When I started writing in this space two years ago, it was to share my story of infertility. I have had backlash.
I’ve had others tell me that I shouldn’t be so crass. That I should look over what I’ve went through and focus on the good. I’ve had people pull away and try to remind me of the life I have now.
But that wasn’t the point. I wanted to show the world what it felt like. In that moment. In that place. What it looked like to me in my life. Trying to believe in a God that was faithful when each month was like a slap in the face. What it felt like falling on my face in tears, begging for answers, and then to hear his voice say to me “Be still, and know that I am God. Trust me.”
It’s a messy place, that pit of despair. Where all seems lost and you’re holding on to a threadbare faith. When I wrote No Maybe Baby it was raw and cathartic. It became the voice that I had wanted to speak for so long, but was afraid to because I didn’t think that anyone would understand.
There are a few stories in the bible where we see infertility rear it’s bitter head. I listened to a sermon today where the pastor talked about Abraham and Sarah. If you’re looking for a story on desperation-that’s it. I could see many of the points that the pastor made-that we are never complete unless we are good with Jesus. That it’s God who fills the holes and makes us whole. I see that. I get that. But what I didn’t see in this version of Sarah’s story was compassion. Because here’s the thing-if there’s no one reminding us that Jesus loves us and that he will make all things right in his time, if there’s no one loving on us when we are in that dark place-then we’ve lost that vital piece of compassion and empathy. Abraham and Sarah messed up, big time. But I know what it feels like to be in her shoes-and I can’t imagine what it would have been like then, when your whole world as a woman was locked in bearing a son.
That’s why I have a love/hate relationship with the story of Hannah. She was faithful. She believed. Her husband loved the pudding right out of her. But she was barren. So great was her anguish that when she went to pray at the temple-the priest accused her of being drunk. And I think in a sense she was-drunk on pain. Intoxicated in heartache beyond the point of recognition. And she begged God to give her grace.
Have you ever been there? To that place where you’re hurting so much you are nearly unrecognizable? Our girl Hannah, she was. She was there. She knew what it was to feel like an outcast, even when you’re loved.
Because infertility does that to you.
We don’t hear the infertility stories until they’re “made right”. Do you know what I mean? How many people do you know of who will tell you how long they tried to get pregnant, and are only saying so now because they are or because they’re finally holding that child they so longed for? I can think of countless tales where this is just the case. Or they got pregnant after adopting. You know that one? I’ve heard and read and bore witness to countless stories just as this.
But what of the stories you’ve never heard? Stories like mine. Stories where from the outside it looks as if every child was conceived in love and brought into this world to the arms of two parents who anticipated their arrival for nine months, but a closer look tells a different tale. I love my children. I love them as I believe I would had they been born to me. Had I carried them not just in my heart but under it. And yet I will never be given that option. Mine is not the beautiful story of heartbreak through infertility and then the faithfulness of God when conception and a child finally comes.
Because isn’t that how it’s always said? The faithfulness of God that broke that chain of infertility and brought forth a child?
Is that to say then that God is not faithful to me, because I will never bare witness to this particular miracle?
I will be the first to tell you that I have been bitter. I have been brokenhearted. I have felt that God had forsaken me and I have felt banished from his grace and his faithfulness. So much so that I have wished that I could have been pregnant, just once-even if it were to end in miscarriage, just so that I could know what it felt like to be carrying life.
I think that is probably a selfish thing to ask for. But a part of me feels like maybe it would have lessened the feeling of loss just a bit. Because when you are infertile, it is hard to name the depth of the loss that you feel. It is like a barren black hole that you are desperately trying to climb out of.
And yet, I know that God is faithful. I know that the life he has created for me and my family has been in his master plan for eternity. But this doesn’t mean it doesn’t still hurt. It doesn’t mean that when I watch shows like Fixer Upper on TV and see this family with their four children and their farm and easy love that I’m not saddened, because this is what I had pictured my life to be. And it breaks my heart to know the loss that my children face or will face because they are adopted. And while adoption is a beautiful thing, it is not how family was intended.
So maybe what this all comes down to, this rambling of thoughts and emotions is this: compassion. We all need compassion. No matter our story. No matter our history. No matter our choices or the current place of our hearts. It is compassion that will heal the broken and the hurting. It is compassion that will lead to the cross. It is compassion that is our redemption story. Because no one showed more compassion, than Jesus.
I’m linking up with my dear friend Lisha today over at Give Me Grace.