As a 32-year-old woman working as a high school teacher, with the majority of my co-workers also being women, it is inevitable that the concept of pregnancy and having children will come up in conversation. I cannot seem to get away from it. At times, I wonder if God is pranking me with the number of times it can come up over the course of one school day.
My sensitivity and alertness to the concept of pregnancy is continuously heightened because my husband and I are currently receiving investigative care to understand our experience with primary infertility. This month, in particular, has felt very long due to attending many appointments, causing this topic to be on the forefront of my mind at all times.
When hearing conversations related to pregnancy and children, I often have a knee-jerk reaction in my mind and my thought process is something like this:
Why would this come up AGAIN in my presence?
Why are we dealing with infertility?
What if everyone around us has a child before we do?
What is wrong with me?
What is wrong with us?
I walk around with so many thoughts like these flooding my mind and an overwhelming pressure to figure out what is happening in my life. These questions linger and my mind becomes consumed with comparison and unhealthy thoughts about what God has planned:
Maybe God hasn’t given us a child because He doesn’t think I can handle it.
Maybe God hasn’t given us a child because He doesn’t think I am worthy of being a mom.
Maybe God hasn’t given us a child because He is upset with something we have done in our lives.
But these thoughts are simply not true. I would never think of these thoughts as true in relation to anyone else, so why do I think them about myself?
As we have been reflecting during our Springs in the Desert “Walking with Christ: A Desert Pilgrimage” Lenten series, I am reminded of how our suffering, while extremely difficult to face, can be used by God for something good. One of the questions we reflected on recently is: “Am I acting more out of love or out of fear lately on my infertility journey?”
To answer honestly, as demonstrated by the internal thoughts above, my initial reaction is usually to react out of fear: fear of the unknown, fear of what I cannot control, fear of what my life will become, fear of disappointment, fear of my purpose.
The challenge with this is that by reacting out of fear, I start to believe that this situation is all up to me, and I do not leave room for God. When I try to control everything myself and rely heavily upon my own abilities, I become so consumed with my difficulties that I do not look out towards what God wants for me. He wants each of us to look to Him, so He can bring us happiness and peace, and so that we can be relieved of the pressure and fear we create ourselves. Even in the moments when it is difficult to remember, God reminds us that when we align with and rest in Him, we can feel His love and protection, and ultimately see a greater purpose in our suffering.
There is purpose to our suffering because of the sacrifice and suffering Christ experienced for us at the Cross, as we will be deeply reminded of this Easter weekend. Through His sacrifice, God reminds us that our suffering can be transformed by Him in order to bring good into the world. Reflecting on this truth prompted a new thought process:
Maybe my words and experiences can be used to bring comfort to another person.
Maybe God is protecting our hearts in some way that we do not understand.
Maybe our suffering now can be used to help someone else in the future.
Maybe God has put us on a path that is designed specifically and uniquely for us.
Maybe God has a different, but incredibly beautiful plan.
Maybe God’s plan for us is better than we could ever imagine.
I do not know what God has planned, but I am learning to take moments of insecurity and fear and reframe these thoughts as I try to place my trust in Him. Maybe I do not know exactly what will happen, but maybe I can take a deep breath and rest in the fact that God’s love and plan for us is greater and more beautiful than we can ever imagine.
Lynn lives in New England with her husband, Timothy, of three and a half years.
Amen! Beautifully said.
I vividly remember a Sunday mass about 18 years ago, shortly after a particularly difficult week of dealing with these type of things. We were kneeling after communion, and it seemed like every other woman who came through the line was either carrying a baby or pregnant. Four adoptions and one natural birth later (that only took 21 years of marriage!), I still don’t really know WHY it had to hurt so much.
The Lord is there. I always suggest a book we love called “Into Your Hands, Father” by Wilfried Stinissen.