15 months. For 15 months, my husband and I have been trying to conceive. We started with the movie version – “we’re not NOT trying,” but after experiencing some difficulty with an unregulated cycle, we decided we would start actually trying. I’ve been pretty open with our entire story of infertility – from the first appointment, to the terrible Clomid side effects, and even taking a break from everything this winter for a mental reset. Those of you who have struggled with the disappointment of a negative pregnancy test and frustration about repeating the whole dreadful medication cycle month after month know how exhausting it can be. I promised myself that I would go into pregnancy with nothing but gratitude and faith – so when I found myself angry with God for these circumstances, angry with my husband for simply breathing (ladies.. please tell me I’m not alone here?!), and angry with myself for not being able to do this, I realized it was time to refocus before moving forward. This was in November, and since that time, we’ve been praying for a sign or a reminder; something telling us that it was time to continuing pursuing our vision of starting a family.
Earlier this month, that reminder came and we made a decision to move forward. We found a specialist who focuses on the specific “problems” that we’ve been encountering, and after that appointment, our roadblock finally has a name – hypothalamic amenorrhea; a condition where the hypothalamus stops producing the hormones necessary for the body to go through a monthly cycle. The name sounds a little scary, right? It’s not. Our new treatment plan for getting pregnant is actually pretty simple. A few oral medications, an ultrasound, and an injection, along with following some very specific timing, and our chances of success are pretty great.
HERE is the scary thing; with this treatment, the success rate of pregnancy in the first 3 cycles is 80%. If you’re confused, don’t worry, so am I. Why is it terrifying that something we’ve wanted so badly has very good odds of happening? I’ve been hesitant to talk about this because infertility is such a personal topic, it has so much hurt attached to it. Even the most confident and faithful women can easily fall into the trap of comparing herself to others, and I can only imagine how challenging it is to hear someone say that they are less than ecstatic about the possibility of ending the fertility battle. But, what I’m learning is that I must allow myself grace, to feel emotions unapologetically, because by pushing them away or hiding them, I’m only perpetuating the shame and guilt I’ve felt about this topic over the last 15 months.
So here I am – admitting that I am terrified. Experiencing infertility is disappointing, and frustrating, but it also becomes an identity, at least it did for me. It became an excusable excuse. It allowed me to take the focus off of my real fears; What if I’m not a good mom? What if we can’t do this? What if our baby isn’t healthy? What if I get this wrong? What if we aren’t really ready?
All of the shame thoughts that I hold tightly are telling me that I can’t do this, that there’s a reason we haven’t conceived. This morning I realized that’s true; there IS a reason this hasn’t worked. Not because we aren’t worthy, but because we haven’t put our faith over our fears. For this to work, God needs us to trust Him with no boundaries.
I’m afraid, I have doubts, a small piece of me wishes that I could go back a few days and cling to the infertility diagnosis, but the only thing that keeps playing in my mind is the chorus to the song “Oceans” by Hillsong United – “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters, wherever You would call me.”
God calls us to do great things, and isn’t the greatest of them being a parent? I can’t do this, my husband and I can’t do any of this – but He can and I know He will. Here’s to focusing on faith when I’m drowning in fear.