Some women fall pregnant as soon as their husbands look at them, whilst for other women it takes a bit of time and it requires a whole lot of patience. There’s the trying and the waiting, then the disappointments. And then the trying and the waiting again, which can feel so disheartening for a couple. How does one push through, remain hopeful, and full of joy and expectation in a season that seems barren, empty and full of void? Everyone’s pregnancy story is so different, so unique, and yet so perfect in its special timing.
Today, one of my oldest and dearest friends will be sharing with us her personal story of how she fell pregnant with Levi. I love her story, and I know it will inspire, and encourage you!
Karen Visser’s Story
Hi, I’m Karen. I am currently a stay at home mom to a little dude who just turned one. My husband and I recently decided to have an adventure and move to Australia for 18 months and it has been fun, hard and awesome. I studied drama and musical theatre after school so I definitely tend to move more towards the weird, emotive side of life, so it was well planned that I married an engineer who could keep me grounded and make me laugh at the same time!
Ryan and I decided to start trying to fall pregnant after we had been married for about two years. I think I had always worried about not being able to have kids, so I was excited and also nervous. It’s only subsequently that I’ve found it’s almost a universal worry among women (and some men) that they won’t be able to have children.We had some complications as I kept getting cysts, so the first year was spent trying to figure that out and going on a variety of medications.
It then took us a further year and a half until we conceived. Even now it’s quite hard to write about it, as it was definitely the most difficult season for me personally and for our marriage.
Along with the funny side of things: trying all the answers Google recommends (what if I cut out salt in my diet?) and getting pulled aside at family gatherings by well meaning relatives who want to share their secrets (uh. Not appropriate granny).
There is definitely a soul-searching, emotional side that can create a renewed foundation for your faith, or crush you under its weight.
It’s very hard to support someone who is going through this season unless you have been through it yourself. It is a season of popping meds, going for tests and scans, being ruled by sex schedules, research and desperately (desperately) trying to be happy at the sudden amount of baby showers you are called to attend and newborns you are asked to view.
Trying to fall pregnant can easily become all consuming if you let it. I know it did for me.
How we found out
So I had taken what felt like a bazillion pregnancy tests so I eventually refused to take any more. The emotional rollercoaster from buying it and giving the cashier a “let’s hope this works” expression, to the wait for the lines to appear, to the doubt (what if this one was faulty) was not a ride I was willing to go on anymore. Ryan convinced me that it was better knowing than secretly hoping (which was a good point) so I did the test, refused to look at it and went to go have a nap.
After about five minutes, I heard a mad frenzy of paper and boxes being ripped open followed by “uhhhh…Kar…how many lines are there supposed to be?” Ryan ran into the room, with tears in his eyes and a ten minute jump hug ensued. Haha!
I had an easy pregnancy and I really loved it. Every time my feet were sore or my back was aching, I would just remind myself that this is what we had waited for and my head and heart would get back in the game. It really helped me be a lot more positive. Even now, when Levi is having a bad night, or needs a lot of attention, I remind myself that this is what we begged God for and it gives me that much-needed perspective.
What I learnt during that season
- I definitely feel like the wait helped us to grow in patience. And having a baby (and later on, a toddler) requires a lot of patience. So I feel as if I’m a better Mom now because of the stuff I dealt with during our ‘desert’ time.
- Because being a mom and having a family was always such a big dream of mine, the prospect of it not happening really made me face some internal core stuff. I am a Christian, so I did a lot of God-centered meditation on how my identity was wrapped up in being a mom, if I would still love God if my dream was never fulfilled and finding joy in the hard times.
- I am *acutely* aware that for some people, their journey of falling pregnant took far longer or involved many miscarriages and I think God carved an empathy in me for people who are going through their ‘trying’ time.
So I guess it was a very spiritual time for me and a very intimate time with God.
I can look back on that time and remember how weak I felt and how strong God felt in my life. And that closeness was not lost when our dream came to fruition.
So in that way, I wouldn’t change our time of waiting. If it was the only way for me to develop this level of friendship with God, then that’s what I would choose all over again.
Practical tips and thoughts
• It was very easy for the baby thing to become all consuming, so what helped us was making our life fuller during this time. Going on holiday (or even talking about going on holiday), planning crazy date nights and renovating the house gave us other stuff to talk about and focus on and gave us a bit of perspective. If this is your season of trying to fall pregnant, consider starting a course or taking up a new hobby to change your focus and fill you up.
• Every now and then (after talking to our doctor), it was good for us to full on ignore the tracking and schedules and stop taking the tablets and catch our breath for a month before we started trying again. Practically, that helped us reconnect as a couple and take a bit of pressure off ourselves.
• A huge turning point for me was finding the right doctor. The previous doctor I was with was very casual and I felt as if I wasn’t heard and wasn’t communicated with properly. Once I switched to a doctor who listened to me, explained things and was more proactive, I felt far more comfortable. He was also very positive and when I went to see him (which was weekly at one stage), he would always talk about ‘when’ I fell pregnant and not ‘if’ I fell pregnant. Those small things made me feel more positive and a bit more in control.
If you are going through something similar, I want you to know that it’s okay to freak out, it’s okay to cry, it’s okay to thrash out those emotions and disappointments with a friend. But try not to live out of that place of disappointment, and hurt. My prayer is that you try your best to keep your heart soft and full of expectation, even though it’s hard at times.
I pray that you remember who you were before all of this and don’t lose sight of who you are.