the “i” word

Do you ever have those moments when you know you’re willfully resisting something, even if it doesn’t make sense?

It took me a long, long time to use the word infertile when discussing our struggles to start a family.

I intentionally refused to utter the word when talking about our story with people and I still don’t like using it.

It rolls off of the tongue as good as fragrant trash becomes potpourri.

Did you know that women are “infertile” after trying to have children for 12 months? So, chances are you know someone who fits under that definition.

A friend recommended I read a book which followed a woman’s journey to become a mother. It exposed the pain that women face when experiencing failed adoptions, miscarriages, and unexplained infertility. While I read this woman’s story of hope in the midst of infertility, I felt myself pushing back against any idea of labeling myself and our story as a problem or premature diagnosis.

But it was more than that.

I told myself that I wouldn’t use the word because I didn’t want to label myself early on with a word holding such gravitas. In my mind I reasoned that I didn’t think I should describe our story as one with infertility because it would be one thing to admit we were dealing with infertility only to find out the next month that all along, I was pregnant.

The reality is I refused to acknowledge our trials as infertility because it was and is too hard to admit. Deep denial of the truth we were experiencing coursed my life. I also felt as though refusing to use the word would somehow restore and save me from the powerlessness I was now keenly aware of. The external utterance of the word conveyed the internal struggle I felt.

In some ways, the word personified as one who invaded my life like an unwelcome guest.

I’ve prayed, cried, yelled, hoped, begged,
All for your departure,
Seemingly all in vain,

You consume my mind, my spirit,
Ripping joy from my stature,
For fear that this painful hoping will yield nothing
But empty hands,
Cutting deeper and exposing an empty soul,

It often feels too hard to discuss infertility and still hold on to the hope that one day I will give birth to a child. Uttering the word itself is an admission of some defeat. The fear that these emotions and years will produce nothing but emptiness is oh so real.

And this is one of the biggest juxtapositions I have faced with my faith.

Who admits to the world and self that a body which was created with the beautiful capability of reproducing is, by definition, incapable of doing so and yet still hold on to the hope that it may happen? Who does that?

We do.

We admit that something is not right and it is painful to experience the frustrations of that truth. But that truth also points us to the hope we have that is far greater than the hope of holding our biological child.

I pushed away using the word infertile for the fear of feeling powerless. But what I failed to realized in the midst of my clouded understanding is that we are, in fact, powerless. And that powerlessness reminds us to pray to the one who can heal, restore, and fulfill. Even in the midst of this story, He heals brokenness, restores joy, and fulfills desires.

In one breath we praise and pray,
Acknowledging that we are made by the Creator,
Who knows and sees and hears our pain.

Leave a Reply