I clearly remember the day I cried myself to sleep around 9:30 AM after a night shift at the hospital. It was late summer 2012. I really thought I was doing OK. I was mistaken. I’d just been bottling everything in.
What set it off was the news that some of our friends were going to have a baby. Apparently, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Or at least my heart. I slept that morning because I was exhausted, but soon I discovered that sleeping was a kind of refuge, one in which I could often hide. Working the night shift gave me the perfect excuse to sleep “whenever I could.” When I wasn’t at work, I found myself “having” to sleep every Wednesday night, every Sunday morning, and most definitely every time a baby shower was taking place. However, God was (like so many times before) merciful, compassionate, and patient and led me out of a path of self-pity and anger. The pain remained, but more like a dull, chronic pain than a my-leg-is-cut-off-and-I’ll-die-in-five-minutes kind of pain.
Years and countless ups and downs have passed since then. And now I feel I am about to get back to the starting line of the waiting game again. This won’t be my first time around the board. If you don’t know the game, it’s called the Will I Be Pregnant This Month? game. Pretty self-explanatory title. But that doesn’t make it simple or easy.
Tomorrow I will be having surgery. The doctors (my colleagues, really) like to call it an ambulatory surgery. That’s so you don’t get too scared and don’t get an astronomical bill. But as far as I am concerned, general anesthesia and ambulation are not compatible terms. The doctor will remove some inoffensive but not helpful growths from my uterus with the hopes of making room for a possible baby to develop. If all goes well, I could be pregnant in a few months. Or not. Or maybe in a few months after that. Or not. Or in a few years. Or not. In any event, I see the starting line looming before me now. I don’t work a hectic schedule anymore. No more I-need-to-sleep-whenever-I-can excuses are available to me now.
One thing remains available to me still. The abundant grace of God. The same grace that was sufficient for Paul will be sufficient for me. That same grace is available to you.
Although it is difficult to estimate, the World Health Organization (WHO) calculates that one in every four couples in developing countries have faced infertility (1). You can also find worldwide data on fertility and infertility here (2). Where I live in Central Asia, it is shameful for a couple to not be able to have children, particularly for the wife. Sometimes, husbands are permitted or even encouraged to divorce their wives or to take a second wife. Other times, a family relative may be forced to give one of their babies to the couple. Infertility breaks families apart around the world. If you are struggling, find help and don’t be silent. There are good chances that people around you are eager to listen and to support you. Also, I have found this article (3) in particular to be crucial.
- World Health Organization. Global Prevalence of Infertility, Infecundity and Childlessness. December 2012. (https://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/topics/infertility/burden/en/)
- Pulitzer Center/ PRI’s The World. Family Choices: Fertility and Infertility Around the World. 2012. (http://globalfertilitymap.com)
- Monroe, K., Monroe, P. The Bible and the Pain of Infertility. The Journal of Biblical Counseling. Winter 2005. (https://www.ccef.org/wp-content/uploads/archive/sites/default/files/pdf/monroes-infertility.pdf)