Home > Child-Free & Infertility > Christian and Childless, Not By Choice

Christian and Childless, Not By Choice

February 21, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

I haven’t blogged about this topic often, and in retrospect, I’m not sure why. (It’s my blog; I can say whatever the hell I want.)

Millions of women go through the same thing I go through each month and they seem to be just fine in public. Sometimes I cannot go out in public because I’m so affected.

Childless

I never thought I’d find myself in a situation in which I desired to have kids, and 18 months later, find my arms still very much empty. There are women who have been trying to have children for years who suffer silently and suffer alone. In Christian communities in which children are plentiful, the pain runs especially deep. (I have a theory that the two most overlooked and forgotten groups in Christendom are singles and married couples who have not chosen to be childless.)

Associated Grief

I don’t know how many women spend their days and nights in hysterics each month because they grieve the loss of someone who has never come to pass. I don’t know many of these women and these women likely don’t know me. It becomes especially difficult to watch babies and toddlers grow up, knowing that before many of these kids were born, I was hoping to celebrate my own bundle of joy nine months later. Even though I don’t currently consider myself “infertile,” the struggles and stories of infertility resonate with me on levels I never, ever thought they would. (While I’ve been told infertility isn’t necessarily genetic, I will point out that it took 11 years for my mother to conceive me naturally. She had a miscarriage later on. I am her only surviving child.)

Baby Showers

I can no longer attend baby showers for anyone other than close friends. For the baby showers I have been to, I did my best to push aside my hurt and pain to celebrate a dear friend’s new addition. But don’t think that I didn’t retreat to the bathroom for a while in a mess of tears… and yes, even shame.

The Shame of Unchosen Childlessness

I’m thankful that American society does not value a wife based on her ability to bear a child. (The stories of barren women in the Bible strike an unusual chord with me now.) When a woman desires a child of her own and cannot conceive, internally she feels broken and shamed. It is often thought that one of the fundamental abilities of a woman is to be able to bear a child. Women (Westerners, anyway) like to have the option to choose. There is freedom in choosing childlessness. Not having the option is the equivalent of being confined to a jail cell.

Longing

During the past few years, I have come to love children. It is a complete about-face from the time when I first got married in which I was simply able to enjoy a child for a few hours and hand him or her back to the parents guilt-free, no strings attached. Now, I spend time with children and have the ability to love and care for them. But those children are not mine and they will never love me. Only my child will care about and love me. (Until those lousy teenage years, of course.)

“Barren Breakdown”

I have arrived at the end of another cycle in which my womb is barren. I am filled with pain, sadness, and experience the five stages of grief month after month. Serving in nursery in church is a bittersweet experience for me, and it seems to always be perfectly timed after I’ve just had (what I call) a “Barren Breakdown.” (Kind of like a nervous breakdown except that it’s specifically related to not having conceived.)

Stupid Assumptions in Trying To Conceive

When my husband and I first began trying to conceive a child, I stupidly thought I’d be pregnant instantaneously. Women in my church were getting pregnant left and right a few years ago, and I was hoping I would soon catch whatever was “in the water.” My periods are militantly regular, and I experience intense pain called mittelschmerz each month that gives me a pretty good idea of when I’m ovulating. Since I’m not irregular and can pinpoint with bull’s-eye accuracy when I ovulate, I should’ve been pregnant in no time, right?

Wrong. No one told me that I’d be playing craps with my menstrual cycle—picking which days I thought were best and then hoping for a positive outcome. No one told me that the odds were against me.

So after the first few times, I try to “fix” it. I get it all down to a science. I try to get my hand on every book that tells me the perfect days to try by charting, the perfect positions that help (sorry, but it’s true), and every other tidbit of information that maximizes my chances for conception.

Doing that made me psycho. I lived and died by what my basal temperature was that morning and whether it was dropping. After several months of trying that method, I had nothing in my uterus to show for it. I stopped. It may work for some women but I will not do it again.

Bottom center image is a typical result for me.

Then I tried using ovulation sticks. Perhaps it’s the brand I bought, but I’ve never gotten a solid dark control line like the test line (which means positive for ovulation; faint lines are negative). I know I’ve ovulated after the fact (and adjust the time frame for my expected period accordingly), but the ovulation sticks haven’t helped.

 

Then finally I get to the point where I realize I cannot control what happens inside my uterus. I cannot be an orange-shirted traffic manager who directs the sperm into the egg. I cannot use super glue to get a fertilized egg to implant and burrow inside my uterus for nine months. I have no control over these things during the dreaded 2WW (2-week-wait: the time between ovulation and expected period).

God and His Sovereignty

But God does, and I get so angry with Him. This situation has forced me to question my relationship with God and whether He even hears my prayers.

When I read that 41 percent of all New York City pregnancies end in abortion, I weep terribly. Not only for the children whose mothers decide they are something that can be purged on a whim, but also for the God who KNOWINGLY allows these children to be conceived to women who do not desire them but WITHHOLDS children from those who would make their best attempt to care for them.

(Side note: I don’t want to ever hear that “God withholds no good thing from those who walk uprightly” (Ps. 84:11) from a parent. God has specifically withheld something I desire deeply and to hear it from someone who is not in the same situation smacks of ignorance and condescension.)

As a Christian who believes in Reformed theology, I believe God is sovereign over all things including whether I conceive a child or not. If this is in God’s control, why would He not allow to me have conceived? If children indeed are a blessing from the Lord (Ps. 127:3), what have I done that God has not seen fit to bless me in this way?

I waver between anger and resignation with God. Anger that God currently deems me unfit to mother a child while he deems another woman fit to abort it; resignation at the fact that I cannot change my circumstances and cannot will a baby into my womb. While I have some simmering anger with God (don’t worry; I resolve things with Him at the beginning of each cycle), I am also resigned to my situation. He is sovereign, He is control, and nothing will happen that He does not want to happen.

Much of this stems back into the idea of contentment and being okay with the way things are; the paradox of wanting a child means that the woman isn’t happy with the way things are and is actively working to change her circumstances.

