Thursday, February 16, 2012

the one in eight

Any authentic relationship has its ups and downs. Where there is real love between two people, whether it be friendly, familial, or romantic, there will also sometimes be less than warm feelings. Feelings of anger, mistrust, jealousy. I believe the same is true with God.

So often, we talk about our "relationship" with God. If that's truly what we have, a relationship with our Maker, then shouldn't it be okay for that relationship to look similar to our other relationships? Shouldn't we expect our divine relationship to go through cycles of bliss and bitterness, just as our earthly ones do? After all, how strong is a friendship never tested? How deep, then, is a faith never questioned?

For the past several weeks, I have been quite angry with God. Infertility affects 1 in 8 couples. While Andrew and I struggled for a child, I prayed that I would be that one--the only one--within my circle of friends. I hoped that none of my friends would become acquainted with the longing that had taken up residency in my heart. Apparently God was not listening. This January, three of my friends underwent various forms of infertility treatments, ranging from IVF to initial IUIs. It's February now, and none of the three are pregnant. Zero. WTF, God?!?! My heart breaks for these women, these couples. I know the pain of a failed cycle--the frustration that your time and energy were just "wasted," the questions about where to go next. Sometimes I think Andrew and I are terrible poster children for infertility. People look at us and think, "IVF worked the first time for them, and they got TWO babies. See, you can always get pregnant if you really try." What people fail to remember are all the failed cycles--the drugs that didn't result in pregnancies, and worse, the pregnancies that didn't result in a baby in our arms. Despite our ultimately positive outcome, infertility is terrible...even remembering that dark time in our life makes me feel literally, physically ill.

What's the point of this rambling post? To encourage women struggling to get to their child. It's a miserable struggle, and there is no way around that. Allow yourself to be angry...with God, with the stupid needle you have to stick in your stomach, with the girl who just "accidentally" got pregnant with her fourth child. There will be days when you just need to sit in your car and cry. Do it. Feel those feelings, and don't beat yourself up over them, because every woman in your position has been there. Every infertile has made up an excuse to not go to a baby shower, or blocked a facebook friend who just cannot stop posting belly pics. You don't mean these lovely fertiles any harm, but never feel like you have to torture yourself. Self preservation is okay.

But amid these difficult days, there will also be wonderful ones. Days where you forget about ovulation predictor kits and two week waits. Days when you feel happy and content and at peace with the world. Let yourself feel those feelings, too. After our miscarriages, I found myself feeling guilty about these happy days, like I was somehow disrespecting the children we lost. Please know that feeling happy and peaceful is always a good thing. I believe God gives us these "days off" to sustain us.

I wish I could tell you how your story would end. I wish I could guarantee that you would soon be cradling your biological child. As anyone who has stepped through an RE's door knows, however, that is a promise no one can make. What I can promise you, though, is that if/when you do have a child one day, however that happens, you will have an amazing appreciation for that little one. You will know every detail that had to come together for that baby to get to you. You will look into his or her face and remember the months of determination that brought your family together. While you won't love your baby more than your fertile friends love their children, you will more deeply appreciate the miracle it represents. For all your struggles, parenthood will be that much sweeter.


  1. Well said. I was one of those eight too and words do not begin to express how not fair and how sad it can be at times. BUT you are right, you appreciate those bundles even more once they are here. Especially when times get tough and they don't sleep or are acting bratty, you remind yourself that you would do, and did do, anything and everything for these guys.

  2. Beautiful post. So eloquent and from the heart...and true. :)

  3. Your words are always so comforting. I'm so thankful for you!

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  5. Jessica - thank you so much for your blog comment. Your twins are beautiful and I am loving reading your blog. Parenting is quite a journey! Thanks for your transparency and honesty.