Today’s last and final What It’s Like post is written by me. And it was a doozy. It’s hard to articulate what it’s like to stand on this side of infertility, but here’s my best attempt. It’s beautiful and joyous and messy and hard and confusing and wonderful and transforming and glorious and challenging.
Beating infertility has meant being overwhelmed with gratitude. Jesus answered our prayers in His perfect timing. It’s humbling, really, because I am no more deserving than someone else still waiting. It makes me stop routinely, as in hourly, and thank the Lord because they are here. Kirsten and Logan are here. They are ours. They are tangible answers to prayers. We somehow got through the storm and while there was damage done, we survived. We get to rebuild.
Beating infertility means I parent different. Not better, but different. Late nights rocking a crying teething child provide me opportunities to thank Jesus that I have a child to soothe. I try to savor the little moments more. I don’t take these times for granted because I know not everyone has them, no matter how hard they try. I appreciate these miracles in a deeper way. The feeling of them in my arms is intensified because I remember too well what it was like not to have them in my arms.
Beating infertility has increased my heart of compassion for the infertility community. I now shop in the newborn section and I remember all the times I passed it with tears in my eyes, wondering when it would be my turn. I cringe when I hear a Happy Mother’s Day commercial, knowing while I now get to celebrate it, too many don’t and ache to. I scan the rows at church during a baby dedication, looking for the couple whose hands are tightly folded together, with tears in their eyes, and I pray for them. I dislike events centered around children. I constantly wonder who is pained by it.
Beating infertility has taught me I can be happy and sad at the same time. I can celebrate the birth of my children and still remember the due date of our three miscarriage children. There are moments I see Logan scrunch his nose and wondering if one of his siblings would have done that too, or if Kirsten would have had a sister with little curls in her hair too. Joy and sorrow aren’t mutually exclusive emotions and I’ve learned to give myself permission to feel both.
Beating infertility reminds me God is faithful and has His own timing that I will never understand. I don’t know why it took us nearly a decade to get here, but the process has made me trust His goodness despite our circumstances.
Beating infertility has laced my relationships with feelings of guilt. I have “graduated” while others are still waiting and heartbroken. I struggle to find the balance of answering how our family is doing without spewing out too much joy in their faces. I have children. You don’t. I want to talk about them. I know how much this hurts you. I am so sorry. I’m still navigating this. What is a good balance and why don’t I remember the “right” things to say?
Beating infertility also means dealing with shame. There’s shame when I am tired and frustrated and need a time out from my kids. There’s shame I feel anything but gratitude when this is what we prayed for. There’s shame to ask others for help, because this is what we wanted. There’s shame in admitting motherhood isn’t as easy as I thought.
Beating infertility gives us a heart to pray regularly for those who need our prayers. We wouldn’t be here unless it was for the community of people who gathered around us and prayed for these moments. Someone came up to me today and asked if my husband was Josh. When I said yes, her eyes filled with tears and she said “I don’t know you, but I have been praying for you for years.”
It’s taught me to pray for people that don’t know I am praying for them. I get to be a part of their team without them even knowing it. I get to be a part of their story and watch God work.
Beating infertility has complicated my identity. For years I was that infertile girl. Now I am a mother. I am now responsible for two little lives. I have had to learn in a 180 degree manner how to be completely unselfish. I have had to give up things I love for two little ones I love more. I am the best version of myself and the worst version of myself. I at times miss the things I used to have time for, yet wouldn’t change my life for anything. I am still trying to figure out how to be Chelsea when all my roles and duties have shifted.
Beating infertility causes me to wrestle. I wrestle with emotions that come with someone’s pregnancy announcement, even though I have had one myself. I still have to suppress the cringe when someone says they got pregnant without even trying. My heart aches at baby showers, wondering who in the room is hurting, struggling with infertility or secondary infertility. I don’t know if I will ever “get over” the tenderness. I still am uncomfortable.
Beating infertility has made me cherish the hard times. A 3 a.m cry is music to my ears. We have babies in the nursery. A difficult c-section recovery, complete with the need for a second surgery, was embraced, because it meant I had children. A baby with a cold is a gift. I am the one who gets to comfort her and sit in the steamy shower with her. It takes me way too long to get out of the house (and entails so much sweat), but I get to walk around Target with my children. They are here.
Beating infertility has taught me to my need to trust God as a parent. I have to admit, our infertility journey causes me to resort quickly to feelings of anxiety and fear when it comes to worrying about the future. The emotions of grief and loss threaten to steal my joy and I am afraid I am going to end up back there. Because of this, I have had to put into action the commands of Philippians 4:8 and spend my time focusing on “…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, excellent or praiseworthy…”.
Infertility tried to break me. I can truthfully say there were so many days I didn’t think I would be here, yet here we are. I am finally a mom on this side of heaven. Thank you Jesus for Kirsten and Logan!
“Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” Psalm 30:5
“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19
Hi! I’m Chelsea, creator of this blog, Trials Bring Joy, and co-author of ‘In the Wait’. I’m a Midwestern girl who loves connecting with others about infertility, motherhood, and living authentically. I’ve been married to Josh for double-digits years and recently welcomed twins, Kirsten and Logan, to our family after nearly a decade of waiting and loss. I love a good cup of coffee, a cozy bookshop and mindless reality TV. I co-authored a devotional called My heart finds joy in untangling the trials in life and allowing God to help me find beauty every day. You can connect with me on Facebook and Instagram @chels819. I absolutely LOVE connecting with each of you!
PS – Check out the other contributions from this series, including What It’s Like: to experience multiple IVF cycles, raise a child with special needs, use an egg donor, be a DIY-er and home style blogger , be a NICU nurse, Live fully in singleness while still hoping for marriage, suffer with endometriosis. experience depression, start a company, have a micro preemie, lose a parent, be childless not by choice, have a spouse with a chronic illness, fund raise for fertility treatments, have a traumatic birthing experience, take a natural route with infertility, be on a reality show, go through the adoption process, have male factor infertility,be a stay at home mom, be an entertainer, be given a Down syndrome diagnosis for your child , experience multiple miscarriages, have a surrogate, experience a late pregnancy stillbirth, be a police officers wife, be a working mom , be a breastfeeding mother, have weight loss surgery, donate and adopt an embryo, be on a reality show, go through the fostering process, throw a themed dinner party , have PCOS, have had a cancer diagnosis,be a high school teacher,love someone who’s experiencing infertility, be a step-parent, be the husband in a couple experiencing infertility , experience secondary infertility,experience postpartum anxiety,experience a traumatic loss,be a single mom,have a child born with cancer, be pregnant with a rainbow baby, and experience a failed adoption.