A journey of hope and healing after a decade of infertility and two maternal near-misses.

When God Says No Instead of Not Yet

It was a warm, spring evening at my nephew's end of the year school concert. We stood outside eagerly awaiting the kids to join their families after an adorable program. My little one, only 8 months old at the time, was fast asleep on my chest in the baby carrier. It wasn't long ago that I stood in this very spot at a previous concert, feeling so incredibly alone and very aware that I was the only woman of childbearing age without a child in attendance

I remember the gut wrenching feeling of those days. After all, there were many days that I put on my brave Auntie face so I could be a part of my nephew's lives knowing the experiences I lovingly shared with them could very well be the closest I ever got to having children of my own. I remember babysitting the boys with my husband and rocking my youngest nephew to sleep in the dark with tears streaming down my face all the while soaking up a small portion of his sweet baby love knowing this could be it! That despite my millions of prayers and pleas for a family, whether biological or not, God may not give me the desire of my heart.

I am so thankful that God heard those prayers and intervened mightily! I gave birth to our miracle two years later after a hard, long fought battle with infertility and a host of life-threatening pregnancy and postpartum complications. Yet, even as my son rested in the heaviness of sleep on my chest that evening, I felt the grief of infertility flooding back all over again. I saw at least five very pregnant moms wrangling their children in the school yard and I felt such an intense loss.  I will never be one of them thanks to the conditions that nearly killed me.

While the pain of secondary infertility is very real, I am the first to admit it doesn't come anywhere near the despair of primary infertility. The difference is that I can rest in the gratitude of my one and only son.   I still get to do motherhood even though it is so far removed from how I envisioned it or planned for it to be. And even though I hold the greatest earthly blessing God could ever give to me, my heart still aches in the same place it did before my miracle came along.  There is still grief.  There is still the same involuntary flinch every time I see a new pregnancy announced or hold a new baby.  Maybe the feelings are numbed a little bit more than they used to be. Through it all God is still teaching me to trust Him with my whole heart. His ways are not my ways and while I will never understand why He has allowed so much cruel sorrow to infiltrate my life, I know He still loves me.  He's still teaching me how to be content with what He's already provided. He's still teaching me how to wait on Him when the road seems so incredibly hopeless. He's still reminding me to walk by faith and not by sight.  Maybe the real question is "Now that you've seen the other side, what will you do with it?"  Perhaps that is the very purpose to the pain.

To the woman reading this who can't even try for a baby- whether it's primary or secondary infertility and whatever the reason- if you are feeling the intense grief I described I want to encourage you. God is using your heartbreak in a huge way whether you realize it or not. He is revealing something mighty about His character and love for you. And while I completely understand that it doesn't feel like that right now, I promise when you are through this storm (and someday you will be), you will look back and see His hand at work in you and your circumstances. You will see how He carried you through.  He may very well be working on a greater miracle in your life far beyond what you could ask for or imagine.  That doesn't take away the grief, but perhaps it will provide some peace.  

After all... He's in the business of doing the impossible. 


Other posts in the #NIAW series:  Listen Up: Infertility Isn't A Choice  

See previous #NIAW posts here. 

New to The Heart of Home?  Start here.

About the Author: Casey Cattell struggled with infertility for more than a decade before giving birth to her son, Nathan, in 2015. She is a two time Maternal Near Miss Survivor writing to give hope to women in the midst of hardships that challenge their faith. She also enjoys sharing her latest creative exploits. Casey and her husband live in the Northeast, USA and in their downtime like to explore new places and hike with their young son. If you liked this post or were encouraged by it, please consider passing it on. Find Casey on Instagram and Twitter.

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