I have learned so many lessons over the last few years. Infertility has taught me a lot about myself, about my marriage, and about life in general. While our journey is not over, I figure I’ll learn even more along the way, but I felt like sharing some of the lessons I’ve learned so far.
1. Patience. Oh boy, have I learned patience. Patience is not an easy lesson to learn and one that I will probably continually learn. I have learned to wait. I have learned that I can’t have what I want, when I want it. I have learned that working toward patience is painful and, for me, against my will. I didn’t plan on gaining patience. It’s really not something you plan. It’s more like something God throws you into and you either sink or swim.
2. Trust in God. When everything you wanted is withheld from you, you learn to either trust or hate. You either trust that God will provide and see you through or you despise Him for the struggle. I decided to trust. It hasn’t been easy or fun all the time, but trusting makes it doable. We wanted a child of our own a couple years ago, but have had to trust that it wasn’t the right time. I can look back now and see that God protected us several times. I can’t imagine how hard and how much we would be struggling financially with a child. We are paying off debts now and by the time we have a baby, we should be nearly debt free and things will be easier. I truly believe putting my trust in God has made this bearable and helped me look back and not be bitter.
3. A Strong, Loving Marriage. Infertility makes you step back and look at your marriage with a different perspective. You look at it and go, is being married enough? As in, if we never have children, is being married to this man for the rest of my life enough? It sounds harsh, but it makes you look and think that way. You honestly start to ponder whether you are ok with the possibility of never having children and you have to reevaluate your motives and your choices. I can honestly say that being married to Mitch is enough. Yes, I want children. I want a family. But, I also have a “family”. It may not be the typical “family”, but it’s mine and I love it. Mitch and I love each other, with or without children. The strength and love we share is not based on whether we have children. It’s based on a foundation set in Christ, an incredible friendship, and a choice to love each other no matter what. We have a foundation that has weathered some crazy things and, I truly believe, will stand the test of time. Now, because of this strength, we want to have children that we can love and nurture. We want to share our love with a family of our own. I think we will continue to work toward a family, whether through adoption or natural, until we are too old to do so. I believe we will one day have children, but I can’t let that determine our relationship. We have to work and grow together, both despite and because of our circumstances. I love Mitch and he loves me. Honestly, that’s what makes our marriage work and will continue to do so, no matter how our infertility situation changes or doesn’t change.
4. Who My Real Friends Are. I know that sounds cliche, but when you go through something tough, like infertility, that lasts a long time, you start to learn who really cares about you and who doesn’t. Real friends make sure that you’re ok in a situation that involves a newborn or a pregnancy. They make sure that you aren’t completely blindsided by a pregnancy announcement. They give you space to be upset if needed. They invite you to baby showers and meet the newborn parties with a care and concern that they understand if you don’t want to come and that they love you beyond that. They understand when you distance yourself from them because it hurts too much. Also, real friends only bring up pregnancy stuff when you bring it up. They don’t shove it in your face and act like their lives are the only thing important. They love you when you are mad and upset that another month brings another negative. Essentially, they love you through the good, bad, ugly, painful, beautiful, triumphant, and angry moments and never think twice. They let you know that it’s ok to grieve every month if needed and to talk about it, even when it’s awkward. Real friends are sometimes the people you may only talk to in passing every Sunday at church or the people whose shoulder you cry on every month. Never judge a book by its cover or a friend by their appearance. I believe you have to go through fire to see who you’re real friends are.
5. Life’s Not Fair. While we always hear this growing up and on a regular basis, some life situations sort of smack that realization in your face. Before infertility, it had never crossed my mind how many people get pregnant and don’t really want the baby they have been blessed with. It’s sad and disheartening. I want a baby so bad, yet I am denied. I won’t go any further into this topic, but infertility has made it blatantly clear that life isn’t fair.
I think I’ll stop here for now. There are more, but these are the main ones that I have been really struck with lately. I would be thrilled to get pregnant at any time, but if it takes a little while longer I’m okay with that too. We are working incredibly hard to pay off debt so that we can bring a child into the best possible situation. I know God’s timing will be perfect. I will rest in His grace and love for now and work toward our current goals. This isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. I truly believe that our little miracle will happen, but I have some more lessons to learn and more growing to do. One day, one lesson, one moment at a time.