A few weeks ago, I was sitting in a mom’s group. We were sharing difficult circumstances that God had used in our lives for good. One mother of teenagers remembered two and a half years of trying for a baby and how she would have a good cry whenever she got her period.
After all, when you’re trying to have a baby, there’s one thing that always makes your heart sink. Having another period.
I remember those days too. My husband James and I had been happily married for a few years. We were in our thirties so that biological clock was ticking. We decided it was the right time for children. But we didn’t factor infertility into the equation!
After trying for a year without success, it was time to seek medical help. I remember walking into a packed room for a free seminar about infertility. I had no idea that so many couples struggled with having kids until that day. I was literally surrounded by couples who were facing the same set of circumstances. We all wanted a child but our bodies were not cooperating with the plan.
I was not only getting periods every month. I was getting periods that lasted for two weeks at a time with heavy bleeding. It took months to diagnose, but the fertility specialist rightly concluded I had a fibroid in my uterus that was causing the heavy bleeding and infertility. We scheduled surgery to remove the fibroid but the date I was supposed to have surgery, I was still bleeding. I couldn’t be on my period during the surgery, but my periods were so long and unpredictable that it was very difficult to determine a good date in advance. This happened twice! If you’ve ever had to schedule surgery, you know how frustrating it is to wait for a surgery date only to have it postponed.
After several months, I finally had the surgery! I wrote in my journal:
That Christmas, my husband and I vacationed in Austria. We figured as long as we didn’t have children, we better make the most of it! I had been feeling very emotional and tired, but maybe it was just the travel.
During the trip, we toured the world famous Vienna Opera House. During the tour which took us backstage, out of nowhere I had to vomit. I turned to run away from the tour group but only made it to the hallway before I lost it. Thank God it was just a hallway and the staff was so gracious. Was it just the flu?
My period didn’t come so when we returned home, the first thing we did was get a pregnancy test. My heart was beating wildly as I walked away from that little pregnancy test stick. I went back in the bathroom a few minutes later. Two lines! What joy! What relief. We were going to be parents!
Nine months later, I had a seven pound miracle from heaven named Ethan. When you’re not sure you’ll ever be able to have your own children, and then you hold a little one in your arms, it’s an amazing feeling. I am extremely grateful for the privilege of being a mother.
Looking back, I’m glad I wasn’t automatically able to have a baby. Waiting to have Ethan taught me two lessons I would have missed otherwise. First, I learned about the importance of hope. Hope makes all the difference in the world. Without it, I might have given up and thought getting pregnant was just for other women.
Second, I learned about patience. Like many other women, I have a plan in my brain about my life. I wanted to get married shortly after college but that didn’t happen. I had to wait a few years. I wanted to have children and that didn’t happen instantly either. God’s timing isn’t mine and that’s not only OK, it’s better! Father truly knows best.
Today Ethan is four and his sister Noelle is two. I am so grateful for two beautiful children on earth and two children in heaven who I lost through miscarriages. All of these babies have made my life rich.
But what about if your baby hasn’t arrived yet and you’re still waiting? May I suggest this simple exercise in faith and prayer? Every day say out loud, “God, I know You are the author of life. I believe You will give me a healthy baby. Thank you for this incredible blessing!” Remember hope is important! As you pray this to God, He will be faithful to hear you. Meditate on verses like I Samuel 1:27 where Hannah said to the Lord, “For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him.”
And if you have a friend who is struggling with infertility, you may wonder what to say and what not to say. Here are a few things that encouraged me:
- Pray for your friend and ask God to bless her with a child. Let your friend know you are praying for her. Write a note, send an email, or talk to her in person.
- Don’t be afraid to talk about your own children. You don’t have to pretend you don’t have kids just to protect the feelings of your childless friend. Just avoid comments like “Wow, there’s nothing like being a mom!” or “You haven’t really lived until having kids!”
- Bring over a meal or flowers when you know your friend is especially discouraged or in need of help. After my surgery to remove my fibroid, we had meals delivered to our home and that was such a huge blessing.
- Ask your friend if she has a good fertility specialist. When I met my fertility specialist, that’s when things started happening. My fibroid was diagnosed and we were able to move forward to a solution.
- Be an advocate for your friend and keep believing God for good results. And when that dreaded period rolls around, just remind her that next month could be the month! We serve a God who puts the sun, moon, and stars on a schedule and He can command our periods and pregnancies as well.
“For I know that the Lord is great, and our Lord is above all gods. Whatever the Lord pleases He does, in heaven and earth, in the seas and in all deep places.” Psalm 135:5-6
Arlene Pellicane is the author of 31 Days to a Younger You: No Surgery. No Diets. No Kidding (Harvest House Publishers). Before becoming a stay home mom and author, Arlene worked as a features reporter for The 700 Club and an associate television producer for Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah. As fun as those jobs were, nothing compares to parenting her three young children. Visit Arlene’s website for tips on looking and feeling younger (without botox or diet pills!).