This is a long post but if you know Aaron or I, you should take time to read it because it’s a huge part of our lives. I’m really putting myself out there and it means so much to us if you manage to read it all. Thanks in advance.
There have been several four-letter words that have buzzed through my brain and come out of my mouth in the past how-ever-long it’s been since this has started. Even now, though it’s still hard I’m thankful that once I dredge through the storms of depression, pain, anxiety, and hurt, hope ultimately seeps light through the dark clouds until I’m warmed by its glow.
You see, Aaron and I are going through a huge storm right now in our lives. We’ve debated for a while now about whether or not I should write this post and start telling this story in a public forum. Aaron and I have had dozens of discussions about when, if at all, we were going to talk about our situation and share openly with people, loved ones and strangers. Discussing this openly leaves us vulnerable with very little privacy and opens the doors for comments that could be hurtful – whether intentional or not.
I’m intimidated by the fact that once I write about this the entire world will know our struggles and our privacy is erased. I can never take it back. I write this blog, sharing fairly openly the details of my life but there are things I (we) have chosen to keep private because they are so delicate and personal that we have wanted to keep them in our marriage and only share with close family and very close friends.
I’ve had it on my heart for several months to write about our struggles. I’ve thought about it constantly. I’ve prayed about it profusely. I’ve talked and talked about it with Aaron. I’ve prayed that my heart be right before I open up and share our story. I’ve so desperately wanted my heart to be in the right place before I decided to put my heart on the page and share it with others because I didn’t want to come across as bitter or that I wanted people to feel sorry for us. There are so many directions that this story could take – pity party, angry, sad – but the ultimate goal for me and for Aaron is to stay positive and to make sure that our story brings about a sense of hope and encouragement in the lives of others.
With that, here’s the beginning of our long story…
Aaron and I ache to be parents but we are struggling. We are struggling with infertility, or rather, we are fertility challenged. We are grieving. It’s the mountain in our lives and climbing it has been the biggest struggle we have ever gone through – individually and as a couple. Month after month we have been heartbroken as our dreams of becoming parents are put off until it’s time to try again, praying that every factor would fall into its proper place the next go-round – Every factor from egg meeting sperm to hoping our insurance covers our treatments. The excitement waned as we and our doctor began and continue to search for a cause and a solution as to why it has been a physical challenge for us to become pregnant.
It’s been over a year. It truly has been the most painful waiting period of my life. Of. My. Life. It has put my faith to the test and I’m ashamed to confess that I have failed on numerous occasions. I’ve always had a pretty strong faith but this has definitely kicked me in the ass. The ASS, people. I don’t normally write this stuff out loud because church people read this. (Hi, Pastor. Sorry about the A word.) I’ve wrestled with feelings that I’m serving an unloving God who cares nothing about my pain. I’ve struggled with immense jealousy, angry at every pregnant woman I’ve met. I’ve steamed at others’ accidental pregnancies or short trying time when we are struggling for just one pregnancy. I’ve cursed at God…like, I’ve said the “F” word in my prayers. That’s bad, I know, but I know he forgives me because I asked him to. He’s awesome like that. In righteous anger I shook my fist at him and demanded, like a child, that He give me what I wanted. Literally, I’ve done that…in very Scarlett O’Hara fashion.
As I look back at my behavior I’m ashamed at the condition of my mind and my heart throughout our struggle. Changing my attitude has been a process – a long, disciplined process that continues as I write this. A process I’m still working on every time I find out that another person I know is pregnant. The process begins by just letting go and trusting in God’s perfect timing. The anxiety is still overwhelming at times because I want nothing more than to be a mom, but I have to trust that He knows my pain, hears my cries, and is working on my behalf. Aaron, myself, and our doctor can only do so much. My daily decision to let go has filled me with an unexplainable peace and has given me a hope for the future.
Another thing that keeps my faith boosted is I have to believe that God is a God who fulfills his promises. Aaron and I believe that we have a promise waiting for us – a promise that we are going to be parents. It’s seriously been affirmed several times by random, bold people who have had no idea of what we are going through. That’s just the coolest feeling ever to know that God knows the desires of your heart, is working on making it happen, and uses random people to speak to you. The hardest thing has been, waiting on his timing. But our goal is to stand strong, believing in this promise while thanking Him for our little ones in advance.
During our struggle I have continued to ask God to use this process to mold me into the parent he has called me to be. I think that’s what cuts me the deepest and makes me work harder at staying strong and to keep believing our time is coming. I’d do anything for my children even now – three shots a day, surgery, daily blood work, or just letting God mold me into the parent I’m supposed to be. Whatever it is, if it’s for my children – I’m doing it. All those things are equally hard in their own ways. When I think of the times I have “shaken my fist at him and demanded, like a child, that He give me what I wanted” (again, yes, I’ve done that) I’m ashamed of the example I have displayed for our children. Would I want my children pitching the same fit? No! I need to be an example of faith and pour peace and light into their lives. I need my heart to be in the right place in order to lead my children. I focus on using this waiting time to mold my heart in order to be the best parent I can be. That kicks me in the gut every time I start my pity-party.
