This post is not my first, and very likely not my last, on infertility. I’ve written about the emotional struggle, about the lies, and about the frustration. Today, I am writing out of a new hope – a hope that, despite the grief and sense of loss that accompanies infertility, God will redeem our barrenness.
Lately, I’ve been searching for others’ stories on infertility. Given that one cannot look at a childless woman and know if that childlessness is by choice or by struggle, infertility so often feels lonely and isolating. I am grateful for others that bravely share their stories.
Two trends emerge in the stories shared: first, many stories are written after-the-fact and feature a happy ending of a beautiful bundle of joy; second, many stories chronicle extensive medical journeys. I’d like to share a third story - in-progress and unresolved - because this is the story we are living, and I want others living this approach to know they are not alone.
Our story involves no needles, no doctors’ offices, and no medical procedures. Instead, it involves a choice to try, quite likely for years, to conceive naturally in every sense of the word. I’d like to share this choice, and this in-progress story, because it’s where we’re living right now, and I have to believe it’s worth sharing.
J and I love each other deeply. We are committed to one another for life. We are each others’ favorite. We are partners, lovers, friends, confidants, and sources of endless support and encouragement to one another. As we’ve talked about starting a family, we’ve assumed that would be a naturally born family. When reality has differed from our assumptions, we’ve grieved, worked through our sense of loss, redefined our commitment to one anther, and learned to walk through this together. We will choose one another every day for the rest of our lives whether or not we ever have naturally born children.
Our deepest conviction around God’s work in our lives through infertility is that we are not to shortchange God, nor try to play God, by going the route of fertility treatments. While we have friends and family that have different convictions and have been blessed by God through the pursuit of medical options for infertility (and we celebrate with them!), our convictions do not lead us to that approach. Our decision to forego fertility treatments is deeply personal, and it is our decision. It’s not the right decision for everyone, and we do not expect everyone to understand our reasons. Nonetheless, the decision remains. Neither of us are remotely interested in being poked, prodded, and analyzed in an area so closely tied to our heart and soul – especially when we do not find the peace of Christ that passes all understanding in our hearts on this approach. I’ve known nothing else in life that has reached so deep into my being and wrecked havoc as the struggle to conceive. I believe the same to be true for J. To be measured and found wanting will do nothing to encourage emotional well-being. To be measured and found adequate will seem a waste of time, effort, and energy as the charge will be to continue doing as we are, and as we would do without any analysis.
And so we choose to continue along this path of loving one another, attempting to procreate, and living our life together. Practically, our approach involves ovulation tracking, standard health checkups, and learning to open our hearts to the possibility of adoption. Spiritually, we are learning to hope and dream and find joy despite an unknown future.
I share this to simply add to the collection of voices sharing the infertility discussion. My hope is others choosing this approach will find encouragement in knowing they are not the only ones choosing this path.