I remember that first fragile moment I wanted to be a mom. Moving from the terror, to the thrill of what a baby would bring. I remember the first day I was no longer scared to become pregnant, but instead felt only wild anticipation for the season of motherhood to begin.
I thought that it was up to me. Up to us—when we would start a family. Most of our friends already kids. Most of them planned their pregnancies. Most of them spaced out their kids just how they wanted them.
So, I thought that’s how it worked. You just decide one day you are ready, toss your round disc of contraceptives like a frisbee into the trash can, and then you get pregnant. And the adventure begins.
But it didn’t happen that way for us.
Instead it would be month after month of negative pregnancy tests. It would mean these 28-day cycles of anticipation and hope, and wondering if this month was “different”…only to be disappointed again by the regular flow of blood. It would mean difficulty and frustration as we waited, and wrestled, and wondered every day, “What is wrong with us?”
I expected to be “expecting” to by now. But instead, I’d see the doors of a minivan slide open, and the kids tumble out. I’d see the teenage girls pushing strollers past my house. I’d hear my friends tell me they had another “oopsies” pregnancy test. I’d sit at baby showers and hear all the “ooh’s” and “ahh’s” over every tiny, little gift and wonder if I would ever have any of my own tiny, little gifts to open. I’d sit in the waiting room of the OB/GYN office and have to ask questions I never thought I’d have to ask. And later I would sit on my bathroom floor in the dark and cry, and wonder, “God, why is this so easy for everyone else–but me?”
For anyone struggling with the quiet grief of infertility, I want you to know that God still works miracles. I can’t promise that He will do a miracle in your womb, but I can promise that He can do a miracle in your heart. He did for me.
See, for so long I was “tolerating” God’s plan for me. But I wasn’t really “embracing” it. I felt angry and frustrated with infertility. I mean, why couldn’t God just make it happen? He seemed to be doing so for everyone else. Sometimes I thought I just needed more faith. Like, if I had more faith…then He would give me a baby. But what I really needed was not more faith, what I need was “surrender.” (Not like a magical potion though. Not like..”If I surrender, then I will get pregnant.” But the kind of “surrender” that chooses to trust God whether or not, He ever gave me a baby.)
I think that surrender is where faith steps out of the prayer closet and starts living, starts breathing. Surrender is when you have the faith that God is giving you what is best, and will always give you what is best in His eyes, for He is wiser than we could ever imagine, and more loving than we could ever conceive. I think I feared to “surrender” so much because I felt like I was giving up. But to truly “surrender” is not to simply give up—it’s to intentionally give over. To God.
It’s this place of coming to say, “God, I have done everything in my power to attain this, and I deeply desire it still. But I realize that I do not have the power to bring it about. Only You have the power. Therefore, I render it to You. Come have Your way in me. I am Yours.”
God didn’t want me to bear the burden of infertililty any longer, He wanted me to let Him carry it. And not only that, but He wanted to carry me as well. For so long I felt like God was withholding something from me, when all along He wanted to give me something infinitely better: Himself.
Looking back, my season of infertility was meant to be a season of intimacy with Him. For, He was holding me as I sat in the waiting room of the doctor’s office, and He was holding me when my friends giggled with their new baby news, and He was holding me on those nights on the bathroom floor as negative tests sat in the trash can. And, those were some of our closest most intimate times together.
I can honestly say, I wouldn’t trade them for anything.
Because those moments of grief, those moments of weakness, where my body failed, and my heart gave out, were the moments when God came close. When He showed me He was real. And that He was enough, so much more than enough–even if I never got my heart’s desire.
I needed to trust Him even when my womb was barren and my hands were empty. I needed to stop worshiping with clenched fists—and slowly, begin to open my hands, and my arms, and my heart to Him and all that He had for me. Because no one can receive from Him with clenched fists, but only open hands.
And I did this by thanking Him. I thanked Him that He was in control of my life, and my womb, and if, or when I would ever become a mom. I began thanking Him for everything about my situation–even if I didn’t understand it. Because, I trusted that He did understand it. And the more I thanked Him for even the difficult things, and things I didn’t understand–the more good I saw in it. And the more joy I found in it. It was like all the color rushed back into my world. Because, I could see God everywhere. And where He was, beauty was with Him.
And through this thankfulness for the difficulty, I stopped merely “tolerating” God’s plan, and started “embracing” it. I know it sounds crazy, but I actually found pleasure in it. Because I knew I was exactly where He wanted me to be, and if He wanted me to become a mom, it would be in His time and in His way.
For the one who expected to be “expecting” by now, put your expectation on Him. He will never fail you. As you wait, you may have a barren womb, but your heart and your spirit do not have to be barren anymore. I can’t promise life will enter your womb, but I can promise life will enter your heart, as you open your arms wide in surrender, and worship, and joy to the One who can birth something greater in you than you could ever imagine.