For the Woman Who Suffers from Infertility
I get it. You read the title of today’s post and you felt the weight of this word resting upon your shoulders. Infertility. You taste the bitterness of wanting a child so badly and yet …. still you wait. You’re not alone. You may know the statistics, that one in eight women will deal with this word, and yet, you’ve never felt more alone in your life.
There are triggers everywhere. You walk into the grocery store and see a mom delicately setting her toddler into the cart. You turn on the TV and are hit with a Pampers commercial and tiny baby coos. You walk into church and it’s child dedication week and you fight to hold back the tears. You grab the mail and there it is, another baby shower invitation.
When will it be your turn?
You shuffle through so many emotions in one day.
Anger. Why is God letting you go through this?
Sorrow. Will it ever be your turn?
Fear. Was it something you did? Is this a punishment?
Numbness. It’s been so long, can we put up a wall around our heart?
Worry. What if you never beat infertility?
Shame. How is it possible to feel this broken?
Excitement. What was that twinge you just felt?
Girlfriend, pull up a chair next to me today. Let me hand you a cup of tea and a cozy blanket, and tell you I understand. I stood in your shoes for nearly a decade and can taste the grief rising up in my mouth as I write this. Things aren’t going the way you thought they would go. You had a dream for your life, a vision. Nothing is going the way you had planned. Where is God in all of it?
Let me tell you a story.
A handful of years back, I was on vacation, floating in a pool, reading, when the heavy emotions of infertility started to swirl. Everywhere I looked, there were children and families. I watched a mom rubbing down her little boy with sunscreen. I watched a dad wrestle the arm floaties on his toddler. I watched a set of grandparents taking a hundred pictures. I watched as a mom floated by with her tiny baby, whispering words to him and making him giggle as he splashed gently. And as I watched, I felt so sad. Broken. Lonely. Grief-stricken.
I suddenly felt hot from the inside. My heart felt like it was crying crocodile tears. I was frozen. The sadness started to creep from my heart up my neck, tightening. I felt so empty. I couldn’t process the sudden sadness.
A few hours later I found myself lying down in the spa area with a cool washcloth over my face, trying to sort out all my emotions. And as I lay there, the tears finally burst through, like a dam, flooding my washcloth and speaking words of grief to my Father that only tears could. I felt like I was being covered in a physical blanket of sadness and sorrow.
I kept praying it would go away. And then God stopped me, and He reminded me in that gentle, soothing way only He can, that it’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to want a family and to wonder when it’s going to happen. It’s okay to grieve the loss of dreams and wonder what the purpose of this is. It’s okay to acknowledge there’s a gigantic gaping hole in our heart. God is big enough for our sadness.
It was in that moment I felt like God stepped into my blanket of sorrow and closed both of us back up in it. He wanted me to acknowledge my emotions with Him by my side. He wanted to validate my feelings were okay.
You see, God is big enough for your questions. He is big enough to hold you close when you are crying and big enough for your dreams. I know it’s hard. I know it really doesn’t get easier. I encourage you to not only invite God into your pain, but to also be brave enough to let others in as well.
I wish I could promise you that it will all turn out okay in the end. I wish God would give you a timeline so that you knew how to handle another month with a negative test. And while I can’t do that, what I can do is reassure you that God is still in this heartache with you.
Each and every day, you are learning in a painstaking way, that it’s possible to experience joy that isn’t dependent on your circumstances.
Now let me leave you with some encouragement. God is bigger than infertility. God knows exactly how your heart is feeling. God used women struggling with infertility all throughout the Bible in BIG ways. Remember Hannah? 1 Samuel 1 shares her brokenness over the fact that her womb was closed, and yet God answered her prayers in His timing and Samuel was born. Remember Elizabeth and Zechariah? Luke 1 outlines the fact that they were barren, and yet God proved He was bigger than infertility and John the Baptist was born, at precisely the right time. These are just two examples where God reminds us that infertility isn’t without purpose. It’s not a sentence God has placed on us, but instead an opportunity. Yuck, I know. It’s a painful opportunity, but one that God can use, if we let Him, to display His goodness.
Month after month, I whispered and cried out with my own prayer of brokenness. I routinely had to plead with God to help me trust that His plans were greater than my desires. I knew He could work a miracle, and so my prayer became that of the father in Mark 9, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!" My lack of control reminded me that God best demonstrates who He is when we are paying careful attention, when we are seeking Him instead of being fixated on our emotions.
I’ll leave you with this verse dear friend, because I don’t think it was put into the Bible by mistake. I believe God left us these words in Psalm 113:9 to encourage our hearts and remind us that He is in the business of working big miracles: “He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the Lord.”
You are not alone. God is bigger. You can trust Him. Lean into His strength today and let your knees buckle. He is right there to catch you.
Chelsea is a Midwestern girl who loves connecting with others about infertility, motherhood, and living authentically. She’s been married to Josh for almost 13 years and recently welcomed twins, Kirsten and Logan, to their family after nearly a decade of waiting and loss. Chelsea loves a good cup of coffee, a cozy bookshop and mindless reality TV. She co-authored a 6 week woman's devotional called "In the Wait", which helps women lean into God while living intentionally in seasons of waiting. She values engaging her faith and embracing difficult seasons with joy. You can find her on her blog and Instagram.