We’re taught at an early age to create goals for ourselves and to work towards something meaningful in life. But what happens when one of those goals takes longer to achieve than you expected? Like me, you may get thrown off track. And sometimes, it can be difficult to recover.
The idea of getting married and having a family seemed so simple when I was younger but soon real life took over. I was 26 when I married Terrance. I thought I had all the time in the world to get pregnant and start having kids. My husband is seven years older than me and was ready to start our family right away.
I always wanted children – at least two. My brother was ten years older, and I always longed for a sibling closer in age. I had just started a new job after our wedding and after discussing our desires for starting our family, we decided to wait until I had established myself for at least a year at work, which would also ensure I would be eligible for full maternity leave.
In my mind, it was only one year to wait. I was young, never had any health issues, no surgeries, and when we were ready it would just happen, right? Because isn’t that how it’s supposed to work?
During that time, we started preparing to expand our family. We built a new home, purchased a new SUV to carry my family in, and ensured we were financially stable. I knew the kind of home and atmosphere I wanted to raise a family in, and after a year passed, we were ready to take the next step.
However, God’s plan was not the same as ours. After trying for a year with no success, my doctor signed us up for a series of tests. One was to see if my fallopian tubes were open, which was physically uncomfortable. The next one required my husband to collect a sperm sample. And the rest were a series of blood collections to test everything imaginable.
During this time of waiting for the results, all I could think about was how I worked so hard to have the life I wanted. I had everything – except the children I had been dreaming of, and It turned out to be one of the hardest things I’d ever faced.
All our test results came back negative. Nothing was wrong with either one of us. The most I had was a tilted uterus, which they ensured me wouldn’t prevent conception. So, what now? I could live with an explanation of why I couldn’t get pregnant, so we could work towards fixing it. But if there was absolutely nothing wrong with either of us, why wasn’t it happening? I felt like I was being punished by God, and I replayed my entire life trying to figure out what I did wrong, and why God wouldn’t bless me with a child.
We continued trying to get pregnant, but it still didn’t happen. Looking back, I realize it just wasn’t our time, but I couldn’t see that then. As time went on, I became obsessed. All that mattered to me was having a baby.
I created an ovulation calendar, tracked every period, ate certain foods that could help with fertility– you name it, I tried it. Being intimate with my husband was no longer romantic, it was a task that needed to be done, and on specific days and times. I put all my energy into having a baby, and it eventually consumed me.
My fixation on getting pregnant eventually caused issues in our marriage. Terrance was frustrated because that seemed to be all I cared about. I was also frustrated because it still wasn’t happening.
Meanwhile, it seemed like everyone else around me was having babies. While I was happy for my friends and family, it soon became tormenting just to go baby showers. Every shower invitation or pregnancy announcement was just another reminder that I wasn’t pregnant. I had to work really hard to put my mind on other things and not let them consume me.
One day I remember going to a co-ed shower with my husband. As I sat there, it just became too much for me to bear – the presents, the baby items, the games – suddenly I told him we needed to leave. By the time I got in the car I could no longer hold it in, and the floodgates were released. I just cried and cried and cried. Terrance didn’t know what to say and I misinterpreted his silence for insensitivity.
Moments like those ultimately led us to counseling with our Pastor. He shared that he and his wife went through the same challenges and counseled us on how to get through it together. I’m so grateful for his transparency because it gave my husband a deeper understanding of what I was going through.
During some of my toughest times, my circle of sisters would pray for me and give words of encouragement. One of my girlfriends who experienced her own fertility challenges gave me a mustard seed. I’m not a Bible scholar, but I know what it says about having faith the size of a mustard seed. I never knew the seed was so small. I kept it in a baggy and would often look at it and pray. Frequently, a scripture in Psalms spoke to my spirit:
I eventually released everything – my hopes, my dreams, my desires. After a few months, I stopped all my “fertility routines” and decided to give everything up to God. I was tired of being sad, depressed, and wallowing in this sorrow. I needed a change in my life.
I had finally gotten back to just living, having fun, going on date nights, and not focusing so much on the thought of having a family. But I still remembered my mustard seed – every Sunday I would go to the altar and pray and thank God for the baby that we would soon have by faith.
One day I was in the car with my line sister coming home from an event and we were having a great conversation, just talking about life. As we pulled up in my driveway, she said “I think you’re pregnant. I feel it.” It was so random, and it caught me off guard. I didn’t think it was true, but it sat with me all night and I couldn’t get it off my mind. The next day, I couldn’t shake the thought of being pregnant, so I decided to take a pregnancy test. I couldn’t believe it when I saw the results – I was pregnant! It was only after I stopped obsessing about it, gave it over to God, and stood in faith that it happened.
I had a wonderful pregnancy and would dream about what my child would look like. Terrance and I welcomed Terrance Jr, whom we call Tiger, shortly after I reached my 30th birthday. We dove into raising and nurturing the baby that God blessed us with in response to the faith I demonstrated, even when I had no idea when or how it would happen. We welcomed our son Cole a few years later.
Our plan isn’t always God’s plan, and it’s important for us not to get caught up in our plan and lose sight of what He has planned for our lives. Earlier in my journey, I never once thought to give my infertility over to Him. I planned to figure this out and handle it myself.
I knew the Bible instructed us to be fruitful and multiply, and that God would give us the desires of our hearts when we delighted ourselves in Him. However, through my journey to motherhood, I discovered that the promises of God are in the process.
The “process” throughout those years of infertility was difficult, painful, and traumatic, but the lessons I’ve learned will carry me through the rest of my life. We sometimes can feel like the process will never end and may take us out, but we must realize what God allows us to experience will eventually make us stronger.
PRAYER FOR MOMS:
I pray for peace over every woman struggling on their journey to becoming a mother. While we are taught to plan and set goals for our lives, oftentimes our plan pales in comparison to yours. May every woman who is facing infertility be reminded that delay does not mean denile.
Dear God, help them to release control and turn it over to you because we know we can’t do it on our own but with you all things are possible. Please comfort every heart suffering from loss and sadness and remind them that you will grant us the desires of our hearts if we just trust you.
In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
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