I was asked to write our story for our church's Women's Ministry newsletter. I've had writers block ever since. I keep thinking our story is not tragic enough or we have not struggled with this long enough, and that people will judge us - belittle our feelings. Then I realized I was truly under the Enemy's attack; and whatever other's reactions, I have to write this. It's become clear that our journey is meant to be shared to, hopefully, help others feeling exactly as we did. I hope our story encourages you to stop suffering in silence. Stop hiding and carrying this all by yourself.
So, here’s our story.
If you have read the Love Story of me and D, you know we were 27 and 28 when we married. While in the general scheme of things, our ages at marriage are common nowadays - it was not in our circle of friends/family. I began to hear that ole biological clock start ticking before we even got married. Before meeting D, I felt surrounded by couples getting married left and right. I saw people moving forward in life, while I felt stuck with no hope of anything propelling me forward.
But, it was in this time (before D), that God began preparing me for my current stage of life (and I’m sure many more in the future). I reached a point in my singleness of completely depending on Him for my satisfaction, fulfillment, and happiness. I cannot say there were not days of longing, but even then, He was with me. And I learned to recognize that He was. I am so grateful for my time as a Single, what it taught me, and how it made my relationship with Christ real for the first time post-salvation.
Once I met D and we married, I thought everything would come so easily. You know the old saying, “First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes that ole baby carriage.” So, I fully expected (demanded, really) that we would have a baby 2 years after we were married. I had it all planned out. Then, life happened.
While we are technically almost 2 years infertile - for me, it’s been almost 4 years. 4 years because just when I wanted to start building our family - the roadblocks of life intruded and I put my dream on hold (again and again).
Roadblock #1. Shortly before our wedding, I was diagnosed with a Thyroid disorder. It was not a big deal - I just took a pill everyday to control it. But, after the wedding, I realized I still was not doing well. Eventually, 18 months later, I was re-diagnosed (correctly) with a different Thyroid disorder, Grave’s disease (or an overactive thyroid). Basically, my hormones (all of them) were completely out of whack. I immediately started treatment.
Roadblock #2. In the midst of all of this, I was offered a job in Houston - a life changing job. It was definitely of God and too good to pass up. So D and I took a leap of faith and moved to Houston 2 months after my diagnosis. D did not have a job, but we thought, surely he’ll be able to find a job quickly in Houston.
Roadblock #3. We were wrong. It was 9 long months before God gave us D’s job. This struggle, while painful and difficult, made our marriage stronger and strengthened our faith in God. We allowed God to do His work in us during this time - He was preparing us.
Roadblock #4. More medical issues. At the same time I started a new job and D was looking for a job, I hit another wall - medically speaking. When we moved, I began seeing an Ob/Gyn who specializes in women with thyroid and other hormonal disorders. He ran many tests and we found out I was really messed up - way more than we ever imagined. I spent the following 7-8 months on very taxing treatments to bring all of the hormone levels in my body to normal levels. My doctor said we should thank God we did not try to conceive before seeing him or we would have experienced one miscarriage after another. I am so grateful God brought us to Dr. dC, but it was just another delay in my plan.
Roadblock #5. Nothing. That’s right - nothing. When Dr. dC finally gave us the all clear, D had been at his new job 30 days and we were still living in our rent house. But I knew it would take us “some time” to get pregnant, so we started trying right away. I took the first few months of negative pregnancy tests very well. I expected to not conceive right away and was proud of myself and my “realistic” expectations. During that time, we bought a home and that took up a lot of my time and energy. Then, month 6 rolled around and I began to worry. Then month 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. By month 12 I was freaking out - but on the inside.
So many thoughts were on constant repeat in my mind. I couldn’t understand why we were not pregnant. We did everything to prepare, medically speaking. We were financially ready. We were ready spiritually. Everyone else was having babies left and right, so we can raise our kids with our friends. It’s the perfect time! Just like in my singleness, I felt life moving forward, while I was stuck.
