What infertility has taught me (and why I no longer expect to be expectant)

I don’t know why God chose for me to be infertile. In His wisdom He has His reasons. Reasons I can’t begin to understand. I can however with courage and faith be complete and whole without being a mother.

I always wanted to be a mum. I love children. I adore babies with their perfect expressions and tiny toes. I love the waddle of toddlers learning to walk. I love the giggles of young ones laughing at butterflies and bubbles and hiccups. I love watching as they grow and encounter things new. I find their perspective on life infectious and I love discovering the world through their eyes. I think the opportunity to guide a child through infancy to adulthood and beyond is an amazing privilege.

I think the last thirteen years have taught me what a marvelous privilege it truly is.

Infertility has taught me many lessons.

Here are a few of them….

I have learned to rejoice with loved ones

Being infertile in my late 20’s and 30’s means that many times in my life I have received news that my loved ones are expecting. When most people hear this news they are overjoyed and celebrate. In the past when I heard, envy was so tightly interwoven with happiness for my friend that they were inseparable. While I was smiling on the outside, my heart was breaking within me.

I have heard countless concerned friends and loved ones tell me with elation mixed with a good dose of trepidation that they are pregnant. I have attended endless baby showers with blue and pink nappy cakes and baskets filled with gifts for mum and bubs. I’ve seen sonograms and Facebook posts, received interstate calls and visits from friends.

I have bought gifts of organic cotton blankets and wraps, amber necklaces and baby’s first Bibles. I’ve made scrap books and baby toys. I’ve been in a birthing suite and waited for the calls and messages to know the awaited baby arrived safely and mum is doing well.

In time I learned to put my pain aside and to look into my friends eyes with joy at their news and prayers for their pregnancy.

Learning to rejoice with friends was not easy. It took countless years of fighting back tears and battling my pain to get me to that selfless place. It meant praising God for his blessings in my sisters lives and many quiet Amen’s. It meant thanking my Heavenly Father for His mercy. The same God I prayed to for a child, the very same Abba had blessed my sister with a son or daughter. Watching their bellies grow, seeing the smile on their husbands faces and hearing those words of excitement reminded me that God is their Father too. They too had prayed for a child, they had prayed for the growing life within them. In time I learned to rejoice in their joy.

‘For you formed my inmost being. You knit me together in my mother’s womb.’ Psalm 139:13

God’s timing is perfect

There are some times in your life that you have no choice but to laugh. Some things are so comical and perfectly timed that you wonder if God has a sense of humour too. Infertility can provide you with funny moments. It’s often later on that you become aware that His timing is perfect.

How can infertility do this? By everyone around you falling pregnant at the same time. It’s the reality of what I have been through and learned to see the funny side of. When I was struggling through those years, each individual pregnancy that I heard about cut deeply. I know it shouldn’t have and I wish it hadn’t but if I am to be honest I have to admit that it did. One friend or family member falling pregnant at a time is enough one would think. Enough to give you space to breath and celebrate in small doses. How about two? Not such a huge task to handle, women fall pregnant all the time. How about the three women closest to you? That’s where the laughter begins.

My dearest friend from home called me and told me she was pregnant. A few months later my sister in law was pregnant with my niece. I told myself all I needed now was for my best friend to fall pregnant. Right on cue she sat me down one day and told me she was expecting her first child. For four months three of the women I love the most were all preparing to welcome their babies into the world.

I think it was at that moment I learned that I had to let go. That I couldn’t fight anymore. That somewhere in this story God was trying to speak to me. I know He was pouring blessings on my sisters but I could hear his still small voice whispering to me ‘Just let go’. I stopped fighting. I heard His call. I watched as the women I adore made preparations for their newborns. I was welcomed into their experiences with love and tenderness. I was invited into their motherhood as Aunty and God mother.

I was humbled. No longer was it about me. My eyes were opened to the tapestry of life around me. I fell to my knees and prayed. I prayed for my sisters. I thanked God for the beautiful women in my life and for bringing this about with such precision. For filling my sisters lives with such beauty, all at once that my heart began to overflow with nothing but gratitude.

How could I not rejoice with them?

God’s timing is absolutely perfect.

‘Aunty’ is a delight for the soul.

Being an Aunty is one of life’s greatest blessings. Having beautiful little girls and boys run up to you with arms opened wide to embrace you fills my heart with such joyful singing that I simply can’t express it. Reading stories and playing hide and seek are overlooked as healers of the soul. Creating our own games, picking flowers, cuddles, giggles and silly dancing bring such happiness and childish wonder to life I wish I could capture the moments forever. Watching as they grow and achieve and cheering them on in their endeavors is what my heart delights in.

Who would ever imagine that my deepest envy turned into one of my greatest joys. Envy had taken hold of my heart, yet where envy dwelt God overcame evil with good. He showed me I didn’t need to long for my own child but that I could truly celebrate with my family in the lives He had created. My nieces and nephews taught me how to love from the heart. To farewell my pain and embrace His blessings.

‘Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast;’ 1 Corinthians 13:4

Patience teaches patience.

For years I waited daily for a child. I simply hoped and prayed and waited and waited some more. The months turned into years and the years have come and gone.

I used to think that if I was only patient and hopeful enough then God would hear my prayer and give me a child. I naively believed that this was how God works. I no longer believe that. I do believe that He is merciful and loving and if it is His will He will grant us that blessing. If He doesn’t that is OK too. I’ve since learned that my life is no longer about whether or not I become a mum. Simply put, if I make my identity all about whether or not this happens I could very well lose myself along the way. What if it doesn’t happen? I believe that it can, I have faith that it can, but what if it doesn’t? This was a tough question I had to ask myself.

God has shown me that my identity is in Him. That what He desires in my life is for me to Love Him and to love my neighbour as myself. I want to use my years on this earth wisely. I want to walk boldly, to truly walk out each day with faith, hope and patience.

‘He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?’ Micah 6:8

This verse is so beautifully simple, so eloquent and unassuming. To take these words and inscribe them on my heart gave me such peace. The first two instructions speak of looking outwards. To have your heart filled with compassion for others. To see how you can bless others and think less about yourself. The third gently leads you to go forward with hope, with the One who sustains you.

Patience was the most difficult lesson to learn. To let go of my pain and to trust in His will for my life but Oh how my heart now rejoices.

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Love Becci

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