When the Birds and the Bees Aren’t Enough

 

Wow – it’s been over 4 months since my latest post. I haven’t blogged since before Christmas! So far this year life has been pretty hectic for us and I haven’t really had much time to write. First, let me say hello to all of my new followers and readers!

Last year, I shared with you the experience my husband and I had with our miscarriage. Long story short, we had a surprise pregnancy that ended devastatingly when I was nearly 3 months along; I detailed that story here. A whole 15 months have passed since then and so far, most of my blog posts have been centered around this loss. I remember feeling like I was never going to make it through that time of my life! But here we are over a year later and we’re making it through. God has kept us. We’re not over it, I don’t think you ever “get over” something like that. However, we’ve adjusted and we’re okay now. I am okay.

What I haven’t talked much about though is what’s been going on since then. Marcus and I are coming up on 2 years of marriage. With that, people are getting really antsy and for whatever reason feel comfortable enough to ask about our family planning.

“Where are the babies?”

“You must be waiting until you finish medical school. Smart girl!”

“Are y’all thinking of having kids any time soon?”

If you’ve been married longer than 15 minutes I’m sure you’ve heard it all before, too! Usually I just force a smile and say some vague, canned response like “Whenever the time is right I guess”. I can’t really get mad; most of these questions come from well-meaning friends and family who are genuinely interested in my life. But very few people know that Marcus and I are currently trying to get pregnant again, and have been trying again since last March when we were cleared after the miscarriage. I think now is an appropriate time for me to share.

It’s been 14 months of trying. 14 months of failing. 14 months of unwanted periods and negative pregnancy tests. 14 months of wondering what’s wrong with me. 14 months of Facebook pregnancy announcements and baby shower invitations (don’t worry, I’m happy for you. Just sad for me). 14 months of praying and crying out to God.

It’s also been 14 months of amazing baby-making with my husband – so it ain’t all bad. #heyboo

hey boo

Point is we’ve been trying again for over a year and nothing is happening. And as discouraging and frustrating as that is for us, there are so many other couples out there who have it far worse and have been silently struggling to start a family for years. Making a baby may be natural, but that doesn’t make it simple. A lot of people have long and very complicated journeys to parenthood.

1 in 8 couples struggle with infertility

Even though it is common, infertility is just one of those things that people don’t openly discuss…especially within the African American community. It’s often presumed that women of color don’t have issues getting pregnant. Period. It’s a stereotype that has historical origin and is still perpetuated in our community today. I could honestly write a paper on this topic but we’ll save that for another blog post.

Anyway, we assume infertility only happens to wealthy, “workaholic” white women who decide to have a baby a little too late in life. But the truth is, black couples are more likely to experience infertility than their white counterparts; and are less likely to seek medical treatment for it. I think there are several factors that play into this, including access to healthcare, affordability of infertility treatment, lack of reproductive health awareness, and religion. For example, we say things like “God must not want you to be pregnant right now, just keep praying. He will make a way”. Now don’t get me wrong – I am a believer in Jesus Christ and I have no doubts about the power of prayer. However, what doesn’t occur to most is that sometimes “a way” is made through help from others. If you’ve been trying to get pregnant for a year or longer and haven’t been able to, that’s infertility; and you should see your doctor.

Many people don’t know that infertility is defined as not being able to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term within 12 months of actively trying

Another reason why I think African Americans are less likely to seek help for infertility is because of the shame and embarrassment they feel. There is an undeniable stigma that comes with having trouble achieving or sustaining a pregnancy. If you don’t believe me, then think about why we use negative terms like “dried up” when referring to an infertile woman; or “shooting blanks” when a man can’t impregnate his wife. An important step in overcoming that stigma is to have open and honest conversations about it.

I guarantee that someone you know is currently experiencing the heartbreak of infertility, whether they are open about it or not. This week (April 23-29, 2017) is National Infertility Awareness Week and I wanted to share my story because I know how it is to feel alone on this journey. Thankfully I have a wonderful husband to fight with me, but as a unit we often feel isolated. I get it. The lost babies, unsuccessful treatments, hospital stays, constant poking for blood work, constant probing for ultrasounds, the bills, the waiting, the uncertainty – it’s hard.

We are currently seeing a specialist at an infertility clinic and received a diagnosis last week. I won’t go into detail in this particular blog post, but the news was bleek. Basically our doctor said he has no idea how we even got pregnant the first time, and it’s going to take a serious miracle for us to conceive again.

Thank God, He specializes in miracles.

 

NIAW


If you’d like to follow our story, I will be blogging more about our real-life experiences with infertility as it happens. Usually people share their battle with starting a family after they successfully have babies. Testimonies are great and very encouraging! However I do think there aren’t enough couples voicing their struggles as they go through them. These blogs will naturally be a little more personal and because of that I don’t plan to post every single one on social media, so make sure to click the “Follow” button to receive updates in your email.

