HONEST & VULNERABLE POST
This week is Infertility Awareness Week. 🧡
Although it is not something I have always wanted to discuss often, I have found it is better at times to discuss the things we struggle with, the things that we are fighting through...just to let others know that we as leaders struggle also. And it isn't always easy. Sometimes it is very hard. Our faith is tested, sometimes very greatly. Sometimes we lose hope...and then we find it again. Our hope and faith are not in that thing we hope for, but in Him alone.
Can I be completely honest? I don't really want to share this. I never have shared about our struggles on this week. Why? Because I don't want to gain people's pity. Sympathy and empathy are one thing...but I don't want pity.
I don't want to hear everyone's ideas of what I should do...the latest fad, the diet, the supplement, ("just relax", "stop trying so hard", "if you adopt it will just happen for you", etc, etc.). I know that folks mean well...but please don't say those things to anyone who is struggling with infertility. Chances are, they've (I've) tried it all. In over 10 years of walking through this, I have. So please understand, it isn't as simple as it may seem. Be sensitive.
I also don't want some people inadvertently or accidently cursing what we are believing for...and believe me, we've had more people do that than you would think sadly. 😏🤦🏼♀️
But, in spite of all of that, I think I'm finally ready to share more. Today is the day...I sense it is time. Last October, we shared that we are ready to adopt, after years of struggling with infertility (even though we are still believing for our own birthed child as well). At the time, that is all we felt led to say. Now, I am ready to say more, in spite of all of the reservations listed above.
So why am I posting this today, when I really don't want to? Because it just might help someone in their walk of faith, in their struggle. It may make someone else feel seen, heard, and understood. And if I can help just one, then it is worth it. If my struggle can help someone else, then it isn't in vain.
It is time for me to share more of my struggle... but I still post this at 11:11am, because even though I struggle, I remember "by faith Sarah" (Heb. 11:11)...and I believe I will be that Sarah. So today, I share, even though it is hard to share.
This has been the hardest thing I have ever had to walk through, except my father's death, and even that got easier over time. This has been the longest, hardest battle I've had to walk through in my life. 💔😢
For those who don't know much about infertility, or have never experienced it, but maybe have friends or family who have...let me help you understand. This is from a Christian based page I follow about infertility, and I felt maybe sharing this would help. This is especially helpful with Mother's Day coming up...
"It's National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW)
Let's shed some light on the subject.
Did you know that for every EIGHT people in a room, chances are ONE male or female is suffering from infertility? Did you also know that infertility is defined as a heartbreaking disease of the reproductive system—and not just an inconvenience? But here is the issue, sometimes, you don’t know who that ONE person is.
Therefore, can I ask a favor? When meeting someone new, please don’t ask them if they have any children. Or if you have known them forever, please don’t ask them when they will start having children or perhaps add another. Because while your questions are truly innocent, the person you ask, even if they have already had children, could be that ONE…
That ONE who just experienced a miscarriage but is silently grieving.
That ONE who the doctor has told couldn't have her own biological child.
That ONE who, despite the prayers prayed, vitamins taken, treatments given, and diet restrictions enforced, the dream of becoming a mommy is still not within her reach yet.
That ONE who has to hold their wife as she sobs over yet another month gone by without seeing two pink lines.
That ONE who needs to endure thousands of dollars and hours of doctor’s appointments just to be given a chance to carry life.
That ONE who feels less of a man because he has been unable to make his wife a mother.
That ONE who feels less of a woman because she can't make her husband a father.
That ONE who has been waiting countless months, even years, for an adoption match.
That ONE who can’t walk past the baby aisles without shedding tears…😢
You see, you never know who in the room is struggling with the pain that infertility brings and how that seemingly innocent question could open up a painful wound. Therefore, instead of asking someone whom you just met if they already have children, ask them to tell you about themselves. Let them be the ones to bring up the subject.
In regards to asking your loved ones when they will be adding pitter patters of little feet, please be cautious. Chances are, they could be that ONE, and if it were up to them, it would have been yesterday. Or last month. Or last year. Or, in my case, 12 years ago. I am that ONE.
I am One in Eight." - End of article
Now, even though I (Amanda) am 1 in 8, that does not define me...but it does affect me. You all know me as a strong woman of God, who fights for what I believe in, who stands strong in the face of many things. But I am also just a woman. A woman who wants to be a mother of children. All of the ministry in the world cannot fulfill the longing in my heart to be a mother, which I've had since I can remember as a little girl.
This decade long wait and struggle has been harder than I can express. Unless you have been there, you can't imagine. Those who deal with infertility struggle intensely with isolation. With feelings of not enough. Not woman enough. Not wife enough. Not mother material enough. We struggle to fit in with most any group, as we are the odd ones out. We don't have the children to talk about...even though we would love to.
This struggle has made me come back to the "stronghold of hope" again and again. I have gone through all of the stages of grief, more times than I can count...and then I pick myself up and go on with what God has called me to do. I don't get to lounge around in my grief. I must be about my Father's business. But please hear me...it isn't always easy. It hurts. Badly. My heart has been broken and I've cried more tears than I can express. Some days I've spent lying in bed doing nothing but crying. And when all my tears are gone, I pick myself up, and in the grace and power of the Lord I move on.
One in 8 maybe be who I am now, but it is not who I plan to always be. I still hold on to the hope that is beyond all hope. The Lord gave me Hebrews 11:11 to stand on many years ago (along with other verses), and on them I still stand. I stand even when I don't feel like standing anymore. And we are also still hoping and diligently trying to adopt a child as well.
So this week, on Infertility Awareness Week, I finally felt to share a bit more of our journey. I will be sharing more as I go along, and as I feel led. If you are another one who is walking through this journey...I hear you, I see you. You are not alone. And more important than that, God sees you, and He hears you. Keep praying, keep believing, keep hoping beyond all hope...for He is the God of all hope!
With an open heart, 💔💝
Amanda S. (a woman, wife, and someday mother)
P. S. If someone you know is struggling with infertility...let them know you see them this week. Don't be flippant, don't tell them all you know, or suggest what they should do. Just let them know that you remember them this week, encourage them with just being there to talk if they want to, and let them know you are praying for them. 🙏🏻💜