Infertility and Childlessness
My name is Phyllis. My desire had always been to have a large family, my nickname, when I was young was "Little Mother."
However, at age 27 I found myself unmarried and of course with no children. I did have a nursing career and my own home, yet I felt the Lord had something better in mind for me, perhaps in missions. So I made a move from my nursing job in a city hospital, to a Christian home for handicapped adults. I wanted some different nursing experience first.
Before moving, I had a quiet moment with my mother who was ironing at the time. "Mom," I said, "I really wish that I was married by now, and had four children." She told me that she knew about my desires to be married and to have a family.
The first day after I moved to my new job in Ohio I met the man who would become my husband. His name was Dan. Dan came from a family of four children, was in his training for missionary aviation as a maintenance technician, and felt the Lord's leading to work with a mission in Canada. We were married in December of 1983.
In June of 1985 we moved to Canada. Six months into our marriage we decided to start a family of our own. When we did not have success in getting pregnant I went to see the doctor where we lived in Manitoba. He began some infertility testing. I was 30 at the time.
After the first test, some further testing needed to be done. The results of the first test took me by surprise, and I went into depression.
After a laparoscopy was done we were told that we should be able to have a family of our own. During this time my parents would call us on the weekend. The first question my mother always had was, "Phyllis, are you pregnant?" My reply was always, "No." I did not look forward to that question.
There was a time I could not handle being around pregnant women. I would get restless and want to cry. A couple we worked close with had adopted their oldest, then she became pregnant with a second child. I could barely stand to be around my friend. I found this very frustrating, as I was happy for them.
When we moved to Saskatchewan our adoption process had to start again. I had several miscarriages by this time. Two of which were at our new home in Saskatchewan. The first one gave me hope. I was glad that I could at least get pregnant! The second one was harder to take, I cried a lot. After that one we attended a communion service. I felt I got a glimpse of what God the Father must have felt in Giving His Son on the cross for me. This gave me comfort.
Dan did not share his feelings about all this; the infertility testing and the miscarriages. He did say he knew several couples in our position, so he knew that it was not an uncommon thing to happen. In later years he told me that Father's Day was an uncomfortable day for him. I guess he had his hands full with his work and taking care of a wife suffering from depression and childlessness.
One night I had a dream which I felt was from the Lord. I saw two toddlers in a meadow with wild flowers, one a boy and one a girl. It was as if the Lord was saying to me, "Phyllis, you have children waiting in heaven for you." I have named those two toddlers I saw in my dream.
We tried to adopt through open adoption in Saskatchewan, however our name was never chosen for reasons only God the Father knows. It may have been our income level, that we were immigrants, or due to my depression.
One year a friend called us. Her niece was having a baby and wanted a Christian home for her baby. At the time we were deciding if we still wanted to adopt due to our age. I really struggled with this issue. Finally the Lord gave me peace about this issue of trying to adopt. After a few months passed we called my friend and told her we had decided not to adopt. Later her niece decided to keep her baby. The Lord encouraged me with the verse from John 14: 27. I truly had peace in my heart that day.
We have enjoyed the children of others over the years. Our nieces and nephews, whom we see once or twice a year. We remember their birthdays and anniversaries. I have made them gifts and Dan likes to tease them when we are together!
We help at a children's camp during the summer were I work in the kitchen. I enjoy serving the meals and watching the campers come through the line. Of course the dining hall gets louder as the campers and the staff get to know each other! Dan works as a maintenance man each summer. Often times he has teens helping him which he enjoys. We also enjoy getting to know the teenage staff. Someone told us once that these are our children!
We have done lots of babysitting over the years. One family in particular, have had four daughters. The eldest recently told me, "I've known you for 20 years!" She dressed as a clown at Dan's fortieth birthday party. The youngest girl in the family has told her friend, who is a mechanic, how clean Dan keeps his tool box! We have several photos of this family and the girls on the fridge. One of the girls told their parents we kiss too much!
At some point, early on in our trying to have a family, a verse of scripture gave me hope. Then much later, I found this verse once again. Now I can truly say ,"Yes Lord I am like this barren women, I have joy like a woman with many children. Your word is true in my life!!" (see Psalm 113:09. NASV).
There are times I wonder about our future without children and grandchildren. Who will care for us in our old age?
How could I forget? Yes, it is the Lord God who will take care of us even as He does now. Isaiah 46:4 says, "Even to your old age, I am He. And even to grayhairs I will carry you! I have made and I will bear; even I will carry and will deliver you."
As we have recently celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary with godly family and friends, it was a reminder to us of God's care for us over the years past and that He holds our future.
If you are going through the pain and despair of infertility and childlessness, I recommend that you turn to God for hope and comfort. At the beginning you may feel inconsolable, but if you choose to trust Him, He will not fail you. One day you will look back and see that truly God's plan for your life was best after all, and that you can have many spiritual children - which is wonderfully fulfilling!