 

Infertility Resources
https://infertilityawareness.org/
http://www.ihr.com/infertility/
http://resolve.org/
Scriptures For Infertility & Pregnancy Loss
Infertility In The Media
Fox 2 Infertility Awareness Week
Michigan Center for Fertility & Women’s Health on Live in the D
Local 4 Shares One Couples Story
Chrissy Teigen & Tyra Banks Talk Infertility

 

 

 

 

 

Scriptures For Pregnancy Loss & Infertility

Okay, so can I be honest? Promise you won’t judge me?

When I first learned of my miscarriage, I was mad at God.

It seemed that I was mad at everyone actually, but I felt particularly and especially angry with God. I felt like He had personally let me down. I blamed Him for things He did not do. I didn’t talk to Him or pray for months. I denied being mad at Him when I secretly was; my heart was sooo hard.

The crazy part is, He still loved me. He never left me. He still thought enough of me to break through the wall I built with the powerful truth of His word.

It’s amazing, that grace.

I just wanted to share some of the scriptures that I was led to; those that I find encouraging on this journey of loss and infertility. I hope that they encourage you, too!

 

Truth: God hears and answers prayers.

Genesis 25:21 

Isaac pleaded with the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was unable to have children. The Lord answered Isaac’s prayer, and Rebekah became pregnant with twins.

Psalm 66:16-19 

Come and listen, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what he did for me. For I cried out to him for help, praising him as I spoke. If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. But God did listen! He paid attention to my prayer.

1 Samuel Chapter 1

tells the story of Hannah, who was infertile for years and without children. She poured her heart out to God at the alter, cried, and prayed for a son. The Lord was faithful to her and opened up her womb and she was able to conceive.

Psalm 37:4 

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Romans 8:26-28

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weaknesses. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searched our hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

 

Truth: God has not forgotten about you.

Deuteronomy 31:6

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Psalm 9:10

And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, For You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

 

 

Truth: God did not cause your miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth, or whatever else it was that resulted in the death of your baby. Sin did that. We live in a sinful world where we encounter evil and darkness at every turn. 

John 16:33 

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here in this world you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

Ephesians 6: 12

For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places

Revelation 21:4 

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.

Jeremiah 29:11 

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.

Lamentations 3:32-33

For if He causes grief, then He will have compassion according to His abundant loving-kindness and tender mercy. For He does not afflict willingly and from His heart or grieve the children of men. * This tells me that even if God did cause this, it was because He had to and not because He wanted to

 

Truth: Your baby mattered. Your baby counted. God, the creator of life, values life even before the moment of conception.

Psalm 139:13-16

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Jeremiah 1:5  

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.

 

Truth: God actually gave you that baby as a gift

Psalm 127:3 

Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him.

James 1:17 

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

Matthew 7:11 

So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.

 

 

Truth: God can handle our hurt, pain, and questions. 

Psalm 13:1-2 

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day? How long will my enemy have the upper hand?

Psalm 34:18 

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

Job

The book of Job tells his story of immense loss. This man literally lost everything – his kids, his wealth, his health – he lost it all. And he had some serious questions for God about his suffering. Check it out.

 

Truth: God is able, and He can do anything.

That means anything. He can overcome your endometriosis, unexplained infertility, PCOS, low sperm count, bum ovary, hormonal imbalance, “ticking clock”, ruptured cyst, blocked tubes, or anything else that you come against.

Jeremiah 32:17 

O Sovereign Lord! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you!

Hebrews 11:11  

By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised.

Psalm 113:9 

He gives the childless woman a family, making her a happy mother. Praise the Lord!

 

Truth: God is not all that concerned with the temporary pains in our lives if it is ultimately accomplishing  His larger purposes. 

This also means that God isn’t always trying to “teach you something” when you’re going through (I hate when people say this).  Sometimes we experience tragedies like miscarriage solely so that the glory of God might be revealed through it.

John 9:1-3 

As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?” “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered.“This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.”

2 Corinthians 4:17 

For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!

2 Corinthians 12:9

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

 

I hope this blesses you and encourages you. It may help to write some of these down! I have a journal that I keep and I write down the scriptures that speak to me, over and over again. I also write what I feel God is saying to me through that particular passage. On the hard days, when I can’t seem to think straight and my heart is aching, His word is there in my heart, too, and I draw on it for strength.

Please share your favorite scriptures below that have helped you during your pregnancy or infant loss, or some other type of grief. How did you make it through? If you aren’t religious, I still invite you to share quotes or something you’ve read that has resonated with you.

What helped you can help someone else too.

 

With love,

Nikkie