Finding Joy and Peace in the Midst of Infertility
Guest Post by Kelly Todd
This week is National Infertility Awareness Week.
According to the CDC 15% of couples struggle to build a family. When I was a teenager I discovered that I would more than likely be one of these statistics. An emergency appendectomy at 15 revealed that my previous cancer surgeries as an infant had diminished my ability to carry a child. Even though I was devastated with the news, I wasn’t hopeless. I knew that we serve a God who is bigger than a doctor’s diagnosis. As I was sitting there in the hospital bed looking out the window, adoption came to mind. I didn’t know how and I didn’t know when, but I knew one day that adoption would be a part of my story.
Obbie and I were married in the summer of 2012.
We began trying to conceive shortly after he put the wedding band on my finger. Even though we knew our chances of conceiving were nearly impossible, we were confident that if God wanted to heal my body He could. We had vividly seen His miraculous power at work in my life many times before, as He healed me of cancer multiple times, open-heart surgery and other illnesses. Our faith, hope and trust in the Lord kept moving us forward through every negative pregnancy test. But not without tears. And sometimes not without doubt, bitterness and anger. With every negative pregnancy test, it became confusing and frustrating why God would place a desire in our hearts to parent. When many of our friends were getting pregnant “without even trying” it became increasingly harder to trust His plan for growing our family. But that’s what we did. We cried together. We prayed together. We extended kindness, patience and grace towards each other. And we continued loving one another through the darkest storms. And then we got pregnant.
I carried our sweet baby for only a short time on this earth.
I remember the pain of walking out of the bathroom into my husband’s arms as I delivered to him what felt like a death sentence. I was so confused and angry at God because I didn’t understand why He would allow me to pregnant if we weren’t going to get to keep our baby. I spent hours in bed drenching my pillows in tears and Obbie held me. Sometimes we would lay there for hours without one word spoken. What could be said? No words could heal the brokenness and sadness that were suffocating our heart. No words could bring our baby back. And in that moment no words could help make sense of the pain.
There was a darkness in our home.
And if I can be honest it I felt like a storm was brewing deep within my heart. I hadn’t realized it, but with each negative pregnancy test I had allowed lies from the enemy to creep into the crevices of my heart and mind, penetrating my thoughts about God, myself and our marriage. “You are less of a woman because you can’t get pregnant, Kelly. You aren’t complete because you can’t conceive. You will never be a mother. You will never be able to give your husband a child.”
However, God brought us through the storm. It wasn’t an easy journey, but we grieved together and kept talking to God and others about our loss. We realized our loss is never something we will “get over”, but it is something the Lord has faithfully brought us through. Even though I may never be able to conceive, the Lord has brought our hearts to a place of peace and acceptance. I recognize that this is not of our own doing; this is a gift from the Lord. I remember when I was younger dealing with medical complications associated with having cancer as a baby. I would pray every day that God would heal my body so that I could be “normal” like all the other kids. And He did. He just did it in a different way than I expected. You see, he healed my heart to be at peace with my circumstances. And He did the same with our infertility. He healed our hearts to be at peace with our circumstances. And for that, He gets all the glory. We felt so much hopelessness in our infertility and so much hope throughout our adoption journey. I’m not implying that adoption is easy, as any one who has adopted will tell you that adoption is not for the faint of heart. But God was faithful just as He has always been and provided exactly what we needed in His perfect timing.
When I look into our children’s beautiful brown eyes, my heart is filled with gratitude.
Not a day goes by where the hymn, “Great is Thy Faithfulness” isn’t sung over my children. And I hold tight to the truths that come across my lips as I sing that song. I pray my children will love that hymn as much I do. And I pray they will see the Lord’s faithfulness in their own journey as I have. As I write this, the twins are eating lunch in their high chairs giggling and laughing at each other. I know that had we not gone through what we went through we wouldn’t have our sweet little ones. And I can’t imagine our family without them, nor would I want to.
When I was drowning in my circumstances I couldn’t imagine the joy that I feel in my heart today.
I could never imagine what a life of freedom from the bondage and lies that tormented and crippled my heart because of my infertility. But God was faithful. God had not forgotten us. Even through the pain and tears of every negative pregnancy test, He was right there holding our hand. If I could have only seen the beautiful plans that would unfold for our family, perhaps that would have made it easier to trust; then again that would require little faith. And I think we would have missed out on growing closer to God and each other.
I can’t promise you that your journey will be easy.
I can’t promise you that your life will unfold like you imagine. I can’t promise you that one day you will get pregnant. But, I can with full assurance tell you that we serve a good and faithful Father who loves you more than you could possibly comprehend. And I can without hesitation tell you that as you are walking through the valleys, Christ will be the One who sustains you. When you become overwhelmed by your momentary circumstances don’t look around you for answers, look up and fix your eyes on Christ the author and perfecter of your faith.
To the women struggling with infertility, you are not defined by your inability to conceive.
You are not less of a woman. You are not incomplete. You are made whole through the precious blood that Christ shed for you on the cross. And nothing and no one will ever be able to take His place in your heart. Cling to that truth and hold fast to His promises.