Today’s post will look different than most of the posts I have done in the past. Instead of listing out points and solutions on a particular issue, let me share with you a story. It’s a story that is more common than many realize. I’ve shared this story multiple times and in various forms, but to me it never gets old because it rings true to so many.
It was Christmas 2006. Two college juniors, one male and one female, were home on Christmas break. They weren’t a couple, simply friends. For whatever reason they found themselves together a few times over this break. She helped him wrap his presents for his family, they went to dinner together and even went to 2 movies together. It was over this break that she confessed something he never thought he would hear from a girl as beautiful as she was: she liked him. Over the next 6 months, nothing really changed. Life went on as normal but eventually they had a chance to sit down and talk about the emotions they were feeling. Finally, at around 4 a.m. on a Monday morning in June of 2007 they decided they would “try out” a relationship. The next 15 months included dating, an engagement, wedding planning, graduating college, finding jobs, even losing jobs and ultimately a marriage. During that time, they began to dream of a future together, what that would look like, who would be a part of it, where they would be in 5, 10, 25, 50 years. All that seemed to matter was that they would be together living out the ideal live they had created in their minds together.
I know you’re probably wondering why I shared that part of the story. Take a second and think about your own story and history. Your own dreams and aspirations begin at a young age. As you get older you either see these dreams coming true, they change, or you give up on them. In any situation, dreams can become a huge part of who we are and when we realize they may not happen, it can be painful.
When most couples get married, they have dreams and aspirations as individuals and they also begin to develop them for their life together. Some may include starting a family, where they want to live, what career they want, and where they will retire. Marriage often begins with hope. More hope sometimes than people are able to handle.
Obviously by now you’ve figured out the story above is my story, or should I say our story. Two years ago about this time, I shared Ashley and I’s story on Facebook. For most it was the first time they heard about our struggles to have a child. What was amazing about that post was the number of people who reached out to us and shared their own stories, some of whom were still in the midst of that struggle. We couldn’t help but feel sad and a sense of guilt for a few reasons. First, our struggle was nowhere near as long as many who reached out to us. Second, here we were pregnant with our first child. We had only struggled for a year to get pregnant, but it felt like 5 years. Our hearts and minds couldn’t imagine the pain other couples were going through who had struggled for many more years. We also had been blessed with the news that our child was healthy and we had never had to deal with the loss of an unborn child as many had.
Through our experience we realized we were not alone. We also realized that so many assumed they were. As it often does, sharing our story opened the door for others to speak out. Like many, we held our struggle close and only let a few people in. I don’t think we even told our parents about the struggle we were facing.
I wish I had the answer to solve this issue on so many levels. I wish I could offer a solution that would end miscarriages. I wish I could give you the name of a fertility clinic that has a 100% success rate. I wish I could tell you how to make sure you get pregnant when you want to. Sadly, I can’t do any of that but what I can offer you is the experience I had. So to end this, let me write the same words I wrote in October of 2014.
“There is hope…..even in your darkest moment and deepest moments of doubt, there is hope. I may not have seen it or felt it, but it was there. As long as God is in control there is hope. I learned that while I don’t always know or understand His plan, I do trust it. Next, don’t give up. This has a few applications, but don’t give up on God, don’t give up on each other and just keep, well, doing “it.” During this struggle we needed each other – at times Ashley needed me and others I needed her and sometimes we just needed to be reminded of the love we have with or without a child. Also, please find others who can relate and identify with your struggle. It may not be the same, but it will be similar. Don’t try to do it alone. What helped Ashley and I so much was being able to turn to a small group of friends who knew where we were and who would help build us up and pray for us. If you need us, please reach out! I will be honest, this experience has changed my perspective on the questions I ask and how intrusive I get in people’s lives. I never knew the pain that could be caused by simply asking a question in jest. Ashley and I are so excited to begin this journey of parenting together and are honored that God has allowed it to be a part of His plan for our lives. When our baby girl gets here in January, I am sure I will be flooded with emotions – the greatest of them being thankfulness for the gift that God has given us!”
To sum that up: hold on to hope, hold on to each other, and hold on to Him.