I have debated writing this post for some time. Every time it seemed I’d mustered the courage and resolve, I’d soon be flooded with thoughts like “no, this is just too personal”, and “no one cares about this like you do”, or “this blog is where you write about summer wedges and chocolate cupcakes, not deep matters of the heart.” I went back and forth about sharing this much of our lives. But recently, I wound up sharing this story with someone who has become a dear friend to me and upon finding that she had been on a journey very similar to mine, she said something that resonated with me in the days that followed. She simply said “we all need to be talking about this more.” And I think she’s right.
And that’s why I’m here today to tell you a story about the deep struggles, the sometimes overwhelming pain and sadness, and the confusion, frustration and downright anger that have been a big part of our life lately. I’m also here to tell you about the unparalleled peace, the unbridled hope, and the growing faith that has also started to weave its way into this story.
I’m here today to announce that we are not pregnant.
There have been countless times when I have imagined making the exact opposite announcement on this blog, but alas… it seems that other plans have been set apart for us. Without sharing any details that I feel are unnecessary… this journey began well over a year ago. I sat, rather numbly, in a doctor’s office as words like “PCOS” and “infertility” were said to me for the first time. I remember walking to my car with what felt like 500 pounds sitting on my shoulders and texting my husband to tell him that my appointment had not gone well. I got in my car, and then sat there for easily 30 minutes as the reality of it slowly washed over me. It felt so absurdly unfair. I was angry. I was desperate to be able to snap my fingers and change everything that had happened in the last hour. It felt like there was no way I could possibly bear the weight of what I knew lay ahead of us.
Like probably anyone who has faced it, infertility was not a part of my plan. I can remember hearing about others who were facing it and thinking “please GOD don’t ever let that be me”. I figured it was like people who were afraid of flying… you can be afraid of something even though the odds that you would ever face it are so small. I figured the odds had to be in my favor… a thought that felt pretty ironic as my doctor began explaining to me that polycystic ovary syndrome is the most common fertility problem facing women today.
By the time I was diagnosed, we’d already been trying to get pregnant for some time, so my doctor immediately began me on a series of medications designed to give us the best possible chance of getting pregnant. Having a plan of action helped to ease the shock and sadness of the blow that we’d been dealt in the previous weeks. I would take the medicine, the medicine would work – because it statistically worked for most people – and then we’d be pregnant and all would be well with the world again. The odds were again in our favor, and God surely would not let us lose to the odds again. He wouldn’t do that to us. Our journey with infertility was destined to be a short one.
Except that the medication did not work. Each round of treatment failed more spectacularly than the last. To say that I was devastated would be putting it mildly. I stood in my bathroom one morning holding what felt like the hundredth negative pregnancy test that I’d taken, and the sadness that came over me in that moment felt unbearable. In that moment, I also distinctly remember feeling utterly alone. I knew that my husband was going through this alongside of me, but it felt like we were the only people on earth facing such a seemingly impossible and desperately sad struggle.
There were a handful of people in our life that knew a few details of what we were going through, but after that day, I began to reach out to those same people and I shared with them the extent of our struggle. I shared the depth of our sorrow and the shakiness of our faith. Those people… those amazing people… listened to us, grieved with us, prayed with us, and loved us so deeply that something amazing began to happen. For the first time in what felt like a long time… we felt joy.
The hope that was beginning to sprout, the love that they poured into our lives, the steadfastness of their faith on our behalf… it all began to help us see that even though it was painful, even though it still quite often felt unfair, even though it was pretty much the exact opposite of what we had hoped for, and even though we have not yet come out on the other side of this struggle, that this was the plan that God had set apart for us. For reasons that I may never even understand, God set this in our path and then asked us to walk through it. And even though it may not make sense to some, and even though it sometimes feels small… there is a profound kind of joy that comes with knowing that you are right in the middle of something that is bigger than you. There’s joy in knowing that what is yet to come will probably be greater than anything we could have planned for ourselves.
Around that same time… something else incredible began to happen. I began to hear just the smallest amount of other people’s stories that had also gone through this. Quick words they would share on Facebook, randomly running into old friends and feeling such happiness when they share that they’re expecting after a long journey with infertility, random texts from friends… it would probably take me another hour to tell you about the series of events that unfolded in the days that followed. We suddenly knew that we were not alone in this at all, and there is a really unique kind of comfort in knowing that there are others who have gone before us.
Since that time, we’ve had to pray a lot, trust a lot, learn a lot, and even make a few really difficult decisions. But every time we’ve followed what God has asked us to do, we have seen countless assurances that we are exactly where He intends for us to be, and that great things are still in store. I’ve also learned that sadness is not an absence of trust. What we’re going through, and what so many others have and are going through, is so hard. I still have moments all the time where I wish that things were different for us, but I don’t think that means that I’m not trusting. I think that having faith is looking those moments in the eye and saying “I choose to have faith anyways.”
And so when my friend said to me “we all should be talking about this more”, I absolutely agreed with her. I felt the need to put this story out there today, because I know that others are going through something very similar, or even very different but equally difficult. Each of us is handed a different set of struggles and hardships, but we all go through them, and faith is often harder than it seems. But I can promise you this… whatever it is, you’re not the only one.
Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see.”