When you were a little girl, you probably had dreams of what you wanted to be when you grew up. I had dreams that I would be a teacher. (First, I wanted to be a waitress, a grocery clerk, and later on, a flight attendant. Apparently, my goal in life was to help people.) I also dreamed I would marry an intelligent and kind man, and one day, we’d have kids. Why would it be any other way? This is what happened for my parents and my grandparents. This is what happened for most of my friends’ parents. This is what normal life was like in America.
I certainly never dreamed I would be searching for fertility doctors, IVF specialists, counselors, or infertility blogs. I bet you didn’t either. Yet, there I am. Setting up appointments, receiving calls for test results, and sitting down for another counseling session. All the while I was praying, asking God to heal my broken body, asking Him to give me a child so I could dedicate him like Hannah, asking God to glorify Himself by giving me a miracle baby. And here I am even now, writing these words while none of that has happened. That dream has not come true.
Here you are, even though you don’t want to be. Even though you may have cried more tears over this than you can count. Even though you have probably asked God for a miracle baby too. Even though you have longed to share the exciting news with your friends and not fear following it with the horrifying news of another miscarriage. You’re here because your dream has been shattered, and shattered dreams are tough crosses to bear.
I could tell you that God must have a better plan for your life, that when one dream dies, there’s room for another one to be birthed in its place, and that you should seek God’s face in order to find out what that new dream is. But that would be a little like Jesus telling Mary and Martha, “Don’t be so upset. I’m about to raise your brother from the dead.”
Jesus never told them that He was about to fix their pain. Why? Because He knew their sadness wouldn’t cease simply because Lazarus came back to life. Jesus knew they would be sad the next day when another friend got sick. Or years later, when Lazarus found himself in another tomb. There was joy for today, but sadness was coming in the morning. Instead, Jesus wept with Mary because life is hard, and Jesus spoke to Martha about the coming resurrection because one day, this hard life will be over, and heaven is coming.
There’s a unique burden we bear as infertile women. It’s a dream that has died, and we carry this dead dream around in our bodies. But we must remember: even if we do bear children one day, those kids will sometimes break our hearts. And even if we adopt children so that our home is full of love and laughter, we will hear of another friend getting pregnant, and a sliver of our soul will grieve once more. And even if we fill our lives with ministry while remaining childless, we will grieve over people we hurt in the process and the suffering that endured despite our best efforts.
So we must remember that no matter what the journey holds for us, God cares about this lost dream, this infertility, right now. He cares about this unique brokenness. He knows this is not how it should be. Just like He did with Martha, He brings hope to our grief by reminding us that the resurrection is real. Just like He did with Mary, He dignifies our grief by weeping with us.