Man, life can throw some tough punches our way some times. Being diagnosed with infertility is one of them, for sure. It's easy for us to sink into a pit of isolation and look around at all the happy parents with smiling littles and think... No one knows how I feel. No one knows what it feels like to want a baby so badly and not be able to have one. No one knows what it feels like to lose a baby.
That's why it's so important to have weeks like National Infertility Awareness Week that promote that awareness and sensitivity to the public. They also provide lifelines out of the pits we've put ourselves in. Because friend, the fact is, you are not alone. I was not alone. I felt alone so many times as we went through our years of trying to get pregnant. But, the more I opened up and talked about our struggle, the more friends came out of the crevices and said things like "you know that little smiling child over there playing? We tried for years to have her." or "Before I had that little boy, we suffered through several miscarriages." or "Yes, we have this full of life, bright eyed child, but we're struggling to get her a little brother or sister. It just may not happen."
We are not alone.
Infertility strikes 1 in 8 couples. I know that is just a statistic that's easy to shrug off when you're the one that's hurting. I did that. But, as I opened up and began to talk to friends, the "1 in 8" began to have faces, names, smiles, children, and empty arms associated with it. It isn't just a statistic. It's real. We are not alone. We are 1 in 8.
That's why Jenny and I started this blog and why we spend so much time trying to find those uplifting, heart-wrenching and encouraging stories to bring you. We want you, our precious readers, to know that you, we, are not alone in this isolating world of infertility. We want others to know that yes, I have a beautiful little blond haired, blue eyed, full of life little girl and Jenny has an absolutely precious, adventurous, hilarious, all boy, little boy, but we are still the faces of 1 in 8. It is likely neither of our children will have siblings. Drastic measures (either IVF or adoption) would have to be taken again for either of us to grow our families more. While we are eternally grateful and thrilled with the little blessings God has granted us, that is a pain we still struggle with. The isolating struggle of infertility rears it's head every time someone says "oh, your child is just adorable! When are you going to have another?" It stings. We hear the compliment in the question, we see the hope and love for our family in the eyes of the person asking, but it stings... Because we will always be one of the 1 in 8 that struggle with infertility. It doesn't go away just because you were blessed with a child.
But, thankfully, the story does not end there. It does not end in isolation or hurt. Because of our infertility, we know what a blessing our littles are. We know what a great God we serve and that this pain has a purpose to draw us closer to Him. We have experienced the closeness of the Holy Spirit comforting our broken, shattered hearts. We have seen His hand preparing better plans and blessings in our lives and our families than we would have been able to have planned ourselves. We have experienced Him changing us, growing us, molding us, to make us better friends, parents and wives. So because we are one of the 1 in 8, we are thankful. Thankful for the chance to encourage others that are hurting, because we know... oh we know... what that pain feels like. Thankful for the opportunity to help build the community and awareness as we share your beautiful stories. Thankful for the amazing friendships we have made, and will continue to make, as we learn your stories and pray with you through your journey. Thankful that our biggest burdens have been turned into our biggest blessings.
I wouldn't wish the struggle of infertility on anyone, but I wouldn't wish it away for myself either. If my biggest burden has been turned into my biggest blessing, why would I want to give it up? Why would I trade it in for something "better" and miss out on all the blessings that came with it? God has used that burden to shape me into who I am today and who I am continuing to become. I wouldn't want it any other way.
We are 1 in 8. We are infertile. We have specific wants and desires and hurts that many don't understand. But, we are not alone.
If you or someone you know is going through infertility, it can be intimidating to know how to be a friend to them in their pain. We have put together a post to help know How to be a Friend when Infertility Strikes. Please feel free to share it.
Jenny and I would love the chance to pray with and for your family as you walk through your infertility. Please click over to our Prayer Page and let us know how we can pray for you. We would be honored to walk along side you in prayer.