Awkwardness with the Childless Couple in the Church

I live in a religious world that does not know how to handle or minister to people in my situation. It’s perhaps just as uncomfortable for a concerned mother to ask me, “How are you doing this month?” as it is for me to follow their children running around joyfully out of the corner of my eye. Although it might hurt to ask and it may be painful to answer, nevertheless, I will answer. There may be some women who prefer to deal with the pain of not conceiving a child privately. I suppose I’m not one of them. I am tired of feeling alone.

There Are Two of Us

I’m talking about me in this post, but my husband suffers too. We experience the grief of being childless in distinct ways, and I cannot speak to the way he experiences this loss just as he cannot speak fully about mine. He struggles in a way that I cannot understand because of our gender differences. We agree on one thing: unchosen childlessness hurts and the pain, at the end of each cycle, makes a resurgence as acute as ever for each of us.

Seeking Medical Assistance

The time is nearing in which I will have to seek medical help to achieve a successful pregnancy. I am not looking forward to this. While many women have successfully conceived children with the assistance of modern medicine, I always thought that because “things were functioning correctly,” I would never be that woman. But I’m sure they never thought they would be “that woman” too.

Community Outside of the Church

In the meantime, I will finally take the initiative to join an online TTC (Trying To Conceive) community. I am sick and tired of feeling alone in being Christian and childless, not by choice.

Note: We have not pursued adoption yet and are not against it. But many adoptions can be extremely expensive and the money that has to be ponied up front can be a serious deterrent for many couples who struggle financially and would do better with the gradual financial change that comes with a biological baby.

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  1. February 21, 2011 at 2:02 PM

    I know you know I totally feel your pain.

    Getting medical help has been very informative & depressing at times for me. Knowing what exactly is going on with my body (which i detailed in my latest blog) has been a catch 22. While I know now why I have had some difficulty, some of those issues make my odds a little smaller than most. but I still believe God is in making impossible situations possible. I have to hold on to that otherwise I will go crazy. Also the diagnoses have also allowed me to know exactly what to pray about and ask others to pray for.

    Part of me wonders if there is a reason so many women I know that are between 25-35 that are having difficulty with pregnancy. Is it environmental, it is a conspiracy, is it the vaccines we all took? The more I’ve been open about what I am dealing with in the area of trying to conceive, I find more women in my age group dealing with the same issue. I have tried to look to see if there is currently any research being done, and I do not see one.

    What also stinks is MOST insurance agencies DO NOT PAY for the cost of Fertility diagnosis or treatments. So it can be very costly as well. in 2010 I think we spent close to 1500 on tests and procedures just to diagnose or to correct some issues I was having.

    I would recommend finding a great Fertility Endocrinologist. My Doctor takes her time to go through everything with you, some appointments lasted 3 hours long. So I would check out a few before you settle on one. Also there is going to be lots of new terminology, technology and tests that you never heard of. Things that make you realize that for anyone, conception is truly a miracle whether it happens naturally or medically.

    I hope you don’t feel that I am not trying to deter you, i just want you to be prepared for what this stage is going to be like.

    On the adoptions front, you may want to consider Foster Adoptions, the states practically pay for everything. The child will even have healthcare till they are 18. In Texas, they even get full rides to any Texas State College.

    Pastor Laurinda told me this recently, “It doesn’t have to be either or, pursue both, it’ll surprise you what God does”

    • Kass
      February 21, 2011 at 3:39 PM

      No, you are not deterring me. I need to be prepared for what’s ahead of me. Thanks, Estreitta. I need to let my husband know as well and it’s good to have it written form.

  2. February 22, 2011 at 2:49 PM

    I feel your pain. Literally. I know I have one healthy, happy boy running around here. But, that doesn’t take away the hurt that I have because I miss the babies I’ve never met.
    There’s a fine line between honest communication about infertility and difficulty conceiving and the “open season for conversations about my ovaries” approach.
    Mother’s Day has always been difficult for me and it continutes to be somewhat of a bittersweet day. I’d rather not celebrate it, to be honest. It doesn’t give me warm fuzzies and it doesn’t encourage me. Rather, it reminds me of all the years I was not a mother and of all my friends who cannot be mothers. Bah.

    One thing that I have realized is that our Jewish friends have it right when they declare a woman unclean after her menstrual cycle. They do this to give her space to mourn the loss of the life that could have been. Not because it’s dirty or gross.

    I haven’t stopped hoping. Haven’t stopped trying. I just really am trying to be sensitive to God leading me.

    You aren’t alone, sister.

  3. Terrance H.
    February 23, 2011 at 1:47 AM

    Kass,

    I read your Manic-Depressive Life, Manic-Depressive Faith post, and though you shut off the ability to comment, I have to comment.

    You’re Christian, so forgive me.

    You are describing a feeling of solitude, I think, which many of us feel from time to time. We’re human! If we’re not harboring delusions of grandeur, we’re harboring a bizarre self-hatred. This is the price we pay for our imperfect existence.

    You’re not alone by any stretch of the imagination. I feel that way from time to time, the guy down the street feels that way from time to time, and I’ll bet the mailman (the ignorant little person he is) feels that way from time time time.

    The talk of suicide is disheartening to even strangers, perhaps more so than you might imagine. You’re smart, pretty, generous, and you operate a depressing, yet wonderful, blog. The world cannot afford to lose too many more intelligent, good-hearted people. How dreary might the place be then?

    Whatever you’re going through, you’re not alone. Cheer up. Things get worse, they get better, and they get worse and better all over again! It’s life, and it’s beautiful.

  4. Chris
    February 23, 2011 at 12:25 PM

    Amen, Terrance! You aren’t alone – we are here!

  5. JoL
    March 7, 2011 at 1:57 PM

    You are not alone in this and I completely agree that the church does not offer adequate if any support to women in our situation.

    My lowest point came last summer a couple of months after my second miscarriage (it had taken me a year and a half after my first miscarriage to conceive again). My best friend rang me and delivered, what was to me devastating, news that she was 12 weeks pregnant. She told me she wasn’t happy with the timing (I think to make me feel better) but that it must be God’s timing. This absolutely broke me! I’ve just had a third miscarriage and my friend is due to give birth any day.

