Hi friends! Welcome back to my series God’s Faithfulness in My Infertility. If you missed my first post about this series, you can find it here. Today I’m sharing the second part from my journal about our first year of TTC (trying to conceive), which was a turning point for me in many ways. For those of you that don’t know, one is deemed infertile after one year of TTC without conception under the age of 35. I’ve edited some sections for clarity and conciseness, but for the most part this is what I wrote. I hope there’s some piece of it that connects with you. And as always, I pray God is glorified in sharing what He has done in my life.
The First Year, part 2
In the Spring of 2020, I started writing my book, Rhythms of Relationship and it was a good distraction, although I prayed daily for children. With the help of my friend and life coach, Mathew, (not to be confused with my husband Matt) I tried to write the book on God’s power rather than my own, but I wasn’t always successful. I struggled with my desire to achieve, to write a perfect, impactful book, and to be content with the project God had given me when I longed for more. The pressure I felt most of my life to be good by doing good was catching up to me. I prayed to God about all the “shoulds” that were weighing on me. I felt stuck in a cycle that I was never good enough. I asked Jesus what He thought about all my shoulds, and he gave me a vision.
Side note: This may sound a little strange and it is definitely not a regular occurrence for me to have a vision like this. I’m sharing because it was so transformational in my life and so tailor-made to what I needed at that time. Maybe some of you can relate to my struggle with “shoulds” or maybe not, but either way, I hope it encourages you to have conversations with the Lord where you allow your heart to be open to what He is saying to you!
Hiking with Jesus
In my vision, Jesus and I were hiking up a mountain, which was ironic as I hate hiking. Some friends had asked me to collect rocks for them, so as we went I grabbed a few. Then I started finding more rocks that I thought others would like, or that I wanted to add to my own rock collection.
As we neared the top, my pack was so heavy from all the rocks I carried, but I didn’t want to give up and waste it all. All along, Jesus had been asking, “Are you sure you need that one? Does that person even want a rock?” And I always insisted that yes, I did need it, or it would make someone else happy. He always offered to help me carry them, but I refused because it was my problem and I didn’t want to inconvenience Him.
I tried to determine why I didn’t want to give Jesus my rocks – the “shoulds” that were weighing me down. Was it pride? Was it fear that Jesus would think less of me? Was it letting go of control? Was it that I would feel too light without them, which would be even more uncomfortable than the weight of them? All I knew is that the burden was getting too heavy for me to carry.
At the top of the hill, Jesus helped me take off my backpack, and I laid the rocks at His feet.
Counseling and Coaching
I shared this vision with Matt, feeling overwhelmed at what I had learned and the weight of what I was carrying. It was then that he gently suggested I go to counseling. That summer I went to my first counseling session. I figured I would need three sessions or so to fix what I had already determined was my problem: doing too much because I was motivated by guilt. (For those of you that have gone to counseling, you are probably laughing at my completely unrealistic expectations and self-diagnosis, and I don’t blame you one bit). Instead, my counselor helped me go deeper, addressing things I believed about myself and God that are untrue. I found myself talking much more about my fertility issues than I had planned, and it became a point at each session. Although I hadn’t really thought I needed counseling, my counselor showed me how to give myself grace and accept the emotions I was trying so hard to press down.
I was also learning how to process emotions and ask Jesus questions through my life coaching sessions with Mathew. God knew I needed him not only to coach me in writing my book, but also as a friend to help me process everything going on in my life. I wrote down all the rocks I was carrying. I asked Jesus to take them from me and asked what He wanted from me, and the answer was joyfully simple: I just want to laugh with you and be with you. Mathew encouraged me to stop trying to get out of the valley in which I found myself in that season, but lean into it and be present with Jesus for however long it lasted, which I agreed to do. This was totally counter-productive to my thought and prayer processes up until that point of my life, but I’m so grateful for that insight!
As we neared a year of trying, I talked to my doctor about next steps. He recommended I get an HSG test, where dye would be injected into my fallopian tubes and X-rayed to check for blockages. I was excited to finally try something, but of course, my insurance wouldn’t cover the procedure and it was going to be $3,500. I felt like I was being knocked down again and again – we couldn’t even afford to find out why we weren’t getting pregnant. My doctor suggested some cheaper and less invasive testing that could be done on the male side, so we decided to proceed with that.
During this time, I waited and waited for my period to come, but it was three days late and it still wasn’t there. My mind started spiraling because I still hadn’t gotten a positive test and nothing was lining up. I was unloading groceries at home one day and could feel my heart pounding. I had difficulty breathing, and my body was panicking at all the questions swirling around my mind. I had a friend at the time who was unfortunately going through a miscarriage and I could only think about all the things that could be going wrong and was afraid to get my hopes up. After eight extra days, my period finally came without any explanation for its delay. It seemed like a cruel prank. I was devastated, especially passing the one year mark.
And that was how our first year of TTC ended. It’s clear to me now there was a lot that the Lord needed to do in my heart and mind before I was ready to be a parent, but at the time it felt so painful.
If you’re in the middle of a painful season like this, I encourage you to do what my friend Mathew suggested: Lean into it. Lay your heart bare before the Lord and allow Him to reveal Himself to you in ways He may not if everything was going well. Yes, pray for healing and provision or whatever you need, but don’t rush through seasons of suffering and miss what the Lord is trying to tell you. I don’t say this to be trite because I know it’s much easier said than done. But I also know that there are moments of sweetness the Lord is ready to give you in His presence if you take the time to be with Him.
Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. – Psalms 23:4