My happiest childhood memories are of my grandmother’s house, which was always filled with warmth and the smell of delicious made from scratch mole or fresh corn tortillas rolled by hand. Mama Zenita, as we affectionately knew her, lived on the outskirts of Mexico City and her home was the heart of our large family gatherings. When we moved to the U.S., what I missed most was Mama Zenita’s house and I would count the days until I would see my aunts, uncles, and cousins again during summer breaks. Growing up, I never questioned whether I would have a large family. After all, every woman in my family who was married had multiple children. I dreamt about carrying on my grandmother’s tradition of filling our home with lots of good food and company. In my mind, it was not a question of “if”, but rather, “when?” 

As it turns out, I didn’t meet the love of my life until I was 35 years old. In the meantime, I forged a new path in our family, being the first to attend college and medical school. In the decade that followed, I completed my pediatric sub-specialty training which required me to move farther away from home, making my visits to Mama Zenita’s house even less frequent. I was confident that God had a plan for me with regards to a family, but I sometimes felt impatient when I heard how all my cousins already had children of their own. In traditional Mexican families like mine, pursuing a career was held in high regard, but it was the roles of wife and mother that were most valued and inextricably tied to our Latina identity. Needless to say, there was palpable excitement in the air when my husband and I got married and my family was just as hopeful as we were that we would be able to “start” our own family soon.  

After five years of seemingly endless medical evaluations, obsessive charting, and lots of prayer, I had to accept the painful reality that my lifelong dream of filling our house with children might never come true. I felt increasingly isolated from the rest of my family. No one I personally knew had ever experienced infertility and fielding the repeated questions and unsolicited, albeit well-intentioned advice was emotionally exhausting. I was told stories about so-and-so’s daughter who had tried some herbal remedy or someone else who had prayed this novena, or gone on a pilgrimage, all followed by a successful pregnancy. Doubts began to creep into my mind about my identity and at times, even my faith. If I couldn’t have children, what was wrong with me as a woman? Was this a punishment for my past sins or for prioritizing my career? Did I not pray fervently enough? 

When Mama Zenita passed away, I grieved not only for her but also for the loss of the dreams I had of my future children meeting her and experiencing the same happiness in her home that had shaped my own early years. I felt a similar heaviness when my father passed away. I was deeply saddened by the thought that even if I did become pregnant, my children would miss out on meeting their grandfather and on the important Mexican history, culture, and traditions he loved sharing.

Finding Springs in the Desert was a true answer to prayer. Until then, we had felt the tremendous burden of bearing our cross in silence. When we listened to other couples’ journeys, they voiced many of the same feelings we had felt. When my husband and I finally decided to stop pursuing further fertility treatments, we felt at peace knowing that God, in His infinite wisdom and mercy, brought us together out of love for love and that He has a wonderful plan for us. 

In the months that followed, I began to gradually heal as I was reminded that my identity is not defined by being a mother, but rather as a beloved daughter of God. I expanded my view of spiritual motherhood and focused on strengthening my relationships with others. I began to reframe my thoughts about the idea of “starting” a family – we were already a family! Instead, my husband and I reflected on the different forms of fruitfulness in marriage and together, we meditated on God’s call to bring His love into the world as a couple. One example was being led by the Holy Spirit to ministries for homeless individuals, where we now cook for the soup kitchen at our church a few times a month. Not only do we feel blessed in sharing our resources with those in need, but we have so much fun doing something we both enjoy together and re-kindling the joy and laughter in our marriage.

Though we may experience infertility differently, influenced by our upbringing or cultural traditions, the impact of its pain is universal. However, I learned we don’t have to walk this path alone because Christ has walked the path of suffering before so that we can have hope and eternal life. Remembering Christ’s words during our hardest moments was particularly comforting, “In this world you will have tribulation but take heart for I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). I pray that wherever you are in your journey of infertility, that your hearts may continue to be filled with the peace of Christ knowing He is walking alongside you and that He loves you just as you are. 

Laura and her husband work in the medical field and live in California. In their free time, they love to dance salsa and bachata, cook, and travel together around the world. They have been part of the Springs in the Desert community since 2023.