changed.
If you know the end of this chapter of our book of life, you know that we are now foster and hopeful adoptive parents. I still grieve not being pregnant. If I’m not careful, it still knocks the wind out of me when I see a pregnant mama and realize I’ll never feel those kicks, see my body grow, give birth, see our babies’ resemblances, or breastfeed. But either way, the babies we parents are no less our babies. They are no less loved, prayed for, or adored. I hope each member of our family has the features of Christ to which we will resemble one another.
I truly believe in the depths of my soul that each baby that comes through our door is God’s reminder that we would have missed our children had we not journeyed through infertility. That answer isn’t always easy, but there is such beauty in the brokenness.
A few weeks back, I wrote my “infertility-starting self” a letter (hindsight is always 20/20), and I’d like to share a little bit with you:
I know these days hurt. It’s okay to be hurt. It’s okay to cry and feel broken. Break into the Father’s arms. His strong arms and ever-present grace will hold you and keep you safe. He will not judge your brokenness and will only create beauty from your ashes.
While it’s okay to feel broken, please do yourself a favor and stop waiting. Whether you think about the next test, the next step, the next decision or you don’t, it will come. Enjoy the moment because these years pass quickly, especially when you count them a month at a time – worrying and waiting only make things harder. If you don’t stop waiting, you’ll look back and realize you’ve missed a lot of life that wasn’t worth missing.
Soak up God’s grace. Meet Him deeper. Even when God seems silent, He’s there walking along side you. Reach out and hold His hand. He’ll redeem your brokenness – you need only be still. Use this time to serve your sweet husband. Grow with him as you both reach for the Father’s comfort. Don’t forget him. He’s not only grieving the same things you are, but he’s a man, meaning he wants to fix it for you. He can’t fix infertility, but let him make memories with you during this time. When the time comes for God to redeem this pain, it will be beautiful mama… I promise.
The Mama You’ll Become