Sunday, November 06, 2011

On the other side of infertility

We were driving home along some back country roads when I suddenly felt carsick.   I told Geary to hurry and get home because I thought I was going to throw up.  He gave me a look and said, "You're pregnant."  I guffawed,  "No way."  But then my mind started calculating dates and I realized that my period was indeed late.    

"Impossible!" I told myself.  We had discussed this.  I was done being pregnant.  Our family was moving out of the baby stage.  Oh yes, we still hoped to adopt, but not until Miles was older...not for a few years at least.   I thought about the diapers and the sleepless nights and the mushy brain disorder that came with having an infant.  This was not what I wanted.

And then I took a home pregnancy test.  When the single line appeared showing a negative result I was relieved at first.  But then I felt like my heart was ripped in half.  The tears started flowing and I felt so empty and hopeless inside.  What in the world?  Where were these emotions coming from?  Hadn't I just told myself I was done and ready to move out of the baby stage?  Why then did I feel such deep anguish?  It was extremely confusing.

I hid all these feelings and thoughts in my heart for a few days.  I wanted to tell someone but I didn't really know what I was telling.  Was I disappointed?  Did I want another baby?  No...I really, honestly, am ready to move into the next phase of family life.  Goodbye diapers.  Goodbye cribs and bibs and pacifiers.   I kept silent, even with Geary, letting my heart and mind wade through all the confusing feelings.

My period started the day after I took the pregnancy test.   And the day after that three different friends announced their own pregnancies.  I was elated for them!  But those familiar pangs of  "Why does she get to be pregnant and I don't?" started drumming loudly, adding to my confusion.  I wasn't really jealous...not anymore.  But those dormant feeling and memories were there, ready to be brought to the surface if I wanted to revisit them.

And that's when it dawned on me.  Maybe my body was just reacting/responding to a situation it had been through so many times.  Maybe my brain saw a negative pregnancy test and then sent out the cues to the rest of my body, "Oh, now it's time for heartbreak!  Time to start crying!"   What if I had simply, inadvertently, trained my body to respond with grief over a negative pregnancy test.  Yes, I think that's it.

You see, even though I'm now on the "other side" of infertility, it still has a profound impact on my life.  I can never not remember the sadness and frustration of wanting more babies but having an empty womb month after month...for years.  I can never forget the grief of my miscarriages.  I will probably always feel a little twinge every time a friend announces a pregnancy.   It's part of my story.  It's part of me. 

I don't really have a point or a neat way to wrap this post up.  I just wanted to put it out there that even though I now have three amazing sons and even though I'm finally not trying to be pregnant, this issue is still deeply ingrained in me.  I am thankful for the way God has used my infertility to change me, to give me more sensitivity, to draw me close to him.  I am thankful for the way I got to meet Jesus, the real Jesus, in the midst of suffering and loss.  I am thankful to be part of a sisterhood who understands how one single pink line can throw a body into a fit of sobbing.  

I know that some readers of this blog have also or are now currently dealing with infertility.  I want you know that my heart aches with yours.  I want you to know that even though our stories aren't the same, I am intimately acquainted with some of the feelings and thoughts that you have.  I want you to know that you are not alone and that I believe that even though there is sorrow now, joy is coming.  And I want you to know that I am always willing to pray for you and stand in the gap when you feel like you don't have the strength to keep hoping.  Also, you are welcome to borrow my ears if you ever need to talk about it.


  1. I hear ya... I've wrestled with this for years... it feels like every single person I know is pregnant right now... and with each one I feel a similar stab, but like you - I am done being pregnant... don't really want to be any more or go through all the emotions you wrote about with young ones, but I still feel that "feeling" and if I don't stop myself - I can go down a dangerous road! Thanks for sharing these words... felt like I could have written them myself! Hugs to you!

  2. More hugs to you, my favorite Jeana. I love it when you share your soul.

  3. I have often commented to Steve how once one has walked the road of infertility, it is always a part of who we are...thanks for sharing your heart and your perspective.


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