I've said so many many times that I want to walk this road with grace; that I want to honor both my desires for a life of parenting and the life I may be given without children. These are in many ways the most painful aspects of IF, or at least what make the hurts sting that much deeper. I know when I'm sobbing and asking "why?" and feeling sorry for myself, I am not opening myself up to His grace. But it is the other, the finding of balance between what I want and what I have where I feel I stumble the most.

There are days, when I can see our life without children so clearly. And it's OK. It's better than OK, it's beautiful and full of love and laughter.

There are days, when I can see our life with children so clearly. And it is OK. It is better than OK, it's beautiful and full of love and laughter.

Usually, as I picture one, I feel a horrible twinge of guilt to pull me back to reality. If I can picture one option so wonderfully, what does that say about my desire for and willingness to accept the other? Am I betraying my desire for children, when I see a good life without them? Am I dishonoring my marriage and our family of two when I see a good life with more than just us? I can so easily fixate on the daydream of the day, or week, or moment that to consider the other reality becomes almost impossible, temporarily. It is as if instead of an angel and a devil on my shoulders, I have a life with children and a life without them constantly throwing their best at me trying to convince me which one will be better. And the guilt I feel when wanting one over the other - there are no words.

And, then, in a matter of a second, in speaking with a friend, I realized part of the problem.

You see, in this blog world, we talk so much of miracles and answered prayers and God's plan playing out. And when we do, there is always a picture of a baby, or a BFP, or an ultrasound, or talk of a call.

But, sometimes, the miracle doesn't involve a baby, or a BFP, or an ultrasound, or a phone call. Sometimes the miracle is in the life right before our eyes. Sometimes it is in a healed marriage. In being able to celebrate the joy of new life for others. In being there for one another and witnessing to life and love. In physical and spiritual healing. In finding beauty and truth and healing from the Church.

Sometimes the "this" in "this was God's plan all along," isn't a child at all.

And that's OK. Or at least I have decided that it would be OK.

No, this doesn't lessen my desires for parenthood for The Man and myself. No this doesn't make any of this less painful. But it does help to ensure that in 10 years, no matter what our family looks like, it will still be just that, our family.

As we drawer nearer to two years of TTC (later this month), and I continue to face milestone and events that I never dreamed I'd face and I realize that no matter how sad or angry or confused or bitter I get, the milestones will still come. No matter how many times I plan for the baby to be here this time next year, this time next year will come - with or without a baby.

As I write this, lest you think I'm delusional (perhaps I am) or somehow granted some special insight, I must admit that I am sky-high with hope for a BFP this cycle. I don't know why, there is nothing to indicate that this cycle will be any different than the last 2 years, I just know it is part of this road. The hope and the disappointment; the highs and the lows; the joy and the tears.

And for today, I can only hope that some of this perspective; this understanding that life will be OK with or without children; that proof of God's love and His miracles in my life does not hinge on whether or not there is a child that calls me mommy is still around in 2 weeks to help prevent the low from going so low.


  1. You're amazing, my friend. I'm so glad we got the opportunity to talk this out, because I was really feeling guilty for similar feelings on "this child" and "meant to be"isms. I knew there was something more to it than plain old jealousy, which, of course, I have... But also felt like there was something not so theologically sound in assuming only things that make us "happy" are the fulfillment of God's plan.
    You spelled it out perfectly here, and yes, there are miracles to be found even in the midst of the suffering. Even if we aren't as vocal about those miracles ;)
    Big hugs and extra prayers that this time next year, you'll be writing a post about how blessed you feel for DIFFERENT reasons. :)

  2. These are such beautiful words! I'm going to take them to heart and ponder them. It made me think (again) about how IF is such a hidden cross...and is filled with many hidden miracles! But those can be the most powerful ones, I think. The ones that no one except for you and your husband see - those little acts of faith and acceptance in the face of disappointment and loss. They're not as "showy" as other acts of faith, but that doesn't meant they're less valuable. In fact, I think it takes more humility to accept the quiet, hidden ways God calls us to be saints. (Harder, too.)
    God bless you, and many prayers for a peaceful 2WW!

  3. You do walk this road with grace and I'm in high hopes for you too!

  4. This is my favorite post ever of yours. SO beautiful, and so full of grace. I think you see both versions of life so clearly because you trust so fully in God's will...you know he will take care of you no matter what.

