Dear Woman struggling with infertility


Dear Woman struggling with infertility,

I know how you feel. I’ve been down that road before. Maybe it’s your body that doesn’t function the way most people think it should. Maybe it’s your husband that can’t produce children (most people don’t even think of that element). Regardless, none of your situation takes God by surprise. God did not make a mistake when he joined you and your husband together. Can I take a few moments and dispel a couple of myths? I just want to encourage you as you travel this journey. You are not alone.

Myth #1-“Having children completes your family.” Have you ever noticed when God created this world, he created 2 people: Adam and Eve. THIS was the first family. God did not create children with the first family. The first family was comprised of two people, and that family was COMPLETE. In Genesis 1:31a the Bible states: “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” Notice it doesn’t say: “and, behold, it was lacking, so he created children.” When God created everything, it was finished. Complete. Perfect. When you get married, your family is complete. God may or may not add children to that union, but regardless your family is complete. Hannah, in I Samuel 1, desired to have a child. Elkanah, her husband, asked “Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? am not I better to thee than ten sons?”  If I say “now that I have children my family is complete”, that will infer that if you don’t have children your family is not complete. What utter nonsense! My life is to be complete in Christ, not in my children. Children are an addition, not the family unit itself.

Myth #2 – “Marriage was instituted for procreation.” My husband and I were able to sit down and talk with a couple not too long ago. They do not have children yet and they have heard it all.  If marriage was designed for procreation, why do people stop having children after 1 or 2? If that were the case, why don’t more families have 20 plus children? If that were the case, why do some families have no children, even though they’ve tried? Many people argue the Bible says “Be fruitful and multiply.” Yes, the Bible says that, but do you know it was a command given to specific people?

The first time we read that statement is in Genesis 1. Verse 22 says “And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful and multiply.” Look! There it is! The command. Yes, but read the rest of the sentence, “and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.” He is speaking about creatures in the water and birds! Not man! Context is an important thing. The second time is in verse 28 where He is talking specifically to Adam and Eve. “Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it.” Yes it says be fruitful and multiply, but I believe the command was specific to two people. Genesis 9:1 God tells Noah and his sons, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” (He repeats this in Genesis 9:7 to Noah and his sons.) In these two scenarios, He makes that command because they are the only people on the earth. (He makes the command in chapter 8 as well, but again, he is referring to the animals on the ark.) In Genesis 26:4, God tells Abraham, “And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven,…” God would give unto Abraham as He saw fit. In Genesis 28 Isaac tells Jacob, “And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people.” Again, it was up to God to multiply his seed. And lastly, again in Genesis, God tells Jacob, “I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply;” He was speaking specifically to Jacob because from Jacob would come the nation of Israel. This command is not found anywhere else in scripture. If God truly meant for marriages to be baby factories, there would not be infertility issues within Christian marriages.

Myth #3-“Just adopt a child, then you’ll get pregnant.” Ugh. Because every person who has adopted a child gets pregnant, right? That’s not how things work. I know some people who have adopted children and have ended up having a biological child. I am one of those people. But I know just as many people who have adopted children and have not had biological children. Just because it happened for your hairdresser’s sister’s best friend’s daughter’s sister-in-law does not mean it works that way for everybody. Plus, that thinking puts less value on the adopted child. They are just a means to an end. That’s NOT why you should enter into adoption. Adoption should be considered when you are willing to love someone else’s child as yours. Fiercely. Without reservation. And for the record, my adopted girl is just as much mine as my bio girls. If you know me and my husband at all, you’ve heard us say things like, “She’s your child” or “She has your DNA” or “She gets that from your side.” Adoption is a beautiful thing, but it should not be taken lightly.

So if you are a woman struggling with infertility, you are not inferior. You are not worthless. You are not incomplete. God has a plan for all of His children. We may not always understand it, but nothing happens to us that does not first pass through the hands of God. Don’t let thoughtless and flippant statements steal your joy.


Our journey on the road of infertility


I’d like to post Lydia’s adoption story this week, so I thought I’d start with the journey my husband and I have been on for almost 18 years. Wow! Our wedding anniversary is next week. Hard to believe it’s been 16 years of wedded bliss and 18 years of marriage. (If you only knew how hard those first two years were! My husband would testify.)

I’ve never been a real small girl. I was always “healthy.”  Actually most of my jeans in elementary school were labeled as husky. Anyone else remember those wonderful labels? Once, a boy I was dating said, “You’re bigger than most of the girls I date.” Thanks? I should have said, “Yeah? Well you’re no Judd Nelson.” (Since Matthew McConaughey and Doug Savant weren’t on the scene yet) I stayed the same size from high school until college. But after the hubs and I got married, I put on over 30 pounds in just under 3 months. I went from a size 12 to a size 18/20. It was distressing, but I chalked it up to being such a great cook. (Haha! Don’t ask my husband about his very first breakfast.)

