The knots in my stomach tightened as I sat in a circle of beautiful women, anxiously waiting for my turn to introduce myself. It was simple enough . . . tell us your name and about the most memorable day of your life.
I sat quietly while I listened to woman after woman share about her journey into motherhood, many describing the magical moments of birth stories. I did another quick glance around the circle. Five more women before my turn; three of which I already knew were mothers, and one who was obviously pregnant. Great.
Don't get me wrong, these women’s motherhood stories were beautiful—nothing short of amazing. Truly, they were. But as I listened anxiously, my heart filled with simultaneous envy and sorrow.
My turn finally came and I introduced myself. I plastered a smile onto my face and stumbled through some story of the most magical Christmas I could remember, which I'm sure truly was a wonderful memory. But in that moment, I couldn't help but feel so incredibly out of place in that circle.
Because you see—as I listened to these women laugh about potty-training antics, complain about sleepless nights, and compare notes on breast feeding, I was preparing for my next specialist appointment. I was due for another round of injections and an hour-and-a-half drive for a new batch of testing. It was an incredibly lonely season. When my girlfriends shared news of their pregnancies with me, I quickly learned how to master the "Oh-my-goodness-I'm-so-excited-for-you!" embrace. Please don't mishear me; I was genuinely excited for each new life. But I was also secretly aching on the inside.
I had an honest desire to love and encourage my friends who were expecting or had just recently joined this new world of motherhood. But, I often found this to be extremely difficult in the midst of my own suffering. While my friends’ intentions to include me in this exciting new chapter of their lives was incredibly genuine, every baby shower invitation and birth announcement made my heart yearn even more for motherhood. My girlfriends all seemed to have this new common bond, while I quietly sunk into my own sea of loneliness.
But I wasn’t alone.
As I wrote this post I received a text from a beautiful young woman going through her own journey of infertility. We have only spoken a few times—mainly about the adoption process she and her husband just started. Her text read something along the lines of, "I don't know many people walking through infertility and adoption things. All the pregnancy announcements, do they ever get easier to see?"
Reading this broke my heart. She and I are merely acquaintances, yet she felt like she had nowhere else to turn. And I vividly remember feeling the exact same way. It's as if you're trying your best to gracefully walk through this unknown journey, while it feels like everyone else is walking in the complete opposite direction . . . leaving you in the dust.
You are not alone.
Here's the thing though, that crippling feeling of loneliness is not true. I was not alone. And you are not alone. Many women have, and are, struggling through infertility and many more have suffered loss through miscarriage. Problem is, we rarely talk about it. We are quick to invite others to be a part of our mountain top triumphs. But we often attempt the murky, dark valleys on our own. Which is crazy! The dark valley is when we need our Savior – and his church – the most. Because that valley can be so dark we desperately need our trusted community to remind us of those grace-laden mountain tops.
Psalm 63:7-8 says, “Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your right hand upholds me.” In my loneliest moments, my darkest valley, I can take comfort in remembering this small and simple truth. He upholds me. My God does not leave me to suffer alone. And on the days I struggle to believe this, my husband and friends are quick to gently remind me.
When we suffer in silence, the loneliness and lies manage to drown out truth. And our self-imposed silence soon becomes deafening. It is then, that we need God’s truth to penetrate our silent suffering. But in the darkest days, I know that believing His Word can feel impossible. I feel ya. I’ve been there. Those are the moments that you have to absorb God’s promises. Drink them in. Find a verse that speaks truth into the darkness and allow it to permeate your heart – even on the days you struggle to believe its weight. Meditate on that small and simple truth morning, day and night. It’s that small and simple truth that will overtake the darkness. And through even the tiniest crack, the Light will make its way in; light which the darkness has not overcome (John 1:5).