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Going Through Infertility With Sarah – Growing Forward

Sarah and Abraham struggled with infertility for ten years. She eventually conceived Isaac, but it was a long, difficult journey. I understand the pain of trying to get pregnant but being disappointed month after month. I know what it’s like to accept a childless life.

In How to Overcome Hopelessness After an Infertility Diagnosis, I share a bit of my experience. In my book Growing Forward When You Can’t Go Back, I go into a bit more detail. Not a huge amount because the book isn’t about infertility, but enough to give you an idea of how painful it was. If you’re going through infertility – or fertility treatments – you’ll find comfort and hope in my story.

This article goes hand-in-hand with the second chapter of my book Growing Forward When You Can’t Go Back. In that chapter—Sprouting With Sarah—I share five Blossom Tips to help women move through disappointment and loss. Each activity highlights a different aspect of who we are: spirit, heart, soul, body, and brain.

A Glimpse of Sarah

That she was barren is one of the first things the Bible says about Sarah (then Sarai). She conceived no children for Abraham (then Abram). God promised them descendants as numerous as stars in the sky, yet she still wasn’t pregnant after 10 years of trying. Sarah and Abraham were blessed financially, but piles of gold and miles of land can’t fill a barren womb or empty crib. Their hearts and hopes were crushed after 10 years of not conceiving children.

Sarah Growing Forward She Blossoms


In that time, family was the primary way Hebrew women gained their identity, self-worth and purpose. Children were a sign of power, prestige and position.

Fertility was a blessing from God; barrenness was a sign of His disfavor and a source of deep grief. And, as the wife of the tribal leader, it was critical that Sarah carry on their family name.

Sarah must have struggled with the feelings of failure, incompetence, and grief that often accompany infertility. Confusion and disheartenment are constant companions for many infertile couples, especially if they yearn for a family.

Our Biblical sister decided to make miracles happen instead of seeking God’s will or patiently waiting (and waiting and waiting) for His plans to unfold. Sarah didn’t appear to speak to God about having a family and fulfilling His promise to her and Abraham. Rather, she seemed to have shouldered a responsibility that wasn’t hers—conception—by trying to fulfill God’s promise through her own efforts.

Sarah is not alone. I, too, have forged ahead of God and made my own plans when waiting was hard. In fact most of my biggest regrets are impulsive decisions that I didn’t take to God first!

Going Through Infertility – Laurie’s Story

My husband and I didn’t get married until I was 35 and he was 38. We were “old”, relatively speaking! And that’s why we thought we couldn’t get pregnant. After a year of one disappointing pregnancy test after another, we finally went to the fertility clinic.

And, we added a new word to our vocabulary: azoospermia. His body didn’t make sperm because of a genetic anomaly. If your husband or boyfriend is having fertility issues, you’ll find it helpful to read How to Help Your Husband Deal With the Shock of Male Infertility.

We tried a variety of medical treatments. We welcomed prayers for healing from infertility and for help getting pregnant. We were blessed under prayer shawls. One Christian even begged God to forgive us for the sins blocking His gift of children – but Bruce and I didn’t believe sin was the reason we were going through infertility!

Going Through Infertility With Sarah – Growing Forward

My dog, Tiffy! And my drawings 🙂

When we realized fertility treatments weren’t going to work, Bruce and I discussed fostering and adopting children. We didn’t feel drawn to either option…and we grieved the loss of our hopes and dreams of raising a family.

My heart will always carry wisps and shadows of sorrow, but I trust God’s plan for my life. In fact, I often wondered if God was protecting me from something. What if our baby was born with an infirmity or disease I couldn’t handle? What if my mom’s schizophrenia was passed along to our child? I believe God has good reasons for not favoring us with kids.

And I savor the benefits of being childless! I have plenty of time and energy to write my She Blossoms books and blogs. I love interacting with readers on my newsletter and in our She Blossoms Facebook Group. I love my life, even with its pains, disappointments and griefs.

What about you – are you going through infertility? Maybe you’re struggling with the pain of not getting pregnant, or you’ve accepted that you’ll be childless.

Share your big or little thoughts in the comments section below. Writing is healthy, especially if you feel confused, sad, scared or lost. It can help you make sense of your experiences and untangle your emotions.

