There I was, again. Sobbing in the shower, with the door locked so that my 4 year old son wouldn’t burst in and see Mama crying. I was 12 days after my fertility procedure, 2 days away from getting my blood drawn to see if I might be pregnant this time. But, a few cramps and a trip to the bathroom let me know that I wasn’t pregnant. Again. So I did the only thing I could do – run the steaming hot water, get in, and cry.
My husband and I have been trying for years to get pregnant. We dated for 5 years before marriage and knew we wanted to have children right away. Most of our married years have also been years that we were trying to conceive. After our fourth year of fertility tests, injections, and procedures, we were blessed beyond measure with a healthy pregnancy that resulted in a healthy baby boy. Praise God from whom all blessings flow! After our son, Jackson, was born, we knew that we wanted another child. We prayed about it and started down the infertility road again when Jackson was 2. While we have taken many breaks along the way, we are still on the infertility road now, getting ready to start our first ever IVF in a few months.
Thankfully, my husband and I are not walking alone, even if it feels that way sometimes. Our life is full of a community that prays for us, makes us laugh and makes this burden seem lighter. But I would be remiss if I didn’t mention another force at work during our infertility journey: God.
Derrick and I are both Christian, and are raising Jackson prayerfully. That said, this whole infertility nonsense has given my relationship with God a run for its money. Between negative pregnancy tests and an endometriosis diagnosis, I have gotten a little angry at Him. I have cried out, fallen on my knees and silently screamed to Him over the past eight years, wondering where on earth He is. My faith, friends, has been shaken up.
It is hard to think that God is listening to my prayers when my prayer for another baby go unanswered. Let it be known, though, that I am acutely aware that I did receive an answered prayer in the form of my Jackson. I question myself on a daily basis if I am being selfish to want another baby when I have a perfectly awesome 4 year old napping in the room next door even as I type this. And then I become ashamed. Does God think I am selfish? Am I an awful person? Why doesn’t God love me enough to send me another baby?
My inner dialogue with God is full of praise and gratitude, as well as prayers and hopes for a new baby. Sometimes, if I am being really honest, I feel that God is alive and working in everyone’s life, except for mine. Sometimes, friends, I don’t feel him moving in my life. It makes me sad and it makes me feel alone during this already lonely infertility journey. Infertility can take away your ability to have a baby, and your faith.
But I hold on, and so should you. When the tears dry and the fog clears, God meets me where I am, always. God offers a great gift to me (and to you): the gift of shelter and unconditional love. If I allow myself, I can rest in Him and His promises. I can calm my anxious heart and return to living in the moment, and I can remind myself that my life can be more than just an undying quest to become pregnant. When I take time to silence the words of doubt and fear in my mind, and be confident that He hears me, loves me, and chases me.
God has given me this season for a purpose. He is giving me the chance to grow and become a better Mama. With His help, I am becoming more patient, more compassionate and more vulnerable. He is drawing me to a community of women who are praying for babies that they haven’t met yet. He is giving me silver linings along the way.
So, where is God in all of this infertility nonsense? He is here. He is in the good, and He is in the bad. He is in the shower when I am sobbing, and he is at the park when I am playing with Jackson and become so overwhelmed with gratitude that my heart feels like it will explode. He is here, and He has been here the whole time.
Would you take a moment to say a prayer for families like mine that are trying to grow, but the pregnancy tests keep coming back negative? Could you say a prayer for the family who had an adoption fall through? Pray for anyone who is going through a struggle that drives them into the shower to cry? Pray for God to remain near to us, and for us to feel Him close. Pray for the struggle to drive us towards God, and not away from Him.
No matter your struggle, God is with you, even if you don’t always feel it. Until your season of struggle is over, go on and cry in the shower. But then, when the fog clears from the mirror, praise Him for never leaving you.
Haley Burress is a freelance writer and contributor at Parenting.com and Educational Insights, to name a few. She lives in the northwest suburbs of Chicago with her (very handsome) Principal husband, and her (very awesome) 4 year old son, Jackson.