Flirting with the Thin Pink Line

I live in a different world than many of my peers. Many are planning their exact 2.1 children, schools they will attend, and sports they will play. I am left wondering when or if my husband and I will ever have children.

Before you think I’m off my rocker, bear with me a bit. Medically, primary infertility is defined as a healthy couple trying to conceive for 1 year without achieving their first successful pregnancy. This is where my husband and I lie. We’ve been married and trying for 18 months, with barely adequate health insurance, and no money for testing.  Every month has been a struggle to wait and see what will come, then dealing with the heartbreak with each single pink line.

For some women one pink line is reason for rejoicing. Whether it was a failure of birth control, not ready for a child for any reason, a single pink line is a comforting thought. For me, one line often results in a minor emotional breakdown.

There are many times I get stuck with thoughts that tell me I’m not going to be a mother, or that I’m being punished for something I did. There are other times when I feel rotten for fighting back tears when I should be happy for friends and family who are expecting. Most often, though, I feel alone. So, I went searching for answers.

While doing research on the Papal Document Humanae Vitae, I stumbled upon another document entitled Donum Vitae. This document, published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith in 1987, has a small section titled, “The Suffering Caused by Infertility in Marriage.” Here is an excerpt from that section. The emphasis is retained from the original text.

Nevertheless, marriage does not confer upon the spouses the right to have a child, but only the right to perform those natural acts which are per se ordered to procreation. A true and proper right to a child would be contrary to the child’s dignity and nature. The child is not an object to which one has a right, nor can he be considered as an object of ownership: rather, a child is a gift, “the supreme gift” and the most gratuitous gift of marriage, and is a living testimony of the mutual giving of his parents. For this reason, the child has the right, as already mentioned, to be the fruit of the specific act of the conjugal love of his parents; and he also has the right to be respected as a person from the moment of his conception.

I read that, and I can’t help but recall a conversation I had with my mom. When I was little, I would grab random things in a store and ask for them, like any kid. Occasionally, it would be the same item on separate trips, since we didn’t go shopping together more than once a month. Mom would often get the idea that this was something I was truly interested in. After I had heard “no” enough, I would stop asking. Then one day I would find a surprise, and it would be the item I had been asking for. Naturally, I would be even more excited because I received it as a gift. Just like Mom, God will give good gifts, and is also the giver of that “supreme gift” of a child.

A child “is a living testimony of the mutual giving of his parents.” When my husband and I were dating, we would often hear from our married friends that “someday our love will grow so large that in 9 months, we will have to give that love a name.” Whether our friends knew it or not, they were speaking a great truth of their sacrament. Sure, it can be argued that a child might be brought into a family situation that is less than ideal. But God understands the positive impact that can be brought into a family if they choose to view a pregnancy as a gift, rather than a burden.

How does all this relate to the lack of fertility I seem to be experiencing? Alone or not, infertility is something that many people encounter. As I’ve been writing this post, I think it comes down to perspective. I can look at the situation my husband and I are in and either find it as a way to grow or a way which will lead to despair. I often need to remind myself that infertility is not the end of the world. Ultimately, God is in control of my life. The gifts he will give me are great. I can choose to be persistent in prayer, but, ultimately, I am called to be patient.

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11 thoughts on “Flirting with the Thin Pink Line

  1. k8e308 says:

    “I can choose to be persistent in prayer, but, ultimately, I am called to be patient.”

    This really resonated with me – and it applies to every issue we take to God. Whatever blessing a person is waiting for, we must all be patient and accept (and the time we wait for it) as graciously as we can in order to be happy.

    • I often have to remind myself that even though I work with youth, patience is not my strong suit. Just as the persistent widow had her request answered, I try to remind myself that I am trying to ask for the right gift that God may or may not want to give me. Ultimately I know it’s all in HIs timing.

      Thanks for Commenting.

  2. Amanda, this post makes me so sad, but you are so strong it is admirable! My sister in law
    Has has two miscarriages and is still trying.

    Have you tried seeing a nauturopath and or getting acupuncture? I’ve heard many great things about those helping successfully! My brother is a naturopath.

    You have my prayers! :)

    • Miriam,

      I haven’t tried that yet and I am definitely putting it in my list of things to try. First on my list though is finding a dietitian I can work with that can help me see where I can improve and hoping that will also help in the area of my weight. All and all I am trying to improve myself while also trying to live authentically one day at a time.

