If you have ever tried to get pregnant you can maybe identify with some of these:
“Try to relax.”
“Try not to think about it.”
“At least you have each other.”
“At least you already have another child.”
“You’re lucky. You still have your freedom.”
“My dogs are like my babies.” (Grrr..)
“Maybe God is trying to tell you something.”
“Maybe God is punishing you.”
All horrible, terrible things said by well-meaning people who love you. Or people who just don’t know what else to say. Or both.
And worse- some of these, like the last two are like bad lodgers who have made a home in your own head.
I will come clean at the outset and say that I had my second son in 2013. Now before you write me off and think: “What does she know? She has two children already!”, please stay with me?
Our first son Justin was born in 2006 after a few months of trying.
I heard all of the advice above and even some bizarre advice like doing handstands at certain critical times *Ahem*. Funny enough that when I did relax (and maybe did the handstands), we fell pregnant.
At 16 weeks, I started bleeding because Justin’s “twin” we had been unaware of, was miscarried. I was just relieved that we still had him.He was our ‘everything’ for four glorious years.
And then it hit me. Broodiness. I was around children a lot and started seeing little babies and holding them and thinking: I would give anything to have this again. I especially wanted it because I wasn’t able to breastfeed Justin before, due to every complication in the book.
So I went off all contraception and we started “trying”, which is an innocent word for a totally unnatural process of pretending you’re relaxed, but also trying to incorporate handstands and temperatures and ovulation cycles in the process. I didn’t talk to anyone about it, except for one or two trusted friends who prayed for me. But secretly there was a battle tearing at my insides.
Every month I waited and when a ‘show’ made me realise that I was not pregnant, I was shattered. Sometimes I told my husband. Sometimes I didn’t. Sometimes I cried. Sometimes I hit something. God was there somewhere in the shadows, but at some point I had decided that He was either not interested in my pain or that my accuser was right and that I was being punished.
But by 2011 I was really worried. When I finally gathered my pride and saw a doctor in the UK, he said: “Our policy is not to go through a process of fertility planning if you already have one child. But we can do some tests.” Some humiliating tests that hurt and make you feel exposed and more like a broken machine.
The tests came back and apart from a high sugar level, they couldn’t find anything wrong. The doctor suggested that we start testing my husband.
This was the turning point for me in many ways. For a while, the Holy Spirit had been nudging me ever so gently about this whole process of pretending not to care, but being frantic inside. Outside blasé. Inside blazing. He was telling me the same thing everyone else was: “Be Still”. But without the condemnation that came when others said it.
I thought about going through an unnatural process where my poor husband was tested and prodded and I thought about how that would affect us. Bless him, he even agreed. But I decided not to go ahead with the tests. And I started praying that God would change me and make me still. I had to repent for taking the process into my own hands.
I still remember the day a beautiful, wise, humble friend Maria prayed for me after I spilled the ugly beans about how I was feeling and what I had decided. It was a simple prayer: No deliverance formula or textbook prayer. Immediately and physically I felt a peace I had never felt before.
A few months later, in a McDonalds toilet, I found out I was pregnant. And it has been a wild, beautiful, scary, satisfying, ride (I take epilepsy medication and that can have all sorts of effects on a pregnancy). But I pray that I will never forget the journey.
Now. I see you. I see you sitting reading this and thinking: “I did all of that. I prayed, I rested, I relaxed, I stopped ‘trying’, I tested, I measured, I repented and I did the handstands. Why are my arms still empty? Why are promiscuous teenagers getting pregnant and I am still forgotten? I have wept like Hannah in the Bible and yet, God ignored me.”
I am not going to tell you any of the things above. All I am going to tell you is this: I don’t know why this is happening. But I am broken with you today. And what I know more than anything is that God is good. And that He is holding you today. Even if you or I don’t see Him or understand. He is the only one who knows you completely and the only one you can tell everything even every thought you think is selfish and especially about the anger you have towards Him.
I am praying for you today. That God will give you answers even if it is not in the shape of a baby. That He will draw you nearer to Him where you have turned away, hurt. I pray that He will send you people who understand and who will just listen to what you have to say. And I pray that He will give you comfort and above all hope in the knowledge that He is really and truly good. And above all I am praying that you will have that gift under the tree some day.
I would love to hear from you and perhaps you can add to the list of things people say when they don’t know what to say. So that we can all learn from it.