Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Looking back on my infertility

So, you know that I'm pregnant now, and it took about two years for my body to get pregnant. I'm excited/nervous about having a baby, and I feel blessed to have this opportunity. But at the same time, I can't help thinking that there are plenty of other couples who have to cope with infertility, and I want to sort out my thoughts about that.

I know that two years of infertility is fairly common. Other families I know have had to wait 6, 10, or over 20 years to have children. Some couples never have children even though they want them (even though the Ensign infertility stories never end that way). So in some ways I feel weird being like "Hey, God has blessed me with this pregnancy! Sorry God didn't bless you the same way." I guess you could say the same for getting married, or other life "milestones," but to me, dating and going to college were things I felt like I had a little bit of control over. With my fertility, since it was unexplained, I feel like my getting pregnant had very little to do with me, and a lot to do with divine intervention. Which seems really unfair to other couples that aren't getting that divine intervention, I guess? But everyone is different, and has different trials. So even though my infertility isn't a trial I'm experiencing right now, and hindsight is 20-20 and all that, I'm reflecting on how my relationship to infertility changed over the course of last year.

At the beginning of last year (2013), I was having a hard time. Every month I was hopeful that I would get pregnant, and it seemed like being hopeful just made each month more disappointing. I was very open about how I was having a hard time with it though, so many of my friends and family started (or continued) to pray for me, which I'm grateful for. The hardest part for me was when my husband said in a blessing not to worry about it and that I'd have children in the Lord's time, and I just needed to be patient (and then our home teacher told us the same thing). I felt like that should have been a revelation I should have received. I felt some comfort when I prayed, but not a reassurance that I'd have children. I felt like I had to be okay with my life even if I never had children. Looking back on it, I'm reminded of D&C 46:13-14: "To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world. To others it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful." Only instead of about Jesus, it was a revelation about me, and I had to believe it.

Anyway, I decided to stop defining myself by my infertility so much. I got more into organ playing and baking weird breads and other self-improvement-type things. I think accepting myself the way I was was an important part of not being bothered as much by my failure to get pregnant. As time went on, infertility seemed like less of a huge obstacle in my run to make a family, and more like a landmark in my life's journey. I expected each month that I wouldn't get pregnant, which made it less disappointing. When I was ready, we went back to the fertility specialist, although I got pregnant before we tried artificial insemination.

The month before I got pregnant, I felt healthy enough to fast, and instead of fasting desperately for a child, I fasted for patience (I had completely forgotten this was mentioned in the blessing). So as you can imagine, I was really surprised when I became pregnant. In some ways, I'm worried that the child I have will be some terror that will really teach me patience. At the same time, I'm looking forward to it. I know that I didn't have to bear the burden of infertility for very long, and I hope that I'll be sensitive to other couples in my life who are in that situation.