I don’t really want to go into a lot of detail (I’m a prude that way.) But after being married for a couple of years we decided to start a family. We had just moved to Florida and I was looking for a Dr. I had been having some minor health issues and we figured we’d get it all checked out. After looking at my chart and asking me a couple of questions my new doctor diagnosed me with PCOS (poly-cystic ovarian syndrome). Back then it was relatively unheard of and it was hard to find information. Believe me, I tried. He said PCOS might be genetic, but that the birth control I had been on was, as he put it, “nasty stuff.” He believes that triggered, so to speak, my PCOS. He asked if we were wanting children and I answered in the affirmative. He told me I would have a very hard time getting pregnant and if I did, it would be even harder to carry a baby full-term.

For those that don’t know, there is no cure for PCOS. It can be controlled and it can be lived with, but doesn’t make you feel bad. In other words, you’re not nauseous, dizzy, muscle pain, etc. Fatigue is a big factor, though I think that has a lot to do with weight. It affects women differently, but the major manifestations of it are hirsutism (abnormal hair growth), weight gain, and infertility. Some women are lucky enough to have all 3. (hint, hint, that’s me) PCOS patients are at a greater risk of diabetes (due to the insulin issues and weight issues), heart disease (especially if you’re heavy), and uterine cancer (for those women whose bodies don’t function properly each month.) It’s not fun. But, if you can lose weight the chances of complications are less.

So we started the “we want a baby” journey. I spent numerous months on Clomid and Glucophage (Metformin). I have been through numerous tests including blood and dye tests. I have been to many doctors. (Dr. Madani, who was unsuccessful,  referred me to a doctor who was unsuccessful who referred me to an endocrinologist who was the best in the southeast.) We spent a lot of time and money on appointments and medications (oh yeah, and pregnancy tests). This was all in under two years.

I’d like to go on record by saying I did not always handle this well. I didn’t like baby showers and I tried to get out of going as much as I could. I have probably heard every question imaginable: “Aren’t you ever going to have kids?” “What’s wrong with you? Don’t you want children?” “You’ve been married long enough. Why don’t you have any kids?” “You’re the career kind, huh?” I also loved the “We’ve been trying for two months so I know how you feel.” Even my father-in-law made the mistake one day of saying, “I don’t see you giving me any grandkids.” to which I responded, “Take it up with God. Your son and I are doing our part.” The conversation quickly ended. 🙂 I didn’t like Mother’s Day. I didn’t begrudge anyone else, but I didn’t like the reminder that I was “less than a woman.” I usually volunteered for nursery that morning. I wanted the mothers to be able to sit in on the service. I was sacrificial that way. (yeah, right.)

I may have put on a good front in public, but my husband knows better.  I was trying to fill a void only God could fill. Once I finally got over that and completely turned it over to God, I had such peace. God was in control. If He wanted me to have children, He’d make it happen. If not, that’s okay. I will say that the years my husband and I had together without kids were amazing. We could go away for a weekend at a moment’s notice. We could change our plans last minute. We only had each other and there are major benefits to not having kids right away. Looking back, I wouldn’t trade those years for anything.

We moved back to Oklahoma and my husband and I decided to take a break from all the hullabaloo. I waited a few years and then started the search for a PCOS doctor. I started with the OU Med Center. When I called and explained my situation, the lady immediately connected me with the “Best Dr. for PCOS patients.” Come to find out, he had trained my endocrinologist in Florida, so he knew her work quite well. He told me if I wasn’t pregnant by the time I was 35, he would no longer treat me. He did not believe it would be safe for me to have a child that late in life. (I was, ummmm, pretty close to that by this point, so time was ticking.)

Three months before I was 35, I called it quits. I had had enough. We had finally decided to go the adoption route. One of the best decisions we ever made. There is more to our story. It gets better and better. But you’ll have to read Lydia’s story and the ones to follow.

I believe God has a reason for everything. Due to my PCOS/infertility journey, I have some of the best friends in the whole world. My friend Pam was the first person I knew that had PCOS. She became my confidante and sounding board soon after my diagnosis. She had already been down that road for a while and offered great insight (and a broad shoulder.) My friend Rachel doesn’t have PCOS, but had trouble having children for a a few years. We had many conversations and cry sessions over the years. My friend Amy started our first conversation, and subsequent friendship, with  “Hi, I’m Amy. Can I ask you a personal question?” She had been told I had PCOS and she had just been diagnosed with it as well, so we shared stories. Unfortunately, I don’t live near these fabulous women. But, though for some we are states apart, I know I can call them any time. My friends are amazing.

My journey has not been easy. But I wouldn’t change it for anything. God has taught me many things through our trials:      1. Only He can fill the void in our lives. We have to find our sufficiency in Him. 2. Our trials are to draw us closer to the Lord. There is no one who can soothe the troubled soul like Him.        3. Our trials can and should be used to be a blessing to others. But we can only be a blessing if we have the right attitude during our trials. No drama, no self-pity, no self-glory, simply giving all the glory to God and God alone.