"I will praise the one who's chosen me, to carry you"
-Selah: I will carry you

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

When faith is no longer a comfort

This morning I uttered the words "I wish I wasn't a Christian, then I would find this easier to deal with." I was referring to our recently failed first attempt at IVF.   My husband would nominally call himself a Christian, but he is not practicing and is primarily a scientist. He looked at the situation of our embryo transfer as a 50:50 chance that a ball of cells would attach itself to my womb. If it didn't, we could try again and it would be another coin toss. He didn't get his hopes up too high and is therefore taking this pretty well comparatively.  For me, I have had weeks, months really of answered prayer to get to the point of trying the transfer.  People across the world were praying for us on the build up to the transfer, and on the day itself. I prayed the whole way there that I would not cough on the table as I had a horrible cough/cold.  I didn't cough and the transfer went perfectly. I felt so calm all the first week, I was off work, relaxed, meditated, prayed, did gentle yoga and watched funny movies. I was so sure the answer was finally yes.

It wasn't.

And that is so hard to accept. Despite all that prayer, despite it all going perfectly, despite the years we have waited and all we have been through in our quest to be parents, it was still, inexplicably, a no.  And that hurts, so much more than the thought that the coin toss didn't land in our favour.  To me, that was not a ball of cells. It was our embryo, created with God's hand guiding science.  Why tell us yes to having IVF, why allow us to go this far, just to say no at the final hurdle? So similar to my question three years ago- "why allow us to conceive Bertie, just for him to die?"

You read a lot about people comparing infertility to grief, a recurring grief. Right now, that's how I feel. A lot of my thoughts and feelings remind me of how I felt after Bertie died. Obviously on a much lesser scale, but none the less, it does feel like another grief.  Not the loss of a baby, but the ending of hope.   I am having the classic reactions: Denial (a weekend of repeated peeing on
pregnancy tests, just in case the last one, two, three....were wrong/faulty/taken too early). Anger (at God, at life, at the unfairness of it all). Depression (withdrawal, lack of concentration, lack of motivation).  Acceptance (I'm still waiting to get there).

I'm noticing similar reactions in others to after Bertie died too.  Nobody has the words. Nobody knows what to say. Everyone knows what an enormous blow this is, the ripping off of a plaster, a recurrent gaping wound. A difference, two camps: those who have wordlessly held me and let me cry, and those who have avoided me.

I have spent today with this blog formulating and whirling in my mind, and God knew that. He worked to remind me that He is there and is working in other people to prove it. I came home to a bunch of flowers and a card on my doorstep, from some Christian friends. The flowes include
daffodils. After I cried this morning over another approaching Mothers' day with no daffodils for me,
what a strangely sweet comfort. Did Bertie nudge them? The card contains the expected encouraging bible verse. It grates a little in the midst of grief, these promises feel so empty in the face of repeated disappointment, however I appreciate the thought and the effort. And hey, at least it wasn't Romans 8:28 again.

As the months have turned into years, and the people who had babies when I didn't start to have second babies, I start to wonder if our turn will ever come?  It is so hard to keep finding that positivity, to keep trusting in God's plan, to give it all to Him. Do I really, truly mean it when I pray "your will father, not mine?" No, I don't. And nor, I am sure, would most women in my shoes. My will is to be a mother to a living, biological child. And I do not understand why I am not being allowed that joy. I am a good person, and I don't think I deserve this. Yes, I believe that there will be no more tears in Heaven, but, Lord, why can't I have my heart's longing here on Earth first? If You are not punishing me, then why am I facing this punishing grief, over and over again?


  1. "Sometimes God's way of doing things is really difficult for us. If He would only keep the schedule we've laid out for ourselves! If He cooperated, we wouldn't have doubts or disappointments. Of course the truth is that the most important time for our faith to be sturdy is precisely when we are disappointed and confused about what God is doing. Despite David's lapses, God did for him exactly what He had promised, and when he was thirty the throne was his. He wrote the Eighteenth Psalm after he had been delivered from all his enemies:

    I love you, O LORD, my strength.
    The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer,
    my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.
    He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
    I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise,
    and I am saved from my enemies. (Ps. 18:1-3)

    It's easy to look back and praise God for what He has done. But true faith believes ahead of time what can only be seen by looking back."

  2. I've said those exact words to myself time and time again. In many ways, having faith in God makes life SO. Much. Harder. I still struggle with whether God is all-powerful or not. If He is, why couldn't He save our babies? If He's not, then is He still the God the Bible says He is?

    My faith was so weak and unchallenged until all this happened. I can only hope that the struggle makes us both stronger in the end. - julie