Monday, April 26, 2010

What IF infertility negatively affects my relationship with God?

National Infertility Awareness Week (4/12-5/1) is underway and in order to raise more awareness and are currently involved in Project IF part 2.  Here is the link to Resolve as well.

I have chosen to write a "what IF" about how infertility impacts a relationship.

What IF infertility negatively affects my relationship with God and I end up losing my faith in Him?

Once I realized how difficult IF was, I knew I my spiritual strength would be tested, but I had no idea to what degree. 

I am a pretty religious person, and knew that God answers prayers.  I also knew that I had to accept His will, and His timing.   But I was confident that sooner or later, our two concepts of timing would coincide. 

As time went on, I began to think I needed to buy God a watch.  Did He not realize that my biological clock was ticking?  Even enduring a month to wait to get into a doctor for a consult was difficult.  Time seemed to crawl when I was waiting a few weeks for my period to come and go so I could get started on treatments.  Then when we took a break between treatments, I could hardly stand to wait.  I felt like I was running out of time.  Apparently I was not. 

My first negative IVF cycle nearly broke me.  I was crushed.  I was angry.   I hated hearing people say, “trust in God and His timing.”  I wondered why does He get all the credit when things go great, and then when things don’t go as planned; it just gets chalked up to His timing and His will. 

With time things got better.  I still didn’t enjoy hearing people tell trite little stories about how they lost something and then prayed to find it, and lo and behold God answered their prayer.  But I tuned it out and didn’t let it affect me too much. 

Then we decided to try IVF again.  I prayed and prayed to know if this really was something we should spend our time and emotional energy on.  I was keenly aware of where this could lead me emotionally if things didn’t work out.   We decided this was something we should do again.  I was more stressed than ever.  I did acupuncture which helped a lot.  I was most scared that if the test came back negative I would lose my faith in God, and to me--nothing was worth that.   I studied scriptures, I prayed.  I tried to stay calm.   

I was a wreck on the day of my beta results.  But lo and behold, they came back positive.  I couldn’t believe it.  I let myself relax and feel joy.  And then, as happy as I felt is how sad and sorrowful I became as it eventually became evident that I was no longer pregnant. 

All of my plans to not be angry with God went out the window.  It wasn’t immediate, but I admit, I did get angry with Him.  The anger passed fairly quickly because I knew from the first time that it wasn't fun to be angry with God.  But I was a bit disillusioned.  It seemed like He was playing a cruel joke on me.  If it wasn't going to work out, why did I feel like I should try again?   If it wasn't going to work out, why let me have a positive beta?  Ironically, that Sunday at church I taught a lesson on prayer.  I held it together until I said “I knew God answered prayers, but sometimes His answer was no.”  I took a break from IF--at least from talking about it or considering any treatments.    

Life was a bit rocky for awhile.  My prayers were hollow, my scripture study minimal.  I still knew that He answered prayers, but like I said, sometimes His answer was no, so why bother asking Him for help? I had no problem praying about many things, as long as it wasn’t related to my infertility. 

I think blogging about all of this these last few months has helped.  Time has really helped.  And continuing to pray and read as little and as minimal as it was helped.  I realized that when I was angry with Him or didn't reach out to Him, he couldn't help me.  I realized I wanted and needed His help. 

Slowly my faith in God related to my infertility has been returning.  In writing this, I get anxious that now it will be tested again.  I just want to catch my breath.  I honestly don’t know if I can ever do IVF again.  I don’t know if I am strong enough to “get back in the saddle”.  I don’t know if I can do anything related to growing my family.  Fear of the intense pain and sadness that can result from it paralyzes me from moving in any direction.  But then I find myself impatient for children.

I guess He thought I could handle this difficulty, and so if He thinks I can handle it, than I intend to.  I truly believe in God.  I know He keeps His promises, and that is what I hold onto when things get difficult.  So sooner or later, I will have to build up the courage to try something else and be able to rely on God’s timing—if only I could get a peek at His watch. 

All that truly matters in the end is that I maintain my faith in God and therefore experience joy, and hopefully have a beautiful family to enjoy it with. 

What IF I can achieve that?   For me, that would be the ultimate reward—to come out of this a better, happier person.  I’ve got the time, so I can see no reason for not achieving that goal.  


  1. Thanks for posting this. I struggle with this a lot, too. It's hard to keep the faith, but in reality, that's all I really have to hold on to. Best wishes to you. Hugs and prayers...ICLW #48

  2. You're such an incredibly strong woman...the strength of your faith amazes me & is truly inspiring! I have no doubt God has an incredible plan for your life!

  3. I have been dealing with this same situation. I have been mad at God but in the end, I know he knows what is best for me. I always tell people that God is the author of my life. I am just going along for the ride. Thank you for posting this. As it is always nice to know that someone else feels this way! Hugs

  4. What a beautiful, moving post. When I was first diagnosed, it was a couple of weeks before Passover. I railed against G-d in those first weeks. I was so angry, so divided. I thought at first I was being punished for something. I spent those first few months doing a lot of literal soul-searching. I think I slowly came to the realization that you speak of: that by turning completely on your faith, there's this emptiness. It's like you're just so mad at G-d, but can't live without His Presence.

    I highly recommend Harold Kushner's "When Bad Things Happen to Good People." That book was a faith-saver for me.

    Wishing you all the best in your journey. Happy ICLW!
    ~Miriam (ICLW #124)
    Hannah Wept, Sarah Laughed

  5. This was very insightful post and so true. I've had my moments were I'm angry at God and then I feel guilty for being angry. But as my DH says, "He is a big God and he can handle when we are angry. Its up to us to not dwell in that anger."

    "So sooner or later, I will have to build up the courage to try something else and be able to rely on God’s timing—if only I could get a peek at His watch." I love this!!

    (((HUGS))) Hang in there!

    ICLW #94

  6. Thanks for posting about this. It's a HUGE issue for me as well. I no longer believe God has a plan or cares about my family in the slightest and it's a scary place to be. It's not because of infertility or the babies I've lost - it's because there's been no peace or comfort or guidance in the aftermath.

  7. I second Miriam's book recommendation. Thinking of you.

    ~What IF

  8. I'm with you. I've tried to keep my faith in this process because I believe there are lessons in everything....but there are many days when I wonder if God has forgotten me.

    Thanks for saying what I couldn't in this beautiful post - now a follower.

  9. Powerful What-IF! Thanks so much for sharing! =) I've been there myself but I can honestly say (for me) it has strengthened my faith so far but I'm with you... I won't let it negatively affect my relationship with Him. He comes first! Good luck & I'll be praying for you. =)