Six Ways Infertility Has Changed Me

I'd first like to clarify that I use the term "infertility" loosely, because as those of you who have been following for a while know, I never officially hit the 12-months-of-trying=infertility mark (got pretty close, but we were blessed to get our positives before we had to wait a whole year).

I know so many girls who have been through (or are going through) so much more than I have to get their babies.  "Fertility problems" probably more accurately describes my situation - I'm just not a very fertile woman, and my body doesn't like to function properly.  You can read more about our trying-to-conceive stories here and here.  

I'm not "infertile" by the textbook definition.  However, I suspect it would have taken much longer for me to get pregnant had I not sought help when I did, and it's just easier to use the word "infertility" than to explain all that.

I know you ladies who have been reading a while know my heart on this.  I'm not trying to be melodramatic or claim to know what it would be like to be medically "infertile" - but I relate so much more to ladies who have struggled than to those who have not.  Since I'm in an uncomfortable middle place, I just lump myself into the side I can relate to most.

I hope that makes sense and my use of the word "infertility" doesn't rub anyone the wrong way, because my heart truly is with all of you who have struggled or are struggling to conceive, and I pray for those of you I know who are struggling whenever I think of you!

I did have trouble getting pregnant both times, and the months of waiting and agonizing for a positive pregnancy test did change my outlook.  I was pondering all the ways that I think differently now as a result of having fertility problems, and these are some of the things I came up with.

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1.  It completely amazes me that some people can get pregnant right away, or without even trying.  

I realized this the other day after someone I know announced she was pregnant and that it was a surprise.  I think I've come a long way, because hearing news like that would have felt like a stab in the heart in the past (and it might again, depending on how trying for #3 goes).  I didn't feel that pang this time, but I couldn't stop thinking all day about how amazing it was that she got pregnant so fast!  It's just something I've never experienced, and I think it makes me realize what a blessing that is.

2.  I wince a little when people pretend to be pregnant as an April Fool's joke.  

I can't get too upset, because if a person has never had any fertility problems they probably wouldn't even think about how this would come across - I don't think I would have thought twice about making a joke about being pregnant if I hadn't had any problems.  But knowing what I do now, I wouldn't joke about something like that.  You just don't know the situation of those who are listening or reading.  I know from personal experience that when you can't get pregnant, you're still happy for your friends who are, but the initial reaction to a pregnancy announcement from someone else is usually pain.  I would never want to cause someone unnecessary pain, even momentarily.

3. Sometimes I get an uncontrollable urge to pee on a stick.  

I think this might just be withdrawal, and it'll probably eventually go away (right?).  I think I've just gotten used to taking ovulation and pregnancy tests all the time.  The other day I went and grabbed one of my dollar store pregnancy tests left over from when we were trying for Gwen, and I took it. Even though we aren't even trying for another baby right now.  I knew I wasn't pregnant - that it'd be pretty much impossible for me to be pregnant.  But in a weird way, I kind of missed taking the tests, and I felt like if I am not pregnant, I should be testing . . . right?  This probably makes me sound psycho.  Surely this will eventually go away after the last kid.

4.  I cry randomly at songs on the radio.  

Now I know this happens for alot of women anyway, especially moms.  But when I hear the songs that brought me comfort or meant something to me while we were trying, or songs that talk about God's faithfulness?  I start thinking about everything God has brought us through and what He has done for me, and I turn into a blubbering mess.

5. I pray more fervently for my friends who are trying.  

I haven't been through nearly as much as some people have, but I still know that the months of waiting hurt.  And my heart aches for those who are having trouble getting pregnant, because whether they've been trying for months or years, I feel like I've had a tiny taste of what they're going through.  I don't think I would have cared so much, or prayed so much for my friends, if I hadn't had problems too.

6. I'm more aware of what a miracle a baby is.

I'm especially aware now of what miracles my own babies are, because I know what it took to get them here!  For us, it took months and months of tears and disappointment.  It took some help from medical professionals, and it took more prayers than I can count.  Struggling to conceive has made me think more about what a gift each and every baby is - whether their parents tried for years, or not at all.  Whether wanted or "unwanted".  So much can go wrong - for a baby to be successfully conceived and born?  That takes a little bit of miracle in every case.  And I think I hold my kids a little tighter and I'm more intentionally grateful for them than I might have been, because I really know that now - not just with my head, but with my heart.

Having fertility issues has changed me in many ways, probably even more than I listed here, but I wouldn't want to change it.  In the end, those months of waiting taught me to trust God with this most precious part of my life, to trust that He knew what He was doing even when I didn't see it.  He revealed Himself to me in ways that He hadn't before through our difficulties in trying to conceive. I've come out better because of it.  

