Couples experiencing infertility often receive well-meaning but extremely insensitive advice. We can list all the most popular ones: just relax and you’ll get pregnant, or adopt and you’ll get pregnant, of the most painful from those who think they’ve got the goods on God’s plan; maybe God never meant for you to have children. The sheer audacity of making a statement like that never fails to amaze me.
These same people would never walk up to someone seeking treatment for cancer and say “Maybe God never meant for you to live.” However, because I am infertile, I’m supposed to get on with my life? It’s hard to understand that people cannot see infertility for what it is; a disease for which I have to seek treatment.
What if Jonas Salk had said to the parents of polio victims, “Maybe God meant for thousands of our children to be cripples, live in an iron lung, or die.” What if he’d never tried to find a cure? Who could think for one minute that was God’s plan?
What do I think God meant when he gave me infertility?
I think he meant for my husband and I to grow closer, become stronger, love deeper. I think God meant for us to find the fortitude within ourselves to get up every time infertility knocks us down. I think God meant for our medical community to discover medicines, invent medical equipment, create procedures and protocols. I think God meant for us to find a cure for infertility.
No, God never meant for me not to have children. That’s not my destiny; that’s just a fork in the road I’m on. I’ve been placed on the road less traveled. I’ve gained more compassion, deeper courage, greater inner strength on this journey to resolution and I haven’t let him down.
Frankly, if the truth be known, I think God has singled me out for a special treatment. I think God meant for me to build a thirst for a child so strong and so deep that when that baby is finally placed in my arms, it will be the longest, coolest, most refreshing drink I’ve ever known.
While I would never have chosen infertility, I cannot deny that a fertile woman could never know the joy that awaits me. Yes, one way or another, I will have a baby of my own. And the next time someone wants to offer me unsolicited advice; I’ll say “Don’t tell me what God meant when he handed me infertility. I already know.”