To be Defined

Defined Infertility

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

I’ve written and deleted a version of this post several times since September. Selfishly, I kept hoping I wouldn’t need to publish this. I hoped it would remain as thoughts written down, but only for me to remember. 2013 was a big year for us: we traveled to Europe, Jordan successfully finished his first full year working for himself, we spent a lot of time visiting with family and friends, but I still apprehensively prepared for 2014.

I was ready to leave the pain that crept into 2013, but not quite ready to start all over again. I wasn’t ready to admit we had set out to expand our family, but it still hadn’t happened.

The blogosphere has been full of “word of the year” posts. While I haven’t specifically chosen a word of the year, I have been thinking a lot about defining moments: how I would define last year, but more broadly how I want to define myself. Up until recently, I thought I would be defined by the labels I have had throughout my life: girl, daughter, sister, friend, wife, and someday mother. That’s a normal thing, right? Except for the fact becoming a mother has taken me down a road I didn’t expect to travel; the road of uncertainty.

I never thought I would struggle with infertility* (I sort of despise the need for that label) and yet, here I find myself at the one-year mark not experiencing any tangible progress. So many have walked before me with even greater difficulty, but how does one prepare for that? This has really turned my world upside down. I wasn’t prepared to experience such intense emotional pain and embarrassment from this disappointment. Jealousy, envy and self-doubt creep into my consciousness, but I’m fighting those thoughts. I refuse to let this situation steal the joy in my life.

This whole journey feels like an out-of-body experience; I see myself growing in ways I know wouldn’t have happened if pregnancy had quickly taken place. And yet, I so wish it would end. In moments of darkness I lean on this verse that has become my mantra. I repeat it over and over again to help clear my head.“…not my will, but yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42)

It is easy to forget that my life doesn’t end or begin with or without children. I have to remember God hasn’t forgotten about me, but in fact, He has even greater plans than what I could dream up. I write this so I won’t forget. Maybe others will find encouragement in knowing having a child isn’t always easy and they aren’t alone, but mostly this moment will be stored for me.

This isn’t a post I can wrap up neatly; it is an ongoing story, my story.

When I look back on 2013, I hope to remember it as a defining year in my life; one that has helped to shape and mold me, NOT one that has scarred me.

*FYI: I haven’t been labeled by a doctor as infertile, I’m going by the medical term infertility given by the Mayo Clinic.

23 thoughts on “To be Defined”

  1. While I’m sorry that the past year has been difficult, I appreciate you not only writing about it but sharing with your readers. It’s harder to share the parts of our story that are unresolved. We want to tie things up with a sentence or a word, but real life isn’t always like that. I’m looking forward to the ongoing story, and I’m encouraged by your willingness, despite the tension, to see that these are moments God is using to shape you.

  2. Thank you for being so honest & open! Sharing openly with others, our difficult times & how they have shaped us are not easy! God’s will be done!

  3. I am really glad I read this! I am in the same boat (or I was until Curtis took off). I conceived Georgiana in one month last time… when I had expected to have issues (used Taking Charge of My Fertility- I LOVED IT and it helps you problem solve when you are having issues if you chart your temps and cycles for a month +). This last time we started trying to to get pregnant was over a year ago. When nothing happened by May, I started taking ovulation test daily. That was a daily heartbreak as I did not ovulate at all until September. This gave us two shots at a pregnancy before Curtis left in October. Both times we had failure. I do not know the details of your journey, but you are not alone (a fact I am sure you have discovered :)). Thank you for speaking out. I know that in a land of friends and family with babies and bellies it can be a daily sting.

    1. Oh Natalie! Thank you for sharing this. I’m sure the challenge of a timeline only increased the frustration. You’re the second person to recommend that book, so it must be worth the read. I’ll be sending those positive vibes your way as we both continue on this road.

  4. I’m so sorry Catherine. I’ll be praying for you. I think you are already viewing it with such wisdom and grace, even if you don’t always feel that way. Sometimes scars are what shape us, I know I have one of those, and Jesus has some too. Your story isn’t done yet, by far. I’m glad you shared, saying things out loud does something very, very good.

  5. It’s good to know other bloggers have “those” posts too, the ones they write and delete, and write again. I think you expressed yourself beautifully and with grace. There’s a courageous hope in your words, one that comes from a solid view of your identity, and it’s so lovely. I’m sorry you’re experiencing this pain!

    1. Oh, thank you! I don’t always feel graceful or courageous, but sometimes that saying, “fake it until we make it” really is true. P.s my middle name is Susanna and I’ve never “met” anyone with that name!

  6. You’re right! We do share so many of the same words : ) While I share in the pain, I also share in the joy of meeting those that are a lot like me, even across these crazy interwebs. It’s nice to meet you and please know I am adding you to my list of those to pray for. I figure we can all be in this together.

  7. Thanks for linking up at my blog, Catherine. This is a beautiful post, and I know it took a lot of courage to write.

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