Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Infertility Is Like A Sliver

[I wrote this post last week, but haven't had internet until today. Better late than never, right? Moving is a pretty good excuse, I think.]

I have a sliver in my finger from the trim in our new house. It doesn't want to come out. At first, my finger was sore and inflamed. The sliver made it hard to continue life as usual. The sliver would catch on everything and send shooting pain up my sensitive pinky. Trying to remove the sliver just made it worse. Eventually, the swelling went down and the soreness went away. But, the sliver still catches on things sometimes. Just when I forget, my finger gets bumped.

Infertility is the same way. In some seasons, infertility has sent shooting pain into every part of my life. In others, I forget the infertility sliver is there until it gets bumped. In all seasons, I want it gone.

Due to our shift toward adoption, our big trip, and our new house, infertility has been a much smaller part of my life lately (Praise the Lord!). Distraction has been so good. I was reminded last weekend that infertility is not gone. My infertility sliver was bumped.

It was a perfect storm. I was exhausted from working so hard on the house. My hormones were at that cry-at-anything level. And I hadn't thought about infertility in a while. Then, we went to church. At one point in the service, my thoughts became self focused and I started thinking about how long we have been trying to start a family: 3.5 years. If you haven't done this mental exercise yet, just don't go there. Nothing good can come of it. Anyway, I started calculating. In the last three years, that couple has had two kids. This other couple has gotten married, had one kid, and is expecting another. You see? Bad idea. As the numbers and covetousness rolled through my head, my husband turned and asked if I was okay. I said yes, then started to wonder if he was okay. Our family-oriented church has been a tough place for both of us to be at times. Nothing makes me cry faster than seeing my husband hurting like that. I didn't cry though, not yet.

Then, we sang "The Song." The song that hurts our hearts every time. The one that makes us wonder what we did to deserve infertility, then makes us remind ourselves that God is not vengeful like that. That God is good. The song that bumps my infertility sliver so hard every time. The song we used to love, called "Blessed the Man that Fears Jehovah." It is based on Psalm 128:

Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord,
who walks in his ways!
You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands;
you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.

Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
within your house;
your children will be like olive shoots
around your table.
Behold, thus shall the man be blessed
who fears the Lord.

The Lord bless you from Zion!
May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life!
May you see your children's children!
Peace be upon Israel!

I lost it. In the middle of church. I thought about leaving, but my face does not handle crying discreetly. The instantly bright red nose and eyes would be a dead give away. So, I stayed in the pew with tears streaming down my face and my husbands arm around me. Stupid infertility. 

And thus, I was reminded that the infertility sliver has not gone anywhere. It is still there and will continue to be bumped. Eventually, God will remove the infertility sliver, hopefully by blessing us with adopted or biological children. Until that day, I need to be prepared. I need to remind myself that God is good and that infertility has brought blessings, not just sorrow. I need to avoid the trap of comparison and envy. I must choose joy in spite of the sliver.

P.S. By the way, the actual sliver in my finger is tiny. It does not want to be removed, but will work it's way out eventually.


  1. I also struggle with the comparison of other couples who have had at least 2 kids in the time we have been trying, and it hurts my heart. I just try to remind myself that God just has a different plan for us than them. This is a beautiful post and a great reminder. Thank you :)

    1. You are right, God has different plans for each of us. It's easy to compare and focus on the wrong thing. Sometimes, I lose perspective, but I am very excited about adopting and think it's perfect for us.

  2. The comparison game is so very real for those who have walked on this side of infertility. Thanks for your transparency and thoughtfulness in writing this post! One thing that really helped me in the depths of infertility, was a quote from Lisa Terquerst... "I am not equipped to handle what that woman has - both the good and the bad." That, along w/ some of Lisa's own experiences she shared in a Bible study, helped me realized that everyone's life looks good on the outside, but I have no idea what trials they have going on in their lives. And if I did, and were honest, I would probably take my trial over theirs any day. Don't know if that's helpful to anyone else, but it sure was to me; even more so once I personally experienced the truth and reality of that statement in others' lives around me! Love you and are excited for you, Davy, in this new adventure!!! (hugs)

    1. Good point. I try to remember that everyone has trials. Having children would not mean life would become easy, as my mama friends can attest. Your camaraderie has been invaluable along the way, Jackie.

  3. Oh Davy, my heart hurts for you because I've bawled in the middle of church, too. (I don't know the song you mentioned, but I think it would turn me into water-works, too). I like how you compared it to a sliver in the finger. It's so accurate. You are right to trust that God is good and He does have blessings for us. Hugs, friend.

  4. Trusting God is catching every tear you cry! He is close to the brokenhearted and understand all your pain.

  5. An excellent comparison, and I have to agree with you, I have always found church one of the most difficult places - all the families, bellies, baby dedications, birth announcements, the nursery...I remember crying in church one time because of an insanely adorable baby peeking over their parents' shoulder from the pew in front of me! And that's just one story; I have more.

    1. I am not surprised that others have cried during church, too. While the church community is a great support system, being around families is just tough sometimes. And those cute little babies...

  6. Literally, 15 minutes before reading this post, I read a pregnancy announcement on Facebook from a friend (this will be her third child, and her oldest is the same age as my [only] son). We've been trying for baby number two for a year and a half now (I miscarried two months ago). As soon as I read that announcement my mind went down that awful path of comparison. This post is just what I needed.