When I was 19, I knew it was a possibility. The doctor said so. My mom had that look in her eye. A sad, but still wishing sort of look, a look that said, “Let’s hope for the best.” Everything else had been ruled out. No brain tumor. No chromosome irregularity. And yet I was still “one in a million,” as my doctor euphemistically put it. I would just have to wait and see.
So I did. I waited. I put it out of my mind for as long as possible. I avoided talking about it. When it came to mind, I wished it away. I chose to be a cheerful optimist, you know the kind of soldier who says, “We’ll be home by Christmas; we’ll be home by Easter; we’ll be home by summer,” and then kills himself because he can’t accept the brutal facts that no one’s going home anytime soon.*
Seven years later, it was confirmed.
I told myself I shouldn’t be surprised. But telling yourself “you shouldn’t do that” never works, and I was still surprised anyway. Things like this didn’t happen to me. The worst news I’d ever received up to that point was the fact that I had to move to an unfamiliar and very peculiar place called Texas. But even that bad news came with amazing news: I was moving there with my brand new husband. So really, not bad news at all.
But this was bad news. For both my husband and I. The doctor, a specialist, knew right away. After looking over my medical records and asking me a series of rather personal questions, he called it a “slam dunk.”
“You have no eggs.”
He paused for maybe half a second before adding, “Of course, we can get you one. We’ll make sure to find a woman of similar coloring, intelligence, height,…” Blah. Blah. Blah.
My head was reeling. This was actually happening. What I feared for seven years. No even longer. Ten is more like it, from the moment I first realized I was abnormal. My nightmare was coming true.
I would never have children.
Guess what? A broken heart hurts. A lot.
Guess what else? A broken heart isolates. It makes you feel like you’re the only one in the world who has one…which means a broken heart is deceiving, conniving, and destructive. A broken heart, over time, corrodes the soul.
At first my heart was broken for my husband. He had wanted to have kids even longer than I had. His childhood was more difficult than mine, so his desire for a family defined by one dad, one mom, and a few of their “own kids” was strong.
I could never give that to him now.
It was a burden, my broken heart for him. I kept apologizing, saying I was sorry. He said to stop apologizing; it wasn’t my fault.
But it was my fault. I was the one with no eggs.
I grieved for the loss of the three kids I never had. There was always three when I pictured them. Don’t know why. Two boys and a girl, or two girls and a boy, I was never quite sure. But three nonetheless. I grieved the loss of the dream of them, the chance to say, “He gets it from his Daddy” or to hear someone else say, “She has your eyes.”
I became bitter toward families in the supermarket or Starbucks. I could hardly look at obviously biological kids and their parents. I hated them. I hated what they stood for – the ideal family unit. (Of course, at the time I could not think rationally – like that maybe their life wasn’t all unicorns and rainbows even though they were related by blood.)
It was after one of those experiences, when my stomach dropped at the sight of a family at H.E.B., that God showed up. Like He always does. Into the darkness and the void, into the hurt and the pain, He spoke. Not in an audible voice, but directly to my spirit. Our conversation went something like this:
God: You think I didn’t give you biological kids because you don’t deserve them.
Me: Yes! That’s it! I must not deserve them. Otherwise you’d have given me eggs.
God: That’s a lie.
Me: [Burden on my heart begins to lift.] So you didn’t withhold this to punish me?
God: No. I do not do that to my children. I have given you all things in Christ.
Me: Then why?
God: You will see. For now, trust Me.
As I slid into my car that day, my Heavenly Father began gathering the scattered pieces of my broken heart. Little piece by little piece, He knit them together. He is still knitting them together today.
People encouraged me in the midst of all of this to pray for a miracle. “God can give you a child. Pray in faith. Believe!” At first I scoffed. Why would God give me this burden if I wasn’t meant to carry it? This is mine to toil under the rest of my life.
But I had missed the point. I wasn’t meant to carry the burden at all. Christ carried my burden with him on the road to Calvary! My burden weighed Him down as He hung on the cross! And this burden was overcome when He rose from the grave! In light of this truth, 1 Peter says, “Cast all your cares upon him, for he cares for you.” And so, with feeble faith, I pray. “God, if you want to give me eggs, you can. But do whatever you will in my life, that your love and power might be displayed. To you be all glory and honor forever and ever. Amen.”
To say I don’t struggle with my infertility anymore would be a lie. So I won’t say it. What I will say is that God is good and his love endures forever. I can trust Him, His Word and His plan. And I can agree with Dr. Russell Moore, who says, “There is more joy in walking through fire with God than walking on beaches without Him.”
*This example was taken from Good to Great by James Collins