I was standing in the shower, my head pressed cool against the smooth fiberglass, the hot water pounding my back, when I heard the words spiral up inside me,
“Will you trust me to do this for you?”
I knew it was God, but this want, so hard to let go of. I’d been trying to have a baby for over two years now.
Two tiny souls somewhere floating in heaven, not born, but it’s not something we women forget.
Two ectopic surgeries. A belly full of whitened scars. Vials and vials of test tube blood. A genetic defect called MTHFR. Adrenal fatigue. A counter cluttered with brown glassed jars with vitamins I remember to take twice a day. A mission in Uganda, I had to leave behind.
We don’t talk about infertility too much, but in private, we whisper sorrows over tea mugs and share secret tips in the dark. But it is a growing problem that affects more of us every year. Around 10-15% of American couples struggle with infertility, yet it often goes under-reported. The percentage of women who have never given birth by age 40 has risen by 50% in the last 30 years.
I read countless blogs and books that offer solutions. We even say them to each other, thinking it will help. Take more vitamin D. No more wine for you. Oils. You need Clary Sage. Organic greens. Gluten free. Detoxify. Get your thyroid checked. Immunology. No, not immunology, antibiotics. Raspberry Leaf Tea by the gallon. You should try my acupuncturist. Yoga. IVF. Adoption. Yeah, just relax. That’s my favorite.
I’ve jumped through a million hoops, and some of them have been helpful, but sometimes I feel no closer to the end of the race. Yet here we are, drowning in a sea of unanswerable questions, theories, and advice, with little notion of where to turn next or even which path is the right one to take to be true to ourselves.
I’ve read books and books, but sometimes they just make me more anxious. Because I don’t know what will give me the dream.
In the dressing room with a friend, struggling to get my arm through the hole of a dress, I stop as she says, “You have to know your preference. Not someone else’s.”
So right she is, and yet so hard, when my future family lies in the balance.
But more than my preference, I have to know my promise. The picture in my mind, like prophecy, the curly blonde headed boy cradled on my hip. And what Father is saying. What is He saying?
Most days I don’t know. Most days, stressed, I type in another search term in the blank Google box, hoping like some magic genie, it will grant me my wish. I scour the fertility forums, looking for gold in between the gravely rocks. I Facebook message strangers asking them what they did, thinking to myself: She got a baby. What if I just copy exactly what she did?
Desperation makes you do crazy things. But there are no guarantees, not even with IVF, with only 30% resulting in a live birth. And that’s the problem.
What if I stopped and realized this now life is rich? The Saturday mornings lazily flipping pancakes before a long, grueling hike. The undisturbed date nights with a sugar rimmed drink. The Joshua Tree travels and campfires under the vast horizon of stars. The writing without tiny handed interruptions.
Yes, I want the interruptions, but what if I stopped obsessing over them?
Last year, I did something the ancient Stoics do. I negatively visualized what my life would be like if I never had a child. I delved into my worst fear. It was sad, depressing even.
But something happened after that. I realized I wouldn’t die. I realized my life would still have meaning, joy even. I thought of the things I would be free to do if I didn’t get pregnant, like write a book. And I started doing those things.
That same month, I got pregnant for the second time. It didn’t work out, but it made me realize, I have hope. I don’t know if it had something to do with letting go, but my intuition believes that it did.
So the other afternoon, when God spoke to me, I thought, what if I stopped to listen?
What if I trusted my own intuition?
What if I stopped striving, trying to do it like everyone else, and started resting more?
What if I just stopped?
Related: Remind a friend that she’s braver than she can imagine with this beautiful mug that’s great for tea or coffee.Leave a Comment