This past full year has been one of discovery for my husband and me. We’ve struggled with and raged against our infertility and every emotion that comes with it. We see now, though, that in the deepest and darkest valleys, God was there working, guiding, holding us through the tears and fears. We’ve learned more about each other and about ourselves than we ever thought possible, and we’re continually learning that we are ever-changing.
We discovered that grief is necessary. Accepting the infertility as final has been difficult for us. Knowing we’ll never carry and give birth to our own children has been a source of anger and frustration. Sadness over dreams rerouted derailed me from living for a long time. Rage at our Creator for allowing such a devastating ailment to befall us consumed me. Bitterness and jealousy threatened to destroy relationships with good and solid people. Until the notion of grief was tossed at us, we never considered the necessity of moving through the process. Once we had a word for all the emotions coursing through us, we started to deal. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. We allowed ourselves–and each other–to fully feel the emotions running wild. Emotions that were not pleasant, or comfortable or welcome. We allowed ourselves–and each other–to cry, to mourn, to rage, to process. We are allowing ourselves–and each other–to learn and to grow in grace.
We discovered that there is no time line for healing. Once we started allowing ourselves to move through the grieving process, we realized that we can’t rush our way through it, or force it to continue to the next step. Daily we pushed against the mass of emotions and started chipping away the layers of bitterness, anger, guilt, raw pain. The time line for each emotion was defined by the stage we were in, the people who surrounded us, the situation at the moment. Moving through each emotion is painful. We’re still sorting through some.
We discovered that we really do love each other. When we finally opened up to each other and allowed ourselves to deal with the pain, we realized that in spite of the flaws and the broken dreams, we truly have been designed to trek this life together. Infertility has changed who we are as individuals, and yet, every day we continue to choose to love each other. It hasn’t been peaches-and-cream, but it’s been a meat-and-potatoes kind of life; not as sweet and pleasant, but definitely more satisfying.
We discovered that our marriage is stronger than we give it credit for. In a world of broken marriages and homes, Jason and I stand by our vow to choose love, even when it’s uncomfortable and we want to run. We made a commitment to this relationship, and perhaps because of our struggles with infertility, we’ve shown grace and mercy to each other where we see others flee. We’ve been able to show each other raw emotion and intense pain, and when put to the test, our marriage has come out stronger. We can face any struggle, any pain, any heartbreak when we plant our feet and hold each others’ hand.
We discovered that relationships can be fickle. We’ve lost quite a few friendships in the last year. I think people don’t know what to say or how to deal with infertility, because it’s not “normal.” Friendships we thought were solid crumbled at our first sign of weakness. “I’ll pray for you” and “we’ll carry each other’s burdens” turned out to be feel-good catch phrases without any concrete behind them. The people we needed to be solid for us disappeared in the darkest and loneliest time we’ve faced. We’re still learning how to let those relationships go, and thrive in the beautiful friendships God has granted us.
We discovered that we have a lot of love to give. We quit all of our service projects in an attempt to heal, and we learned that our hearts hold more love than we can give to each other. We don’t want to grow old alone; we actually do want a family (not just a baby) to grow and love and with whom to learn. We are not complete unless we are sharing the love God implanted in our hearts. And what better way than to throw ourselves into foster-to-adopt?
We discovered that God will give us the desire of our hearts. If we seek God with all of us, He will give us the desires of our hearts. We’re learning that seeking God sometimes is done in anger, in raging at Him, in pouring out deep, gutteral moments of pain. This is still communication with Him, and He is able to take it and hold us through it. And once we were no longer blinded by that pain, He began to show us that if we could accept His plan, He would line up an amazing journey for us.
We discovered that families can be built in non-traditional ways. We started to seriously consider fostering/adoption after reconnecting to an old friend who had also faced infertility and foster/adoption. It was a time-consuming and difficult decision to come to, and when we finally decided it was the right choice for us, we started to accept our infertility as final. Acceptance has been almost a harder stage to work in than the denial/pain/depression stages. We’re still accepting it. There are moments when I’m overwhelmed with the desire to try the fertility specialist, or the latest conception fad, or when seeing a pregnant woman sparks the twinge of envy. But I’m learning to cling to God in those moments, and remember the love-choice we’ve made. We’re hoping to build our family through foster-to-adopt, and we’re learning that families aren’t just blood.
It’s been a doosy of a year, and we’re looking forward to this next chapter in our lives. We’re choosing to open ourselves to the possible pain and loss that comes with foster care in the hopes that God will bless our lives with adoption. We don’t know where this path will take us, and we don’t know what is coming. We’re nervous and excited and for the first time in our journey through infertility, we’re hopeful. The discovery is just beginning.
Check out our photo shoot!