I can’t believe we got this far. A year ago it was only a dream. 8 months ago I felt utterly devastated…and now we’re nearing the third trimester. The baby we’ve been hoping and praying for – for years – is almost here.
Our journey has not been an easy one. Then…it has not been as difficult as many other couples’ paths.
But it HAS been a moulding season in our lives. Looking back we are in awe of the goodness, while recognising the difficult moments. It taught us lessons and resilience in new ways. And while it was difficult, I actually don’t want to simply forget the bad times.
The Importance of Reflecting on Seasons
Apart from being super excited about holding our daughter in a few months’ time, I also want to remember what else we’ve gained. It’s the lessons that can help us in future and if we carry them with us, coming seasons may be less overwhelming.
Also, I’m passionate about potential. Potential should bloom so we can all become what God planned us to be. I believe that aligning with His plan leads to more contentment, more purpose and more of Him. And lessons and wisdom are vital for that kind of life.
One of the things I can recognise in every challenging time I’ve ever faced was how God was present. Often, I only realised it afterwards. Or, I only realised in what great capacity He has been there all along – while I was trying to figure it out myself. It would have been so much easier if I recognised Him from the start. But He is patient and always ready to dry my tears and helps me pick up pieces and move ahead.
This time, we were once again blessed by Him every step of the way, even though there were difficult days. And if that is His desire – to be with me during challenges – then He wants to be that for me every day. Because God doesn’t change. His attitude and characteristics stay the same.
So, here’s what I want to remember and look for in future when there are challenges heading our way.
5 Truths About God to Look for During Difficult Seasons
People – He Sends Them
This is the thing I’ve been astounded with the most: the people He sent.
I have always been blessed with good people in my life and I will always be thankful for that. But the number of people God sent my way that had SPECIFIC value and SPECIFIC roles to play during this season of praying for a baby…blew my mind.
Help EXACTLY When You Need it
I remember the day after deciding that we will take the big step of visiting a fertility clinic. That morning a client that has become a friend messaged me about work. Knowing we shared the same beliefs, I felt to share with her about my situation and decision.
Let’s be clear: I don’t share personal matters easily. But that day I just FELT to. And for the rest of the day I received messages from that lady who went through exactly what I was going through…for years. I had no idea that they had struggled to have kids themselves. To find understanding in a moment when I was intensely vulnerable about the waters I have chosen to walk on, was of incomparable value.
He knew I needed those words. He prompted me to share. He even planned it that she would need work done on that day, to initiate a conversation. Over the next few months this lady became a pillar of strength. She helped me feel comfortable with my emotions, whatever they were and she carried me in prayer.
So Many People Helped me
In the same way, people I’ve known for years came ‘back on the scene’. Each one played integral roles in carrying me through:
- The days I didn’t know how to have faith
- My journey as a potential parent
- The fears of not having any control about the outcome of fertility treatment
- Thinking about what your imperfect body may be incapable of doing
…and how He plays a role in all of this.
Without these people, our journey would have been more alone, daunting and overwhelming.
I thank Him for the people He activated to play their roles in my story and know to always watch for them in future seasons.
Timing – It Matters
One of the first things I remember of the journey of the past year was the moment we decided that we should go to a fertility clinic.
For years we’ve known that our chances of having a baby naturally were slim, for medical reasons. By God’s grace it wasn’t torture each month to realise that conception still didn’t happen, although there were sad moments. Friends often prompted me to find out about other options, but in my heart I knew I could never consider fertility treatment, adoption or anything else unless I felt an urge to.
Becoming a parent is a huge enough endeavour. To face the challenges that come with IVF or IUI would put strain on us. We may doubt our decisions around every bend in the road. I believed that without the necessary conviction and drive, that journey would be much worse than it should be.
This conviction came from my personal perspective and I know each person is unique, so it will be different for everyone. But for me, I knew I didn’t need to be a mother in order to feel fulfilled. God has filled my life with so much – passions, hobbies, people, a husband, talents – that I knew I could be happy with or without becoming a parent. Therefore, I didn’t want to push the topic just because I was getting older or because everyone around me had children. It was something I would have liked, but not something I craved. And I believed that without craving it…without that drive…a journey of infertility treatment would just be too much for me to handle.
So I waited. Countless times I said that ‘unless I felt something in me shift’ and switch on that desire to be a parent – which so many of my friends spoke about before their child-prayers were answered – I didn’t want to force us into a season we may not be ready for.
That season eventually arrived when I was 38. (Late in life I knew…but still a perfect time for us). In a moment, in July 2020, I simply knew that it was the next step we needed to take. In that moment I was intensely sad – heartbroken – about the fact that it hasn’t happened for us yet. I had never felt that way before. And I knew something in my heart shifted.
By His grace (once again), my husband was working from home that day, found me crying and I could share my heart with him. And the journey started.
