By Kristina Pickett
Infertility is an interesting journey. There is often a lot of pain, heart ache, and sorrow dealing with the loss of what you desperately want and dream for yourself and your family. For my
husband and me, our story of infertility on the surface is like the journey that so many (1 in 8 in fact) have dealt with. It took 3 years, 3 doctors, and 7 procedures ending with in-vitro fertilization before we finally conceived our son. This is our story of miracle and faith. How my husband and I
dealt with this trial is personal and unique to us, and hopefully what we learned can help others dealing with their own difficult times.
Infertility is hard because it is completely out of your control. It can lead to loneliness, confusion,
hurt feelings, and grief over the loss of what could have been. At times you feel angry, frustrated, and tired of the whole thing. There are so many moments of hope that “this time, it will work”, only to be crushed time and time again. It’s easier to give up hope rather than to face that disappointment yet again. We at times felt all of these things and faced some serious questions. “Why me?” “Does anyone really even care about me?” and “Where is God through all this?” Clearly if God wants a baby to be born, he can make it happen. Look at the examples in the Bible of Mary the mother of Jesus, her cousin Elizabeth, Hannah, Rachel, Sarah and Abraham. They all got pregnant under miraculous circumstances. Why couldn’t we?
In general, I am a happy and optimistic person. I grew up in a home that taught me to look for the positive in life in whatever circumstance life gives. In fact, every morning no matter the weather my cheerful dad would wake up, look out the window and say, “Wow, isn’t it a beautiful day?” It drove us crazy. Over time though, I began to see the joy that comes when life is viewed this way. So when I had these natural but negative thoughts, it was hard for me to face. For the first time, I began to see the world through the lens of despair and doubt, rather than love and light. These are the thoughts that, when left to their own demise, could completely overtake my mind. In my heart of hearts, I knew there is a God, and that He is completely aware of each of us. I knew in my soul that no matter what, I could find joy, peace, and purpose regardless of circumstances. But there is a difference between believing these things, and really understanding and knowing them. This then became our journey- finding peace, purpose, and joy in our moment of hopelessness, heartache, confusion, and sorrow.
This peace did not come overnight. It did not come through one prayer. We studied the scriptures, prayed, and listened to our church leaders for guidance and comfort. Slowly, not unlike a sunrise, the light began to shine on our lives and our thoughts began to change. Instead of “God can make miracles happen, why not us?” we thought, “If Heavenly Father has the ability to help a woman conceive under miraculous circumstances, there must be a reason why we are not getting pregnant. What can we learn from this?” Instead of, “Why me?” I thought, “why not me? God knows me and my capabilities. He’s got my back. I can do this”. All of these thoughts helped us to see that God was in charge. Knowing that He was in charge gave us peace that He did have a plan. We were able to put aside some of that fear, heartache, and sorrow and replace it with trust, hope, and confidence in the Lord and in his timing. Instead of looking at my life as empty and childless, I began to see it as beautiful and full. Sure we didn’t have a baby, but I had a wonderful husband whom I desperately loved. We began to travel and to pick up hobbies together that we wouldn’t have otherwise. We began to see our love as a true miracle and blessing.
When we made these realizations, God’s purpose and love began to be manifest wherever we looked. For example, I was lucky enough to work as a speech-language pathologist for parents with children (ages 0-3) with mild to severe disabilities and delays. I worked in the family's homes, offering parent coaching, love, and guidance in a time of potential stress and fear for these families. I made the choice to find joy in this capacity, and to soak it up for all it was worth. And hopefully I made a difference in these young lives.
Additionally, my husband and I chose to serve in our church. This enabled us to look outside of ourselves and our own circumstances and turn our focus to others and their needs. We learned firsthand about the paradox of the gospel: that “he who loses his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 16:25). These and many others were all blessings given to us from the Lord. Overall, instead of turning our hearts from the Lord in bitterness, we drew closer together and closer to Him. I will say that we did not feel peace and optimism all the time. We definitely still had moments of doubt and despair. But through a little effort on our part and a lot of power and grace of God, we were able to see the trial as a lesson to be learned from, not an event to destroy us or our faith.
They say that hindsight is 20/20. As we look back on our experience, we can now see that while the miracle we prayed for wasn’t there initially, there were miracles all around. My husband was in graduate school, and because I was able to work at the University he was at, he could focus on his education rather than working extra to make up the costs. We never struggled finding the money to pay for our many procedures, it always seemed to be there. And most miraculously,
through a series of unexpected events, we became one of the very last couples to qualify for a medical study that covered almost all of the costs for our in-vitro fertilization procedure, equivalent to approximately $15,000 or more. If it weren’t for this, we would have had to wait for years until we could earn the money necessary to move forward. Because of God’s miracles, including the miracle of modern medicine, we are now blessed with a beautiful boy. It didn’t come in the way we expected, but our miracle came.
Sometimes stuff happens that we can’t control. Sometimes life events don’t make sense. However, through our experience with infertility, we learned that with a positive attitude and focusing on the good in life rather than the bad, we had a beautiful life. We may not be able to change our circumstance, but we can change how we view and respond to what happens. In doing this, we can find joy, peace, and purpose, regardless if people believe in God or not. For us though, we believe that God was aware of us and our circumstance. He trusted us, and through him we knew that we could handle it. All things are possible through him and miracles do happen, even if it doesn’t come in the manner or timing we expect. We know that as we submit our will to his and trust in him, all things will work out for our good.
If you find yourself in a similar experience where your life events just don’t make sense, my husband and I sincerely encourage you to trust God to lead you through your difficulty. Have faith in Him that He loves you, is aware of your circumstances, and wants to bless you. He will inspire you to find solutions, and you can help by acting on the spiritual promptings and impressions you receive.