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.
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.
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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!
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.
- 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.
Laurie's "She Blossoms" Books
Growing Forward When You Can't Go Back offers hope, encouragement, and strength for women walking through loss. My Blossom Tips are fresh and practical - they stem from my own experiences with a schizophrenic mother, foster homes, a devastating family estrangement, and infertility.
How to Let Go of Someone You Love: Powerful Secrets (and Practical Tips!) for Healing Your Heart is filled with comforting and healthy breakup advice. The Blossom Tips will help you loosen unhealthy attachments to the past, seal your heart with peace, and move forward with joy.
When You Miss Him Like Crazy: 25 Lessons to Move You From Broken to Blossoming After a Breakup will help you refocus your life, re-create yourself, and start living fully again! Your spirit will rise and you'll blossom into who you were created to be.
- Recreating and Replanting With Eve
- Sprouting With Sarah
- Digging Deeper With Hagar
- Uprooting With Naomi
- Starting Fresh With Ruth
- Growing Roots With Martha and Mary
- Reviving Your Heart With Hannah
- Renewing Your Purpose With Esther
- Growing Forward With Mary Magdalene
- Blossoming Into Life With Mary