Infertility and Waiting
It was the week before Mother’s Day.
I realized that a little something that was supposed to start the previous week had not. For the first time in my life, I had reason to believe that I could actually be expecting! Day by day, hope rose higher and higher within me, and I began to dream of what this could mean. Soon enough, I was convinced that I was growing a life in my womb.
But by the end of that week, searing disappointment showed up in its biological form, and I felt as if my body had betrayed me. I’ll never forget that bleak and barren morning as I fell to my face on the bed and salty streams of confusion, frustration, and grief-soaked my pillow. And to top it all off, like a taunting voice, I remembered that Mother’s Day was just two days away.
I couldn’t bear it. The thought made me physically ill, and I felt numb for the remainder of the day. Nothing but crushed dreams resounded in my mind, and the idea of celebrating this holiday just hours after my heart was broken felt entirely cruel and impossible.
The Ins and Outs of Infertility
Maybe you can relate to this scenario all too well. Perhaps you have been walking the road of infertility for many years, or maybe you are still in the early stages of trying to start a family, and the silent months that are starting to pass you by have left you wondering what the holdup may be.
I can look back now over these last three and a half years of walking through the struggles of infertility, and see how God has used the waiting to teach me many lessons. The most valuable thing of all has been finding new levels of intimacy with Him. The hardest, loneliest, most painful moments in the middle of this struggle have always been met by the loving arms of my dear, merciful Father.
Life’s toughest battles will always lead us to a crossroads, and how we choose to view and relate to God in our hardships will make or break how we come out on the other side.
You can either run from Him, seething with bitterness and frustration, wagging a finger at Him, casting blame and harboring doubts about His goodness—or you can discover His kindness and mercy, trusting Him to be gentle and loving and trustworthy with your heart and your deepest emotions.
“The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.” (Psalm 18:2 NLT)
My husband and I have been walking the road of infertility for over three years now, and we, like anyone else, never expected that this would be a part of our story. We have prayed and asked for healing, trusting that God sees and knows our struggle, and though we can’t understand all the whys behind this wait, we have leaned into His presence for the peace and comfort to walk it out in faith.
As we prayed and sought the Lord, we unexpectedly felt Him guiding us to wait on seeking medical intervention for infertility. And though we have abstained from any medical intervention thus far, we do not expect anyone else to abide by these convictions; we believe this to be a personal decision that couples must arrive at together under God’s authority in their relationship.
However, we do openly share that this is our personal conviction in hopes that it may inspire other Christian couples to examine what they believe God is leading them to do in response to their own walk in the infertility struggle. It’s important to know how God is leading you and to be obedient to those convictions. We must focus on personal obedience and not try to compare our journey or story to anyone else’s.
For His Glory
Several years ago, my brother and his wife were facing their own difficulties in becoming pregnant, and a wise gentleman in their church spoke these powerful words to them during that season: “God closes wombs for His glory, and He opens wombs for His glory.”
I didn’t realize how personal these words would become in my own struggle through infertility. Recalling all the biblical examples of God opening barren wombs to fulfill His purposes and plans, I began to see how true these words were to His character. I trust God as my healer, and I believe that He will open my womb if He sees fit—whether by medical intervention (should He lead us down that path), or by His own healing hand. Likewise, I have to trust that as long as my womb remains closed, this too is for His good purposes and plans.
My husband Steven and I started the adoption process early last year. It was that time of the month again, and we were about two years into the struggle at that point. I was driving back from my lunch break, and I peered out the window on that sunny March afternoon. I remember feeling the symbolic tension of the spring season coming to life all around me, while my heart and body still lay dormant in what felt like a never-ending barren winter.
The road was blurry from my tears, and my heart was so heavy I could barely breathe. I was praying, begging God for his mercy and comfort to come over me, and the softest whisper came into my heart. The words of my prayer shaped into surrender. I heard myself confessing something brand new: “God, if you want to start our family in a way that is not biological first, I am willing.”
A Call to Surrender
I felt at that moment both freedom and sorrow. My mind tried to tell me that in my surrender I had lost something. But my spirit combatted that lie ever-so-quickly, flooding my heart with joy—and an awakened desire for this idea of adoption budded inside of me.
My husband and I had always talked about adding to our family through adoption one day, but these thoughts and ideas lived in the future—we always assumed that God would bless us with biological children first, and then we would add to our family through adoption down the road.
But it was a brand-new concept for my heart to consider adopting the first step in growing our family.
