10 Things I Love About Infertility
As you probably know by now, I am a forever infertile. At the ripe old age of 46, with only one ovary, one sketchy tube, and my uterine lining ablated, the door on my biological clock has all but slammed shut. I will never feel a baby kick from within or experience the vice-like contractions of labor. But before you ask Alexa to cue up a melancholy Pandora station, hear me out. I'm okay. Better than okay, actually. The obvious takeaway is that I have three kiddos now through adoption and surrogacy, but there's even more to my okayness than that.
Upon examining the armful of therapy-worthy junk I've accumulated in ten years of infertility, I've discovered a few of infertility's sparkling gems.
1. No post-pregnancy incontinence
Yes, I can jump on a trampoline and not wet my pants. It's a small consolation for the years I spent with my feet in stirrups while doctors poked around in my nether regions.
2. No more control freak
Before infertility, I believed I was in control of my life and it was God's job to bless my plans. Infertility shattered my self-reliance and caused me to trust God and to depend daily on his mercy.
3. No trophy children
We have two daughters through adoption. Though we had a biological son later through gestational surrogacy, giving up on the importance of biology in family freed me to love my children for who they are and not push them to become mini-me's.
4. True empathy
Understanding someone else's pain and responding to it are nearly impossible without having been there yourself. Experiencing infertility's anger, sadness, and loss has tuned me into the pain of others.
5. Ministry opportunities
God is uniquely present when we walk through suffering.
2 Corinthians 1: 3-5 states, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ."
Our life experiences, especially those that are difficult, are God-given learning opportunities. They provide a springboard for reaching out to hurting people with the comfort and encouragement we ourselves received from God.
6. The gift of adoption
If pregnancy had come easy, would I ever have considered adoption? Nope. It was the last thing on my list until God shoved me off the cliff and taught me to trust his plan. Without the push, I wouldn't know my two daughters, who are living proof of God's goodness to me...and that he always knows best.
7. Witnessing miracles
The miracle of birth is not, technically speaking, miraculous. When a sperm and an egg join together, a baby is formed, and that baby makes his way down the birth canal about nine months later. It is a natural process, not a surprise, which is why the pregnant couple announces that they are "expecting". However, when a birth mother decides that her baby would best be raised by someone else and follows through with her plan? Or a woman steps forward specifically to carry a baby for someone else? These are examples of the extraordinary and proof of divine intervention in human affairs.
8. Birth stories
I have three different birth stories that took place at three different hospitals with three different tummy moms. Each tummy mom's story is epic and their generosity of spirit unexplainable. Also surprising is the way the staff at each birthing center reached out to me and my husband and blessed an experience that could have been uncomfortable and awkward. These are stories of God's grace that I never tire of sharing.
9. No more self-centered Christianity
Facing ten years of doubt, loss, and grief took my faith from "a nice idea" to a real relationship with a real God on whom I rely every moment. It is a far more rewarding connection than the Pollyanna-like faith I held before life smacked me between the eyes. More importantly, my newfound faith's primary focus is on God's leading, not on my own selfish desires.
10. A rock-solid marriage
No, our marriage is not perfect, but clinging to God and each other during infertility created a bond neither my husband nor I take for granted. Together, we reached the top of a mountain we initially believed to be insurmountable. Now, hand-in-hand, we take in the stunning view of God's sovereignty.
You may be in the midst of treatment still hoping for a pregnancy, taking a break, gearing up for adoption, or choosing the child-free path. Or maybe you've reached the other side and found parenting to be the second hardest thing you've ever done. If you open your eyes to the lessons along the way, infertility can be an excellent teacher. Wherever you are today, picture me grinning ear to ear as I jump up and down on a trampoline. My trusty bladder and I are cheering you on.