For some women, Mother’s Day does not bring much joy. Infertility has robbed many of the gift of being a mother. I was one of them until my daughter was adopted.
The desire to use my maternal skills was overwhelming at one time. I may have pondered several career options early in life, but the one thing I consistently knew I wanted to be was a mother. Adoption would eventually provide me with the honor. Getting to that point, however, was a painful journey to travel.
Married but with no children, I was often randomly wished a Happy Mother’s Day every May. People meant well so no offense was ever taken. Nonetheless, the well-wishes created a sadness which had to be dealt with. The unfortunate part was I didn’t know how to do that.
Women who struggle with infertility have thoughts which fertile women and people in general, probably are not aware of. The most damaging one is, “What’s wrong with me?” One simple self imposed question can generate more psychological havoc than you may think. A fundamental purpose of a woman is to bear children. Not being able to reproduce can cause us to question our womanhood. If I can’t fulfill the basic function I was created for, what good am I? Believe me, those thoughts and many others run through the minds of the majority of infertile women.The insecurity created by infertility can also birth other insecurities. This is why it is important for women dealing with infertility to address the issue in a healthy manner.
While going through in vitro fertilization, a family member called to announce her pregnancy. She and her husband already had several children and they found themselves pregnant again. Her comment to me was, “But I don’t even want another child.” When a woman is struggling to conceive, this is quite possibly one of the worst things you can say to her. I remember having an emotional meltdown after that phone call. The cold realities were this:
I was angry at her. How could she say such a thing to me of all people? She knew my desire and struggle. I wanted to be happy for her but wondered why I should be; she wasn’t even happy about the pregnancy. She didn’t want another child yet there I was so desperate for one that I was paying thousands of dollars in the hopes of getting pregnant. Where was the fairness in that?
Our attempt at pregnancy by in vitro was unsuccessful. Soon after, we made the decision to adopt. Upon hearing the news of our impending adoption, a co-worker jokingly said, “Oh, so you’re taking the easy way out!” Standing there stunned and not seeing the humor in the remark, I didn’t say a word. We parted ways without discussing it any further. When I got home it all came out!
The easy way out!!! Did she really say that? Okay, yeah because in vitro was certainly easy. Opening our home to strange people for inspections during the adoption process was easy. Going to everyone else’s baby showers while crying on the inside, yes, that was easy. Providing bank statements to prove we were financially prepared to take care of a child was easy. Yes, the shots I had to take during the process of in vitro, they were easy, too. Adjusting our work schedules so we could meet at home during the day for my then-husband to administer those shots; yep, that was easy. And coming up with the finances to pay for the adoption after spending thousands for the in vitro; that was easiest of all!
The emotional wear and tear on an infertile woman can be tremendous. And none of this even addresses the strain infertility puts on a marriage.
We don’t always know God’s plan for our life and this is where faith comes in. His ways reign supreme. We have to trust Him. Having faith and trusting God certainly does not mean the process to the promise will be a fun one. We may have to endure hardships and disappointments along the way. However, God knows the need and He also sees the big picture. I was so focused on my specific dilemma I could not see the big picture. Therefore, all I could do was pray. Before I knew the scripture of I Samuel 1:27 (“For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him:”), I was praying for my child.
The child God earmarked specifically for me needed me as much as I needed her. The life she would have been exposed to had she not been adopted was not His desire for her. That was the big picture which I was not able to see!
In terms of physical characteristics, my daughter is such a great mixture of her father and me. People are often in disbelief when they find out she is adopted. Within the first year of her life, she started reminding me of my mother. There are times where a glance of my daughter will still cause me to do a double-take due to some resemblances to my mom. God does all things well!
I understand the sting of infertility and the heartbreak it has the potential to create, especially at times such as Mother’s Day.
I encourage any couple dealing with infertility to seek God for His desire for their family. Through a non-traditional route, He may have a child earmarked just for you as well. Starting your family the traditional way may not be His perfect plan for your life. Be open to other means and methods in order to receive your blessing!