    I know God is true and loving. I believe He grieves when we grieve but I cannot understand how He would plan to hurt someone through someone elses blessing!

    I, like you, have found this to be the loneliest season of my life so far. My Christian friends don’t understand my pain and I seem to be the only person struggling with this.

    I will be praying for you. One of the loveliest things this weekend was a lady approached me who I barely know to say she didn’t know if she should tell me but that since last summer God had laid it on her heart to pray for me. You never know who God is using to work blessing in to your life…. So please please don’t lose hope and know, although we don’t understand our circumstances, God loves you and will use your circumstances in the future to bring good.

    I will be praying! Take lots of care! xx

    • Kass
      March 7, 2011 at 11:14 PM

      Thank you for your heartfelt post. I received similar news from a very good friend that she was 10 weeks along with her fourth at the time that I wrote this.

      God has reminded me that children come from Him. That babies do not belong to us as mothers but they are “on loan” in the same way books are on loan to us from a library or movies are on loan to us from Netflix. We are able to keep them for as long as like but eventually, we must give them up because they don’t really belong to us. We may feel as though children come from us but ultimately they come from God, the Creator of all things.

      This perspective has helped me because I have no right to demand something that was never mine. This is especially difficult when suffering a miscarriage because the internal bonds are literally a part of us (as women) that we feel we have lost a part of ourselves, when in essence, God was gracious enough to let us “borrow” and experience the joy of His creation if only for a brief time.

      But I also like to think that miscarriages are unnatural. They are never what God intended. Losing a child is part of this terrible, broken world. And I hope that in Jesus, he will restore everything in this world that has gone terribly wrong. This is something that gives me hope.

      “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. ” ~Rev. 21:4-5

    • ANA
      January 16, 2013 at 5:31 AM

      Everything you have said here in your blog is an exact duplicate of my feelings. Thank you for sharing. Im 44 and childless not by choice. My husband is a father & grandfather. We have tried to conceive naturally over the past 4 years. He will not adopt with me because of the expenses involved. Take care and please pray for my pain and I will pray for you also.

  6. JoL
    March 8, 2011 at 5:19 PM

    Thank you for your response. I completely agree with your thoughts and definitely that our loss is because of a fallen world. The passage from Revelation is also a beautiful reminder of the loving healing of our hurts we’ll receive in the future.

    I want to thank you for writing this blog post as your honesty has really helped me. I read a book recently that really helped me and would recommend it to anyone whose life hasn’t gone the way they thought it would. It’s called Plan B by Pete Wilson.

    Thank you again, it helps to hear from others and to know I’m not alone in my feelings.

    May God bless you richly. I will uphold you in my prayers.

  7. May 5, 2011 at 10:16 PM

    So much of what you wrote resonated deeply with me. I to share with you and your readers a column i wrote about the pain and emotion associated with not being a mom. Perhaps others can relate and draw some strength and share some hope. While the heartache is ever present, it does give me strength to have a voice.

    http://bit.ly/ij3KZV

    • Kassi
      May 6, 2011 at 10:25 AM

      Thanks for that. That was a beautiful column.

  8. Maggie Krish
    May 9, 2011 at 12:19 AM

    It is really comforting to know that many out there know the feeling of being a childless christian like me. Thank you for sharing, Kassi. God bless.

  9. Kelly J
    September 2, 2011 at 3:51 PM

    I would like to say to you lovely ladies. I will pray for you as I do my sister in law who is going through the samething. Even though I personally do not want children I do not push others devistation aside. I may not know how you feel exactly but I can relate in other ways about wanting something so bad. I always wanted to be married and it hurt when my 20s went by and I went through break up after break up, watched people get married, got angry when people complained about thier spouses when in my head I was screaming “DO YOU KNOW HOW LUCKY YOU ARE TO HAVE SOMEONE MAKING YOU MAD”. I finally did get married last Feburary at 31.

    Anyway, I am not sure if this even helps or if this is fustrating you for me to try and relate. I am just saying I care and I cry with you because you are in understandable pain and I hate when people say “oh just get over it”. As if you can just you know forget about it. I also don’t want to be the over optimist and say “oh God prefroms miricals just keep praying it will happen”. I won’t say it because that’s almost patraonizing and we all know not everyone gets everything they want. Much love and blessings.

    Just want to let you know there are a few outsiders that care and take it very deeply that you greive so much!

    Love, Kelly

  10. September 5, 2011 at 12:09 AM

    Infertility sucks. Period. My husband and I began trying 3 1/2 years ago. Here we are today, many tests, IUI’s and thousands of dollars later, still childless. My heart hurts more for him, and my inability to give him a child. He lost his mother 12 yeas ago, his father 2 years prior to that, and his only sibling, a brother, 5 years prior to that. His entire immediate family gone, all by the age of 24. I thought the one thing I could give him was a family of his own, to help ease his losses and rebuild. Not so much. I have a great deal of anger towards God, and why he took my husband’s family in the first place, and much more anger as to why He will not allow us to have a family of our own. I suppose I’ll never know. I’m working on healing and letting go of this dream. It’s going to be a long journey.

  11. lin
    October 26, 2011 at 10:56 PM

    hello to all my fellow barren sisters
    i am 42 and u can guesss it that i am barren..i do think if
    God wanted me a child i would have one..i dont know why it hasnt happen but at this point it is what it is..its depressing i have a coworker who is on child#4 and with her announcement she said”after this one my womb is up for sale”..i dont get people who know u would love to have just one child and cant have not feelings…i dont get it

    oh well im taking another drink….cheers

  12. October 31, 2011 at 11:42 AM

    You are the only writer I’ve found who shares my feelings almost exactly, although I’m involuntarily childless by circumstance rather than failure to conceive. I didn’t get married until I was 40 (to a commitment-phobic man; we dated 5 1/2 years before he proposed, and it took us roughly another 18 months to get married), and he did not want children, either natural or adopted. (He was serious enough about not getting me pregnant that we rarely had sex.) I desperately wanted to be a mom, but I set my feelings aside because I could hear my mom’s age-old advice…”Life is full of trade-offs. You can’t have everything you want.” So, I chose companionship over motherhood. I now have neither, because my spouse died a little over a year ago after 4 years of marriage.

