“I’m sorry to tell you it didn’t work,” the doctor said gently. She sighed: “We didn’t get any embryos.” And with her sigh, my dream of motherhood disintegrated.
It had been a long haul to reach this point — tests, medications, surgeries, unsure diagnoses, ineffective treatments, bills upon bills. And all for what? One tiny, pink, glaring negative line, month after month, year after year.
So much had been invested in fulfilling this deeply rooted longing only to produce nothing but tears and prolonged ache.
What a waste.
After enduring a failed IVF cycle, I was more than a little bitter, angry, confused, and hurt by this blow to the heart. In my shock and frustration, I could barely mutter feeble prayers seeking comfort from the Lord. I figured by not enabling IVF to get me pregnant, by not even making conception in a test tube possible, He was denying my desire to be a mom.
When you’re awash in this type of acute grief, it can be difficult to remember what’s behind you and to anticipate what’s ahead. You’re stuck in the “now” just trying to survive, but thankfully, the hard “now” doesn’t last forever.
Our eternal God is perpetually faithful even when we can’t feel His presence or understand what He’s doing.
Had my eyes not been so clouded with lament, I would’ve seen more immediately the goodness God was weaving into my story. I would’ve realized He was putting me in this place of defeat so I had nowhere else to turn to but Him.
Though He slay me, I will hope in Him.
Job 13:15 (ESV)
Brought low, I had to cry out to and confide in Him alone. Not my husband. Not my family and friends. Only my Savior.
And as time went on, I began to notice beautiful mercies rising from my ashes — even before a baby entered the scene. Our family and friends surrounded us with love. After our IVF devastation, they sent cards and encouraging texts, giving us space to grieve while also affirming they were there for us when we were ready to talk. It was a difficult time of mourning after an already lengthy wait, yet it was not without uplifting moments of support.
Then came the day we received the call from the adoption agency letting us know a birthmother had chosen us and that we’d be able to pick up our newborn son at the hospital the very next day.
In that moment, it was as though floodlights flipped on and shone bright in my face. This was why God had kept us waiting and why He didn’t enable IVF to work; it was so we could have our son.
In His wisdom, God had not wasted our time all those years of failure and sorrow. He had a greater purpose driving the entire plot of our family-building process. The experience of going through IVF and having it be unsuccessful allowed me to be able to relate to, support, and empathize with other women. I understood more deeply how God comforts us in our afflictions so we may be able to comfort others with His love.
Perhaps you’re in a season that’s uncomfortable or seemingly unbearable. You’re stuck, uncertain, aimless, adrift. You desperately hope there’s a light blazing at the end of this tunnel, but this present darkness is overwhelming your faith in that final destination. Dwelling in the in-between is often unpleasant and can feel pointless and wasteful, but we can find hope in the fullness of Christ’s story: His death was not the end. It was a necessary, central breaking point in God’s redemptive narrative because after death came life.
When you’re caught in the space between what isn’t anymore and what is to come, remember that He does gritty, sanctifying work there. He draws us in closer communion with Him. He hems us in behind and before.