Will He have more growing for me when we start trying for Baby #3?  Maybe.  Or will He teach me something entirely new by letting it be easy next time?  That might happen too (you never know!).  But I know that He has a plan, that He's had a plan this whole time, and that He's walking me through each step.  I think learning to trust Him more has been the biggest way I've changed.  And that makes the whole thing worth it in the end.
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Amy said...

I can totally relate to this post. I had a very similar experience getting pregnant with our son. We tried for around 8 or 9 months before I sought help from my doctor. I was having very irregular cycles and we found out I wasn't ovulating. After about 11 months of trying and 1 round of Clomid, we finally got pregnant with our son who is now 1 1/2 years old. I too feel like I was in the middle of the people who can get pregnant so easily and the people who try for years to get pregnant. I worry about how things will go when we try for #2, but all I can do is pray and trust God. :-)

Jenni Lynn said...

I have not struggled with infertility (obviously), but know way to many people that are very close who have, so many of your thoughts are similar to mine, like praying for my friends more, I even pray for my children now that they won't have this struggle and hold my kids a little closer knowing what a gift they are! praying your 3rd will be easy!

Melanie said...

It amazes me when people become pregnant quickly too! It took us a while to get pregnant too (8 months I think it was?)..I was kinda suprised it didn't happen sooner but knew God had His timing for everything. :-)

Ashley Lee said...

I totally feel you on this. It took me & the hubs 4 years of trying to get my daughter, & we had a few miscarriages along the way. I was always amazed at how fast someone that could care less about having kids, could get pregnant! It was saddening. I cherish her so much bc of the rough journey to get to her. I really do not think people will ever understand this type of storm unless they are put through it themself.

Melissa said...

Yep - i can relate to all of these. The april fool's joke probably doesn't even cross most people's mind that it is cruel, but i definitely felt that sucker punch feeling whenever there is a pregnancy announcement this year on April 1st - only to find out it was a joke.

And yeah. I am always stunned at how people who are married less than a year get a surprise pregnancy! Most women take it for granted - they have no idea what a struggle it is for others!

I have been so angry & jealous at times, but right now i feel at peace, like God will come through for me sometime. I have had my doubts! Thank you for praying for those of us who are still struggling! :) xoxo

Meghan said...

Great post! I had all of the same feelings as I waited for God's timing on our pregnancy with Donovan. And I do pray so fervently now for friends who struggle with infertility. It's such a struggle for so many women! It breaks my heart for them.

Veronica and Daniel said...

I have learned a lot too this past year. I've learned not to ask people insensitive questions like "How come you don't have any kids yet" when you dont know their situation...We just go asked that question this past weekend and it was only by the grace of God that I didn't let my tongue fly and make that person feel horrible for their comment. I just politely smiled and replied "God has it all under control. Our kids will be here in His timing"....and promptly walked away ;) Which is the 2nd thing that I have learned - it's ALL in God's hands. Each new life is 100% His doing, not at all ours. We can do everything "right" and still not get pregnant. Our cousin can be doing all the "wrong" things, and get his girlfriend pregnant. I've learned to surrender control and trust in God's timing. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement :)

Ariane said...

I enjoyed reading your perspective, but I have to disagree with number 6. You don't love or appreciate your children more for the gifts that they are because you tried for a while to get pregnant, just like I don't love or appreciate my children more because my first baby miscarried.

Callie said...

Thanks for the comment! Maybe I stated it in a confusing way, but what I meant by #6 is that for me, personally, I take a little more time to really think about what miracles my kids are than if I had not had any trouble getting pregnant. I know that I would have loved them just as much as I do now even if we got pregnant right away, but having difficulties getting pregnant with them makes me think more about how I might not have had them at all, and how God had a plan for them before they even came to be! That's true for everyone, but it's not something I would have thought about to the extent that I have if I didn't have trouble conceiving.

Cassidy Robinson said...

Love this, Carrie! Couldn't agree more!

Dove of Snow said...

Thanks for this, Callie! Beautiful post. I can relate and I love what you have shared.

Anonymous said...

I so appreciate the time and effort you took to clarify your "infertility." As someone who has struggled for over 2.5 years and is in the midst of her third IVF cycle, it could rub someone like me the wrong way. I suffer from infertility, but surely someone who has two beautiful children without IUIs or IVF can't claim to suffer from the same disease I do ...? But - I have learned that the pain CAN be the same no matter how intense the treatment is. The "ordinary day" heartache feels very similar to how it felt when I was just taking Clomid ... or just gearing up for an IUI. I have nooo doubt that you've experienced the heartache and loss of not achieving pregnancy. No women should have to endure any form of infertility journey; thank you for your honesty and acknowledgement of those of us whose struggle is a bit longer and tougher.

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