I am. I am thankful for my infertility. I know, it’s weird, especially since I’m not on the “other side” yet. *The other side in the infertile world is the side with children*. All the “I’m thankful for my infertility” things I read and hear about are from women who now have children. They say things like, “I’m thankful for my infertility because it was the path that brought me to the kids I know God had planned for me.” I don’t doubt that is true, actually I know it is true, but I don’t want to put my hope in parenthood. I don’t want to wait to be thankful. I want to be thankful now, I want to put my hope in Jesus, and I want to experience the gifts He has given me in this very moment.
“16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
I used to think this verse was a command like how your mom would tell you to brush your teeth every night before bed. It’s a good thing to do, and it’s healthy, but sometimes you forget and you don’t remember until you are laying comfortably in bed, slipping into the caverns of the subconscious. In that moment you jolt awake and think “do I dare get up to brush my teeth and risk losing this comfortable position?” And so, you bypass tooth brushing for one night. I used to think this verse was like that- it’s a good thing to do, but if you miss it a couple times here and there it isn’t going to kill you.
Two summers ago I realized it was not a command. Two summers ago I had an emotional, mental, and physical break down. Two summers ago I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t clean, I couldn’t work, I couldn’t shower, I couldn’t do anything without spiraling into a panic attack. It was during one of those days I read this verse. I had been feeling so guilty about the fact that I literally could not DO anything. I had been getting my value and worth out of what I could DO and now it was all gone, and I was nothing. I wasn’t living up to God’s plans for me, I wasn’t living up to my own expectations, and I felt like I was letting everyone around me down. And then I read this verse. It wasn’t a command. It was reassurance. If I rejoice, pray, and give thanks in all circumstances than I am doing the will of God. I don’t need to perform, I just need to rejoice, pray, and give thanks. I don’t need to shower, I just need to rejoice, pray, and give thanks. I don’t need to eat, I just need to rejoice, pray, and give thanks. I started to do that. It was hard at first, so I managed to get myself outside and look at nature and that’s where I started. And wouldn’t you know, after a week of doing that I had the strength to shower without a panic attack. My mind and heart started to transform. Slowly, very very slowly, I started to have the desire to clean and cook and eat and wash. I would back pedal every couple of days, and remember to start thanking the Lord, praying, and rejoicing.
This is not one of those, “Just pray more” fixes. No, so much more went into my recovery: rest, self-discovery, meds, therapy, celebrate recovery, sponsor meetings, accountability meetings, etc. But it was the thanks, prayer, and rejoicing that filled me just enough to continue my journey. It didn’t fix everything, it just gave me the strength I needed to keep pushing through.
So, as I find myself weary with infertility during this holiday season that is geared so much towards family, I will remember that it is possible to find peace, joy, acceptance, gratitude, and whatever else in all circumstances, specifically infertility.
So here it goes, I Am Thankful for My Infertility Because:
- The heartbreak has made me very vulnerable and I find that because I am sharing these vulnerabilities with those close to me, my relationships with them are better than ever. Especially with Dean, we are closer than I have ever imagined, we have gone through so much together in our short six years of marriage and we have held onto each other tight. Most of these vulnerabilities were connected to infertility and the adoption process.
- This is about to get really personal really fast, but it is the reality of this infertility situation. My husband and I can have sex anytime we want. Yesterday, we had some afternoon delight and it was great. No kids to worry about walking in. Just some good, spontaneous, love making.
- The hormones in meat, the chemicals in beauty products, the BPA in plastics and receipt paper, the chemicals in processed foods, the pesticides used on produce, all have links to infertility and hormone disorders. Because I personally struggle with one of these hormone disorders and infertility I have found the will power to make changes to my lifestyle that are better for my body and our world.
- I have made connections with women I otherwise may not have known on an intimate level. Let me tell you, these women are a God send to me. You know who you are. You are the ones I can say “ugggg, so and so is pregnant and after I plastered on a smile for the rest of the evening, I came home, poured myself a glass of wine, sat on my kitchen floor and ugly cried until I ran out of wine, and then I ugly cried about being out of wine, life is so unfair” and you won’t judge me at all. In fact, you will tell me, “girl, I feel you! Yesterday, I got my period and I bought a dozen donuts and ate them in the bathtub while binge watching Netflix.”
