Friday, February 27, 2015

Just Be

Life is a journey, and one of the most memorable stretches on this journey for a woman is the path to motherhood.  Whether it was planned or unplanned, I’d dare say every woman who has could pinpoint the time when she first stepped foot on this path.   It’s a defining moment and once you’ve taken the first step, there’s no turning back.

I’ll never forget the days when Brent and I first decided we were ready to start our family.  I just knew that was all it would take- a decision- and I walked around for weeks feeling like I was carrying a huge, wonderful secret that would change everything about who I was (who we were) in a matter of months.  Soon, it began to feel more like a joke than a secret, but nevertheless, I still remember the feeling I had those giddy weeks when I thought we were on the brink of parenthood.

For many women, that decision is all it takes.  Within months, or in some cases, a couple of years, their dream is realized and they’ve navigated this part of the journey we call life.  They’re in the “mom club.”  For others of us, it’s much more complicated than that.  There are roadblocks then detours, and sometimes, even after new directions, a dead-end.  Most see this dead-end as more of a fork in the road.  When all efforts have been exhausted, society says you have two choices: IVF or adopt. 

Being the over-thinkers that we are, Brent and I had discussed what we would do “if we couldn’t have kids” years before we started trying.  I’d say most people have that discussion at some point during their courtship; in fact, we would probably say it's irresponsible NOT to have that talk with someone you’re planning to spend the rest of your life with.  I’m here to tell you this: that talk is worthless before the fact.  Brent may as well have had that talk with a stranger on the street for all the ways this journey has changed me.  You won’t know until (God forbid) you’re there.

In light of my experiences the last few years, I would never, ever judge anyone for any decision they make when it comes to having children- naturally, with medical assistance, or through adoption.  When I first realized I couldn’t get pregnant, I would have gladly signed up for a rendezvous with an alien on the space station if a doctor had guaranteed me a healthy baby as a result.  I once sobbed to Brent that I would absolutely sacrifice an arm or a leg in exchange for getting pregnant.  He looked at me like I was crazy (I probably was), but that’s a man for you.  My point is that no one could understand that desperation unless they’ve been there, and because I have, I would never pass judgment.

Both because we do tend to overthink things and because our faith is such an integral part of this journey for us, Brent and I took it more slowly than most.  It was nearly two years before we visited a fertility specialist and nearly five years before we underwent a round of IUIs.  Due to this slow pace, my viewpoint on our options has been different than most people in this situation.  I’ve had a lot of time to think, to pray, to grow, and to begin healing… And it’s left me wondering if we’re too limited on the options we present when it comes to dealing with infertility.  Why do most women feel such pressure to move, to fix it, to race against the clock, and to get to the finish line at all costs?  And is it always worth the cost?

Just as I would never judge anyone for the decisions they make when it comes to having children, I would suggest we be less quick to judge those who choose not to have children, often for reasons those on the outside couldn’t begin to imagine.  For any couple, neither IVF nor adoption is a simple choice or a guaranteed path to instant happiness, as we are often tempted to believe.  There are financial burdens, emotional implications, physical challenges, and spiritual considerations to be taken into account.  It’s not all about the perfect Christmas card photo- it’s about not only your life, but your spouse’s life, and perhaps most importantly, the life of that baby who quickly turns into a child that has to be raised, not just a newborn that gets to be cuddled. 

Just because we’ve prayerfully and carefully decided against IVF and adoption doesn’t mean I don’t still deeply desire to have a child with Brent.   The fear that others may view this decision as such haunts me.  Choosing neither of these options doesn’t mean I don’t love children or (as I sometimes berate myself) that I would make a terrible mother.  It simply means that we're not called to further fertility treatments or adoption.  That’s really what it comes down to for Brent and me: a calling.  And for now, we feel called to a third option, one that few people talk about… We feel called to just be.  Science says push further, society says find a way, religion says don't give up… But to us, God says, “just be.”  Time and time again, Brent and I have discussed how we both feel this is Who God is calling us to be… a couple following after His heart, no matter what.

Sometimes you’ve pushed far enough and there isn’t a way left you can live with. Giving up on one dream doesn’t mean giving up on yourself.  Let us not get so caught up in the journey that we forget who we were when we started.  Just be…


  1. You're a wonderful person, and an inspiration. As you know, God has a plan for us all, even though sometimes that's the last thing we want to hear because it's not what we want. You and Brent are a couple of the nicest people I know, thank you.

  2. A friend who was dealing with the same issue was told by her doctor to have a few beers. She did. Now, you are thinking what happened next? She is probably a great grandmother at this point. Ms. Ashworth's true story.

  3. You are brave for posting your thoughts and feelings. Do not look down on yourself for any reason you are a great person and teacher. God will guide you guys, be brave and push on.

  4. I have not been through this issue, but know people who have. You have been very honest & open with your post. You've put your heart out there for us to see. I'm sure this will help & touch others as it has me. You & your family are in my prayers. Continue to seek God's will and He will direct your path. He is in control & He loves you! Elaine ( friend of your mom)