For the last five years I have been on a journey through infertility. It has sucked. It has not been the only, or major, thing in my life these last five years but it has been there, constantly, an unwelcome guest mostly hiding in the shadows but sometimes popping out unexpectedly to taunt me. To grieve this frustrating and painful process doesn’t ignore the fact that so many wonderful things have happened in the last five years. Grief, joy, frustration, and thankfulness can live side by side.
I’m writing this because I want to let you know where I am in the journey and let you know how to care for me.
I am 35, almost 36. I have a six year old daughter who was conceived within 3 months of us trying. My first pregnancy, which ended in a miscarriage was also conceived within 3 months of us beginning the process so I expected to easily get pregnant a third time. But it didn’t happen.
I have watched my sister’s family grow from three kids to six, my brother’s grow from one to three. I have watched people get married then go on to have multiple children…all while I have waited and hoped. I am currently walking through a season where everyone I work with who is married and hasn’t intentionally ended their childbearing years is pregnant or has given birth in the last year (or their wife has) which recently added up to 12 people…and I don’t work with a huge staff. I have rejoiced with those who rejoiced and allowed my friends to mourn with me as I mourned.
My infertility is connected to my body’s inability or unwillingness to release an egg every month. Recently, it went over a year without doing so. This doesn’t create any danger or discomfort for me but does make it very difficult to get pregnant. My body does release eggs sometimes so the possibility of getting pregnant still exists. Which creates some unique challenges as I get older; I don’t really want to be surprised with a high-risk pregnancy at 40.
At the beginning of this summer Cory and I decided this was our last summer. I’d ask my OBGYN some more questions, get some tests done, and if I wasn’t pregnant by the end we’d figure out where to go from there. Toward the end of this summer, I’ve felt like God has been saying, “Let it go,” which, for me, meant let go of trying, at least for now. It feels like permission, or direction, I’m really not sure which, to put things in place to prevent pregnancy. He was inviting? encouraging? allowing? me to let go of the hope of pregnancy and to do so in a black and white way–through contraceptives–so that I can be free from wondering, free from taking pregnancy tests every 3-5 weeks, free from hoping. It’s okay to let this dream be put to rest.
And even though I’m the one drawing the line in the sand (with a long-term not permanent form of contraception) I am still grieving. And I am reminding myself that it’s okay to mourn the thing you chose to let go of.
I drove to my OBGYN this morning in a thunderstorm. I sat in her office and did my best not to cry during the consult. As I left I prayed that God would help me grieve well and as I sat in my car preparing to drive home the rain on my windshield mirrored the tears streaming down my face. I appreciated that the weather was sympathetic, that it did not taunt me with sunshine as if everything was right with the world because it is not.
I feel the need to preemptively defend my choice. I’m only 35, a lot of women have healthy pregnancies after 35. Why close the door today when I might have gotten pregnant tomorrow? There are a lot of good fertility aids, why not give them a try? But I don’t have to defend my choice. I’m not ending this five year struggle impulsively or irresponsibly; it has been heartbreaking for us to walk through. So I’m preemptively asking you to not ask me questions like, “Have you considered..?” or to tell me stories about someone you know who was infertile got pregnant. I’m asking you not to challenge my decision; if you think I’m wrong, please pray and ask God to reveal that to me. You don’t have to say anything at all, but if you want to send a message or a card, the kindness of the gesture wouldn’t be lost on me. I have good friends and a wonderful husband who walk this journey with me; I am not alone.
We are open to adoption, we are open to foster care but we are not actively pursing either option right now. We know that at any time God could surprise us with pregnancy despite contraception or that he could move our hearts to stop using contraception. We love the little girl we have and don’t feel like our family is incomplete but do long for another child. I enjoyed being pregnant, enjoyed nursing, and enjoy seeing what a little human made up of both my DNA and Cory’s DNA looks and acts like and I’m mourning the loss of getting to do those things again. There is a name that I have wanted to give to our next child and I am mourning the loss of getting to use that name.
Today my heart is heavy. I’m thankful for the rain. And the ability to work from home when I can’t quite stop crying. I am thankful for the many people who will read this this an sympathize and empathize with me. I will grieve and I will keep moving. I just wanted to let you all know about the state of my soul as it relates to the state of my uterus.