Today marks my 9th wedding anniversary.
Eight of those years Kevin and I have struggled with infertility.
I'm in awe that our marriage survived, even more in awe that it's thriving today.
I say this because like my fellow infertile couples know all too well-- there's a harsh push and pull that comes with the inability to have kids when you want to have kids. And when a season of infertility keeps going and going without end, it can be one of those life events that can lead you to end it all.
For in infertility, there's the leaning toward, "Is it your fault or mine?" And layers of hurt that fester below the surface . . .
There's the question of "Will you still love me if I can't give you what you want?" And there's the renegotiating of your relationship as potentially a childless couple . . .
And there's the devastation of hearing a doctor say again, "You aren't pregnant again." And figuring out how to go on living with a drained bank account and a heart full of a lot less hope. . .
These marriage moments are like sharp daggers to even the most committed couples.
They were for us.
Though we started out with all the best of intentions on October 27, 2007 -- with promises made to one another and to God in front of all our family and friends and with shared faith to anchor us -- we still fell. We fell hard to the sentence of infertility.
(I'll spare you the raw details in this blog post. But if you want to read them, check out my memoir which is soon to be released, Birthed)
But we didn't break our vows because even on the darkest nights (really the darkest nights) we fought for each other. We surrounded ourselves with a community of people who taught us how to fight for each other.
And we never said, "If we get through this . . . " we always said, "When we get through this. . ."
I believe that no marriage is perfect. All marriages go through rocky patches where you might love each other, but you don't like being around each other. And all marriages experience huge speed bumps (like infertility was for us) that cause a re-evaluation of everything that you counted on as gospel.
But if you're willing to stick through it -- even when it's not easy, marriage can be such a gift to your life. It has been for Kevin and me.
I don't want to be one of those people who glosses over hard times with a fairy dusted paintbrush saying, "Oh, wasn't that wonderful? What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."
Because hear me say loud and clear -- infertility sucks!
But, I can tell you that like any difficult season, Kevin and I are a more deeply committed husband and wife because of infertility. We're more attuned parents to our daughter because of infertility. We've got a bigger vision of the children around the world that God wants us to parent because of infertility.
Infertility has given our marriage and home life something special that we could have gotten from no other experience.
I'm so grateful to be on this journey with you, Kevin Hagan. You are one amazing man. Cheers to nine years and more to come! I'm so glad to be your wife.