The blinking hourglass changes to the results: Not pregnant. Maybe it’s the third or fourth or tenth time that message has appeared on an at-home pregnancy test. Maybe it’s the fifteenth time, the twenty-third time, or the thirty-ninth time you’ve started a period instead of missing one. Infertility hovers over your head like a dark shadow, and fertility looms just out of your reach.
I don’t know how many pregnancy tests you have taken, how many specialists you’ve seen to treat your infertility or how many pills, shots, or vitamins you’ve taken to increase your chances to conceive a miracle. Only you know all the sacrifices you’ve made to get to this point. And only God knows all the circumstances that led to you being in this place at this time reading this post.
All I can guess is that you are hurting and in need of comfort. I can imagine that it feels like the Lord has forgotten you, betrayed you, and that his promises apply to everyone but you, even if you know deep down it’s not true. All I can guess, is that for whatever reason, your arms still remain empty, with no children. I can imagine this because I’m walking the same road.
Our fertility story
As I begin posting this series, my arms too remain my empty. My husband and I have been trying to start a family since March 2014. I have never seen a positive on a pregnancy test. We’ve seen two specialists and undergone multiple tests and treatments during those long months. I’ve had ultrasounds and blood tests, taken Clomid and Femara, tweaked my diet, and even gave up my regular toothpaste for a natural one. That shouldn’t seem like a big deal, but when you walk through fertility struggles, each little adjustment has the potential to be a magic bullet. With each change, you can’t help but get a little hopeful. OK, a lot hopeful. We’ve “taken a break,” “relaxed,” and “not thought about it.” And we’ve prayed. We’ve prayed a lot.
To date, we’ve spent about $6,000 (which is a fraction of what some couples spend) on something that everyone imagines happening during a private, romantic moment in a darkened bedroom. Six thousand dollars with nothing to show for it except acne scars on my jawline, a folder full of receipts, and a Sharps container in the back of the bathroom cabinet.
For more than 1,000 days, our hearts have desired to start a family. And for 1,000 days the Lord has answered, “Not yet.”
Does our struggle sound familiar? There’s a good chance it does: one in eight couples struggle with some type of fertility challenge. I know what it’s like to get your hopes up every month, while at the same time try to downplay just how hopeful you are in an effort to self-preserve. Sitting through baby showers while barely holding back the tears? I’ve been there. Have you ever started your period only to hear on the same day that a friend of yours is pregnant? That’s happened to me at least seven times. I too have hurried past the baby section at Target, hidden my baby boards on Pinterest and steered conversations a different direction when I just wasn’t having a good day. The burden. The hurt. The wait. I know it very well.
Fertile with hope
Even though I don’t see God’s plan in these fertility struggles, I can testify that he has been faithful to send and give encouragement. He has been faithful to fill us with hope. And that his timing is sovereign. In the natural, there is no reason why Kurtis and I shouldn’t be able to get pregnant on our own. And while I know deep down that is amazing news, it makes the waiting that much more excruciating. In the supernatural, God is still readying a few things backstage.
The view from backstage
After 19 years of performing + teaching dance, I’ve spent a fair amount of time “backstage.” Backstage is a chaotic place to be. It’s crowded, props are moving from one wing to the next, barely avoiding collision, teachers waiting on all the dancers, hurried directions from the sound booth to backstage, all for that one moment when everything is in place and the next dance can begin.
I imagine God’s backstage is far more orderly than a dance recital backstage, but the preparations, timing, and precision hold the same purpose.
And that is where I hope to bring encouragement. I hope to encourage those of you who find yourself in the same boat, learning the deep, difficult lessons of totally, completely waiting on God. For those of you who are learning to wait on God as he finishes he work backstage before the next scene of your life begins. For those of you who are fighting the desire to thrash about and try anything, anything, but instead daily, hourly are choosing to walk in God’s timing and trust his goodness.
I also hope to encourage the friends and family members with loved ones walking this fertility journey. I know it’s hard on you as well, but you have such an opportunity to provide hope and support, but done in the right way.
For three years this has been our lesson, and we aren’t done yet. I’ve been quiet until now, so buckle up! I have a lot to share.