    I have learned since my husband’s death that maternal feelings never go away. If they are suppressed, they return later, more intense than ever.

    I have spent a lot of time questioning my own relationship with God. Why was the path not cleared for me to marry earlier in life, to someone who would love me, was eager for a family and more attuned to my life goals and not just his own? Why was I led to the man I did marry, and why on earth did I fall in love with him? Why am I now left alone in middle age? Is there any chance God will replace my losses (not in the next life, but in this earthly one), or is it God’s plan for me to live alone for the rest of my life, including facing old age with no family surrounding me? (I can easily see myself as a little old nursing-home resident who never receives any visitors.) Is the desire for a family of my own a thorn in my side like the one the Apostle Paul had, a desire that God gave me not to fulfill, but to serve as a lifelong test?

    I have to admit that, even though I have increased my involvement in church and spent more time studying God’s Word since my spouse’s death, I have far more questions than answers, and confusion instead of peace. One of my closest friends is an ordained Methodist minister and associate pastor of my church, and his take on the situation is “Other people made choices that hurt you, because God gave us free will in His love for us. That’s as far as we can correctly go in blaming God.” I see his point, but then again, doesn’t God have the power to intervene on our behalf? I don’t question that God has the ability to work wonders and miracles in our lives. My question is whether God also has the willingness to do such things for certain people, including myself. So far, my answer keeps coming back a loud, long “NO!”

    • Asha
      June 9, 2012 at 3:41 AM

      I too am struggling with conceiving….even after clomid and nothing physically wrong with me or my husband. It hurts more to hope and I find myself emotionally distraught occasionally now ” [I fought the greater battle after my two closest friends at work were pregnant simultaneously]. I have decided not to “hope” as “christianly” as I can. I have been trying to be mature about it as a christian. God is Sovereign and I find if I dwell too much on the lack of a child that I also grow apart from God. I think preserving a healthy relationship with God is more important than waiting for a relationship with someone we hope may be a part of our lives.

      I am a control freak and organiser…to say the least, the lack of a child that was ‘supposed’ to easily arrive in a timely manner threw me off. None of my 5 siblings are christian and they all conceived before marriage within the first year of their relationships. I chose to wait until marriage to conceive and here I am, having done the “by the book thing” and I have not conceived!!! I ask God “How does He receive glory in all of this when the pregnant muslim ladies thank allah and the hindus thank their myriad of deities for ‘giving them children’?” I am a teacher btw….this year mothers day was beautiful yet painful. It was the first year I had received so many gifts from my students and niece…after the initial joy tapered the tolkens only reminded me that I was doing something right…them why didn’t I have my own children?!!!!

      I find the emtional rollercoasters most distracting. I have prayed that if it is not meant to be that at least I may receive some mercy by not being emtionally distraught every month. It seems that, just like my monthly reminders of childlessness, the occasional “loss of control” will occur. I am trying my best to preserve my relationship with God. In the end He is the only One there. How do we contend with the unfairness of this… I wonder if I will take these feelings to the grave… how sad. I read that:

      Prov 30 There are three things that are never satisfied, Four never say, “Enough!”:
      16 The grave,[a] The barren womb,The earth that is not satisfied with water—And the fire never says, “Enough!”

      My fight is no longer a fight with conception. I am fighting to ensure that I have a healthy relationship with God. Imagine to be classed with the grave, the earth and fire. We are strong women and even stronger as women of God. The desire for children will never be satisfied…we must learn to cope in our own way. I have to trust the God I have known in good times… A friend who had lost her child in the eight month of pregnancy said in the hospital, “Jesus is sitll on His throne.” How awesome!!! I am sure she had her struggles with the situation at some point. Yes, He is sovereign and yes,He can… but He has not or not yet… for some it will be never but we must preserve what is most important; before parents, spouses and children….yes, a healthy relationship with God.

      • Anne
        October 3, 2012 at 5:24 AM

        Thank you Asha…your last 2 paragraphs realy inspires me and inside I know this… I just have to work through this low and allow God to pick me up again. Thank you

  13. Laura
    December 5, 2011 at 3:35 AM

    I would just like to say “thank you” for writing this post. I can really relate to about 90% of what you wrote, and it is so nice and comforting to know that there is someone else out there feeling the same way I am feeling.

    Thank you for being “real” about your feelings of anger and resentment and questioning God. These are all part of the grieving process that we have to endure every month. Too many people try to gloss over our feelings with platitudes about how we should just trust God and believe He has a better plan for us. This doesn’t work for us anymore than it works for someone mourning the death of a loved one.

    Keep on writing. Keep on trusting. Keep on believing. Keep on loving.

    God Bless

  14. December 15, 2011 at 9:36 PM

    A follow-up on my previous comment: My mother passed away last week (December 9, 2011) at age 75, after years of declining health. I often hoped I could make her a grandmother before she died. Now, not only do I miss her, but I’m grieving that she went to her grave not knowing the joy of grandchildren. I know she eagerly wanted my brief marriage to produce at least one child (and so did I, but my spouse refused to consider it). I remember that some time before my husband died, I suffered a days-long bout of unexplained nausea. I knew I wasn’t pregnant, and eventually connected the nausea to my gallbladder. Mom, however, thought it was morning sickness. She told me about 5 months after my husband’s death that she hoped I was pregnant at that time, and was disappointed when she realized over time that I wasn’t, because Rob and I weren’t discussing due dates or doctor’s appointments.

    All I can say right now is: Mom, I’m sorry that your dreams for me and you didn’t come true. I’m sorry God didn’t see fit to make it happen. I don’t understand why. You didn’t deserve to have your heart broken. I hope we will understand, and come to terms with it, in the future. I hope God makes it up to you. I certainly wish I could.

