This is for all the women trying to have a baby. Whether you've been trying for one month or five years or more. This is especially for those of you who are discouraged and tired. Maybe this will help you like it helped me.
In case you're a stranger reading this, I'm twenty five. My husband, Gary, and I have been married for two years and together for ten. We didn't try for a baby our first year because we wanted to enjoy just being us before kids.
We're currently on cycle sixteen of trying (two of which were with Clomid), and I've gone through all the emotions. Or at least I think so. The first six months of trying, I was excited and hopeful. So hopeful I thought for sure every month was the month. That every twinge was implantation and every cramp was my uterus expanding. I looked up early pregnancy symptoms just to confirm my suspicions. I even went around telling those closest to me, "I can feel it! I'm pregnant!"
And then I started getting anxious. Impatient. Why was it taking so long? Why on Earth are early pregnancy and PMS symptoms the same?
As we neared the one year mark of TTC, I was afraid. Because when you reach the one year mark, if you're under forty years of age, you're technically "infertile". That doesn't mean you can't have babies. It just means there's likely something standing in the way, and since you've tried "long enough" doctors will help you figure out what the holdup is. I was afraid we'd get to this point. Afraid something was wrong. And at the same time, I just wanted to hurry up and get there so we could figure out what the problem was. This is when I knew I was starting to lose hope.
A couple months ago, I was folding laundry when I started getting really bad PMS cramps, which meant, "Yo, your period's coming in the next couple hours." I dropped the laundry, hid my face in my hands and bawled. I cried to God, "I don't get it. What am I missing? What's wrong with us that we can't have a baby? Do you see how much pain I'm in? I just don't even know what to believe anymore. I'm tired. I don't even know if I can keep trying, so you're going to have to help me out here."
The tears continued to the next day. I took Gary to work, came back home and slept more, and woke up crying. Even though I wanted to stay inside and drown in my sorrows all day, I got out to the store for some grocery shopping. In the parking lot, I took a deep breath, dried my eyes one more time, and told myself to suck it up and just get done what needed to be done.
I remember feeling so tired as I got out of the van. And then someone drove in front of me and stopped. This person turned out to be a friend I hadn't seen in a while. I fake-perked-up and was all, "Oh, heyyy, I haven't seen you in so long! How aaare yooou?" We exchanged pleasantries and then because I'm sure she could see right through me (she'd already asked how I was), she said, "How are you, really?" And cocked her head in a way that said, "You can tell me."
I shrugged like it was no big deal, rolled my eyes, and said, "Still trying for a baby."
"You sound like you're getting discouraged," she said.
Then the chin wobbled and gave me away.
She invited me in her car and parked. And then I ugly-cried. The kind that makes you hiccup.
A lot of well-meaning, loving, awesome people up to this point have given me advice. I don't need to write the advice out here because I know you TTC ladies have heard it all a hundred and twelve times. Thing is, no one's advice helped. I knew it all. I tried it all. And I was still heartbroken.
But what my friend said this day opened my eyes. Her words weren't about getting pregnant--they were about not drowning in the process (like I was).
Basically, what she pointed out was that my children were number one in my heart. I know a lot of people who put their kids as number one, and if that's what they believe they should do, okay--I'm not saying everyone has to agree with me. I don't believe our kids should be number one. I didn't a few months ago either, but she was right--they were. And my kids aren't even here with me yet. They took up most of my thoughts. They were my number one reason for being healthy. They were my main ambition. I didn't set out for it to be that way. It happened subtly, over time.
Here's the thing--anytime we give our number one heart spot to someone who will let us down, we'll be unfulfilled. If we give utmost importance to people or things that are imperfect, we will be disappointed. Our heart priorities matter.
Here's what my heart priorities should be:
2. My husband, Gary.
And then other people and things fall into place here, but the order isn't important for this post.
When I put my kids in spot number one, it messed up everything. I think Gary was still in slot two, but he was under kids, which isn't right. And God was maybe in slot three, but if I'm honest...eh, maybe not even that high. Not in my heart.