Questions From Growing Forward When You Can’t Go Back

At the end of every chapter are Questions for Journaling and Discussion that are directly related to that chapter’s Blossom Tips. Readers are invited to come here and share their thoughts.

The questions in Sarah’s chapter:

  • The Retreat: When was the last time you went on a retreat—group or individual? Describe the benefits and drawbacks.
  • Your Impact: Who has had the biggest impact in your life? What did he or she do to be so influential?
  • Jar of Blossoms: Are you in a season of waiting, hoping, yearning? What are you dreaming of—realistic or not?
  • Love Notes: How has your body disappointed, frustrated, or even angered you? What are your least and most favorite body parts?
  • Smart Decisions: What was the smartest decision you ever made? What feelings, thoughts, people, or circumstances led you to that choice?

Feel free to answer these questions in the comments section below. Or share anything that’s on your mind, about anything you’d like! You are welcome here.


About Growing Forward

Growing Forward When You Can’t Go Back offers a fresh, practical perspective on moving through loss. I share stories of contemporary and biblical women who transcended extraordinary pain and grief. I weave in my own experiences of growing up with a single schizophrenic mother, living in foster care, and then coping with infertility.

Growing Forward She Blossoms Laurie PawlikEvery chapter includes five Blossom Tips, to help you:

  • Accept—and even embrace—a new season of life.
  • Take small steps forward in practical, creative, delightful ways.
  • Weave faith, trust, and hope into your heart, thoughts, and daily lives.

At the end you’ll have 50 Blossom Tips for moving forward after a loss. Each activity highlights a different aspect of who we are: spirit, heart, soul, body, and brain. This holistic approach ensures the whole self is addressed by incorporating spiritual, emotional, creative, physical, and intellectual growth.

Growing Forward When You Can’t Go Back is a comforting, encouraging book for women walking into a new season of life…which also makes it a great gift for women coping with death, divorce, or a difficult diagnosis.

In peace and passion,


P.S. Here’s the full list of Growing Forward articles here on “She Blossoms.” These aren’t the actual chapters of the book, they’re just our meeting places.

  1. Recreating and Replanting With Eve
  2. Sprouting With Sarah
  3. Digging Deeper With Hagar
  4. Uprooting With Naomi
  5. Starting Fresh With Ruth
  6. Growing Roots With Martha and Mary
  7. Reviving Your Heart With Hannah
  8. Renewing Your Purpose With Esther
  9. Growing Forward With Mary Magdalene
  10. Blossoming Into Life With Mary


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8 thoughts on “Going Through Infertility With Sarah – Growing Forward”

  1. This chapter has helped me so, I can relate to Sarah, in disobeying God, not waiting on Him to do my own thing. I’m only 23 years old, & I’m still trying to find my way in this world with the help of God. He has been blessing me so, I’ve been where Sarah has been waiting for God to give me something I want right than, & when He did, it wasn’t the outcome I was looking for. He showed me it’s okay to wait on Him. Thank you for this book Mrs.Laurie. God bless you all!

  2. I did not have any children, not because of inferility, but because of fear. I was so afraid of having children and I honestly couldn’t imagine why a woman would want a child, let alone more children after experiencing childbirth. I was not afraid of dying but I was afraid of all the pain. I had this fear ever since I learned as a young girl how babies were born. I thought I would outgrow this fear as I got older but the fear remained. I got married to a wonderful man who incidentally loves childre. Children have always gravitated towards him and he has a special touch when holding a baby. Babies fall asleep and nestle in with him. This has always made me feel sad for him as he would have been a wonderful father. I ronically he said he did not want children either but I think this is just his way of coping childlessness.He has always gone along with whatever I have decided without argument. This can be both a good thing and a bad thing as so often I have wanted his opinion and help with a decision. I also don’t think he is always in touch with his own feelings. This is his way of coping…denying his feelings. I am 65 and he 66. Sometimes I worry about have no family to support me should my husband die before me

    1. Edna, what a beautiful thing to share with us…thank you. It must have been such a difficult thing to decide – not to have children, even though your husband loves kids. But I think I understand your fears! I can’t imagine how painful it would be to give birth, and have heard some very scary stories. Some women even die in childbirth, which is scary as well.

