This letter is for you, you that is almost, always the only one without a child everywhere you go. You that the first question you are asked everywhere you go is, how many children you have. You that is walking the hard path of infertility and have gone through several IVF’s without success but still shows up to every baby shower for your friends. You that have lost your dignity after having too many sessions with strangers heads between your legs. This letter is for you, you that often watch your friends have a baby shower and not get invited because they were worried about how you would react.
As you know, it takes courage to write a letter to someone who is in pain. It takes even more courage to not have the simple answers and quick fixes for them especially when you don’t know their struggles, doubts, fears, mistakes, pressure, and silent shame of dealing with infertility. I am not writing you this letter to pray for you or to ask you to adopt a child. No! I am writing you this letter to let you know that I feel your pain. I am writing you this letter to let you know that you are not alone. I am writing you this letter to let you know that your years of praying, questioning and crying out to God, trusting and stepping out in faith, while not knowing what lies ahead are all part of your beautiful journey.
While I won’t be able to look into your heart to understand your unique challenges, I know how a little remark such as “when are you planning to have kids” can be depressing and heartbreaking. I know how infertility, pregnancy loss and infant loss can put a strain on one’s life. I know how painful it is when you have nothing to show for your efforts but destroyed dreams and a broken heart. I know that you can’t help but compare yourself to other men or women and feel inferior. I know that shame and stigma is something that you are struggling silently with on a daily basis. I know it makes you uncomfortable and you sometimes don’t know what to say. Most importantly, I know that you never expected you would have trouble conceiving but life happens and now you are experiencing the shame and isolation of infertility as well as all the pressures and questions of when you will have children.
While people will always be people and will never stop bringing it up, I just want you to know that you don’t owe anyone an explanation of why you are unable to have kids. You are not under any obligation to remind anyone why you can’t have kids. And for those who are not civil enough to respect your privacy and your struggles, forgive them. Forgive those who are quick to ask you foolish questions in the wrong places just to embarrass you. Forgive those who can’t miss calling you out at every gathering for people to pray for you. Forgive how everyone makes you feel even if they meant well for you. We don’t go by what we see and by what people say, but by what God said.
While infertility doesn’t care about your race, religion, sexuality, or economic status, it is NOT who you are. Just because you feel shame about it so often doesn’t mean it should define who you are. You are not your infertility, you are you! You’re not a failure. You are just one of the privileged 1 in 8 couples (1 in 4 women) who struggles with infertility and on a beautiful journey to motherhood. You are not the cause of your infertility neither are you a bad person — bad things do happen to good people and God is not punishing you because of what you think you might have done in the past. Stop being ashamed of your infertility and see it as an opportunity to reach out to others. Don’t be a quitter in life or in your infertility journey. There is nothing wrong with you!
I don’t know if this is for you, you that stumbled on this letter, but understand me well as I type these words. Don’t faint and don’t grow weary. Own your story for there is no shame in infertility. Don’t let your journey silence you — God has seen your affliction and heard your cries. Don’t allow shame to write your story — God has spoken a promise over your life and it WILL manifest. Don’t allow infertility to wreck you and write your story — the delay is ending and a new season is breaking forth for you. Don’t allow the opinion of others to shape your story knowing that negative situations will turn around and line up with God’s awesome plan for you. Don’t let the pain destroy you knowing that your set time is on the way. Don’t be dismayed in the valley knowing that God is favouring you right where you are. Stop being so hard on yourself knowing that the weariness you feel, the discouragement you’re battling with and the setbacks you’re facing are all temporary.
Allow God to be the Author of your story. He desires more for you and you have a place in the world. When you don’t know who to turn to and share the stigma, shame, embarrassment, disbelief, confusion, guilt and inadequacies of your everyday life, reach out to God and allow Him to comfort you through His Word. His word stands. His Word prevails over every problem and has power over any situation. If God allowed you to go through it, you can take it. He’s right there with you and your private struggle is about to become a public testimony of God’s grace and favour.
Jesus said in Matthew 19:26 (CEV), “There are some things that people cannot do, but God can do anything.” Today more than ever before, shift your focus off yourself and onto God for whom He is. Stop waiting for your miracle before you embrace happiness. Rejoice over what’s coming. Send up advance praise while you’re waiting on God for the breakthrough. The One who has all power in His hands has your life in His hands, and He’s fighting for you. So remind yourself of who you will become because of Him. When you do, things will change for you. When you do, you are allowing the author and perfecter of your faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God, to write your story (Hebrews 12:2).
Until tomorrow, always remember that infertility is many things to different people. To some, it is beyond heartbreak, confusion, frustration, sadness, tears, anger, discouragement, and shame. To others, they blame themselves, nurses, doctors and even God. They question if God hates them, or if living a good life before marriage was worth it. Whichever way the difficulty in having a child makes you feel, I hope reading this letter changes your outlook. I hope it reminds you that you are more than one sentence. I hope it will go a long way in helping you remove the awful shame, loneliness and stigma associated with infertility.
I know it is difficult to trust the journey sometimes, but don’t give up. I know there are days when you feel like giving up but it shouldn’t be today because God heard you pray, saw you cry and has promised to heal you — 2 Kings 20:5 (CEV). So continue to endure the shots. Continue to endure the doctor’s appointments. Continue to endure the hormones, and continue to endure the emotional struggle that comes with infertility as it will all be worth it when your miracle happens. God has seen the sacrifices you’re willing to make to become a mum or dad. Now let your hope make you glad. Become patient at such a time as this and never stop praying (Romans 12:12). There is a greater plan!
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