Infertility. It’s feels kinda like strep throat of the soul.
Things can look fine on the outside, and inside, deep pain that surfaces almost every one of the 600 times a day you subconsciously swallow.
The school bus makes you sob.
An innocent trip to a fast food restaurant with a playplace of preciousheads sends your heart spinning out of control.
Your newsfeed feels like a death trap.
As do holidays.
And baby showers.
And church. Especially church. “Oh no you didn’t” just ask us to work the nursery. Again.
And don’t forget the genuinely valid parenting complaints from all the well-meaning mom friends to whom you internally scream “at LEAST you have kids to complain about” followed by you irrationally wanting to give all your best friends a high five. In the face. With a chair. But then you’re afraid that since it has legs and you will have touched it, then it too will get pregnant. (Mostly joking. Mostly. Wink wink. #blogpostsneedemojis )
I feel like I have felt all.the.emotions. Especially the dark ugly ones. Lots of them have turned me into a depressed victim with a pet pain to stroke. Others have brought me to the heart of hope in God, because, HE TOO, EVEN HE, ESPECIALLY HE has children He longs to have as His own.
Two priceless children later, so many of my desires have been fulfilled. He has gently anointed, bandaged and healed so many of my wounds with His sovereign hand. We can even take care of the nursery with joy at this point! Yet there are quiet aches.
Less like strep, more like a low-grade fever that you can easily push through. So easily that you can grow distant from feeling those emotions because you’re too weary to do the work of walking through the pain. Yet pushing away the emotions also means pushing away the places where God wants to meet us most deeply.
Thankfully, He will still meet us and deal tenderly with our hearts because He’s bigger than our pain. He’s better than our pain (even the pain that almost feels good?) and he’s got beautiful plans for our pain.
So, if you find yourself at a table caring for a friend whose hope is still deferred and who’s struggling to see the goodness of God in the land of the living, just seeing them and honoring their pain will be a gift. Listen. Be present. Ask them what they need from you today and if they need to hear the gentle truth, remind them of God’s character like I have to remind myself…
You may not ever feel the swell of life or the flutter of that first movement, but your God will supply all your needs according to His riches and glory.
You may not have the fun of that family photo of when, right before the timer snaps the picture you say, “Everyone say ‘We are having a baby!'” and you capture the family’s reaction on film (because you still think that’s the coolest way to share the news) but as for God, His way is perfect: the Lord’s word is flawless; He shields all who take refuge in Him. And He has plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
You may quietly opt out of all the horrific birthing stories and lactation talk that fills every one of your social gatherings.
You will from time to time still park in the “Expectant Mother’s” parking spot at Target, because, well, there’s an inkling of you that’s still expectant. Because those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint…and sue me, they shall also get a closer parking spot.
You may not have need for that jogging stroller that STILL brings you to tears, but you will have lessons learned at the school of hard-knocks where you gain greater compassion and sensitive awareness of people’s unmet longings. Little by little you will judge less and love more.
You may never change a diaper, but you’ll still get to change a life. Or two.
If you would find it helpful to read more about our journey with infertility, here are some additional posts:
***Also, in November, I will be hosting an online book club for women walking through any stage of infertility. If you or a friend would be interested in this type of support, hit the little envelope button in the upper right-hand corner of my sidebar or email me at kitty(dot)hurdle(at)cru(dot)org for details. Feel free to sensitively pass this along.***