Last weekend, I got the opportunity to do a quick trip to the beach with a few girlfriends. I absolutely love the beach. I’m always in awe of how big the ocean is, how different it looks from coast to coast, and how God perfectly paints the sunset over the water in ways we can’t see anywhere else. I’m not a big fan of having sand in places it doesn’t belong, but it’s worth it for the views and majestic beauty of the water. I have immense respect for the ocean and its inhabitants.
While at the beach, I thought about my journey through infertility… where I’m at… where I’ve been… where I’m going. I spent some time just staring at the water and thinking. I thought about how the ocean reminds me of infertility and the journey we go through to survive it.
Have you ever stood in the ocean and felt the waves crash upon you? You don’t have a choice but to surrender. Sometimes they are really strong and unexpected. Sometimes they are gentle and rolling. No matter what you think you know, it turns out you really don’t know what kind of force each wave will bring. You firmly plant your feet as wave upon wave crashes on you, sometimes nearly knocking you off your feet. If you happen to sit in the water, a random wave can crash over your head when you didn’t expect it. Often in the journey of infertility, it feels like waves are crashing upon us. Nothing goes right. A treatment seems to work great, and then suddenly a follicle you thought was a good one disappears… wave crash. Your estrogen levels suggest that good things are on the horizon, and then suddenly it plummets for no reason… wave crash. Quite frequently, I have felt the crashing waves of infertility upon me, and sometimes it feels like I’m drowning.
Have you ever gotten caught in a rip tide? A rip tide is when two waves come together, and there is a long stream in between them that goes out to sea with great force. You can’t fight a rip tide without getting completely exhausted… you have to surrender, coast it, and gently work your way out of it from the side. It’s not easy. It’s scary. It’s unpredictable. It often sneaks up on you when you least expect it. You can stand back on the shore and sometimes see a rip tide before you enter the water… but sometimes it’s suddenly there. Infertility often feels like a rip tide. You’re swimming along, minding your own business, and then suddenly you feel like your feet have been pulled out from under you. You try to fight it, but you’re quickly losing the battle. You cry it out, coast it, and sometimes have to creatively find a way out of it.
Have you ever seen the ocean at sunset? It’s one of the most relaxing things your eyes will ever see. How about on a calm day with low tide and still air? It is one of the most serene things you will ever experience. The mighty ocean – the massive body of water that it is – is nearly still. It seems almost impossible, but when you see it… it blows your mind. You know that it can be wild and out of control, and downright painful and scary to be near. But when it’s time to be still, it’s still. Come out on the other side of infertility with a pregnancy, and then having a baby, is one of the most serene moments of your life. The waves have crashed. The rip tides have ripped you off your feet and carried you out to sea. But then that baby comes, and none of the pain even matters anymore. Everything feels right with the world and you are at peace. You remember the journey. You respect it. You’ll never forget it. But you finally get to rest in the solace of still waters, a sunset, and motherhood.
That serenity is my prayer for you, my sisters. I believe each of you will have your serene waters and sunsets – whether through pregnancy, surrogacy, or adoption. Whether through a miraculous natural conception or infertility treatment. Whether through infant adoption or embryo adoption. My prayer for you is serenity and freedom from the grips of infertility.
I know right now it may feel like the waves are crashing and the rip tides are attacking… but know that there is a place for still waters, and it’s coming for you.