This might be a blog post that you have to archive in the back of your bookmarks tab or file away in a Pinterest board.
It’s possible that this isn’t something you can read right now.
You might have just had to look at another infuriating negative pregnancy test, your treatment cycle failed, or the money just isn’t there to continue with more treatments, your adoption didn’t go through, or you’re in the seemingly endless days of waiting for something to happen. Or perhaps it’s just what you need as you are struggling to find a single reason or purpose that you are suffering in this way.
You might think “Easy for you to say, you have received your miracle already!” And that’s true. I would not have been able to write this a couple of years ago. If I had seen a blog post about the blessings of infertility, I might have been tempted to throw my computer out the window. There’s some things you can’t see when you are in the thick of the storm and some things you can only see after the clouds have parted a little.
I’m going to contradict myself a little to say that infertility is a curse as well as a blessing. Being unable to bear children is one of the ways that sin has affected this broken world and disrupted the natural order. Whether it’s PCOS, male factor infertility, endometriosis, DOR, or unknown reasons, anyone that has gone through infertility will agree that it’s a curse to go month after month and year after year without being able to achieve what everyone else seems to be able to do.
There is no doubt that infertility is isolating, heart breaking, and life-changing. You cannot go through it and come out the same person. Just like any season of our life where we grieve our own set of hopes and dreams, God uses infertility to mold and shape us into who He wants us to be, for His glory. So what are some specific ways that God calling us to walk through infertility can bless us?
Infertility will prepare you for the hardships ahead. Most likely infertility wasn’t your first and will not be the last difficult season of your life that God calls you to walk through. But it might be your hardest. Studies have compared the emotional pain of infertility to that of divorce and having a terminal illness. Even if you become pregnant or have a successful adoption, there are deep scars left behind. Becoming pregnant after infertility was quite shocking and surreal. It also came with lots of stress that something would go wrong; there were very few days that I did not have to fight the fear that I would lose my baby. But as the due date drew near, I felt a sense of peace that our time of sadness was over, and that we would get a “break,” per se. When my daughter was diagnosed with Down Syndrome at birth, I was a swirling mess of confusion. I didn’t understand, if God had just brought us out of waiting for a child, why would we immediately be called to raise anything other than a “normal” baby? Why was God allowing another trial into my life? Having gone through infertility, I was more prepared for the awkward and (generally well-meaning) phrases and questions that inevitably came after she was born. It didn’t make the diagnosis easy. However infertility had already led us down a path where we had seen how God could take a hard season and turn it into joy, create beauty from ashes, and answer our prayers in better ways than we would even know how to hope or ask.
Infertility will allow you to act on God’s promises before they are fulfilled. I do not mean that God promises you, me, or anyone a baby or a child. As Kimberly Monroe writes, nowhere in Scripture does He promise a baby. However, we know that there are so many promises of God that he guarantees to all of His children that trust in Him. He grants us eternal life (John 3:36), He sets us free (John 8:36), He will meet all of our needs (Philippians 4:19), He works all things good for those who love Him (Romans 8:28), and He will guard our hearts and minds (Philippians 4:7). We do not know how or when God is going to fulfill our calling for parenthood, but we can obey and serve Him by living out the promises that we do know is guaranteed for every believer.
Infertility gives you more time to spend on your spiritual growth. This is a tough point because we know that children are a blessing and that God calls (most) married couples to parenthood. However, just like how Paul talks about the benefits of singleness in 1 Corinthians, there are benefits to your spiritual development within your childless marriage. This past year of nurturing and raising my daughter has brought some of my happiest moments that I wouldn’t change for the world, but it does come with tradeoffs. Before we had a baby, I had more free-time to study, learn, and listen to God’s word. I rarely missed a Sunday sermon before she was born, now I am lucky if I get to listen to a portion of it. My point is not to complain about this aspect of parenthood, but to point out that there are differences in what my focus has been before and after our child. If God has called you to parenthood, fervently and regularly pray that God would grant your request! And while you’re waiting, be blessed with the time you have to grow in your personal relationship with Christ.
Infertility will lead you to seek after Christ, if you allow it. One of the ways that infertility is a unique form of suffering is that you experience an almost constant reminder of the blessing that has not been bestowed to you. You see a pregnant lady at the grocery store, your friend complains to you about her children, you attend a baby shower, watch a baptism, see a happy family photo on Facebook, the list goes on. Every reminder is an opportunity to cling to Christ and ask for grace, and then ask for more grace, and more and more and more. Because you will need it. I failed at this almost every day, whether it was jealousy, anger, resentment…you name it. I had to ask for forgiveness for my feelings and actions all the time. This was a terrible and lonely season of my life that drove me to the One who could fully understand my pain. It’s an odd feeling to know that infertility is something I would not wish on my worst enemy, and at the same time I can pray for that couple to flourish as they share in the suffering that God has called them to walk through.
Infertility gives you the ability to grieve alongside and encourage others. The almost five years of infertility held some of my darkest days. Once you know the despair of not being able to grow your family it creates a sisterhood and community that is not asked for but keenly desired and appreciated. I can’t imagine not talking about or writing about infertility because it was such an impactful part of my life. While it has relented in recent years, the stigma of infertility is still a problem in both the world and the church. There are still plenty of couples out there who think that there is no one else going through what they are. While every story is different and should be respected as such, being able to relate and bless others with your own testimony is a powerful tool in ministering to others and finding redemption in your own experience with infertility.
And just as a bonus blessing, I can promise you that when your child does come, that you will love that child, no matter what, no matter how they came to you, with every fiber of your being. You will appreciate every milestone and never take the miracle of the life of your child for granted. Parenthood after infertility is a bigger blessing than I could have dreamed.
What are some ways that you have been blessed by the calling of infertility?