Having infertility made me feel like less of a woman. I couldn’t get pregnant. I couldn’t keep my babies. We had infertility for many years. We lost a baby through miscarriage and our son, Gideon, was stillborn at 33 weeks, 4 days pregnant. What kind of woman can’t do the one thing her body was designed to do? Isn’t that the purpose of being born with a uterus, so we can bear the children we so desire to have? I grew up wanting to be a wife and mommy. After we had been married for five years, my husband and I decided we really wanted to try to have children. We sought after what God wanted for our lives, and we knew He would want us to grow our family.
When I was in my last year of graduate school, we started trying for a baby. I thought it would be easy. Boy, was I wrong! After months and months of nothing, I noticed there was something wrong—something wrong with me. My husband and I went through all the testing, lots of prods and pokes to determine the cause of not being able to have children. PCOS: Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. It was my fault. It was my fault I could not give my husband children. It was my body that was failing me. We started fertility treatments. More pokes and prods. More testing. More medical procedures. We ended up having to take injection medication and doing IUIs (Intrauterine Insemination). This was not the way I pictured having a baby. Each month that went by, the more procedures we had done, it made me feel like I was a failure as a woman. I felt like I had nothing to offer. My femininity was wrapped in my ability to have a baby, and with no baby, I wasn’t a woman. Women could have babies. So what was I? I cried out to God for him to show us what to do.
We decided to stop our fertility treatments a month after our miscarriage. I was too overwhelmed with emotions. I was in despair and getting extremely jealous of other women who were able to get pregnant and bring their babies home. I threw myself into my career, husband, family and friends. I was trying to forget the roller coaster of infertility. My heart ached for a child to fill our home, to have chubby cheeks to kiss, to hear the laughter of children. Instead those imaginary sounds echoed in my ears and pained my heart. I was sad. My very sweet husband was so loving and supportive. We took vacations, spent time as a couple, went and did so many things together. Those are special memories I have of a bitter time. But I still felt like a failure. My body kept failing me month after month.
There was nothing more I could do medically, but I prayed. I kept seeking after the Lord. He brought me from heartache back to joy. It was a long process. I had to find my identity in Him again. I spent so much time with my identity as a woman with PCOS, I lost a little bit of the fact that I was first and foremost a child of the King. I began to dig into the Bible and see what God had to say about my identity. About who I am in Him. Isaiah 43:1 says “…I have called you by name, you are mine.” I belong to the Lord. THAT is my identity!! Yes, we kept praying for a child. But the despair had dissipated. I knew God was present and was working in our lives. I kept waiting, but I started waiting with a purpose. I served God in my waiting. Even if I never brought a child home, I would serve Him. I stopped placing my desire for a child over God. I put God first. I found my identity again. I was a woman. A woman of God. Isaiah 64:8 says “And yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the Potter. We all are formed by your hand.” I wanted God to mold me into whatever He wanted. If that was to be a mommy, then that would be wonderful. If it wasn’t to be a mommy to a child here on earth, then that was truly okay with me, too. My life would be fruitful and fulfilled because He sustained me and would give me an abundant life no matter what.
We kept trying to have a baby naturally and a long time rolled by. But my hope had been restored—not the hope that I would have a child, but my hope in the Lord. My hope was in my relationship with Christ. Eventually we naturally conceived our son, Gideon, who was stillborn due to a membranous cord insertion. After he went to Heaven, we knew since we had a history of infertility, we wanted to start to try for a little sibling for Gideon right away. We were shocked to conceive naturally again only three months later. Gideon’s little brother is now 2 and a half. We want to add to our family again, and we find ourselves in the middle of having secondary infertility. We are on the roller coaster of fertility treatments once again. However, I will not sway from my focus. I will not turn my eyes off of Jesus. I will not buy into the lie that I am less of a woman because my body and hormones do not work properly. I am a child of God. Christ is my firm foundation. He cannot be moved. So even though going through infertility again is far from easy, I rest in knowing that no matter what, He loves me and his plans for me are good.
♥ Stormy Mitchell, Mommy to Gideon and Avery, M.E.N.D.—Houston Chapter Director