The day I said "I do", I promised Gary he would be number one on Earth. We both understood God should be number one. But when it comes to people, Gary comes first, always. Thankfully, I didn't put a huge dent in our marriage by getting my priorities out of wack. Gary has been patient and gracious and loving through all of this. But I'm glad my friend helped me see things clearly because I can definitely see how this would have caused problems down the road and how it would have been so much worse if it continued when we have kids. Gary's amazing, and a huge light in my life, and I never want him to feel like he's not enough for me. Even if we never have kids, he's enough. Our family is complete as is. If we have the privilege of adding to it, awesome. I hope we do. But life will still be wonderful if our family is just the two of us from here on out. And I will continue to be content with this as long as I keep Gary in slot number two.
Now, as for God in slot number one. Why do I believe this is essential? Because if I have an unfailing God who loves me unconditionally, whose name is above all names, who always has my back and goes before me, who empowers and enlightens me, who is a steady hope, who builds me up, and forgives me is number one in my heart, how could I ever be disappointed? How could I ever lose hope? Even if the whole world crashes and burns around me, I still have my Father. Always. He's my anchor.
When my friend started saying these things, I immediately knew she was right. I believed beforehand this was how it should be, but I lost sight of it. I didn't realize how screwy I had let things get.
I wanted to get things back in order, but I didn't know how.
My friend gave me simple advice. "Tell God you haven't been putting Him first, but that you want to and don't know how. He'll show you what to do."
So I did. At home, I gathered a bunch of supplies and sat on my bed. I told God I wanted to put Him first but that I needed His help to do it. Then I cracked open my journal and did a bunch of writing. I wrote questions and thoughts and doubts. I read the Bible. I watched some Joseph Prince clips. I listened to worship music. I was silent and still. I worshiped. I repeated the cycle for a few hours. Just so you know, our time with God doesn't have to be long--quality over quantity for sure, but I needed both here. I was desperate.
It started to feel better immediately. More hopeful. More at peace. And then slowly over the next days and weeks, it was like I was looking through a new pair of glasses. I wasn't even devastated when my period came.
Do I still want kiddos? Of course. So much. And I have moments (like when I see pregnancy announcements or walk by the baby section at the store) that I feel sad. An ache starts to form in my middle. But I've been meditating more of God's Word, which has strengthened me. Because now when those feelings creep up, I'm quick to take them captive like 2 Corinthians 10:15 says. I acknowledge the way I feel because there's nothing wrong with feeling sad. Nothing wrong with being human. But then I talk to God about it before the sadness can become rooted in me. I tell Him how I feel and ask Him to help me not be jealous or bitter or sad. I thank Him for how good He's been to me. I tell God I trust Him even though I don't know what He's up to--that's what faith is. I memorize Bible verses to speak to myself. I love on God simply because He loves me. There's no one way to put God first in your life--for me it just means trying my best to honor Him with my thoughts and beliefs and actions, and knowing He still has me when I don't.
I hug, kiss, and play with my husband because I'm thankful to have him. There was a time it hurt me not to be married to him yet, and I don't want to take what we have for granted while my heart aches for what I don't have. I want a heart of thankfulness. I don't want to be so quick to forget all that God has done for me or to doubt He's doing stuff now just because I can't see it.
And all of that would not be possible if my kids were still number one in my heart. It's been revolutionary for me to realize this and let God change things in me.
God doesn't want to be number one to us just because He has a big ego or something. He wants it for us because He knows He satisfies us far better than anyone or anything else. Our Father is the best thing for us because He knows how to protect our hearts. And you know what? He knows we can't do that without help--that's why it's called a relationship. You don't just decide God is number one and then He's always number one. It's a daily effort. You just have to meet Him and He does all the hard stuff for us.
So, all you ladies TTC, I can't tell you why we're waiting so long. But I can tell you the wait doesn't have to be as painful as we've allowed it to be. Know you're not alone, and I'm praying (right now) for all our hearts.
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified or discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you may go." Joshua 1:9