Infertility Was Just As Bad

A few times in these last weeks, I have thought, This is the worst thing that has ever happened to me.

Watching my baby suffer. Being apart from my three-year-old. Contemplating the possibility of watching my baby die in my arms.

I have sobbed the deepest, most desperate tears over this situation. It can’t possibly get any worse than this.

But then I remember: I have cried this hard and with this much agony and despair before.

Infertility was just as hard.

Contemplating my life without children was just as painful as contemplating my life without Felix. I wept over my nonexistent children with just as much grief as my very real, possibly-dying son who has a face and a name and a personality. (Of course, now there is the added pain of knowing my baby is suffering. Every experience brings its own unique type of pain.)

In fact, in some ways infertility was worse, because I felt so alone. I felt like no one could understand. I felt like I couldn’t fully share my grief – I felt ashamed of it. Because who cries over nonexistent children? How can you really be sad over the absence of people you’ve never met? It felt preposterous. Weeping every time I got my period was too embarrassing a picture to share. But I couldn’t help feeling intense grief.

But everyone can sympathize with the tragedy of a sick or dying baby. It’s universally heart-wrenching. Few things tug a human’s heart strings like a suffering child. I feel perfectly reasonable sobbing over my diseased infant son.

I never felt okay sobbing over an unwanted period.

I guess I bring this up in case you or someone you love is dealing with infertility, and are tempted (like me) to feel like you’re overreacting or that your problem isn’t as heart-crushing as mine. In my eyes, it totally is.

I also bring this up as a form of healing for my past self. I was justified in being that sad. I understand that now.

It’s okay, younger self. Infertility really is that heartbreaking. Your tears are completely appropriate.

* * *


There were moments after Lydia was born when my heart screamed out: The pain was WORTH IT! Thanks to my experience with infertility, I was able to have such a deep, deep appreciation for the gift I’d been given. Deeper, perhaps, than I would have had if I’d gotten a baby as soon as I’d wanted one. All that time of unrealized longing increased my joy when it was finally fulfilled. (I still wouldn’t wish it on anyone, though. Infertility is an EVIL that only God can redeem.)

Only in retrospect does pain have any meaning or value, I think.

I never would have believed it while I was in the depths of agony, though. I never would have believed that any good could come from that suffering.

Just like I don’t believe now that this pain will be worth it.

But maybe someday I will again.

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  1. very good article!

  2. Thank you for this. I’m in that window between ovulation and my next cycle where I’m just waiting to see if my heart will hurt another month. Prayers for your sweet Felix.
    Annery recently posted..It’s Sheenazing!!!My Profile

  3. Huh.

    I … well, just thank you for this. You’re right- I feel so silly being devastated over this thing… and so alone in that. Just, thank you.
    Adrie | A Little Wife’s Happy Life recently posted..Paring DownMy Profile

  4. Praying for you regularly! Keep going. One day…one moment at a time.
    Love from Baltimore, MD

  5. Infertility is one of those things that you just don’t understand until you have experienced it. The stress on top of spending tens of thousands of dollars plus what I was going through emotionally made me feel so alone. I have never had a sick child but I found this post so beautiful and my prayers are with you.

  6. I’ve been reading your posts and wondering this…in a sense it seems its better to have loved and lost then never to have loved at all? But who am I to say that.
    I do feel that suffering alone has to be worth something though, no matter what the ending is on this side of heaven. Because heaven is our ultimate destination. Suffering is just as meaningful for the couple that eventually conceives as for the couple that never does. Anyway, I can’t be more articulate that this right now, but its something I’ve long pondered.
    alison recently posted..He is exactly the same.My Profile

  7. Hi Kathleen,
    I’ve never posted a reply on your page before, and it is a bit off-topic, but I wanted to share with you an alternative perspective from one of your recent posts.
    My husband and I want to start trying for a baby in the new few months. Who knows whether it will happen for us, but your blog was the first thing I thought of when I started to think about gathering up resources for how we hope to parent our child. We live in a world that supports values much different than my own, and you have such a gift with words that every time I see something you’ve written that I agree with I think, “This! This is something eloquent I can email to my husband that supports the fact we’re not crazy, we just want to raise our child in our way!”
    I know you wrote your blog will be changing and that you feel as if you’re giving less and taking more, but I want you to know that through the writing you’ve done you really are continuing to help people feel community and support. I don’t know anyone in real life that cloth diapers and gardens and believes in Montessori-style play and limited screen time, but your posts validate my belief that we can make a difference through home-based decisions.
    Best wishes to you and your family, we’re all human, and we all struggle but you shine brightly :)

  8. An anonymous friend says:

    Of course you can’t see it now, and nobody should expect you to be able to see it now. But as one who has gone through some pain (including temporary infertility), I have to tell you this: Hold on! Hold on to Jesus’ hand! Trust in God! Pain does *not* come from God, but it can definitely bring you closer to Him!

    In a recent painful period of my life, I felt stunned, as if the wind had been taken out of me. I could hardly even think. I felt as if I was a small, bewildered child again, and I clung to Jesus’ hand and buried my head in His robe as a small child buries her head in her mother’s dress. I asked Him to take me where I needed to go, because I didn’t know where that was or what I needed to do. Gradually, I realized how to live with the pain. You will, too. God bless you. I’m praying for you.

  9. My heart aches for you. May God continue to watch over your family. As a mama that’s dealt with infertility for years, I don’t know if I can compare the two; I don’t have the frame of reference you now do. But thank you for encouraging those women going through it right now, even as your family has this new season to endure.

  10. I tagged you on Instagram, but you and Michaela( are both such lovely ladies :) Would so love to one day know you both better.
    Hannah Corson recently posted..#theyearinbooks No. 1: Mountains of Spices by Hannah HurnardMy Profile

  11. “Only in retrospect does pain have any meaning or value, I think.
    I never would have believed it while I was in the depths of agony, though. I never would have believed that any good could come from that suffering.
    Just like I don’t believe now that this pain will be worth it.
    But maybe someday I will again.”

    These words took my breath away!

    Hugs and love.

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