Today R2M brings you a heartfelt message from a woman who understands both sides of Valentine’s Day. It can be a holiday that leaves you heartbroken on so many levels or it can be a time full of little hugs and kisses. Thank you Marci for reminding those of us who are heartbroken this year that joy can be accomplished- even in the midst of heartache. I hope everyone who reads this story chooses joy this Valentine’s Day -Traci
A message from Marci:
“‘Our little Valentine will be here in July!’
And with that hot tears stung my face, I closed that ridiculous Facebook app, and once again felt the ever constant emptiness that lived in my womb. Someone else was pregnant, they made it through the first trimester, and were able to celebrate they would soon be parents. And I once again, felt run over by the rollercoaster I was on – two weeks to ovulate, two weeks to test, how far will I make it this time?
So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. – John 16:22
Infertility is HARD. Although we, the community of infertile women, all have an immense understanding of one another when it comes to the depths of our sorrows and the gut-wrenching pain endured, no two women are alike in how they react. After three miscarriages and being told ‘everything is fine,’ I found myself drowning in anger, disbelief, and overwhelming sadness. To top it off, everywhere I looked was another pregnant woman or pregnancy announcement. I hated it – all of it, every other person’s pregnancy was a malicious, personal attack on me, right? WRONG!
Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not be faint. – Isaiah 40:31
Before I met infertility, ‘cheerful, bubbly and sweet’ were probably words people used to describe me. I was none of that now, I didn’t recognize myself and I HATED that I felt that way – it made me feel more guilty and discontented with myself. And finally this Valentine’s announcement broke me. I was done. No more Facebook, no more Google searches, and no more sadness – I had to get me back. It would be hard, it WAS hard. But ever so gratefully the only times I felt strong, energized and rejuvenated was when I spent time with God. He knew my darkest emotions, held no judgment, just loved me through it and delivered me into the light. At times it was the tough stuff I needed help getting through – a miscarriage, the pickup of my medication needed the night before a D&C (the pharmacist was 8 months pregnant, ouch that hurt), or the courage to take a leap of faith to try again. But more often, it was the little stuff – keep your head up and walk into Target, even though every woman parks and gets her baby out first. Buy that soft Aden and Anais bamboo blanket for your friend’s newborn, hang the baby shower invitation on the refrigerator. I was so burnt out of feeling sad, that I made a promise to myself that day, from now on I actively only choose joy.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. – James 1: 2-3
What does choosing joy look like? I had to figure it out, and make the conscious decision to every day find joy, seek out joy, and overcome stronger emotions in me to feel joy. I got off social media, swore off all fertility forums, and surrounded myself with scripture and prayer. I told my two best girlfriends and husband I could only hear happy fertility stories from here on out. I wanted to read an incredible adoption story, or the successful birth story of other women who had struggled. The focus was no longer on the struggle, but the birth of a child, and I could only be happy about that. I wrote letters to my ‘baby-to-be.’ I was not pregnant, but this soon became my best therapy. I congratulated EVERY pregnant woman I saw, and I meant it. I planned vacations and staycations – I was definitely still acutely aware of what day in my cycle it was, the type A in me would never let that go – but it didn’t control me anymore. I lit candles in my house and bought new jammies to feel the comforts of my home once again. I was stealing myself back from the years I was imprisoned by my infertility.
A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. – Proverbs 17:22
I changed my prayers. I stopped praying to get pregnant. Instead I prayed to love my husband with the purpose for him to feel loved, and nothing else. I prayed for the ability to forgive myself. To forgive myself for not successfully carrying my babies, for not maintaining the image I saw of myself as a mom-to-be, for not being able to do what a woman should just be able to do. Every time I felt anxious, I prayed, right then, in that moment. When negative thoughts entered my mind, I actively stopped them and found the most immediate thing I could to distract myself – changed the song on the radio, called a friend, consulted scripture. I started a fertility journal and prayed for my friends struggling to become pregnant. Some days were harder than others, but after several days of choosing joy, joy became my main emotion. I still longed for a baby terribly, and my heart did ache, but it began to be a hopeful ache rather than a defeated ache.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4: 6-7
My story didn’t end there, I wish I could tell you choosing joy was my infertility ‘cure,’ and I became pregnant the next month. But God wasn’t done with me yet. I endured one more pregnancy loss and several more months of ‘trying,’ but my outlook changed and my infertility didn’t sting so badly anymore. If I can encourage any women out there currently struggling with infertility, I hope to encourage you to choose joy this Valentine’s Day. You deserve it and you are worthy of it. When you choose joy, you start to know even greater joys than you ever have before. One of those joys will be YOUR BABY.
Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, then when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. – 1 Peter 4: 12-13
Good luck, don’t give up, and CHOOSE JOY!”