So far, our struggle has lasted over a year. I’m under no impression that I am a saint. I’m human. I cuss. I get mad at God. I don’t think that my struggle is any more than anyone else’s. There are people who have struggled for years that I can’t hold a candle to. There are people who have only been struggling for a few months that may look to me for comfort. I try to put myself in every position; If we had been struggling with this for years, I would never dismiss a couple, but I would remember how tough it is not matter where you are in your trying-to-conceive timeline. Now, I remember how tough it was even after a few months so I try to be sensitive to those people who are just starting out and offer them encouragement.
There are many things I have learned in this past year that I am thankful for. The biggest thing I have learned is that a couple’s reproductive plans are an incredibly private and sensitive subject. Why had I never thought of this before?! I’m very sorry to every person I’ve asked, “So, when are you having kids?” After having struggled through this issue, I would never ever ask a couple that question. As the brilliant Tina Fey said in her book, Bossypants, “You never ask someone about their reproductive plans because you never know what someone is going through.” All the more reason to love Tina Fey. I have been approached dozens of times having been asked, “Isn’t it about time that you’re pregnant?” Biting my tongue and holding back the tears, I give the person the benefit of the doubt, and simply mutter, “Sometime,” then slip into the bathroom and insert a progesterone suppository, give myself a hormone shot, and pray that I can finally say “I AM!!!” the next time they ask that dreaded question. Never assume that because a couple doesn’t have kids yet or aren’t talking about having kids means that they aren’t trying. Maybe they’ve be trying for years and that question is a dagger to their heart. You never know a person’s situation.
I had a gut feeling at the very beginning of this journey that we were going to have a struggle. I don’t know why. It felt completely morbid to admit. I was hoping I was wrong but some voice deep down was telling me to get ready for a long journey. Sometimes there’s absolutely no logical explanation for why things are happening or why a couple can’t get pregnant. No matter how religious you are there are some things that can’t be explained. I don’t know why we’re going through this and I don’t need to know. But I do know that God doesn’t allow things into your life that you can’t handle. Sometimes I feel like ‘God, you be cray-zay’ because there are days where I feel like I just can’t handle one. more. freaking. minute. of not being a mom. But he promises to carry us no matter what the circumstances. You know that poem Footprints in the Sand? Just like that.
As time has passed, I’m comforted to know that our story can be used to encourage and inspire others. Plus, it always helps me to have a sense of humor about the hard stuff so you’ll definitely get a laugh out of our story (ie…waaaay too much information about my uterus). As I’m opening up my heart and putting into words what we’ve been through, I’ve been thinking about the reasons we’ve decided to make our private struggle public and tell this story:
- As a venue to share the struggles we have been through so in case someone else is going through the same thing to let them know they aren’t alone. We want to offer comfort and support with couples struggling with infertility.
- To bring awareness of the issues to those who would have never thought about it otherwise.
- To share our testimony. Yep, this is our testimony. Even though we don’t have a little one yet, we still believe that God is faithful and if sharing our story brings someone to Christ, then putting our pain and reservations aside while sharing our struggles…that makes it all worth it. It’s not just about having faith while struggling with infertility; it’s about trying to keep the faith while struggling through any issue in your life – big and small. If you’re going through something in your life right now, we want to encourage you to stay strong and believe that your victory is coming.
While I believe that our parenthood is in God’s timing, I whole-heartedly believe that God has given humans the knowledge and ability to use science and to create technology in order to answer questions and create solutions for those struggling with infertility in order to allow them to become biological parents….including In Vitro Fertilization – a next step for us. We have the most amazing doctor and go to what I truly believe is one of the best fertility clinics in the world. They have been so sweet and encouraging through everything we’ve been through. And we have been through a lot! And I fully intend on sharing with you each step of the processes we’ve been through.
Of course, because Aaron and I are struggling through this together we are sharing our story with you – together. I’m not going to lie and tell you that our marriage is all peaches. Our relationship has definitely been strained through all this…but it’s also brought us closer together. We’ve decided to write this together. We come up with ideas together, I write, and Aaron edits. We have made an agreement that the content of each post that talks about our fertility must deliver a message of hope, induce laughter, and/or educate and enlighten. Everything that I write goes through Aaron first. We have a lot of stuff to write about so we’ve already agreed on several “chapters” to come.
Speaking of Aaron, I know I said that our fertility struggle has put a strain on our relationship but I have to tell you I’ve never felt closer to my husband and vice versa. He’s the most patient, kind, understanding man I have ever known. God knew that someday my hormones would go through a Jekyl-and-Hyde-King-Kong-Godzilla crap-storm and he knew the perfect man who would be able to handle it. He’s an amazing down-to-earth man of God who, when there’s no more tears to cry or I’m being completely irrational just opens his arms and holds me. Just what I need. I thank God for my husband.
And every day I thank Him in advance for our children.
This is the beginning of our story.
Just a suggestion: If you’re interested in keeping up with this story and reading the posts we publish about our fertility you can subscribe through your email and get emails when we post.
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I’ve been wanting to write about this for a long time so I definitely have a lot to say.
I’ve decided the next chapter will be the Do’s and Don’ts of dealing with Fertility Challenged friends.