      I don’t have kids either (as you know 🙂 ) – and I used to worry that I wouldn’t have anyone to support me as I got older. Now, however, I’m seeing many of my elderly friends live alone and struggle with illness. Most of them have children who live far away, or who can’t offer the support needed. So…having kids doesn’t mean a person will be taken care of when they’re old. Nor is it a guarantee of support, help, or even love.

      Some people even have to deal with unhealthy, abusive, or mentally ill children 🙁 Have faith, Edna, and know that you will be supported as you age! You are a kind, loving, compassionate and caring woman. I would love to be friends with you if we lived in the same city! I have a feeling you’ll have more than enough companionship as you get older, even if your husband dies first.

      I often tease my husband that I want to go first! Not sure how I’ll make that happen, but it’s my hope. Partly because he has so much clutter and junk in the house, it’ll take me years to go through it all. And I don’t have a kid to do it for me! 😉

      With lots of love,

      1. Thank you, Laurie for your kind and encouraging words. I am sooo touched by your comment that you would love to be friends with me if we lived in the same city. It would truly be a hugh blessing , an honor and priviledge tohave you as my friend. Actually, I look at you as a ‘distant” good friend. (Someone who I have not personally met but is a friend just the same). I don’t have any close friends, just friends with whom I am acquainted. I wish I had some one I could call on when I needed to pour out my heart or cry on a shoulder. I don’t have such a friend so that is where you come in Laurie. I am so blessed to be able to email you and share my heart with all it’s aches and pains. You always know what to say to lighten my burden. So blessed to have found you and She Blossoms.

        Thanks too for reminding me that having children does not mean they will be able to support and care for you in old age

        Lots of live backatcha, my friend. xoxo. Edna

        1. Yes, you are my friend, Edna! We need a better description than “online friends” or “pen pals” because those phrases seem too remote. Yet I’ve never seen your eyes – or even your face! You must consider sharing your picture on Facebook so our She Blossoms group can meet you. 🙂 I think uploading your photo will be easier than you think.
          With love,
          your friend in Vancouver,
          Laurie, Bruce, Georgie, Tiffy, and Nunki the cat too 🙂 meow

          1. Ha, ha…you made me chuckle. I will try to upload a recent picture.. Glad you included the cat, Laurie….musn’t forget the cat. Ha, ha.
            With live from your Calgary friend.

            Edna, Lou and Mr. X ( the cat…musn’t forget the cat)

  3. Oh my goodness, Laurie !
    Your story is so similar to mine !
    My husband and I were married at 26. I went off the pill at 29, and until now, no pregnancy or even ever a positive pregnancy test. We are now 48. My husband wouldn’t cooperate about getting tested for a long time. He said that we needed to trust God. I agreed whole-heartedly with that. Still, I wanted him to get tested. He finally did and had a very low sperm count.
    He had surgery to correct a varicocele 10 years ago. Well, I think it helped his count some, but not enough.
    He wouldn’t pursue anything else and we couldn’t afford to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on procedures that may not work.
    We were prayed over too and we have prayed many times asking God to heal us. I have cried and been depressed so much over this and I’m just now ready to get on with my life and heal emotionally.
    Like you stated, I believe that God is probably protecting us from something that we couldn’t handle. My mother suffered from schizophrenia too and so did an Uncle of my husband’s. Also, I have suffered horrible, episodic, debilitating depression (not related to the pain of infertility). I have been much better in the last seven years, but when I was so sick off and on, it would have made raising a child very difficult and I would have needed alot of help.
    So, it seems that just about everything that could have been against it for us, was, and, even though it still hurts, I’M trying to focus on the fact that God always knows best.
    Thank you for letting me share.
    Tena Echols

    1. Thank you for sharing, Tena – it is amazing how similar we are! Wow, like we’re soul sisters 🙂 I’m so glad you’re here.

      I hope you signed up for my newsletter, so we can stay in touch. I send weekly sprinkles of encouragement and inspiration. I always ask a question, and my favorite part is hearing from my She Blossoms readers. Here’s the sign up link:

      Take good care of yourself, Tena. God is doing a good work in you, and He loves you deeply. May you find blessings and joy today, hope and love. May you be surprised by bursts of sunshine and fresh breezes! And may you be constantly reminded of God’s love for you.