23. Does your religion (or lack of) help/hurt/affect your infertility journey? Have you found religion? Lost it? Does it affect what treatments you do?
I am a Christian and this is a huge part of my infertility journey. I have been trying to decide how to write this post for the past several days. Parts of this may offend some, others may agree or disagree. But it's my blog and I can say whatever I want <stomps foot like an angry, overgrown two-year-old>
After that first year when I started realizing I would have trouble conceiving, I prayed a lot. Begged and pleaded more like. God if you hear me... God if it's in your plan... Lord please help me get pregnant. All I seemed to get were negative pregnancy tests and silence. Meanwhile, everyone around me, Christian or not, was getting pregnant. One particularly tough night, I was caring for a patient who had overdosed. She was four months pregnant and it was clear she did not want anything to do with being a mother, an abortion to be scheduled in the next few days following her botched attempt to end the life inside her with alcohol and pills. I was in her room giving her medications and she had asked for nicorette gum. I told her she couldn't have it because she was pregnant and she said that the charge nurse said it was ok, "because if I was on the streets, I would be smoking anyway." I always try to keep a poker face around my patients, but I was horrified and had to excuse myself because of the tears.
Our church has a time at the end of the service where the prayer team stands at the altar and the congregation can come up to one of these people and tell them their prayer requests and a prayer will be said. About a year and a half ago, I held Chris' hand and walked up to an older women and somehow was able to form the words, "We have been trying for a baby for so long." She put her hands on us and started praying. I didn't even hear what she was saying because I was crying so hard.
I wish I could tell you I became a stronger Christian through this. I wish I could say I drew closer to God, that I read the Bible for comfort. But the truth is, I have spent a long time being angry with God. And I just didn't feel like talking to Him anymore. After all, for years everyone would tell me this was "all God's plan" and "It just isn't time yet." They made me out to believe that this was all in my head.
But I would look around and see the babies born to drug-addicts, to women who didn't want another baby. I would hear about the abortions, Casey Anthony. And I thought, it must be in God's plan that I don't get a baby. What did I do to deserve this? Why do they get babies and I don't? I stopped going to church, I stopped reading the Bible, I stopped praying. I would yell at God when I was alone. How dare He do this to me?
Remaining a Christian through infertility is tough. Your faith gets shaken no matter how strong you think you are. If anyone says otherwise, they're lying. It took me a long time to realize that God does not decide who gets a baby and who doesn't. A pastor wrote about infertility and said that God is not up there picking and choosing who gets to create a child and who doesn't. If He did, he would not give them to women who will have an abortion. I do believe God created sex to make a child, but I don't believe he is denying me one. This pastor said that God is the One beside you, traveling this journey with you, rejoicing when things go right, and crying with you when they don't. It took me a long time to accept that He is simply walking this road with me, holding me and comforting me and rooting for a baby as much as I am.
It's still difficult for me. All those years I spent thinking He has been silent for so long but I think I have just been so angry that I am having a hard time hearing Him. I want to start going back to church, I want to start reading the Bible again. My problem was I put so much focus on other people telling me what God is and isn't, and I haven't been paying attention to who He means to me.
Some people think medical intervention like IVF is "playing God." I believe God created certain men's brains to create the idea of making a baby in a scientific way and making thousands of women Mommies. Being a Christian doesn't affect what treatments I do because I believe this is the path I need to take and God will be there with me.