While I was going through infertility I don’t remember finding many (any) resources that came from a biblical point of view. I remember reading the Abraham and Sarah story but she was like 90! when she gave birth so I found it hard to relate to. Now there are more books and resources out there that have a Christian view-point that address the spiritual and emotional side of infertility. Then next few Mondays we will look at the book, When the Cradle is Empty: Answering Tough Questions About Infertility by John and Sylvia Van Regenmorter. It is a Focus on the Family book published in 2004.
In Chapter 1, “The Journey Begins” the authors outline 7 Steps in the infertility process:
Step1. The Fog: When you start to have a thought in the back of your head that something might be up but you’re not worried yet.
Step 2. The Realization: You realize you should have gotten pregnant by now. There must be something wrong. Or maybe you have gotten pregnant but have miscarried.
Step 3. Downplaying the Problem: When you first seek help from a specialist and they find something, you reassure yourself that it is something minor and can be fixed.
Step 4. The Shock: When you find out there is something serious wrong with yourself or your partner.
Step 5. Denial and Anger: You may seek a second opinion or change doctors. Surely they must be wrong? Then there is anger. Anger at the doctor, anger at your spouse, anger at yourself, anger at God: “Why does he give me this desire to have a baby, and then not allow me to fulfill that desire?”
Step 6. Guilt and Depression: This is where you go down the road of, “If I’d only gone to the doctor earlier…If I’d only__________”. You start to feel guilty about feeling jealous of other people who have babies easily. And at the bottom is depression.
Step 7. Weariness: You find the courage to keep going but you are tired. You are weary of hoping, weary of praying because your prayers have gone unanswered for so long. You are tired of listening to people’s “advice”.
The authors conclude this chapter with empathy that the journey will end but we don’t always know what the ending will be. Some are at the beginning of their journey, others have gone through all these steps and circle back through them with each new attempt at pregnancy.
At the end of the chapter this verse is quoted:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
I know in my saddest moments I read this and I thought, “How can losing my son not harm me? How prosperous is it to suffer this miscarriage?” But when I read it now God knew those things would happen, not that he caused them, and he was in the works of trying to fix it and make it better. I think God is working behind the scenes to try to make all the bad things that happen on earth better for those who experience them. When I started to think God was on my side, that he was just as sad as I was and was working behind the scenes I felt more hopeful.
Where are you in your journey?