    • Kassi
      December 16, 2011 at 5:38 AM

      My deepest condolences, Martha.

  15. marcela45@gmail.com
    January 3, 2012 at 9:38 AM

    Wonderful article and in my opinion very truthfull. I know women who are so unfit as mothers yet they can conceive so easily and makes me crazy. My husband and I have been trying for a few years now and every month is another letdown. I try to stay positive but some days its really tough. Glad to know iam not alone. Thanks again for your words.

  16. Maheer
    February 6, 2012 at 2:09 PM

    Dear Sister, Here is another like your mother. Your mother conceived you but am worse than her for I haven’t conceived yet. Your blog and the comments that others have made make me to realize that this is also a topic on Earth. All Praises to the Creator of everything that we know of and that we do not know. Now am at a stage celebrating the joy secretly that some worries will die with me for there is none till now to grieve my death as a child. Thanks to the Supreme who made this world and for all the innumerable gifts that he has showered on the whole of mankind.

    • February 7, 2012 at 8:10 PM

      Speaking of mothers, I am becoming more like mine every day. I underwent surgery yesterday to have my right ovary and my gallbladder removed – two cysts on the former and stones in the latter. (Yes, both in one fell swoop, with two surgeons.) I’m doing great so far, but it makes me remember that Mom conceived me with only one fully formed ovary…she was born with an incompletely developed reproductive system. It was a miracle I was born. Of course, she was 28 at the time of my birth. I’m 46 and still childless, and not yet in any new relationships since my spouse’s death. I’m holding on to a slim thread of hope that God will use the opportunity to work a miracle in my life much like He did in Mom’s.

  17. September 11, 2012 at 12:26 AM

    I stumbled across your blog today while feeling overwhelmed with the isolation, loneliness, and invisibility that comes with being childless in the church. (I’m PCA, too.) It’s encouraging to know that there are other women who feel this kind of anger, grief, and resentment. Thank you.

  18. meesabelle
    September 23, 2012 at 9:30 AM

    I have walked 10 years barren. I feel invisible most of the time. I hate holidays–mostly Thanksgiving and Christmas. I don’t want to feel like this forever. I don’t know what to do anymore.

  19. Anne
    October 3, 2012 at 5:15 AM

    Even now I cannot control my tears… we have now been married 18 year… I am also a Christian and although I was sure that I have this issue under control, I have realized only this week that maybe I was only suppressing all these emotions. I have found myself always chasing the next thing, not being sattisfied with any job… believing that if God decided not to give us children, he must realy have somthing bigger in mind for us… but for 15 year I have been praying that He will make His plans know to me…. and still I am praying the same prayer hoping that soon He will reveal this to us…
    Subcontiously I have been trying to fill the space with other things… my dog.. I love her, but still the seach for fullness is there… My husband and I never speak about this any more as we think we have accepted being childless, but I see his face when he notices a beautiful child… and the tears that sits in his eyes. I can not do dedications… babyshowers… even baby videos. It is not that I do not believe God has the ultimate plan and I trust Him with my life…. it is coping with all these emotions. For years I was a career women and I can honestly say it did not effect me this much. But since I only work a few hours 4 days a week… and not focused on this “career” …. I think it has hit home. I find myself constantly asking…. but what is my purpose then in life? what am I working for … saving for…living for? I believe I am a natural positive person… but lately… nothing can motivate me… every day is a struggle to motivate myself to do life. Needless to say the effect that it has on my marrage… How can we get help in dealing with this? Yes, we are actively involved in our Church… but feel so exposed to put this out there nowing that people who have not experianced this will not be able to understand the dept of this… LORD… PLEASE HELP!!

  20. dee
    January 15, 2013 at 7:22 PM

    I know how you feel. I’m also dealing with being childless and alone. I am active in my church, but at times have considered leaving. Most of the women in my church have children, although some are not married. I have neither husband nor children. I have such a deep sorrow knowing I will never know this joy, no matter how short. I also question how God really feels about me. I feel as if God has stamped on me unacceptable, not good enough to have a husband or children. It so hard to trust God when it seems He doesn’t care or has turned His back on you.

  21. elizabeth
    January 17, 2013 at 10:44 AM

    i am here to give testimony on how Dr Helen made dream come to past been a mother,i have been married for up to 14 years now with no issues of children.this has been a problem between my husband and i we have gone for so many kind of tests to different hospitals in and out of the country to different kinds of medical check up. every doctor we have ever approached in the name of child bearing are always saying positive results that there is nothing wrong with us i have even to the extent gone to see spiritualists and see pastors for the same problem because it was really unbearable to me.there was a day i called on of my friends who had the same problem for over 20 years with no issue too so then i asked her how far has she gone about it.then she told me that she was pregnant with her third kid, i was really surprised about it and so i asked her it happened so she told me that someone linked her to Dr grace who prepared some roots and herbs medicine,i was really desperate to have my own baby and so i collected Dr Helen’s phone number and email and contacted her right away to see how lucky i was going to be, and so i called her and explained everything to her and then she prepared roots and herbs and prescribed on how my husband and i should take it and so we did hoping for the best to come out of it.for about two months or there about i noticed that my mensuration did not come as it use to i called my husband at the office and told him what i noticed so he drove down to the house and later went to our personal doctor to ask him what was going on and then i went for a test immediately the test cane out from the laboratory, the doctor gave my husband a hand shake and told us congratulations that we are going to have twin a boy and a girl so my husband was really happy that he was going to be a father at last. 9 months later just as it happened i gave birth to a bouncing baby boy and a bouncing baby girl. am really most grateful to Dr Helen for making my husband and i happy. for all you women who is having the same problem as i did never give up on it Dr Helen is the solution. please contact her on childrensolutionhospital@gmail.com.

  22. Suzanne
    January 27, 2013 at 10:45 PM

    I resonate with many of the comments on here. I’m a single 35 year old woman who has spent much of her life thinking that God would give me the desires of my heart, meaning a family. I sincerely believed that God told me that this would happen. Now I’m doubting my ability to hear God’s voice at all. If I can’t hear God’s voice, then how can I know God?

