Monday, April 29, 2013

The Other Side

I'm a little late to the scene for Infertility Awareness Week.

More info:

Sorry about that. Actually, I'm not sorry...mainly because it is something I am always aware of. I don't feel the need to give this issue a week of its' own. Having been through it myself, I want to bring this topic to light in a different way, mainly because it has taught me so much about myself and my world. While I love the idea that there is a whole campaign out there to bring infertility to the forefront of people's minds for a bit, I also feel like this type of thing can be a turn-off to actual hands-on ministry. We should always be finding ways to meet needs and mend hurts no matter the issue.

What would matter more to you if you were dealing with infertility?
a. A few friends linking webpages and blogs on facebook to show they care.
b. A woman who has been there, done that sitting with you, listening, praying, drinking tea and sharing in your pain.

If you think about it, we are called to minister with our lives, our relationships. We are supposed to use our past hurts to help the new ones entering into a hard season. This might look different for each person, and everyone has a different personality. But I know that my most beautiful moments in the midst of my pain involved a face-to-face conversation with someone who I knew loved me for me. Someone who didn't hide their emotions or news from me. Someone who gave me tough love when necessary. If you have been through infertility in any way, shape or form...think about how your life can be a ministry to others.

I want to talk to you today mainly about what it is like to be on the other side of infertility.

Over the last few months, I have thought to myself a few times that it sure felt good to not have to worry about my cycle or what day of the month it is. It's really nice to not be pursuing something so whole-heartedly for a change. And then I catch myself, and wonder, "Am I really on the other side? After so many years of this, how will I know I am really, truly, on the other side?" My body has never carried a pregnancy past 7 weeks. I have never given birth. Yet I feel such great healing has taken place within me. Am I the old Kara again? Well, I don't think so. Nor will I ever be the same old Kara. I wasn't meant to be. I have taken this pain and allowed it to teach me things. Did I handle every single situation over those eight years perfectly? Ahem....nope. But I recently started making a list of ways you will know you are reaching the farther side of the bridge. The other side of your grief.

1. Reconciliation.

Infertility has a way of turning the most sane, normal woman into a crazy person. Trust me. And it was in those moments of short-term craziness that I acted how I wouldn't normally have acted. Which, inevitably, either burned bridges or scattered eggshells on the ground between certain people and myself relationally. I hate that. I regret it deeply. But, I am grateful for God who is full of grace. Nobody was out to get me, as much as I believed they were. Nobody was "racing against me" in the pursuit of a baby like I had imagined. Many hours of prayer over this have taught me that even though I handled things poorly at times, God has covered it with his grace. I have given forgiveness to those who hurt me, even if they didn't mean to. I have sought forgiveness as well. And you know you are on the other side when you find reconciliation with those who hurt you, as well as those whom you hurt. When you stand across the bridge and see "water under it" in the place of hurt feelings. I love those deeply who have loved me through my ugliness.

2. Joy
Looking back at those years of infertility, I remember vividly the void it left in my soul. I can remember screaming matches with God in closets. I remember the numbness. I remember fake happiness when I just couldn't muster the real thing. I remember the roller coaster of emotions, and wondering, "Will I ever be happy again?" I even remember reading scriptures that spoke of God turning our sorrow into joy and thinking to myself..."HOW?" But what I want to emphasize with you is not the fact that I ever doubted the Word of God's truth in my life, but more that it IS true. While I will never be the same me I used to be, I wake up each day grateful for my life EXACTLY how it turned out. God really did know best all along. There is not a single thing I would change about our story. I have so much joy most days that I catch myself crying over how happy and joyful I am. So take THAT, infertility. I choose joy. God really has turned my mourning into dancing, and given beauty for ashes.

3. Full Life

When you actually stop and look at all you have in life, things look pretty good. My heart is so full because God has blessed me with parents that still love each other and would do anything for us, siblings on BOTH sides of the family whom we adore and really love spending time with, a beautiful home with plenty of space to spread out, plenty of delicious, healthy food, physical health and relationships with so many good friends. We are so blessed that it is literally a list a mile long of all we have. One of my husband's infamous quotes to me when I would be in the middle of an infertility pity party was, "Kara. You know I love you no matter what. You have got to stop looking at the one thing you don't have, and look at all the things you DO have." No truer words were spoken. And you know what?? I have a baby. Tears well up as I type that sentence. I have a baby. A perfect, beautiful, smart baby boy who God chose to be our son. Adoption may not be right  for everyone, but it sure was right for us. Adoption has made our lives fuller than you can imagine. Is our family complete? I don't know, and can't answer that. If God chooses to open my womb someday then all glory to him. If he asks us to step into yet another place that stretches us even more, then Yes Lord. But nothing can beat the way it feels to have the full home and full life we do have this very moment.

4. Peace
The other side of infertility feels very peaceful. I find myself giddy with excitement at news that, in the past, would have sent me into a downward spiral. I love serving new mommies, pregnant women and ministering to those that are now wearing the beat-up, worn-down shoes I used to wear called infertility. It is very calming and relaxing to not have to constantly think about what day it is in my cycle, did I take my medication, go to yet another zillionth doctor appointment, cry when yet another negative shows. There is a certain peace from looking into my husband's and both of my sons' eyes and knowing that I have all I need.

All this to say, don't give up on yourself, and don't give up on God's plan for your life. Hebrews 12:1 says:
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."



  1. Beautiful words Kara, I love you!
    x/o mimi

  2. So beautiful and so very encouraging! Thank you for sharing! I hope someday to write a post from "the other side." Thank you for being an encourager!