On this week’s episode of the Dream Builder Podcast, we’re taking a little detour from talking about business to share a tender and personal part of my story. We’re diving into a different dream that I had (one that most women have); The dream of motherhood. Though this dream is nearly universal, it’s fruition does not come to all of us so easily.
“Are you ever going to change out those canvases in your room, mom?”, she asked me. “Nope, probably not, babe”, I replied to my now teenager.
This exchange has occurred many times over the years and the answer is always the same. I took these photos on the same day when my youngest was exactly 7 days old. I tried explaining to her that these three photos represent to me joy and fulfillment as these undeserved gifts from heaven were all mine and (as soon as they could talk) would all call me mommy. They represent the moment I became a mother of three beautiful children. I wanted to capture and freeze that moment, that feeling of finally having my arms full.
Infertility is a problem that so many couples face in silence, but I am here this week pulling the walls down and giving you an inside glimpse into my infertility journey and beautiful adoption story in hopes that I might offer someone out there the encouragement their heart is yearning for.
My first daughter, Faith, was born five years after my husband and I were married. Faith was our dream baby, and we were so excited and proud to have her. Our parent hearts were so full and overjoyed by her. When Faith was about a year old, my husband, Steven and I decided to add to our family but quickly realized there may be some sort of problem. As the months went on, I sought the advice from my doctor and through a series of tests and a MRI learned that I have a Pituitary Micro-adenoma that caused a condition called Hyperprolactinemia. The effects of this caused my body to produce the hormone, prolactin which is responsible for the stimulation of breast milk, and in turn, caused my infertility problems for the next six years.
This was an incredibly emotional time for me, as all seasons of infertility are and because this was an issue of secondary infertility, people were constantly asking us, “When’s the next one? When are you going to give Faith a sibling?”. We didn’t just come right out and tell our struggle to every passerby that asked and over time, the comments and questions became unbearable. At our age, all of our friends were having their second and even third babies and with all of the baby showers and pregnancy announcements, though I was happy for them, inside, I thought I would literally die.
I experienced a true emotional rollercoaster of highs and lows, of high hopes and then low disappointments and of excitement and then again anger.
God was so encouraging and faithful to me this whole time. He placed people in my path and all along my journey to encourage me. The words that some spoke were so deeply personal that it was crystal clear that without God laying it on their hearts, they would have never known. He was with me every step of the way, and I look back on it and I see how he was using that season of waiting to prepare my heart for what he had in store for us all along.
Shortly after Faith’s sixth birthday, I received a call from a friend, who called me out of the blue with a question that would change my life forever. Her daughter’s best friend was expecting a baby, and was looking into adoption as an option. She wanted to know if we were interested in connecting with her. Without even asking my husband, (oops!) I agreed! I knew he’d be on board…and he was!
We met, and we instantly loved each other. It wasn’t long before everything was set up for the adoption, and I began planning and doing everything I had been wanting to do for the past several years.
Then, something truly magical happened. When our birth-mother was around twenty weeks pregnant, I discovered that at long last, I was pregnant, too!
In a moment, we were going from one child to three children within the span of the next nine months. We thought that we would never have another baby and had resolved in our hearts that we would love and raise our beautiful daughter as an only child. God had another plan and blessed us with TWO more! We were blessed beyond measure, more than we could have ever hoped or imagined!
I know that because of this season in my life, I gravitated to newborn photography. I was able to take my interest in a business of photography and use it to fill one of the desires in my heart. I was able to hold precious new lives day after day, and I will never be able to convey my gratitude to their parents. I was able hold and love on them in my arms during a season of my life where I wanted another baby of my own so badly and it soothed my heart during those years more than they could ever imagine.
Though it’s been several years ago now, it feels like yesterday. In remembering the years, the tears, the joy, the shock and amazement, all the emotions are just as real as they were then. I’m so incredibly grateful for the chicks under my wing but I’ll never forget the road we walked to build this family.
Infertility is something that so many couples struggle with, and still there is such a stigma around it. How can we change that? The topic of infertility is heavy, it’s consuming, it’s all you can think about when walking this path (which really feels more like scaling the side of a mountain). I have been there. I understand. You, mommy-in-waiting, are not alone.
If you’re on the other end of this discussion and this has never been a concern for you, I pray you will take a quick pause before asking someone, “When are y’all going to have a baby?”, or “When are you going to have another one?”. You never really know how long that couple may have prayed (and even begged God) to conceive.
I hope to be a voice for those of us that have experienced a period of time of infertility. On the days your arms feel so empty, I want to encourage you to rely on the Lord and let him be your strength in your struggles. If your promise has not yet come, hang on to your hope, sister. There is always hope.
Who do you know that is still in their waiting season? Share this with them; I want to give them a big virtual hug!