    I’ve spoke to Christians who say that once they could surrender this all to God, then they were able to meet the man of their dreams right away and start a family. I’ve been told that I’m not spiritually ready to start a family. I feel like if I could earn God’s favor, then he’d bless me with a family.

    I struggle because I feel entitled to a family, although I’m repentant of this attitude. And the entitlement is odd because although I’ve always had faith in God and in his ability to give this to me, I also know I can never be good enough to earn God’s favor.

    I feel that my Christian extended family looks down on me because I haven’t married. I feel like an outsider to the church when I don’t have a family. I don’t like going to church events because I feel very alone. At least the married people always have someone to talk to.

    I have tried for 20 years to meet a Christian man to marry and the timing has never been right. I’m now considering dating non-Christians and letting God sort it out in his timing.

    And I feel, as I struggle with this, that the struggle and the isolation are deepening my knowledge of God. I can’t connect with the Christians who have a simple view of God; this is even more isolating.

    • Kass
      January 28, 2013 at 10:48 AM

      God doesn’t always give us the desires of our heart. Sometimes he calls us to simply trust Him and Him alone.

      Do you live near a major metro area? Perhaps it’s time to seek out another church where singles are welcomed and valued.

  23. Tarryn
    May 28, 2013 at 6:30 PM

    The title was warm and inviting, but I was immediately turned off by your choice to curse in the very first sentence of your post. I more than understand the frustration and pain that goes along with childlessness, but the Spirit does not offend unless it’s in the form of conviction so I wonder what type of spirit this blog is written in. Perhaps anger, frustration, sadness etc. but those things don’t bring healing from our heavenly Father. It is your right, like you said this is your blog, but since you have labeled yourself as a Christian by the title (and although this is an old blog) it is coming up under the search engine for women of faith looking for support in childlessness so perhaps you would be willing to edit this. But like I said, I TOTALLY understand the emotion behind this sensitive subject. We are all only human. God bless you and I hope that you have gotten victory in this area!

  24. Lisa
    June 30, 2013 at 5:09 AM

    I so understand and feel your pain. Church is an exceedingly difficult place to be most of the time. I have trouble with the verse that says children are a blessing from God…where does that leave me and others in my situation…are we damaged, unusable, worthless???? and just when you think you have your acceptance of the situation under control…something happens out of the blue and your back where you started. I have no answers, only questions. Why does God choose not to answer our prayers, our God given desires to be parents…maybe all will be revealed one day, but till then our hopes soar, our hearts dive and the grief comes…but in all this I still say “not my will but yours Lord” and pray for strength and wisdom to believe it.

  25. Lers Thisayakorn
    September 20, 2013 at 10:55 PM

    One in every three person is infertile needs medical help. One of this three is sterile (permanently infertile). I am infertile with sperm count and motility rate far below standard. My wife too is infertile with unpredictable ovulation every 3-6 months. The problems of both compounded the complications.

    We were married in 1973 and my wife gave birth to our first born IVF twins 20 years later in 1992. The quest to have our own children was time consuming, arduous, and often emotional.
    We simply assumed we would give birth soon after our marriage and we did not change the assumption when challenged by infertility. Two years later we changed our attitude acknowledging the problems and sought medical helps.

    When sign of pregnancy did not come five years later, we accepted the fact of infertility, which came with severe emotion pains. It started with surprise and shock of disbelief, then sadness, sense of isolation, lowered self-esteem, confused self-image, anger and grief.
    In our Chinese culture, bearing a child is as true as the old saying, “there are 3 bad Fidel-pieties and the worst is not to have a child.” I felt deeply guilty for not being able to have a child for the family.

    I did not like to go to church on Mother’s, Father’s and Children’s days. I got very nervous to hear Sermons on Abraham and Sarah and the like. Pregnancy was word among other similar terms that would put me in depression for a while. Some commends from friend would also lose my appetite for days.

    Having experienced all this turmoil ourselves, I deeply understand how an infertile couples feel and how can we do to alleviate.

    We were ashamed of our infertility and would certainly appreciate friends to avoid asking direct questions of, “When are you two going to have baby?” or “It’s high time you two had a baby.”

    Do not make insensitive remarks or comments like, “Jane has just given birth to a beautiful child.”

    Do not offer unsolicited advice, cheap comfort, glib reassurance, or fact of any one who had a worse case. All these hurt.

    Do not invite infertile couple to attend party, event, function associated with children.
    Advices like, adoption, involvement in other activities or enjoy your life will not help either. Just simply avoid the whole subject unless the suffered couple initiate the discussion. Yet, you have to be careful not to over talk.

    Finally, a word to Pastors too to exercise care when there is infertile couple in the congregation. We were hurt most not by people outside the church but by our brothers and sisters within. Pastor who delivers Sermons, teaching Bible, and arrange church activities should understanding and care for feelings of infertile members. Congratulation of a new born baby to church member does not have to be announced on Sunday morning service. It can be done quietly in private with few church members.

    Our distress and anxiety experiences of not being able to conceive for almost twenty years may not be the same like others, but what we would not like to hear is similar. So, please do not say to woman dealing with infertility what I have written here.

    September 2008
    Thailand

  26. Samantha
    September 26, 2013 at 6:10 PM

    Kass, and all who left your tears, heartaches, naked honesty, raw emotions in written form for all to read; to take and try to comprehend this largely silent suffering, that is more acute for Christian women than secular women… We attend churches that affirm life, consider all that God created as good, and see the blessings that God gives through the vehicles of marriage and then children.

    But for one or both to be withheld from those who call upon the name of the Lord, is devestating, painful, sorrowfilled, & grief stricken. The loss does not go away, rather each month and year that pass, we swallow the jagged little pill again and again-because we must. Our bodies simply will not cooporate.

    We attend churches were marriage is valued and uplifted and given honor & glory- and we do this in a culture, where marriage as an institution is vilified, trashed, dishonored, and blamed as the cause of most woes in the world.

