Monday, January 19, 2015

Beyond the Baby: The Aftermath of Infertility

It has been a while since God has laid anything on my heart to share and I didn’t really intend on writing on this subject openly until someone nudged me to do so. 

While I’ve known ever since walking through our journey to pregnancy and IVF that my heart breaks most for those longing for a child, there are some portions of this struggle that I would feel more comfortable keeping private but yet again, God calls me to be transparent. 

I thought that after I got pregnant and upon the arrival of our son that everything would just be better or I would somehow feel fixed.  Then one day, we received news that our friends had begun trying to have a baby and were successful right away.   With this announcement came the usual lines of “I could just look at her and she would get pregnant…” or “It was always very easy for us…” 

I stood there and let the comments go in one ear and out the other and while I was so joyful for our friends, I found the news hard to take.  Really hard to take.   Luckily, Jake could sense this immediately and upon our arrival home, just as tears began to well in my eyes, he said, “Isn’t it crazy how different life can be for people?  God has such different plans for each of us.  Sometimes I don’t get it, but you know what? I’m ok with it.” 

He knew.  He knew instinctively that there was a part of my heart that was broken for us.  He knew that even after everything we have been through, I carry a certain weight because I know that isn’t our story.  He won’t ever be able to say how easy it was for us. 

The fact of the matter is that while we have our child that we have longed for and prayed for for years, we are still working with the same equipment.  And while I am fearfully and wonderfully made, the way God created me puts us at a disadvantage when it comes to naturally conceiving a child so that just isn’t us.  It wasn’t our story and unless God wills it otherwise, it won’t be our story.

That night, I realized that infertility is not just a one-time thing that you go through only to have it be “fixed” by a pregnancy or a child, if that is what God plans.  It is something that you re-live over and over again.  The sting of pregnancy announcements can be just as hard after you have had a baby as it was before you had a child because while you may have your baby there is no guarantee that you will be able to continue to grow your family.  It comes with a dose of post-traumatic stress because you know in the back of your mind that it was harder for you, it took longer, and there are no guarantees.  Please don’t take this as me saying that anyone who successfully conceived naturally once will be able to do so again or that pregnancy is a guarantee for anyone.  What I am saying is that once you live through the reality of infertility, you never truly let it go.  It is always a part of who you are, it is part of your story, and it can discourage you or encourage you.  It can also be very painful to revisit and is not necessarily somewhere you hope to return to ever again.  Nonetheless, if you desire one child or five, it may be something you think of often. 

Truthfully, I accept it as my cross to bear but I won’t say that it has been or is easy to carry.  I know that it is a heavy load and that is why it is so deeply rooted in my heart to help anyone else carrying it.  It can make you weak and bring you to your knees.  It can knock the wind out of you when you least expect it and that is why it is so important to let others help you get back up. 

I have to remind myself often that there is no shame in what we went through or the steps we had to take to get to where we are.  I continue to find victory in the struggle.  I share these thoughts and insecurities with you because I want you to know I am not “fixed” and I have realized I am not seeking that.  I won’t sit here and tell you how infertility will affect any one person in particular or how you will come out at the “end” of your struggle.  I can only share what it has and continues to do in my heart and trust that God will use it for good.  I will also trust that God and my husband continue to love me just as I am. 

2 Corinthians 12:9-10
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.  For when I am weak, then I am strong. 

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