Infertility was an invisible enemy to me for years. Invisible because no one could tell when I walked down the street that I was suffering with childlessness and a womb refusing to grow my babies.
When my husband and I were struggling to get pregnant, I didn’t talk about it much. I was in denial, so the emotional pain burrowed deep in me, creating a dull ache.
Until one night after a heated conversation with my husband, I retreated to the garage to do laundry. Emotions welled up that had been burrowed with no place to go. I wasn’t brave enough to take my tears inside, so I pulled myself up on top of the washing machine and cried.
He found me. He looked at me, waiting for me to uncover my face and talk to him.
“I’m sorry. I know I act like it doesn’t affect me, but it does,” I said.
He listened, holding me and letting me bleed a little bit. With time, I learned that being honest about the pain I was feeling was healthier than stuffing it inside.
As we tried to get pregnant, our list of potential baby names was very short.
I don’t know who brought it up, but we both agreed on the name Brooklyn. We decided the “lyn” would honor our mothers whose middle names were both Lynn.
It was a relief because even though we were having trouble growing our family, at least we agreed on one name, and that was a start.
My hopes were dashed on a Sunday night when my pregnant sister-in-law sent an ultrasound picture. She was growing a healthy baby girl due in a few months. But the accompanying message crushed me.
“It’s a girl! Introducing Brooklyn!”
During that season of my life, it was common to hold both genuine happiness for those I loved and grief in the same hands. That day it felt as if one special dream was ripped away from me even as I was thrilled for their family to welcome a sweet little girl.
I was bitter about it for a long time. Not at my sister-in-law or my niece—I loved them. It wasn’t their fault.
But at the cruelty of infertility, and the way it held me hostage.
God held me in my pain. He comforted me over a tiny detail such as one name among thousands. I believe God cares about what we care about, and in that moment, it was my heartbreak over not having a child to name and not knowing when children would come.
One day I sat on the couch, praying. The cars drove past busily, the branches swayed, and the Spanish moss twisted in the wind. I reflected on my desire for children.
“God, where are my children going to come from?” I whispered.
We had been researching foster care and adoption and my heart softened to the idea of raising other people’s children. That day, I felt a nudge in my spirit telling me my children were out there, and I should go get them. With that, God gave me the courage to move forward.
Five months later, we sat at Kevin’s computer while he typed on a spreadsheet titled, “Possible Baby Names.”
We went through pages and pages of names online. I said “eh” to most of his choices and he said “eh” to most of mine. With infant adoptions, sometimes they required us to submit our name for the baby on the application. We felt the pressure to quickly choose good names.
After we were denied a few times, I wondered if it was because of the name.
In February, a birthmother graciously chose us to adopt her coming baby due in two weeks. The social worker asked, “Do you have a name for this baby?”
My heart thumped. I scrambled to look at the notes on my phone, not feeling confident.
On February 21st, we met our beautiful baby girl, and Kevin and finally I agreed on the name for her. Eden Renee. Eden to symbolize beauty and perfection and God’s rich blessings. Renee to represent renewal, a fresh start, and a new beginning after years of waiting.
God had brought my husband and me to our first child. Not because of what we deserved or earned but out of His great love and grace.
Now, two years later, I love my spunky and sweet niece Brooklyn, and I love my vivacious and delightful little Eden. God knew their names long before I did and gave me a precious daughter to remind me always of His deep love for me as I grow in my deep love for her.
And I can’t imagine her with any other name.