April 23-29 is National Infertility Awareness Week, #NIAW. The theme this year is Listen Up, and I thought I’d share a bit of my story.
I call infertility the sorority no woman wants to join. When my doctor explained that the pelvic pain and irregular periods I was having was most likely PCOS, polycystic ovaries, I was naive. He sat me down and talked for 45 minutes about his wife’s experience with endometriosis. He let me know there was a good chance that I would not conceive on my own. When it was time to leave, he made sure I knew that he wasn’t the final say. He had a strong faith, and he gave me tips on what to do.
I didn’t feel the reality of the diagnosis right away because I was engaged. I was busy preparing for a wedding, so the impact didn’t hit immediately. But like the forbidden fruit, I never really considered motherhood until there was a chance I might not experience it.
Once we were married, it became an obsession.
My full story is included in the book, A WALK IN THE VALLEY, so I’m limited in what I can share. But for those of you that know us now, we have two kids together. Most people don’t know as newlyweds, my husband had to learn how to inject progesterone in my backside. He was so nervous he often hit muscle, and that left me bedridden. The pelvic pain was so bad that I needed surgery, and they discovered my ovaries were 5x the normal size. I have a high tolerance for pain to this day because of it.
I left conferences that focused on parenting, and I had the shaky-lip-trying-not-to-cry at church when moms had to stand up on Mother’s Day to receive their flowers. It was more than an ache. It was a cavern of pain.
In posts earlier this week I shared infertility etiquette, and I made mistakes, too. I shared with people who couldn’t handle my reality and their responses or lack of one made things worse. I hid. I felt so “less than” that I shut my husband out most nights, hiding upstairs as soon as dinner was over. I was attached to the internet, looking at all forums and articles that had anything to do with infertility. It wasn’t healthy and only kept my anger in a spiral.
If you are going through infertility, my prayer is that you don’t isolate yourself or use your computer as your only source of hope. I am not being commercial in recommending A WALK IN THE VALLEY, I truly believe in this book and wish I had it back when I was hurting. It contains my entire story from diagnosis to where I am today, but it also includes five other authors who share their entire stories. Not one of us has the same experience, so it is a transparent, comprehensive look at infertility.
If you need someone to talk to, I’m not a counselor, but feel free to contact me.
My prayers are with you.
Struggling with infertility? As a Christian, how do you work through the hurt, anger, frustration, pain, and sorrow? Where is God’s hope and joy?
This devotional workbook features the stores of real women, and helps you reflect on your experiences via journaling prompts, prayer exercises, and Scripture. Explore topics such as: *infertility testing *diagnosis *decision making *infertility treatment *miscarriage and pregnancy *pregnancy and childbirth after infertility *remaining childless *adoption *foster care, child sponsorship, and orphan hosting *and healing emotionally.
Written by six women who have completed their journey through infertility. Some eventually conceived and gave birth, others adopted, and others remain childless. But all of them have found peace in the loving arms of God. And you can too.