My family doesn’t look like the typical family affected by infertility. If anything, I’d bet that most people that don’t know our history assume the opposite. We have four children ages 8 and younger, but I remember a time when I questioned whether we would ever have one child. My infertility is caused by a balanced chromosome insertion, which is a fancy way of saying that most of my eggs (and therefore most pregnancies) do not have the necessary chromosomes to be compatible with life. Despite delivering three beautiful babies, I also had six miscarriages along the way.
I have been reflecting back about our infertility and our journey to having children over the past few weeks. Our baby girl was born 5 weeks ago, and this has left me experiencing a range of emotions. I’m so grateful that our family is complete and that we completed our family on my terms; however, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it’s a little bittersweet to be moving on from this stage of our lives.
As painful as infertility is, it also taught me some valuable lessons that I don’t know if I would have learned otherwise. I want to share a few of these lessons and hope that they can help you through your journey, too.
- Don’t be afraid to talk about infertility. I was very private about our miscarriages and infertility before adopting our son, but became much more open about this when we were trying for our last baby. Staying quiet about infertility made it so much harder than it needed to be! Infertility is nothing to be ashamed of. Once I opened up, it was amazing how many people told me that they appreciated that I shared my feelings because they had similar experiences, too. I also found that while there were some hurtful comments, I received so much more emotional support. I hope that as I experience other hardships in life, I can continue with this mindset.
- Infertility taught me to better understand and empathize others’ trials, especially those who are struggling through infertility and pregnancy loss. Since I was first diagnosed, I have had family members and friends who have struggled to have to have children and I hope that I have been a better, more supportive friend to them because of my experience.
- Sometimes life isn’t about me and what I want. Perhaps there was a reason that my children couldn’t be born when I wanted them to come. Maybe there was something their little spirits had to accomplish before coming down to earth, or maybe the time frame just wasn’t quite right. When a person is born determines so much about their lives. A friend recommended trying to think less about ME and more about the needs of my future children and trying to better prepare our home and myself for them.
- Patience, patience! I love this quote by Joseph F. Smith: “Everywhere in nature we are taught the lessons of patience and waiting. We want things a long time before we get them, and the fact that we wanted them a long time makes them all the more precious when they come.”
My hope is that I have walked away from infertility as a better person. Were there times of intense disappointment, bitterness, and jealousy? Absolutely, and that’s okay! Did I learn and grow despite the hardship? Yes! I am a firm believer that there is a reason for the trials that we experience. I don’t think that things necessarily happen hap-hazardly or that God doesn’t care about what we are going through. When you are in the thick of infertility and pregnancy loss, it can seem like there is no light and so hard to imagine the joy that is coming your way. Don’t give up, because the end result is pretty darn awesome, even with the hard and ugly parts it took to get there.