    But in the same place where these great things take place, it is also the place of the greatest pain and hurt. Many so easily date and marry and then proceed to become pregnant and pregnant again, only to fumble around with bad advice, or avoidance like we have the plague..

    Because of the Fall, we live in a sin cursed world, in sin cursed bodies, having sex with other sinners whose bodies are also cursed from the fall. The moment Adam and Eve chose to desire something else more then they desired God, all bets were off, and we still live in the aftermath. An aftermath Jesus will restore to its original glory when He returns, and there will be no more sickness, no more tears. We have tears because we desire something we can not have..

    God made us to desire… He built us to desire. The longing to be happy is a universal human experiience which God considers good-not sinful. Therefore we should not try to curb or deny our longings to be happy, or “kill the desires”..We should not ask,”how can i lessen this desire?”, rather we should ask'”HOW can I be satisifed in God in the midst of these circumstances?” since our deepest satisfaction and most enduring happiness is found only in God (Psalm 16:11), and NOT in our circumstances.

    I am 15 years married. I am the only believer in my family and the only one without children. So i too ‘did everything by the book”.. But I cannot overlook that I am still a sinner (saved by grace through Faith in Jesus), living in a sin cursed world, in a body filled with sin (sickness, disease, organs that do not function properly, etc) and I am married to a man who is a believer but also remains a sinner. We are both growing in our sanctification, becoming more like Christ, but in the meanttime we still live here, on this cursed earth in cursed bodies.

    We have wrestled greatly to invest in IVF or adoption. Both are expensive,.. Neither one is a bibllical mandate.. Yes, God views children as a blessing, but no where in the Bible does he view the unmarried or childless as “less than” or “less worthy”. The CROSS IS FOR THE UNWORTHY.. of which we all are… singleness or barreness does not add more to our sinfulness before a holy God… We were already bent towards sin from the moment of our own conception.

    No where in the Bible does it say, “and Samantha will have children”.. marriage and children are not biblical promises to anyone, yet it does not diminish their status as blessings. Yet, we do indeed feel the loss-keenlly. We struggle with mother’s day and other holidays… Baby showers are bittersweet. We know that our bodies are not doing what they were “built” to do and we feel the loss fully.

    But we must also remember that the design was perfect, but is flawed and mucked up due the Fall. This was not God’s original plan for anyone; to know death, disease or decay… The wages of sin is death, the Bible says.. Some of us are not paying these wages with the ending of our own lives (our own dying–not yet but our turn will come) but rather with the inability to start a new life… if you look at your life more closely, there are probably other ways “‘the wages” shout out your name.

    We live with the consequences of the fall every day: aching bodies, cancer, disease, sickness, car accidents. If we lived in other parts of the world, we would be in the midst of warfare, famine, earthquakes, tsunamis…. Every person on this planet, believer or unbeliever-lives daily with the consequence of the brokeness of sin…

    I too have found no solace in the church, for women who easily came to marriage and easily conceive can not comprehend what we endure. But I also know married moms who have terminal cancer, endured double mastectomies, lost their babies in uterero, or a week after birth, or lost a limb to amputation, had a parent murdered, lost their whole family in a housefire, etc. Likewise, I do not know what it is like to have that happen to me..

    Sin affects everyone in a multitude of terrible ways. We must endeavor to avoid untruths that state God is punishing us by not making a way for marriage or bearing children..

    People suffer everyday, and it is not because God has turned His back on us.. This place of sin and death is run by the Prince of the Air… satan rules this place. But God made a way for the sinner to be reconciled to Him.. His Son Jesus Christ,bore our sin and shame on the tree, so we would not have to. So God sees Jesus instead of your/my sin..

    The greatest need that mankind has is not found in marriage or becoming parents, but to be reconciled to a HOLY HOLY HOLY God, so that we may approach the throne of Grace and Mercy, and not get what we truly deserve-hell.

    He saved us. He saved me.. He saved you….. THAT is the greatest gift anyone can receive.. And it is free… If you believe, by faith, that He died for you, that truly IS the most amazing thing that can happen to anyone… An unsaved person with 15 kids has nothing on me… I will spend eternity with the Father, my sin no longer a barrier between me and the God of the Universe.. And God’s love for me is demonstrated by His Son’s love for me, just as much as the believing woman with children.. In his Eyes, we are equally loved & valued, but sin affects us differently.

    does it still stink to be childless? Yes- of course.. But when held up against what I could be getting (eternal separation from God, in the Lake of Fire), then I am doing much more than OK…and i can bare this loss with a little more grace then usual, and far from perfect.

    What is more at issue with me, is what do in the meantime? if children are not going to be part of my life, what do I do, how can I serve? whom should I serve? Do I pursue a career, if so, what? if not, then what?There are plenty of ministry opportunies to serve so many people, in so many circumstances, including children….I need, I want God to guide me in that way…Jesus said “I initiate nothing without the Father”. He said, I do nothing on my own.. Did you hear that? the Son of God did nothing on His own??? In other words, He consulted & aligned Himself up with the Father on everything first before He acted.. We live in a culture of self sufficiency and ” taking the initiative”-especially when it comes to infertility. Myself included….. I have so much to learn.. so much growing to do… Holy hugs to you all…

    • Beth
      February 19, 2014 at 11:17 PM

      Samantha- your post was just what I needed. bless the Lord!

  27. February 21, 2014 at 3:20 PM

    Thank you so much for your post. I know this is old, but I stumbled upon it at the right time for myself. My husband and I TTC’d for a year, then took a break and have now been trying again for 5 months. Reading your post felt like I could have written it – I have experienced all the things you’ve mentioned. And, like you, I’ve tried “all the right things,” which also drove me psycho. Not only do I experience the toll of not being pregnant each month, I feel a sense of guilt for feeling this way at all. “It’s only been a short while,” I tell myself, “I shouldn’t doubt God’s sovereignty. I’m weak that I can’t just get over it.” I also hold to reformed beliefs, and know that the truth is God is sovereign and works all for our good – He’s as good to me right now as he is to the bazillions of pregnant ladies in our church. But I still struggle with the feelings. And, to boot, I’m a pastor’s wife – add on top of my family’s expectations (where I’m the only childless sibling), those of the church and society of what a pastor’s wife “should be” and it gets overwhelming. When I have talked to others about my struggle, they did not understand and were unhelpful and even hurtful, which has made me afraid to open up again. Thankfully, I have a supporting husband who walks with me through all these ups and downs, but I have yearned so much to find someone that shares my experience. I just want to thank you for your honesty and willingness to put your struggle out there. It’s nice to know I’m not alone.