At the beginning of year 2, I began to mourn and became depressed. But on the outside, I had it all together. I'm sure no one even suspected. The few times I was brave enough to even give people a hint that we were having trouble, they would hit me with their well-meaning words - not knowing that just made me close up again. Things like, "You haven't been trying long enough. You should stop complaining." Or, "Start trying to adopt and you'll get pregnant." Or, my favorite, "Just relax. You're stressing over this too much and that's why you can't get pregnant." People do not realize how judgmental and insensitive their words can be.
So, I just kept it all inside. Then, one day at a small group social, 2 other ladies and I discovered we were all going through infertility and never knew. We were so excited to find each other! We decided to try to meet regularly just to talk, share feelings, and pray for each other. No one else could understand except another woman in infertility. It was amazing! My soul felt lighter after we met. It was as if all the darkness the Enemy had covered me in was just blown away. I had no idea how depressed I had been - how miserable I was.
As soon as I started my car to leave, the local Christian radio station began talking to a caller. A woman dealing with infertility. She shared her story and thanked the hosts for talking and praying with her. She was expressing everything I was feeling. Then, it occurred to me - why should any woman have to wait to discover other women in infertility or call a talk show to find rest and encouragement and hope in this? The next day I emailed the Women's Minister at our church to ask if we had an infertility Bible study or support group. And, that's how it all started. Apparently, there had been one but it was in need of a new leader, would I like to be that leader? Um, not exactly what I expected, but isn't that how God usually works? So I decided to jump right in.
Now we are called, Waiting in Hope-Ladies seeking hope in the LORD through infertility (Psalm 31:24). I have been awed at what God has done in our midst. I felt completely inadequate and unprepared, but every week He supplied what was needed. When I needed someone to help me lead, He immediately brought someone forward. I've seen women drowning in anger, frustration, depression, and confusion become shining beacons of light pointing straight to the hope of Christ. It's amazing. We are committed to studying His word, encouraging one another, praying for each other, and being open to the world with our struggle. Most importantly, our faith is not dependent on God giving us a child (either through pregnancy or adoption), but on Him alone.
It's difficult to get to this place, and it does not happen everyday. I have to allow Him to renew me daily or I fall right back into that pit. I become self-focused, raging over my un-met expectations. As if God owes me.
Since the group, there have been some major disappointments. Failed pregnancy tests when I thought I was definitely pregnant, multiple friends becoming pregnant-meaning many showers, scary and painful surgery. But God has lifted me up from each one, once I turned to Him. He worked through His word, my husband, Waiting in Hope, and awesome friends.
I am so blessed to have a Savior who never leaves me and loves me more than I can comprehend. To have a husband who understands, cries with me, and seeks God with me in all our decisions. For understanding and genuine friends. Friends, willing to say they don't know what to say, but that they love me and are there to just listen (and sometimes, cry). And, for a purpose for this trial.
It's through all of this, God has taught me that He carries me - never leaving my side (Jeremiah 29:11-13) - and is glorified through this and every trial in my life.
I know this has been a long post because I struggle with exactly how to express all of my feelings. So, I'll let the song, Carry Me, by Audrey Assad sum it up for me. Enjoy (see Infertility resources and links below).
Waiting in Hope - Seeking HOPE in the Lord through infertility
"We have this HOPE in the Lord as an anchor for the SOUL". Heb. 6:19
The Houston's First Baptist Church infertility Bible Study and Support Group. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
The first Waiting in Hope event is Monday, September 10th in Houston, TX. A night led by a professional counselor to ask questions and receive guidance. If you are in the area and would like more info email me at email@example.com
Hannah's Prayer Ministries - Christian Support for Fertility Challenges
Sarah's Laughter - Christian Support for Infertility and Child Loss
Kelley Ramsey, my sweet friend, also has a series of posts about her infertility journey: