I read your guest post on Bobi Ann Allen's Blog. For the most part I knew exactly how you felt. I too struggled with secondary infertility.
I know the pain of having people ask, "When are you going to start trying again?" when you've already been trying for over a year. I understand the embarrassment of being outspoken about loving kids and wanting lots of them only to have people question when that big family is going to materialize. I know the frustration of gaining weight post Cesarean and having folks congratulate you only to explain that it's just fat, and you aren't carrying a baby.
I understand the guilt of feeling like you have no reason to complain when you have a beautiful child to hold in your arms. I understand the confusion of trying to decide how to live your life with just one child when your entire life plan centered around raising many children. I understand the doubt when the specialists recommend drugs and your Christian upbringing questions the use of chemical fertility treatments. I know the frustration when the doctors are just as baffled as to the cause of the infertility.
The only thing I cannot empathize with is the miscarriages. By God's grace I never lost a baby. I understand second-hand the pain and sorrow of losing a baby, as my best friend went through this multiple times. However, I cannot personally say that I've experienced this.
How many times must we sit through sermons about the blessings of children and question our standing before God? How many times are we reminded of God's gift to the righteous only to search our souls for a sin that is preventing God's blessing? I bet you have Psalms 127, 128, and 139 practically memorized. I bet you're pretty sick of hearing about Isaiah 54.
I don't know you. I don't know what God is teaching you through all this frustration and struggle. I just know that there were some things I needed to learn from my journey.
1) I learned to love my son.
When I initially started dealing with infertility, I didn't realize how my discontent reflected on my son.
He was strong willed and difficult. My parenting style revolved around splitting time between siblings. All my mentors were women who were great at managing large numbers of children. I was planning to homeschool my brood, and having an only child limited that decision. I didn't realize how angry I was with God for forcing me to change my plans. It took three years for me to really fall in love with him. By the time he turned five I was finally ready to focus all my energy on just him.
2) I learned to love my husband.
I didn't realize until I was staring 18 years of motherhood in the face that I was going to be alone with my hubby for a very, very long time. We got married when I was just 18, and I assumed there would be a good 15 years of childbearing ahead of me. I assumed that we would probably have children around the house until I was well into my fifties, and then we would have loads of grand kids to babysit. It wasn't that I didn't like my husband. He's a great guy. It was simply the fact that I didn't think I'd need to work on one-on-one time until later in our relationship. I'm so thankful for that time we had to really connect. He truly is my soul mate and I love that I get to be with him for the rest of our lives.
3) I learned to be a blessing to others.
Because I had so much time on my hands only managing one child I realized I was in the perfect position to provide support to moms with more kids. I had a friend who lived in my neighborhood who had three small children, and many times I would call her up and offer to take her kids to the park so she could rest or get some organizing done. When other ladies in my church were having babies I offered to come take care of the newborns for a couple of hours so Mommy could get some sleep.
4) I learned to be a mother to the motherless.
Realizing that my body refused to bear another child, forced me to consider other avenues to motherhood. During that time my husband and I were able to have realistic discussions about adoption and fostering. Although we decided at that time not to pursue that path, those discussions have finally born fruit. We are now fostering a 2 year old and hope to continue this ministry for a long time.
4) I learned that trials equip you to minister.
Perhaps the best lesson I learned is that overcoming a trial gives a person greater authority to pray for others. Faith is like a sapling, and the more trials you overcome the bigger and stronger that sapling becomes. Aside from empathy, I can now offer hope. After 4 years of trying to get pregnant, God gave me my second child. Then 20 months after that, He gave me a third. Three years after that He gave me a fourth. Because of this experience I have been able to pray in faith for other women dealing with infertility and they have gotten pregnant.
I agree with James 1 and pray that you will have many healthy children in the years to come. I pray that God will restore to you seven-fold everything the enemy has taken away. I ask for supernatural protection over your home that you will be able to bring forth every blessing God has in store for you and that the locust would not be able to destroy anything in the future. I pray that you will learn every lesson God has for you through this difficulty and that you will reach the peak of this mountain you are climbing in victory.
Perhaps God is planting seeds of ministry in you. When you finally do give birth to your next child, I hope you will be encouraged to pray over women dealing with infertility and continue the cycle of hope.
No Longer Barren