What followed was challenging but beautiful and miraculous. I think it would have been much different had I not waited for the time my gut (spirit) was telling me to wait for.
While writing this, please know that I’m not saying everyone’s journeys will be this way. You can be in His perfect timing and still wait for years for a prayer to come to fruitition. But countless times I’ve seen that when He does ask you to wait or if He suggests a timeline in your heart…it’s always best to follow it.
Preparation – He Saw this Coming a Mile Away
So, the clinic we went to.
18 months before that July 2020 day, we received the results of blood tests that told us how slim our chances were of having children. We did NOT expect it. We were shattered.
By God’s grace (yes, again), one of my friends and mentors (people…again) was in town (she lives a few hundred km away). We met for coffee the day after the results came and the moment I sat down I burst into tears.
Long story short, years ago she lived in the same city I live in now. She knew about a well respected fertility doctor and also knew him to be an amazing believer in the God we serve. This was encouraging in itself, just to know that there were options…good options for us to pursue in a city we’ve only recently moved to.
But wait, there’s more:
- She also knew his receptionist.
- They were having dinner with that receptionist that very evening.
- Minutes later, that receptionist walked past our table, shopping for that evening’s dinner.
I am NOT kidding.
Now to be clear, we ended up only going to this doctor over a year later. But having that knowledge and seeing how He guided me to meet up with His future role players in my life that day, was something to hold on to. He knew well ahead of time what and who I would need and put things in motion to benefit my journey.
So, the question is, when you look back, which ‘accidental’ or ‘coincidental’ situations can you identify over the past few years or months? Could His plan for you already be in motion, but you just don’t see the final result yet?
Once again, I would like to mention ‘timing’. I could have rushed to the doctor the very next day after I heard about him. Perhaps God would have let everything play out in our favour anyway. Or perhaps, because I truly didn’t feel the time was right, it would have been a longer – more stresful – journey. I will never know, but seeing how things fell in place over time, I am comforted by the fact that He doesn’t need everything to happen TODAY. Two years from now is still in His plan.
Opportunities – He is in the Business of Activating Potential
In every challenge there are ways He blesses us as a couple. In addition, there’s almost always also a way – an opportunity – to pay it forward. That’s the potential of each situation. The blessing and lessons He is giving us can also help someone else and we need to keep our eyes peeled for those opportunities.
For us it was an immense blessing to be able to pass on the message of our fertility journey to friends who had a miscarriage while we were still waiting to see if our treatment worked. Even being a little further ahead in the journey enabled us to give someone else hope.
Opportunities are everywhere, whether it is to get a new job, to bless someone, to learn something…we just need to look for them.
Advice – He Speaks in Many Ways
Finally, let’s talk about the wonderful doctor that helped us.
Note: I’m extremely stubborn. I don’t easily change my mind (my poor husband will confirm this).
So, when we started on the fertility journey, I just wanted to try a procedure once. I didn’t want to regret not ever trying, but I couldn’t see myself trying five or 10 times like some couples have the courage to. For one thing, I was already 38 and felt I didn’t want to be pregnant well into my forties. So, if it didn’t happen after the first try, I would make peace with it. Also, it’s expensive no matter what procedure your doctor advises, so we had to be realistic about what is affordable.
The Doctor’s View
Enter, the awesome doctor.
My stubborness even extends to doctors’ advice as I don’t easily believe anything people tell me, even if they’re professionals. But sitting in front of that doctor that day was different. He of course knew what he was talking about but he also had amazing bedside manners. He took the time to explain everything to us, listen to our fears and questions and even understood my tears.
Part of his communication to us was that although he had faith in God that He could make a tiny life happen for us, he also faced the realities of statistics. We needed to take this into consideration too. Each time we tried, we would increase our chances of being the next couple getting the good news of conception and hopefully a healthy baby. How he spoke and explained helped me open my mind to a different perspective. And today I am eternally grateful for that practical advice that prepared me for the road ahead.
Our first IUI wasn’t succesful. But his advice made the outcome less overwhelming.
The second IUI was much more draining emotionally. But we were more ready to face it than we would have been had he not played advisor as well as physician.
Had I not taken his advice from day one, I would have made the journey much harder on myself.
And when I now look back on other challenges I’ve had, I can also pinpoint good advice coming my way. Sometimes I took it…sometimes I didn’t. So, the question is, what advice should you be taking at the moment?
So, our littly Miracle is thankfully on her way after two IUI cycles.
Other couples have to go through much more to hold their miracle children in their arms. We’re still praying for the last few months that lie ahead. But the journey so far has been miraculous in so many ways that we can’t but say thank You. Thank You for showing yourself in different ways through different people. You are always there Lord and may I remember these lessons, no matter what crosses our path in future seasons. I want to recognise Your hand, even in the difficult times.