- Infertility has led me and Dean to pursue adoption sooner than we would have thought, which led to the scary task of asking others for help. We couldn’t raise the funds alone, we couldn’t walk the journey alone, and we couldn’t pray alone. Our family, friends, and church family has come around us in ways I can’t imagine would otherwise happen. I have found strength in the prayers of those surrounding us at church. I have found peace in my mother’s tears as she cried with me. I have found an abundance of love and grace from all the support and fundraising. Right after the fundraising BBQ I broke down and sobbed, I felt so unworthy of the love and support we were receiving. God continued to assure me that it wasn’t OUR worth that encouraged people to give, but it was love. Love does not keep score.
- Laughter. Laughter. Infertility has given me so many things to laugh about from the desperate couple in tears at the fertility clinic because their dog ate their semen specimen, to the wildly inappropriate memes about punching pregnant people. The laughter has been wonderful.
- The music. “What do you mean music?” Have you not noticed how many songs could be sung by infertile couples?
There are the “Let’s dream of our future family songs”: “Helping the kids out of their coats, but wait the babies haven’t been born.” (Mushaboom by Fiest)
There are the hopeful, “I’ll wait for the child promised to me songs”: “I will wait, I will wait for you…” (I Will Wait by Mumford and Sons)
And the “Ok Lord, I surrender and I will wait like You want me to songs”: “Oh my soul, wait on the Lord…” (To Those Who Wait by Bethany Dillon)
And the “God, I am so done waiting and I don’t want to do it anymore songs”: “You got to hoooooold oooon, yea you gotta hoooooold ooooon! Yea, you gotta wait! Well, I don’t wanna wait! I don’t want to wait” (Hold On by The Alabama Shakes)
And the “I’ve wasted so much time waiting instead of living” songs: “Give me these moments back, give them back to me, give me that little kiss, give me your hand…” (This Woman’s Work Covered by Greg Laswell)
And the “Woah is me, this sucks, let’s cry about how longs I’ve been waiting songs”: “In our hearts we still pray for sons and daughters, all those evenings out in the garden, red red wine, these quiet hours turn into years” (Sons and Daughters by Allman Brown)
And then the “I just got my period…there is no baby” songs: “And I was like, baby, baby, baby, Ohhh! Like, baby, baby, baby, nooo!” (Baby by Justin Bieber) I couldn’t resist, the Biebs just gets me.
And don’t forget the “ok, let’s try this again!” songs: “I believe in a thing called love, just listen to the rhythm of my heart, there’s a chance we can make it now, we’ll be rockin’ til the sun goes down, I believe in a thing called love.” (I Believe in a Thing Called Love by the Darkness or Covered by the Branches*)
See? There are lots of songs! There are lots of awesome songs that raise up emotions and remind me that I am alive, that I feel. There are songs that connect me to other people who feel too. These feelings create music, these feelings encourage me to sing passionately and dance around. I am thankful for that.
- My Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, has revealed himself to me in so many ways during this journey. It was in my heartbreak and fear that I turned to Him. It was in Him that I found the strength to keep going. It was with His promise that I find my hope. I know it didn’t have to be infertility to get me to this place, but I do know I could never have gotten to this place without recognizing that I have no control and my need for a savior. Both of those things require a lot of loss and heartbreak, so if it wasn’t infertility, I know I would still be sitting here writing that I am thankful for the other heartbreaking situation that encouraged me to grab my savior’s hand and hold fast through it all.
- Tears and crying. There is healing in tears. Crying connects me with Jesus, He gets it, He felt it. John 11:35 says, “Jesus wept.” There is something truly cleansing about a good cry. When I let myself cry I always feel way better afterwards. And I am always assured that God hears me, He keeps a record of my tears and one day there will be no more sorrow. My tears always remind me that it will not be like this forever and that is definitely something to be thankful for.
“and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4
10. Last but not least, I am thankful because of this blog. I would have never started writing if it wasn’t for my infertility. People don’t like to talk about infertility and there wasn’t too much out there when I first started going through it. I never believed I could write something myself, but infertility taught me a lot and I just had to share it with other women like me. Through this blog I have found a love and honestly, a talent for writing. It’s crazy that I can even admit that I think I have talent in writing, I used to think that would make me cocky. It doesn’t, it makes me understand that I have something to give, and I believe God gave me a gift in writing. A gift I would have never discovered without infertility.
Happy Thanksgiving!! If you are an infertile Myrtle like me, take some time to be thankful for your infertility. It’s hard to do, but it’s definitely worth it, I promise! Send me what you are thankful for! I’m probably missing a lot of things I could be thankful for.