I Might Be Infertile


Lamenting Series:
I Might Be Infertile

Mourning the Loss of Possibility

By Rosie Ricca

It was a month before I would be engaged to the man beyond my prayers when I found out I might be infertile. 

When you hear that kind of diagnosis you don't hear the word might, you hear how your far-off hopes were intimately strangled right in front of you. 

I had to go to the man I love and say, "I know we want to get married, but I might not be able to have kids. You don't have to marry me if this is not the life you want to sign up for."

It was one of the most powerless moments I have ever experienced. In his very slow to speak, stoic way, my now husband said he would walk through any calm or any storm. In sickness and in health gained a new meaning to us that day. 

We ended up getting married later that year. And as friends or family would talk about our future the topics of children would come up. I eventually realized I had to start telling my inner circle that this is a grief I carry. 

I couldn't keep walking through the normalcy of life denying that this was a reality we might have to walk down. 

I couldn't keep seeing little ones that resembled my eyes or my husband's cheeks or had similar ringlets that I had as a toddler, and keep denying that we may never know what our children would look like. 

I couldn't keep journaling through baby names and figuring out combinations of family names without addressing the whole picture that my body might fail us over and over and over. 

So I shared with our parents, shared with close people. I was met with unwarranted encouragement. My hopeless state was met with unsolicited cheering of faithful prayers. But at the same time, I did have some hope in the "might" so when some declared I was never having kids I wanted to fight them. I didn't want to be cheered up. But I didn't want more possibilities taken away. 

Why? Honestly. I didn't mourn. I never gave myself space and time to really process and cry this out, until two years after I was told the grim medical news. 

I was at a family dinner celebrating the marriage of my husband's brother and his wife. My husband and I have been married for about a year and a half. We have never really spoken of children with my in-laws. But in the last 20 minutes of the meal ... (we were so close) ... the newlyweds started sharing about the army of children they wanted. They started sharing baby names with such confidence. They started sharing their timeline with such gusto. And I looked down, feeling as though the whole world was looking down on my unhealthy eggs. 

How can they talk like that? It takes one million things to go right to have a baby, don't they know that? 

Don't they know I might not be able to have kids? We want to use my husband's parents' names too. 

This isn't fair. We are older. We've been married longer. 

In a sweet and gentle way, my mother-in-law asked if we had any baby names picked out, and I offered the one closest to my heart. My middle name. The name my daddy gave me and was the origin of the nickname only he would call me. I was the only child my daddy named. And it would be so sweet for him to essentially name our little girl IF THE LORD WILLED THAT. 

I can never speak about these things without saying, "God willing" "Lord willing" "if the Lord wills it". It is too presumptuous for me to say I can have a baby without God's help. But I felt like a fool for sharing something so incredibly close to my heart. 

I was getting overwhelmed and I went to the bathroom to take a moment. 

As soon as I was alone I started weeping. Silently mouthing the tiniest bit of hope in my heart, "I know YOU see me." 

If you haven't read 1 Samuel chapter 1, I highly recommend that you stop and pay attention to Hannah ...

... the Hannah with a closed womb. 

... the Hannah that deeply desired a child.

... the Hannah that kept her eyes fixed on God. 

... the Hannah that gave just the preconceived idea of her child to the Lord. 

... the Hannah that God saw. 

... the God that answered her prayers. 

... and the prayer that Hannah honored, by giving her child back to God. 

I said a prayer over my heart, dried my tears, and I went back to the table. But I was informed as soon as I sat down that my new sister also wanted to name one of their five children the same name my daddy named me. 

My heart broke. 

"Well we will see who has a baby first!" she said to lighten the mood but was used as a dagger to cut up my broken heart even more. 

I couldn't hold it in anymore. My family was chatting and dreaming of little babies and I silently cried on the other end of the table. Repeating in my heart:

"I know You see me"

"I know You see me"

"I know You see me."

That drive home, my husband held my hand as I sobbed and mourned uncontrollably. It was the first time I truly mourned that it was going to be difficult for us to possibly have our own children. I wept. We prayed. I declared that God was still good even if all the names of possible children were taken away, or if I'm never able to hold a pregnancy. I know I want to be a mom one day. Whether through adoption or through being a spiritual mother through the Body of Christ. 

God sees me. 

He sees you. 

He will not forsake us. 

"I am chosen

Not forsaken

I am who You say I am

You are for me

Not against me

I am who You say I am

I am who You say I am

Who the Son sets free

Oh is free indeed

I’m a child of God

Yes I am"

-Who You Say I Am by Hillsong

I can’t necessarily tie this up with a redemptive bow because it’s not a finished story. This is really happening right now.

If you’re walking through something similar, Kindred, please know you will be asked, especially around the holidays. Mothers Day will come and go. But your identity is not defined by how many children come through your womb. You my sisters, are daughters of the grand Creator of the cosmos and the intimate Creator of DNA. Stand firm, fully mature in the will of God (Colossians 4).

Remember that it is okay if people forget your condition, God never forgets.

It’s okay if people don’t understand, God always understands. And it’s okay to cry …

“You keep track of all my sorrows.
    You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
    You have recorded each one in your book.”
Psalm 56:8 NLT

Sincerely KindredComment