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Sounds like a contradiction, doesn’t it?
But wait – I meant to type that. Infertility is a blessing.
Don’t get me wrong. Infertility is not easy – by no means. It’s tough – and painful – very, very painful – but it is a blessing.
When a couple experiences infertility, it is often heartbreaking, but there is so much we can learn. Stephen and I are coming up on another “infertility anniversary” – a date that marks just how long it’s really been for us with no pregnancies. Each time a signifigant date comes and goes, I tend to get introspective about it.
One thing I have learned is how much of a miracle each child really is. If we would have conceived immediately like we anticipated, I wonder if I would have seen my child as the miracle she really was. But instead – I see how hard it can be to bring a child home – and I see the miracle that is my son. After waiting and longing for so long, the end result is much sweeter. I look at my Little man every day and wonder how I was blessed with such an incredible child.
Another thing I have learned is how to relate to others in their pain. While we were struggling with a discouraging diagnosis and month after month after month of failure, there were many people that tried to “console” us. During that time, I learned many things not to say. Things like:
“Just adopt, you’ll get pregnant” – it doesn’t work that way. Only 5% of couples who adopt go on to conceive within a year.
“Just relax” – probably the #1 most despised comment for infertile couples worldwide. Relaxing won’t cure other medical conditions like diabetes or cancer or a broken bone – so why do people think that relaxing will cause me to ovulate? That’s a medical condition too.
“You’re still young” or “You have plenty of time” or “Don’t rush it” – Age or length of time married has absolutely no weight when a person longs for a child. Whether a couple has been trying for 11 months or 11 years – the pain is still there either way. Whenever conception is expected and doesn’t happen, there is still dissapointment regardless of the length of time trying.
What did I learn from all that? Mostly – not to minimize another’s pain. Just because I don’t think they should be hurting or that their pain is not signifigant – it is to the person experiencing it. I am not walking in their shoes, so it is not my place to judge them. Things that may seem like no big deal to me might be a crisis to somebody else.
I also learned that fertility is not a given. If we had conceived immediately, we probably would not have pursued adoption when we did, which means we probably wouldn’t have Little man. Would I have cherished my other children as much as I cherish him? Or would I have taken them for granted?
Most importantly, though, I wonder if I would have come to know Christ as my personal Savior if I hadn’t gone through infertility. I needed to see that even fulfilling my longing for a child was not enough to fill that void in my life. I had lived a life of religion for so long, ignoring the fact that I was truly lost. If it weren’t for infertility – and our becoming parents later than we had planned – would I have made the connection? Would I have admitted that even being a mother wasn’t what I needed? I don’t know.
See – infertility IS a blessing! Many painful lessons learned, but still, a tremendous blessing.