Hey friends- thanks for hanging with me this week during National Infertility Week hearing these stories. I hope you’ve had your eyes opened to how common infertility is– touching people in all walks of life. I’m so glad to meet Lauren, a friend of a friend and blog reader this week. I was so excited to learn of her willingness to share with us about her experience. Such bravery in these words below. Keep reading!
Fifty-four. That is the number of months we spent waiting to see a positive pregnancy test. For 1642 days, we carried the feelings of hopelessness, confusion, and sadness while dealing with unexplained infertility.
Our story isn’t unique. The details may be different, but our experience with infertility is a story that one in eight couples, unfortunately, can tell. To someone suffering from infertility or pregnancy loss, you feel less alone and find comfort in knowing that others can relate. But you also feel intense heartache for those who understand the feelings and fears that come with traveling this journey for any length of time.
I think all of us in this community can agree that infertility has taken away so much. But the experience of the past 4 ½ years has propelled my husband and I on a powerful learning journey.
Infertility taught me about marriage.
My husband and I learned to be vulnerable and communicate in ways we wouldn’t have been able to without going through infertility. I got to know him truly as my partner, see him exposed with emotions, and feel his pain in a way I didn’t know existed. He was suffering too and together we could share the grief and care for each other’s hearts better and more intentionally than before.
Infertility taught me about the importance of support systems.
When we decided to be open about our journey, we were overwhelmed by the response. I was amazed by those who hadn’t experienced infertility, but wanted to know how they could show support. Others who had walked this path or were still in the midst of it reached out to offer a shoulder to cry on. Without this critical network, we would have suffered in silence and lived in an even darker, more hopeless place.
Infertility taught me about selflessness.
When we were at our lowest and struggling to figure out how to pay for IVF, we each cried out to God, unbeknownst to the other, to acknowledge we couldn’t do this on our own. It was too much for us to bear and we needed Him. Literally hours later, our best friends stepped up to the call. Knowing we would never ask for help, they took our burden upon themselves. They secretly set up a fundraising account, made large donations, and then asked friends and family to contribute. The exact amount needed for our IVF fee was raised in just over 24 hours. Without this selfless act, we would never know what it was like to hear the heartbeat of our baby. How can you repay that? You can’t. You accept it with grace and use it to fuel compassion and kindness in your life moving forward.
Infertility taught me about God.
I felt betrayed. I was angry and bitter. Starting a family was a noble thing to do, so why were we being punished? Admittedly, my faith wavered. Then, my mother, an oh so wise woman, said something to me that I will never forget: “Lauren. It may be that this isn’t about you.” How dare she suggest that my pain was for someone else’s gain! It isn’t fair for me to hurt, both physically and emotionally, for this long only to have someone else benefit. But then I thought about it – What if my suffering was for the good of someone else? What if a friend was silently watching to how I was handling this trial and because of it moved closer to God? Once I started thinking about it that way, my relationship with Him changed. I started to meditate on the words “Thy will be done.” I understood this hurt may never go away, but I had to accept it and trust that no matter the reason for this painful season of my life, He would bring me through to the other side in some fashion and although I may never know or see it, someone’s life was changed for the better.
After countless tries with alternative medicines, three cycles with Clomid, three medicated IUIs, and one round of IVF, we are navigating a new journey – life after infertility. We are some of the lucky ones. For many, it takes multiple rounds of IVF to conceive. But we accept this blessing with tears and welcome arms.
While I would never wish infertility on anyone, I am a better wife, friend, daughter, and soon-to-be-mother because of it.
I love being awarded the privilege of using #webeatinfertility on my Instagram posts, but I’m not sure claiming we beat infertility is the right choice of words. Infertility will always be part of us.
Even now at almost 15 weeks pregnant, I still feel the pain and heartache of the past 54 months.
I truly believe acknowledging that pain and constantly reminding myself of the honor bestowed on me that I so desperately prayed for will keep me grounded in motherhood and in my journey to live the best life He meant for me.
Lauren is a nonprofit communications professional, native Midwesterner, and a lover of donuts and coffee. She currently lives in the Outer Banks in North Carolina with her husband, Andy, where she spends as much time as she can soaking up the sun on the beach and staying true to her roots by keeping up with her favorite Chicago sports teams.