Wednesday, July 13, 2011

From Her Heart to Yours: A Letter From Someone Struggling With Infertility

I asked a dear friend of mine to share on my blog today. She has chosen to remain anonymous, because she, like so many others who are dealing with infertility, has not told very many people about her struggle. I have learned so much from her, and I know you will as well. Please remember her in your prayers as she and her husband continue their struggle. Thanks again, friend, for being willing to share your heart with us.

If you’ve never struggled with true infertility, then you don’t know what it’s like. You don’t know the emotional pain that comes with every seemingly innocent comment – when a friend laments about the heartache she experienced when it took her six months to get pregnant, when someone tells you how natural you look holding a friend’s baby, when someone asks when you’re going to provide grandchildren or great-grandchildren, when your family comments about you providing the next generation. If you have never struggled with infertility, do not assume that those around you are not struggling with it. Be aware of what you say, please. 

Please do not ask your married friends when they’ll be having children. You may not know that they’ve been trying for years already. And when you make those sorts of comments, you only metaphorically slap them in the face, reminding them of what they view as a failure – even though they have no control over it. And I know that doesn’t make sense, but that’s how they view it – as a personal failure.

However, there is hope. Believe me, I’m struggling to find it, but I know it’s there. My husband and I have been trying for three years to have children. Two years ago, I was diagnosed with low progesterone levels (the hormone that makes you ovulate) and put on fertility pills. I underwent surgery almost a year ago to diagnose and remove endometriosis (a type of scar tissue that essentially poisons your eggs when you do ovulate). My most recent diagnosis was PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), an insulin-related disease that affects, among other things, your ovulation hormones and also creates cysts on your ovaries.

If you’ve never experienced it, I can’t describe the heartache associated with infertility. My husband has tried to express to me his fears associated with the man’s ability to produce children. I know it’s true, and I know society seems to focus a lot on a man’s ability to have children. However, in our case, it’s my fault. At least, that’s how I view it. I’m the reason we can’t have kids. I’m the one letting my husband, my friends, and my family down. It’s my failure. And even while I try to assure myself that I have no control over these problems aside from seeking assistance to “fix” them, I still see it as a failure, and a heartbreaking one.

However, in the midst of all this, God still knows what I need. I’ve asked God why. I’ve wondered why I have all these problems. I’ve asked Him repeatedly why unmarried friends are able to have children while I can’t bring a child into a loving marriage. I’ve struggled with watching my friends get pregnant, repeatedly sometimes, in the time I’ve tried to have children. And through it all, I’ve asked God why His timing doesn’t seem to fit with mine. I’ll be honest – I struggle, daily, in my faith with Him regarding my infertility, because I simply do not yet understand His plan for it all. But He knows what I need. Through each stage of my infertility, He’s provided someone who has been there before. Even without knowing about my infertility, two of my cousins recounted their struggles with infertility and fertility pills during a family get-together. God knew I needed to hear it. God provided me a wonderfully supportive friend who urged me to ask the doctor about endometriosis. And in my diagnosis of PCOS, God has given me a dear friend who suffers from the same thing, and through her I have hope – she has three beautiful, healthy children.

If you are struggling with infertility, know that you are not alone. You may not understand God’s plan or timing, but you don’t need to right now (and that’s hard for me to accept!). For now, pray that He will give you a support system through this struggle. I know that the Holy Spirit is the Great Comforter, but God knows I also need that tangible human who can hug me and audibly tell me that it will be all right. Perhaps that’s what you need to get through this struggle without falling into despair. Whatever you need, God knows it – and He may provide it without you even realizing it.

Isaiah 55:8 - "'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the LORD."

A huge thank you to my friend for sharing her heart. Our struggles are different (I've never struggled with infertility) but I'm so thankful the Lord has brought us together through our different kinds of pain. I'm praying for you, sweet friend. 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing this, Lindsey.... please thank your friend. Knowing God is in control and that he is the Great Comforter...this is such a wonderful truth.