My Infertility Journey

 

Joy Comes in the Mourning

“Well, we’re not pregnant,” I joke with my husband.  We both exclaim, “Oh well!” and laugh with no indication of the pain that it brings.  An outsider might think that it was no big deal but we both know.  It is another letdown.  After ten years of trying to conceive, one might think that each month’s disappointment might hurt less than the last.    Some months I tell myself that it is okay; that I can look forward to trying again next month, as I convince myself of all the reasons why this month wasn’t a good time anyway.  Other months, though, the disappointment is almost too much to bear and I am overcome with hopelessness and I begin to believe it is not worth trying.  I tell myself that I can stop this pain by never trying again – by squelching the desire within me and trying to ignore it.  I fall down on my knees and beg God to take the desire away if it is not part of His plan.  I sincerely want His plan for my life and if I just need to be patient I will, but if it isn’t His plan for my life, I beg Him to let me know so I can accept it.  I’ll grieve but then I will move on, knowing that He has something different, something better, something more than I ever imagined.

Have you ever felt like that?  Whether you struggle with infertility, loss, illnesses, divorce, wayward children or spouse…or just the disillusionments of life, you can be sure you will experience pain and disappointment while you live on this earth.  As Christians, we are assured that trials will come (James 1:2-4).  We can let them destroy and devastate us, making us bitter, unhappy people or we can believe God’s promises - believe that He is a loving, faithful, compassionate God.  We can really begin trusting Him as he gently guides us in the direction that He had planned for us even before we were born.    He created us and knows our deepest needs.  In fact, He created within us a need for intimacy with Him.  If we try to live our lives without God in the picture and without depending on Him, we are in for a bumpy ride. 

So, if we have this deep need for Him, why do we reject His plan for us and become disappointed when he doesn’t give us what we desire?  As humans, we also have an innate desire to please our flesh.  Our flesh wants to be independent of God and do what it pleases.  For some, it displays itself in wanting control of our life and future; in others it yearns for its independance and accomplishment its our own; in others still it may be to indulge in pleasures of the flesh without considering any consequences.  However it manifests in each life, it is a constant struggle.  Paul refers to this conflict in Romans 7:15 when he admits, “For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.”

Through my journey, I have felt this many times.   When I give in to doing the things that I hate and begin believing Satan’s lies, then I become vulnerable to His attacks which lead down a rough road of unhappiness, despair and depression.  A place where I lose sight of the abundant blessings God has given me.  Instead of appreciating the blessings He has already provided, I focus on the still unmet desires of my heart.  But, even when I choose this path, God never abandons me.  Psalm 73:21-26 is a wonderful picture of the Psalmist admitting the frailties that caused him to stumble, becoming grieved and God taking his right hand, pulling him out of his pit and guiding him.  The Psalmist’s response is in vs. 26, “My flesh and my heart faileth, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever.” 

God has done this for me more times than I want to admit through this journey.  I have failed Him countless times by refusing to trust Him and His plan for my life.  I have asked myself so many times, “I know God is faithful and trustworthy…why don’t I put my trust in Him and His plan?”  Why do I assume that His plan, even if it differs from my plan, will be something that I won’t enjoy?  The great deceiver wants us to believe that we will not enjoy God’s plan.  I have succumbed many times to Satan’s lies and it grieves me to think that he has ever been victorious. After all, I have been a Christian for a long time.  I am aware that Satan is seeking to devour me.  I have access to the spiritual armor of God provided for my protection, but for whatever reason, I did not wear it and allowed myself to be pierced by Satan’s arrows.  Although I am devastated that he won some battles, he was not ultimately victorious!

In II Corinthians 4:8-9, Paul reminds us “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.” I have come out battle scarred, but Satan has not prevailed.  Psalm 129:2-4 expresses our affliction and describes the enemy plowing over us and creating “furrows” on our backs, but God always delivers us.  We may have lifelong scars but we are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37)!

My own journey has endured ten years and it hasn’t ended yet.  Through this roller coaster, I have felt the joy of pregnancy and the pain of miscarriage.  I have felt the hopelessness and uselessness of barrenness and I have experienced the miracle of embryo adoption.  I have been diagnosed as infertile only to be surprised by miraculous natural conception years later.  I have felt the elation of carrying, birthing and nursing my own adopted child and I have felt the devastating loss of three babies.  I have experienced seeing and hearing my unborn baby’s heartbeat and I have also been given the heartbreaking news that the tiny heart has ceased to beat.  I have entered the doctor’s office with the anticipation of a newly expectant mother and I have left disillusioned and confused with an appointment for a post-miscarriage procedure.  I have had my most earnest prayers answered in miraculous ways and have also had these blessings taken away.  I was recently been led by God a second time to walk through the door of embryo adoption, become pregnant and experience the “shadow of death” when God took that baby home.  God has blessed abundantly and he has also taken away.  With each devastation, I drew nearer to God.  Yes, I was confused, distraught and even angry at times, but God in His grace still comforted me.  After the devastation of my first loss, God gave me the verse, Psalm 34:18,The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit,” and it became my favorite verse.  With each disappointment; with each loss; when I am unable to see clearly, I know can claim this promise.

I recently learned a new application for the parable of the sower Jesus told in Luke 8:4-15.  When trials come, we have God’s word of truth to guide us through them.  We can decide to believe Satan over God (v12), or believe God temporarily until we see things aren’t going our way (v13).  Perhaps we believe God for a while but because we fail to completely trust Him, we succumb to worldly anxieties and pleasures (v 14) or we can believe God, hold fast to His promises, sow the seed in our everyday lives, and wait on Him as the seed grows and produces fruit in our lives (v15).  As in Jeremiah 17:7-8, I want to sow the seed and watch it grow!  I want my difficult circumstances to glorify Him but I also want to see the fruit.  Like Psalm 126:5-6, I want to my seasons of tears to reap joy and come out of this journey with armloads of blessings!