What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. This guest post is by Renee.
When I was a teenager and other girls were planning their weddings (what they would wear, who would be in their bridal party, etc) I was planning my family- to me the wedding or the husband for that matter wasn't the priority -it was the kids & the chaos that I wanted. I knew I wanted a big family because I came from a big family and well...big families are crazy, loud, and all the things that I loved growing up. In order to put myself through college and graduate school I took a nanny job. A simple job that was supposed to last a few years at best ended up lasting for over ten years. Sure it was a great way to help pay for school but the real draw was the family that I got to recreate Monday-Thursday, 9-6pm. I relished the roll of part-time mom and the relationship with the community. Somewhere during those 10+ years (I think it was year 7), I realized something...something that stopped me dead in my tracks...I wasn't going to be a young mom. You see being a young mom was part of my plan-part of the imaginary life I had created for myself. I remember it clearly, standing on the black top of the elementary school waiting for Louis to come out the double doors. As I waited, I looked around at all the mom's waiting and chatting. Some of them looked only slightly older than me and that's when it hit me. "I am not the mom, I'm the nanny." At 26, I did not have a boyfriend or any prospects and so that moment-on that black top, I had to let go of something dear to me. I wept as I waited and offered a small prayer of surrender to the Lord. It wasn't easy but it’s amazing how surrender can lead to contentment.
The following 4 years, I lived with freedom and waited on God to provide my husband. Six months before my 30th birthday, I meet Kevin and we were married a year and a half later in May 2007. Since Kevin was 5 years my junior (lucky me) we decided to wait a couple of years before having kids. We had a lot of financial stuff that needed to be worked out and Kevin was just starting his career and we wanted to make sure we had some money in the bank before babies. I wasn't worried about not starting a family right away in fact waiting was just another reminder how far I had come from just a few years earlier- surrendering to God had worked. Besides I knew that when it was time to start a family, it would just happen.
Deciding to wait a couple of years to start a family did not stop Kevin and I from planning for our future. On a weekly basis we talked about our future kids- names, discipline methodologies, how many, adopted, biological, you name it we talked about it. We also spent our time doting over every adorable baby we saw- we'd see a little boy of girl doing something cute or sometimes even crying and we would nudge each other knowingly. It felt so good to be with a man that wanted a family as much as I did. Kevin had been dreaming about having kids for almost as long I had and using our first two years of marriage to iron-out our family values put us in a great place. June 2009 finally arrived- time to start trying! I remember the first time I was "late", it was August 2009 and in all my years of tracking my cycle (I tracked it for 7 years prior to first trying) I had NEVER been late. My body was a well-oiled machine prime for baby making! When I found myself 5 days late- I just knew I was pregnant! The morning of the 6th day, the day I had planned to take a pregnancy test. I got my period and slumped into deep sobs- after so many years of waiting, I wanted desperately to be a mother and this was my first taste of the disappointment. I wanted so badly to be mad a God but I knew I couldn't. I just kept saying over and over in between sobs "I do not hate you, I do not hate you." The first 6 months of infertility were the hardest, the next 6 weren't much fun either. After the first year, I was able to start fertility treatments...this past May a week before our 4th anniversary, we found out our first round of IVF did not work. We are gearing up for round 2...
Things I have learned through this journey:
1. Children are not a need, they are a want.
2. Children will not make my life any better or more fulfilled, I am blessed beyond measure.
3. I will not be become bitter. Oh, I will have my hour or my day of sobs and pain but I will fight bitterness.
4. We will have children one day-however that looks because I truly believe that God did not give us this deep desire for naught.
Things I need to surrender:
1. The fact that my children may never know their "Nana" they way that my nieces and nephews do. My mother is a powerhouse of fun, warmth, and unconditional love - but she is getting older and I don't know what that will look like for my kids. I just hope they get to meet her.
2. Having kids with....my sisters, my brothers, my best friends. I can't not tell you how many times I have uttered the words, "maybe we will get pregnant together” to someone I love, only to be left waiting on the sidelines as baby after baby is born.
How people can be more supportive:
1. Don't pretend that it is not happening. Ask me questions- sometimes I may not be in the mood to answer but at least I will know that you care.
2. Send a card, text, email. I have two friends that have offered up any kind of support like this-I don't know if people are afraid or just plain ignorant but again reaching out shows you care.
3. Don't blow it off- worse than saying nothing is to say things like, "you'll be fine- stop worrying" or "Oh, gosh -it will happen". I have news for you, not everyone who wants to get pregnant-gets pregnant. Pregnancy is not a guarantee from God.
Why don't we adopt:
Basically, it boils down to money. Here's the deal-because of insurance fertility treatments are practically free and adoption isn't. Most adoption agencies will not allow you to begin the adoption process while going through fertility treatments. Because I am 35, we feel it is important to "exhaust" this route instead of putting it on hold to seek out an adoption. We have also thought about fostering to adopt but in order to adopt in the future- I need to be working full-time to save money. I would LOVE to become a foster parent but I do not think it is fair to foster a child and then have someone else watch that child all day while I am working. Sort of defeats the purpose of fostering in the first place.
Today was a particularly rough day because once again- I was hoping for a miracle and it didn’t come. I was two days late and although my mind told me that my period was imminent my heart told me that “this might be it”. As I cried out to the LORD this morning, I couldn’t help remember that first “late” month two years earlier. I had come along way since then-no longer angry at God but still disappointed…still sad. Infertility is a confusing thing- it makes you second guess what is okay to feel, think, or say. I keep asking God for a nugget of wisdom or a word of revelation to get me through this valley; I haven’t gotten it yet but I know it’s coming. “I am sure God keeps no one waiting unless He sees that it is good for him to wait.” -CS LEWIS