A while back, I wrote a bit about pregnancy, parenting, fear, and trust.
Today, a bit about the journey towards pregnancy, parenting, fear, and trust.
We decided to try and start a family two years ago (although our trip to Cambodia delayed our “start date” on that decision). We planned and prayed about the timing, thinking about Krissy’s teaching schedule, my job situation, and, more generally, about where we were at with the bigger picture of our journey together through life.
We had a number of great friends at Fuller, similar to us in age, life situation, etc., who were having babies and getting pregnant, sometimes without trying (or at least not trying very hard NOT to!). We kind of assumed once we were ready to give it a go, it would be as simple as…well, you know.
But it didn’t turn to be as simple, quick, or easy as we assumed.
Weeks became months without any developments. A few late months got our hopes up but just turned out to be late months. At some point in all of this, we found more and more friends who were also having a difficult time getting pregnant. Compared to many of these friends, we were only at the very, very early stages of the often long, always difficult, and rarely-discussed journey of infertility.
As the months passed, we began to occasionally put words to the reality we were experiencing: this was not as easy as we thought – this may not ever be a quick or easy resolution – getting pregnant may not be a physical possibility for us. It was a difficult thing to process, with both of us experiencing similar (yet extremely different) emotions and feelings. We were used to hearing people talk about becoming pregnant; but most people do not talk about not becoming pregnant. This felt especially true in Los Angeles, where it seems more common for couples to choose to remain childless.
We were lucky to have friends who were part of our journey from the initial decision to start a family – people who would ask along the way how things were progressing. But those conversations can be awkward for everyone; our culture doesn’t do a great job of helping us navigate through conversations about infertility.
After a year of trying to get pregnant, we became “eligible” for infertility consultations with our health coverage, but it took us longer than that to finally go in because going in to discuss infertility felt like submitting to a reality that we didn’t want to face – taking on a label or potential label that we weren’t ready to acknowledge.
Our story ends on a happy note: as it turns out that we were newly pregnant when we walked into our first infertility appointment (although we didn’t find that out until a few weeks later). We’re very grateful for the way things turned out, but a pregnancy does not erase the frustration, sadness, disappointment, and confusion experience on our journey towards pregnancy, and it certainly does not alleviate those same feelings for our friends who are still in the midst of that journey.
Infertility is a reality for many people – it was for us – and our culture (and churches especially) needs to find better ways to acknowledge, converse, support, and encourage people who are on this journey.