  5. I second Hebrews...this is just beautiful. Thank you.

  6. Rebecca - I love the way you write and I love you! This post reminded me so much of a post I wrote a couple years back where I too had come to the place where I just said in some many terms "Ok God - maybe this whole having a child thing is not for us, or maybe it is - but either way, I need to focus on living in the present because I am missing out on a lot of things that are blessings in the here and now." Okay, my exact words from one paragraph from that post were:

    "In the end it comes down to this, maybe God's will is that we have children (here on earth*), maybe it isn't. There are some things from my history pointing one way (cancer, heart issues, etc.), but who really knows. All I know is that the last few months of the more intensive infertility treatments have been miserable and I don't want to live like that anymore. I want to be free to love, free to experience the JOY that is surrounding me, without worrying that I need to be pouring more and more and more into this relentless pursuit to have a child, when I am not even sure that is God's will for me. I am just so tired. (*Note: we are VERY grateful for the 2 miscarriages we had early in our marriage, lil Peter and Rose, sorry if that wasn't clear at first.)"

    I went on to say that we were going to take a break for a few months and then pick back up with the fertility treatments in the fall.

    I wrote that on 4/10/11.

    Umm...we found out I was pregnant with Elizabeth on 4/16/11 after almost 3 years of infertility. It is funny how things work out I have found. I will be praying extra hard for this cycle. :)

    (And no, I don't think God is just waiting for us to say or pray some magic formula or tell him life without children is okay before he will actually allow us to get pregnant. Goodness gracious if it was that easy, I don't think there would be much infertility around these parts. I am just saying, it was freeing to me to say words similar to yours and it brought a huge relief to my life. The finding out I was pregnant the week after that - well that was obviously a shock!) I am not sure if any of this was helpful or not, and I am sorry for writing a novel in your com box, but just know that I think this is a beautiful, honest, and awesome post.

  7. I think a similar thing happens when you are faced with the prospect of diving into fertility treatment when you already have one child. After just a few cycles of TTC (5, but who's counting? ;)), I have had to have this talk with myself; Just how far are you willing to go? And after talking about it with DH, we've decided, not that far. We don't want to miss the joy of Maggie by obsessing (which is what I do!) on the possibility of other babies. We want those babies, and should they come, we'll be overjoyed. But even if they never do, we are a family. Complete. And I can imagine a good, good life with only one child. It's not the same thing exactly, but I think there are some similarities...and it makes me go back to the quote on your "daily jolt" recently which certainly jolted me! Many prayers for you friend.

  8. I think it's a good thing that you can see a beautiful life in either scenario (kids vs. no kids). It speaks to trying to make the most of the life we have today and not what could potentially happen in the future. On the sad days, it can be a lot harder to find joy and meaning in life, so this post might be a good reminder for you if you do hit a low point. I'm praying that's not the case, though. :)

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  10. Rebecca...my sister and friend...this is an amazing post.

    As I was reading it I was saying, "Yes!!! that is how I feel, too!!!" but of course, I haven't had the struggle with IF that you have had. For me, I go through something like this at some point every couple years or so. No...not because of IF...but the discernment process on whether to TTC or TTA every cycle. I get weary with what seems like constant discernment. I want to feel like I am done!!! or I want to feel like God is saying have another baby!!! Or at the very least, I want to feel like my husband and I are on the same page...whatever page that is. But at some point over the course of the last year, I have just decided that this must be the life God has blessed me with.

    Maybe our family is complete. Maybe it is not. Either way, my situation today is what it is because I am open to whatever the Lord has planned for me at this point in time. And next year...my situation will be whatever it will be because I hope to remain open to whatever the Lord has planned for me at that point in time. And all along, I will try to enjoy the blessings I do have and not lament the things I do not (for me...those things are more like financial/material things as opposed to babies at this point).

    I know I probably don't need to say this. But I am so glad I feel comfortable leaving a comment like this on your blog. I am so thankful that you are allowing me to walk this journey with you through your blog. I would never have a chance at understanding what you're going through with you, my friend. And I believe that God has directed that I do learn about this IF journey through you and other women I read. So, thank you for writing and sharing this journey with me.

  11. I nodded my head so much throughout your post. :-)
    I'm continuing to pray for God's will to be done in your life.

  12. I know just where you are coming from. I have felt so many of these same things! It is such a thin road to walk between the life we have/and the life we want. And then to affirm to the people in our life now (husbands, family, etc. and even to God) that they are enough lest we seem ungrateful for our blessings. I like what JBTC wrote about it not being a requirement and that God is not just waiting for us to say the words that life without kids would be okay for Him to bless us with those kids. Sure, anyone could say those words in a heartbeat if that's all it took! I could say so much more..may have to write my own post on these thoughts. For now I will say that I am praying so hard that this is THE month for y'all and that those hopes of yours stay sky-high, friend!

  13. Your post reminded me of when my dad died and how hard we prayed that he wouldn't. Sometimes God says "no" and He knows what He's doing, but we can still hope and still pray as we come to terms with the idea that God may say "no" and we start to see that even when He does, it comes with so many blessings. I don't think I've ever felt more loved by God than when he said "no".