Not all stories are linear. Few begin in the same place, even fewer end in precisely
the same way, and none follow exactly the same path. Yet when we read narratives
of infertility struggles, there is a temptation to believe these rules don’t apply.
Especially when we find ourselves in a period of waiting, we assume every couple
starts with a lifelong desire to become parents. We want to be assured that even
when obstacles are part of the journey, they will ultimately be overcome. We NEED
to know that when the blessed miracle arrives, the story ends happily. Lives are
fulfilled. The struggle is over.
But that is rarely the case…
In recent years I have shared reflections from different parts of my journey:
disappointment buried underneath joy, difficult decisions inherent in the process,
and the tough questions that persist. My hope in sharing these glimpses is to
provide encouragement and solidarity to others facing similar challenges. I am
grateful to Jessica for offering another opportunity here.
My story doesn’t begin with the lifelong yearning to bring a child into the world. As a
little girl I KNEW I wanted to live in a big city. I KNEW I wanted to write. I KNEW I
wanted to travel and explore.
As I entered my fourth decade, I had checked the boxes. I had attended a great
university and studied abroad. I moved to our nation’s capital. I stumbled into a
writing job. I fell in love. We traveled, explored, and created a home. It was then I
KNEW I wanted to be a mother.
Our life plan until that point had unfolded so easily. We had every reason to believe
it would continue to do so. We were young, determined, and optimistic.
We were also naive…
Becoming parents would entail years of awkward and invasive doctors’ visits,
hundreds of injections, multiple medical procedures, and endless prayers. Over and
over, these efforts yielded nothing but disappointment. Phone calls from doctors
with bad news. Failure. Loss. Tears of despair, frustration, and anger. Heartbreak.
Eventually, our daughter was born. And all the pain we had endured until that point
faded away. She was everything we dreamed. We declared ourselves content.
Grateful. Blessed. We assured family, friends, and ourselves that our family was
complete. It was an undeniably happy ending. We declared we would never ask –
never even hope – for another miracle.
In the beginning we weathered the inevitable sleep deprivation, tantrums, and
seemingly constant demands of a tiny human, but we also experienced SO! MUCH!
JOY! And when we emerged from the gauntlet of those early years – when our
rhythm settled into one of ease and spaciousness – we again dared to dream. What
Despite knowing the odds and the risks, we began the process again – naively
believing this time would be different. Easier. We had been through it before – we
knew what to expect. But now we fully understood the reward was worth the effort.
But it wasn’t easier – nor was it successful. And this time through, each
disappointment broke our hearts twice: once for the failures themselves and a
second time for our foolishness in entertaining hope.
Today, we remain a family of three. And most days this feels like enough, like it’s
right – an incredible gift. The smile that greets us every morning is a salve for the
aches that bubble up in my heart. We are comforted daily by the living, breathing
miracle God entrusted into our care.
While I would not have chosen this particular path, I have learned a great deal:
compassion, humility, resilience, and an awareness that it is impossible to know
what challenges another person is facing. I have discovered that maintaining a
positive perspective is easiest when my time and energy is directed outward: setting
an extra place at our table for a rotating cast of neighbor children, shuttling
classmates to and from school and activities, serving in children’s ministry at our
church, and providing support to women who are struggling with infertility through
my work as a yoga teacher.
Wherever you may be in this process I encourage you to be gentle with yourself and
the way in which your story is unfolding. There is no prescribed beginning, middle,
or end. Along the way you will learn and grow – and perhaps have an opportunity to
be a light to others who are struggling. We are all on this journey together, and there
is much to discover.
“I have been finding treasures in places I did not want to search. I have been hearing
wisdom from tongues I did not want to listen. I have been finding beauty where I did
not want to look. And I have learned so much from journeys I did not want to take.”
– Suzy Kassem