I found sweet freedom that afternoon in my car, and I wrapped up my honest prayer to the Lord by asking Him to speak to my husband’s heart next. Well, I have to tell you it was that very same night that my husband initiated a conversation with me over dinner about adoption! And little did I know that it was earlier that morning that he was in a prayer meeting when the Lord had specifically placed a desire for adoption on his heart! We knew that the Lord was speaking clearly to us that day, and we began researching, praying, and learning more about what this was all about.
As we have walked the road of adoption these past nine months, we have experienced many ups and downs, long waits, and many little victories along the way. We love to share with others that this is God’s Plan A for our family. It may not be what we had imagined, but it’s what we believe is God’s design for us and what He had planned for us from the very beginning of time.
Adoption is a calling, not a backup plan. We clearly felt the prompting of His Spirit in our lives to move forward, and He has confirmed every step along the way, making it so clear that this is how He wanted to give us a child.
A Bigger Hope
Early on in the adoption journey, I heard another adoptive mom share about how we must be careful not to place so much of our hopes and expectations on a little tiny human. She shared that it’s unfair for us to ever place our hopes and dreams and expectations on any person other than Jesus Christ.
We must be careful how our God-given longing and desire to become a mother doesn’t become an idol in our lives. If we think that a baby will complete us and meet all of our emotional needs and happiness, then how can that little tiny human ever measure up to such high standards and expectations? Jesus is the only one that we can place all of our hope in. He will never fail us.
“Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.” (Deuteronomy 31:8 NLT)
Do you know that awful feeling you get every time someone in your life announces a pregnancy? That personal longing inside you mixes with a pang of envy for that glowing mother-to-be, and then you chide yourself for ever feeling such negative things about someone you love and care about.
When another woman in your life gets pregnant, I encourage you to pray for that child growing in her womb. We often look at the pregnancy and the woman who announces her big news as the representation of what we cannot yet have, and we envy her. But we miss out on the opportunity to pray for the child growing within her.
May I also encourage you to look for another woman in your life who is struggling with infertility? Ask God to give you enough courage and faith to reach out and pray for her, asking that God would open her womb and give her a child. Pray for her contentment and joy. As the Lord has asked me to step out in faith and pray over other women with the same struggle, I’ve scratched my head a little, confessing, “God, I’m a little unqualified here, don’t you think?”
Truly, being willing to pray for someone to receive the healing and blessing of something that you have not yet seen for yourself is a humbling step of faith! And yet, who better to empathize and pray with passion and earnest desire than someone who is right in the middle of the struggle herself?
Side by Side
I walk alongside you, mothers-in-waiting. I have not “arrived,” and this will be yet another Mother’s Day that my arms are still empty. But I have seen the Lord birth in me a different story and path to motherhood than I ever could’ve imagined or chosen for myself, and I’m loving what He has chosen.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” (Ephesians 3:20 NIV)
Remember the “false hope" of pregnancy I experienced the week before Mother’s Day last year? Well, little did I know that in India, a precious baby boy was being born that very same week. And would you believe me if I told you that it was exactly 40 weeks later that my husband and I signed the paperwork to move forward matching us with this nine-month-old baby boy? I didn’t even know it, but behind the scenes, God was giving me my own “pregnancy” with my sweet baby boy, Aaro, and I wouldn’t trade this sweet little love of mine for anything in the world!
Keep the faith, sister. And I’ll be asking for His glory to be on display through your beautiful journey to motherhood. Let Him be glorified through your pain and weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:9–11), and don’t be afraid to share the struggles and victories out loud to God and others.
Practical Tips for Waiting:
Enjoy this season and leverage your stage of life for the influence of younger ladies who are looking up to you.
Invest in those college girls. Lead the youth group girls at camp. Go on mission trips. Enjoy getaways and vacations. Go on all the date nights.
Help your mama friends out with childcare. Enjoy sleeping in on the weekends. Have late nights with your friends. Invest in other couples who don’t have children yet. Lead a Bible study in your home.
Travel to new places. Be the best aunt to your nieces and nephews. Try new hobbies. Volunteer. Enjoy the quiet little moments. Share hope with a hurting world.
Basically, look for all the positives and gifts in your here and now. We so easily get caught up in what we don’t yet have, that we can blindly walk through our present days without any appreciation for or enjoyment in the waiting. Reclaim your joy in this waiting season!
Kristin Link is a wife, dance choreographer, and a shop assistant with the Well-Watered Women Team. She enjoys thrift shopping, writing poetry, and traveling the world—even if it’s just down the road where God has brought the nations to her surrounding city. The Lord has given her and her husband, Steven, a heart for global missions, and a passion to see the last remaining unreached people groups of the world receive the Good News of the gospel in their lifetime. You can follow along with Kristin and Steven on their “Missing Link” Adoption journey at their blog, where they openly share about the joys and challenges of the adoption journey.