  3. [...] Flirting with the Thin Pink Line – Amanda, Defined by Faith [...]

  4. clh53@hotmail.com says:

    Dear Amanda,

    My husband and I too suffered from infertility for two years, but now I am in my 19th week of our first pregnancy. I am sure you have received much advice, most of it unwanted, but I did want to share a few things with you on the off-off-chance they might be useful.

    Our health insurance did not cover fertility treatments, either, but my husband and I discovered a doctor who is a regular family practioner doctor who uses NaPro technology to work with infertile couples. Because the doctor treated infertility as a symptom of my regular health, the tests he issued were of a different insurance code that my insurance covered. The doctor was not treating me for infertility as much as he was testing what was functioning with my body and what was not. It is a wholistic approach that does not separate reproduction/fertility from the functionings of the human system. You might want to see if there is a doctor in your area who uses NaPro technology–and maybe your health insurance will cover it. Insurance plans are so tricky and complicated–yours still may not, but it might be worth a try.

    I also did a bit of researching on the web into some dietary factors that might play into infertility. The science is far from solid on this, but it seems that women who suffer from infertility might be more sensitive to soy in their diet, which might be exacerbating their infertility. It can also cause infertility in men. After we had seriously decreased the soy from our diet, we did manage to conceive. I don’t think it was just the soy that kept us infertile, but it may have been a factor. Sadly, soy is in everything–and it’s not the unfermented soy in soy sauce or tempeh that is a problem–it’s the soybean oil, soy lechtin and soyflour which seems to be used in everything that is the problem. By decreasing our soy intake, I had to make a lot more stuff from scratch, like our bread, and buy less processed food. But in the end, I think it has caused me to be healthier too, which always help when trying to conceive.

    Lastly, I spent a lot of time at adoration and got everyone I knew to pray for me and my husband. And you are so right that it is all part of God’s plan. My husband and I needed to suffer from infertility, because that struggle brought us closer to the teachings of the church and closer to each other. We needed to know we were broken so we could begin healing. Please do not think I am suggesting your inferility has the same spiritual or physical origins as mine, again, I’m just trying to let you know you are not alone. Sorry for such a long post to tell you that.

    So, again, I am NOT trying to preach, just to offer suggestions.

  5. Amanda says:

    My husband and I will enter into our third year of trying on Wednesday. Reading this, I know exactly how you feel. at times it can be incredibly hard to balance the truth of His word with what we feel and what our society tells us. It’s hard to balance the knowledge that God has a plan and purpose for our lives with the pain and heartache that we feel. Some times you know it in your head, it’s just getting it to your heart that’s the problem.

    We’ve had two failed adoptions and all of my unmarried, young female family members have become single mothers in the last three years that we’ve been trying. Those are the hardest for me no, knowing that God has a reason, but desperately wanting to know what it is. Also, for me the first year and a half was the most difficult because, at least for us we just expected that we would get married and have a baby within a year, and when that didn’t happen for us, but did for everyone around us, I really struggled with that.

    Just within the last few months I’ve been able to see all the ways God is using me, and all the lives I’ve been touching, lives that I may not have been able to touch if I had children (the job I have, starting a support group, etc) not that I don’t have bad days, I totally do, but they are fewer and farther in between.

    Sending you prayers and virtual hugs, you are far from alone. And you are never ever alone when you have God.

    • Thank you for your support and God bless you too. I’m not looking forward to hitting 2 years in January but I agree that there are ways that God uses us that we would not be available to otherwise. A friend often reminds me that as women we are all called to be mothers, but it may be just for our children or for the betterment of the whole community.

  6. James Hamel says:

    I would just like to add my own life experience. My wife and I experienced two miscarriages. We have different blood types. The doctor’s told us we had built in birth control. Yet, we wanted children. After almost 17 years of marriage, just when we had almost given up on children, God answered my wife’s prayers. Samantha was born. We did not seek any Doctor’s advice, we relied on God.and God did not fail us. Thankful to God for giving us a child, we resigned oursleves to His will. Then unexpectedly God performed another miracle. After we were married for 28 years he granted us a late life gift! My wife was 46 and I was 50 years old when He graced us with another daughter; Angela Rose. Don’t burden yourself with guilt. allow things to happen, as God see’s fit. And thank Him for what you do receive, or don’t receive.

    Jim Hamel

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