I asked if anyone would be willing to discuss a topic that isn’t easy and share the story of their fertility journey. I have had a very good response from many of you and I’m honored to finally begin presenting some of the stories that have graciously been provided by some wonderful women.
In this series women with different experiences will share the pain and blessings that the gift of fertility carries with it, in the hope of bringing out God’s grace and promise to those couples struggling to welcome this gift when it is not known how it will turn out in a sinful world.
Whether the result be a healthy child, a child who goes almost immediately to be with Christ, or there is no gift of life, all women of child-bearing age wrestle with this cross and the unforeseen works of God that are to come.
While we might envy God’s work in another woman or couple, Christ alone designs the cross appropriately for each. To desire to please God in this sinful world will entail suffering. But there is comfort in knowing we are not alone. There is value in hearing each other stories, that while our paths are different, it is still a struggle of faith, which all God’s children share.
And it is a great comfort to know that God’s love is not found in how many children we are given or have taken from us, but in the saving sacrifice of Christ on the cross and in His glorious resurrection.
This is Bridget’s story:
Before my husband and I got married, we assumed, as society expects, that we would wait a little while before having children. We both felt strongly against hormonal birth control, but we decided on the use of a barrier method. However, after we got married and began praying about this issue, we both felt convicted that we needed to trust the Lord in the area of family planning. The more we searched the Word, the clearer it became that the Lord sees children as blessings, and desires His people to be fruitful. We conceived our first son a month later, and he was born exactly ten months after our wedding day.
His birth was unexpectedly dramatic, with an emergency c-section and a ten day NICU stay ensuing. It was difficult in so many ways and threatened to shake our resolve, but after much prayer and being so in love with our baby boy, we determined to stay the course of trusting the Lord. I was breastfeeding and I expected that to delay my fertility, but God saw fit to open my womb again when our son was only three months old. Our daughter was born exactly twelve months after our son, a planned VBAC turned forced “elective” c-section. I was devastated that I wasn’t allowed to try for my VBAC. I developed postpartum depression and was overwhelmed recovering from major surgery and caring for two babies. I absolutely could not understand why God put me through so much trial when we had been trying to do the right thing in trusting Him. This time our faith truly was shaken, and we decided to use Natural Family Planning.
NFP has been a paradox in many ways. On the one hand, learning about my body and cycles has been one of the most awesome and empowering things I have ever learned. But one does not need to practice NFP in order to learn one’s body. Whereas we had once trusted the Lord with the timing of conception, NFP gave us a sense of “control.” Though it is morally more acceptable than methods of birth control that risk aborting a newly conceived baby, it is the same as other methods in the sense that it seeks to work around God’s natural design for sex to make babies. This is where I see our thinking has become warped by the culture. We want sex, sex without “consequences” aka babies. So we pop pills or put barriers between us or chart our cycles.
Can God work around these methods? Absolutely, and sometimes He does. But if we truly believe Him when He says babies are blessings, why would we do everything in our power to block them? It’s a slippery slope. Although at the time I was passionate about using NFP because I believed the surgeries and the depression were serious reasons to prevent pregnancy, as I look back I see how double-minded the contraceptive mentality is.
Trusting God with our family size is an ongoing struggle because it requires faith. It also requires having an eternal perspective, and that is something that is difficult for our human minds sometimes. In the spiritual realm, children mean blessings and rewards and legacy. In the physical realm, it means morning sickness and sleepless nights and sinful natures.
It’s sacrifice in every sense of the world. And it’s a very visible sacrifice, which means the world sees it and doesn’t like it. Dealing with sarcastic and hurtful comments from others, many of them Christians, is a big and intimidating part of welcoming more than the average number of children. The fear of being different, of breaking away from the “normal” and embracing what the world calls “burdens” can be crippling. When did we become so afraid of babies? Walking around with a pregnant belly and little ones in tow clearly proclaims that we love life, and that is a message that not many in this anti-life world want to hear. It is a struggle to call “good” what the world calls evil.
But beyond the struggle, there is freedom. There is peace. There is joy. There is freedom from having to rely on our own fallible wisdom, freedom to enjoy the gift of the marriage bed with no guilt or restrictions, freedom from the stress of trying to control what was never meant to be “controlled.” There is peace in knowing that our life, our family is in the hands of the Creator of the universe, whose wisdom is infinitely higher than ours. And there is joy, so much joy in welcoming these little lives, these precious souls who have a unique purpose in this world and will live in eternity.
Even though we have once again chosen to trust our fertility to the Lord, I try not to say that we want a large family, or that we want only a certain number of children. Because the truth is that we don’t know what our future holds, and no one else does either for that matter. Perhaps our youngest now will be our last, perhaps we will be blessed with more. The important thing is that it is in God’s hands, not ours.
—Click HERE for more stories in the Fertility in a Fallen World Series—
I would love to hear your story. If you would like to share that with us please see this post:
Fertility Stories – Would You Share?