Earlier this year I was visiting with a sweet friend who had just received news that her first donor egg IVF cycle didn't work. She was of course devastated and unsure of what to think. We cried over the sadness of it all, laughed over the ridiculous stuff we go through, and wondered where one goes from here. But one thing she said to me, through tears, that has haunted me ever since was this... "Do you ever think, that maybe I don't deserve to have a baby?"
Those words broke my heart. My initial thought was, how could you think that?! Of course you deserve it! But as the hours passed, and even days later, I still found myself thinking about it. Because the truth is, all of us infertiles have felt this way at one time or another. Maybe it was only a fleeting thought, but I doubt there's anyone out there dealing with infertility that's never found themselves asking this very question. Do I even deserve to be a mom?
Well I could go on for pages and pages arguing that no one really deserves to be a mom. So maybe "deserve" is the wrong word. But it's so very easy to trap ourselves in this way of thinking. A woman can't help but feel a sense of shame when her body's not able to do the very thing it was created to do. Infertility is found all over the Bible and with it lots of sorrow, ridicule, jealousy, anger, and disbelief. "Shame" hardly covers it. Some chapters even speak of God closing a woman's womb for one reason or another... so it's no big surprise that we all find ourselves asking if we have done something wrong here. Am I being punished somehow?
Girls, please don't believe this lie. It's nothing short of the devil's work. His #1 mission is to turn our hearts away from God and he'll use anything to plant these lies in our fragile minds. It could be something as simple as a well-meaning friend saying, "well, maybe it isn't meant to be." And the thought festers and festers and we start questioning our every action. Am I wasting my time and money here? There must be a reason I'm not getting pregnant. God must be angry with me. What did I do wrong? Does God even hear me?
I know we all have asked these questions and some of us have struggled to find answers. Well, here's what I believe... God doesn't use infertility to punish us. And God doesn't use fertility to reward us. We live in a broken world and people will continue to have babies - people who "deserve" them (by our own standards) and people who don't. But I do know that God uses infertility to grow our faith. He uses it (and any other big struggle in life - you fill in the blank) to draw us closer to Him. C.S. Lewis wrote that "God whispers in our pleasures, but shouts in our pain."
My husband and I are still in the thick of the battle, but I can faithfully say that this journey has already blessed us. I have been connected with other women struggling - people I never would've come across otherwise. God has placed some amazing people in my life to walk along with as we fight on. And He has opened my heart in tremendous ways. I grew up in a Christian home and have always been surrounded by the church, but never before has my faith been on fire like it has been over the last five years. And of course there are ups and downs, even in the good seasons, but I know my God is on this journey with me. It's not about whether I deserve this or not. He knows the desires of my heart because he placed them there, and He hurts along with me. I believe that God has not only used infertility to grow my own faith, but the faith of others as well. Throughout the Bible, God continually uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things. He works through people. I never would've chosen this path for us, but if God wants to use this journey to do a great work in me and possibly others, how can I not praise Him for that?
I certainly don't presume everyone believes what I believe. Whatever you believe, please don't let anyone make you feel like you somehow don't deserve to have a child. Look around you - it's obviously not a qualification for parenthood! But if you do find yourself completely consumed with this lie... even if it's just one random night in bed when you're trying to fall asleep... try calling on Jesus to kick the devil's ass to the curb. I honestly have to do this a lot. And it works every time.
Truth: If infertility is part of your story, remember it's just that. It's part of your story, not your entire story. God can see the bigger picture and he does not make us wait without reason. So continue to seek Him and praise Him and know that He has incredible blessings in store for you.
Please click here for more myth-busting posts and more information on National Infertility Awareness Week.
For more general information on infertility, please visit Resolve.