When my husband and I struggled with infertility, I clung to Jeremiah 29:11 like a lifeline. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
I was sure that part of the Lord’s plan for me and my husband was to give us children. After all, the Bible says that God wants to give us the desires of our heart; it also says that children are a blessing. We were asking for something good and of the Lord, so it seemed fair to assume God would answer with a resounding “yes!”
After the first miscarriage, family and friends assured me this was common and no big deal. “Nearly every woman has at least one miscarriage, especially after thirty.” When a second pregnancy also ended in a pregnancy, well-meaning friends and family told us, “It will happen. Just relax and don’t think about it. Lots of people have two miscarriages followed by two healthy babies.”
Time passed and no more pregnancies occurred, which drove us to seek medical help. Assisted reproduction gave us three more pregnancies and three more miscarriages along with a lot of heartache and anger. I was angry at all those people who told me(and in some cases were still telling me) that everything would be fine. It wasn’t fine and would never be fine again as far as I was concerned. More than anything, I was angry at God. How could He deny me the one thing I was created to do? Wasn’t His plan
supposed to be for my welfare and not for my calamity? In my mind, infertility was calamity. It meant I was broken and inferior. Surely I was being punished for something.
Six years of praying, crying, and losing took a toll on our emotions and on our marriage. I couldn’t bear to see pregnant women; I hated going to church where every Sunday I had to witness women with their children lined up behind them like ducklings. We left Bible studies because members were constantly pregnant and having children. Emotionally, I was at the lowest point of my life. I couldn’t pray anymore and God seemed like a distant entity withholding all things good.
One day my husband said to me, “Let’s do something we couldn’t do if we had children. You keep saying you want to go to England, so let’s go.” And we did. That summer, we took two weeks and we traveled around England, Scotland, and Wales. And something inside me shifted.
Miraculously, from the moment the plane lifted from the tarmac, I stopped thinking about having children. And I never looked back. It was as though God transported us through an invisible heart-changing machine that erased all of my bitterness, anger, and envy. I no longer stood before God with clenched fists. I knelt before Him with open hands. “Forgive my sense of entitlement; forgive my idolatry. You are God. I am your servant. Whatever your plans are for me, I know they are for my welfare and not for my calamity.”
When I humbled myself and laid down the shattered pieces of my desires before Him, God reached down and swept them away along with my tears. He had not been withholding His blessings from us. He simply had different blessings in mind. They were blessings that didn’t involve children, but that no longer mattered. God miraculously removed that desire from our hearts and gave us new ones.
Over the past three years, He has shown us that our lives need not be filled with children in order to have great meaning and purpose. As a result of walking through infertility together, my husband and I have grown closer to each other, and more importantly, we’ve grown closer to Him. It might seem like our faith should have broken; instead, it increased. As I let go of the idol I had clutched so tightly, my depression lifted, my productivity and creativity increased, and blessings upon our life began to flow.
We are now several years removed from that dark time. Looking back on it I harbor many regrets, and sometimes I wish things had gone differently, but ultimately, I know that God has his fingerprints all over our struggle with infertility (which was really a struggle to believe Him). Sometimes God says yes; sometimes He says later; and sometimes He says no. Even when He says no, it’s still for our welfare. In our case, God’s no reminded us that He is sovereign, the God from whom all blessings flow, and the redeemer of our hearts and lives.
Infertility is not necessarily a curse.
Megan Whitson Lee grew up in Kingsport, Tennessee, before moving to Northern Virginia at the age of thirteen. She studied music and vocal performance and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music before hearing ancestral voices calling her to England. In London, Megan interned as a literary assistant for Soho Theatre Company and worked odd jobs through a temp agency before returning to America where she received a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from George Mason University. Her self-published novel, All That is Right and Holy won second place in the 2009 Christian Choice Book Awards.
Megan now teaches high school English in Fairfax County where she lives with her husband, retired racing greyhound (Chase) and rescued Italian greyhound (Trinity).