If you were to tell me five years into motherhood that Father’s Day would still be a difficult day for me, I would have criticized the future me. I mean surely I should be over it by now! We have been blessed with two awesome kids. Hubby gets to celebrate! Why would I still be haunted by guilt and shame?
For six years we struggled through difficult Father’s Days. My body was responsible for hubby not being able to celebrate. I felt like it was my fault. Six years leaves a scar on your soul that makes it difficult not to feel some lingering effects.
Bearing the burden of being the one whose body is the cause of your infertility struggle can leave you wrestling with a significant degree of guilt and shame. I felt that somehow I personally was robbing hubby of his chance to be a father. Every step, every struggle, every heartache I felt like I was failing us.
This morning I was listening to a podcast on Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk about a couple who had struggled through infertility. For this couple it was the husband who was responsible. He stated he felt like the “obstacle” to their dream. I wish I could go back to tell myself the very words that came to mind when I heard him say that today. My first thought was “He is not the obstacle. He is the explanation.” There is a difference.
It is one thing to be the reason for infertility. It is another to feel like you personally are the barrier to reaching your dreams. My diseases were the cause of our infertility, but I was not doing anything to purposefully stand in the way of achieving our dream of parenthood.
I believe the guilt and shame that come with being the spouse responsible for the infertility struggle are Satan’s way of pulling us from God. It stands in the way of accepting that God’s will is what is at work. Satan has a way of shifting the burden of responsibility of the struggle onto our shoulders because it would mean we could do something to fix it. It gives us a sense of control over the situation. That desire for control runs in direct conflict with our faith in God’s purpose for our lives and that conflict plays right into the Devil’s hands.
I have to admit that giving up the weight of that guilt and shame was hard for me. I did not do well accepting that God had a plan for my life and it was not the one I dreamed it would be. It took years to be willing to say, “God, your will be done.” Surrendering my dreams and grabbing onto the hope that God had a purpose for all of the pain was very difficult. Even today there are moments where I grieve the experiences we’ve lost and that guilt and shame can crop back up even though I now know that it is not logical.
Over and over I would look to the Bible for hope in those desperate years. I would see the stories of Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Hannah, and Elizabeth. In each, I would see that God eventually gave them the child they so desperately longed for. I could not understand why God would give me the same longing and yet leave me with the guilt and shame of being responsible for our infertility. I badly missed the truth.
In each of those stories, remarkable men were born to those women. I did not see that even in their pain, God was walking alongside them, working for His purpose. The reason for their infertility was because it was not yet time for their miracle to be revealed.
I wish I saw then what I later came to know. God was there in my pain, working toward His plan for my life. My miracle would be revealed in His timing. I just had to hold onto my faith in his goodness. In no way was I responsible for our infertility struggles. It was because that was not the path God had planned for our life. My diseases were the explanation, but I was not the obstacle.
It is amazing how stealthily Satan works. It was easy for me to feel guilt and shame because my body was at fault for our infertility. To me, that was only logical. It took a longtime for me to see that God’s goodness was still at work even though it was painful. Satan’s lie was so much easier to believe than God allowing for the pain I felt and still somehow be good.
If you are in the trenches of infertility or waiting for that adoption to happen, don’t buy into the lie that Satan desperately wants you to believe. Neither you nor your spouse is responsible for your journey. God has a plan and in his timing it will be revealed. Have faith. He is good!