  28. Meka
    July 12, 2014 at 9:48 AM

    I am considerably hostile with myself and God. I have watched countless times on television and in my own life circumstances where friends have aborted children. Upon there abortions only to get pregnant again and say, “I guess I will have this one!” This pains the core of my soul because I desire only to be given a chance to be a mother. Yet, sovereign God does not allow it. I am not coping well this morning at all because no one seems to understand my pain. I am told to pray. I think to myself, why continue to pray and nothing is happening. I am currently 46 years old and my biological clock has ended. To this end, I feel that God has failed me and believe it is sufficient for child murders to have children and not myself. It is becoming more and more painful to believe in all that my Pastor’s says about God because I have not seen him manifest himself in my life in the most meaningful way. The one request I had above all was to be a mother and if I can not be a mother help me to cope because praying my sorrows away are just not helping.

  29. Estee
    August 20, 2014 at 11:38 AM

    i’m so glad i stumble on this site, I have been ttc for 1 year 9 months now, and i must agree with every one here that it is the most challenging journey ever embarked on.

    But i’m still hopeful that God will bless me with children at the right time.so ladies let’s keep praying and trusting God who is loving and merciful and above all will grant our heart desires.

  30. shanna
    September 30, 2014 at 11:09 PM

    I have to say, your post is real. My story (testimony), and one of many, is very similar to this. I am a 33 yr old Christian. I was raised in a good Christian home, and was taught morals and values for a Godly Christian lady by my mother, aunts, and grandmothers. As a child, I played with barstools and pretended that I had a husband, family, job, you know the usual things. I grew up, and got married at a young age. My husband and I had the perfect marriage from the outside looking in, but after two years of trying and failing, the marriage became , well horrible. We went to doctors. Maybe it was me, or maybe it was him, but test after test, money and more money, we lost hope. People would say, ” when God wants you to have a baby, you will, so be patient”. My faith was dwindling down because I became so consumed with trying to get pregnant. My husband began to take his anger and frustration out on me with physical and emotional abuse. Finally, he came in from work one day and said that he had a crush on a coworker. I was devastated, to say the least. Words can’t describe the way that I felt. A day later, we were officially separated. After one month, we met with the judge and the divorce was final. As we were parting ways, he told me his big news…. He was going to be a daddy. That was basically the last snip of faith that I had. The following five years, were horrible for me. I tried drowning pain in drinking, getting high, anything that would make me feel numb and happy. It helped for maybe a second, but that still small voice inside me was begging me to stop. Why was I torturing myself? Why was God torturing me? What did I do to make myself like this? Why me, Lord? I became bitter and uncaring. Questioning even if I had ever been saved. So, on my way to work one day, I had to stop at the store. There he was, my body was a nervous wreck. Standing beside him was a little girl that was about five, blonde hair and blue eyes. She was beautiful. He spoke to me, and before I could even get a word out, the little girl asked him who I was. He looked down at her and said, ” that’s Shanna, baby”, and patted her head. She said, “oh”. What the what? Being the natural paranoid type, I was like does she know me? Does he talk about me? So, I rushed to my car, nd busted in tears, screaming and crying, and asking God, why. Nothing, pure silence on the prayer line. So another year rolls by, same sad story, but my job started becoming a little more successful, shopping, was a little more successful, and my body was a little more tighter. So my confidence was little higher. I stop at the same store, going to the same job, and there he was again. Surely, this isn’t pure chance. He seen me, and smirked that stupid smirk of his, and he was drunker than scooter brown. He wanted to see how nervous he could make me. He greeted me, and watched me. I perked up, smiled, Nd asked how his family was. Told him that it was good seeing him, and he was speechless. I walked out, high fiving myself mentally. After that, I was told that he was a big drunk that hit on anything with boobs and legs. So lucky not to be his wife anymore. So time went on. Five hears ago, I met the man, who is now my husband. We dated for a month before we labeled it. Then, we were invited to a church. After the service, I started feeling something. Seek me. Seek me. Is that you God? So, we went again to the next service. I realized, that I let go of my biggest strength. I needed to find Him. And boy, did I ever!!!! I rededicated my life to Christ that night. A week after that, my soon to be husband and his son were saved. His son was fourteen and very shy. He had full custody of him, also. After a season, we were married at that same alter where we found God. His son was standing right beside his daddy. When I married him, I gained something that I had never had before. God speaks to us on so many levels as long as we slow down long enough to listen. My first marriage was what I wanted. It wasn’t what was intended. A baby is what I wanted, but God had something much bigger instore for me. I look back and thank God for His kindness and mercy. My husband loves me. He loves me and loves God. His Son doesn’t call me mom, but we have so much fun together. When he is hurt, he still comes to me to fix it. He depends on me to take care of him. He is my son. I had to learn that I can’t rely on myself. When I do, I get into a bigger mess that I ever started with. I thank God for my failings, because with His guidance, my faith Nd strength grows. My best friend got pregnant about two years ago. We were sitting in church, and her newborn was nuzzled up to her neck as she burped him. I was sitting right behind her, and as I watched that precious baby, my eyes started swelling and the why’s started sounding in my head. Not even a second passed by, and I heard a blood curtling shrill came from a tottler that was accross the church. Amidst the ringing in my ears, I heard that still small voice say, “That’s why”‘ I had to laugh because through my journey, I realize that God knows and does what’s best for us, if we let him. Plus, He has the funniest sense of humor. Am I happy that I am a barren woman? I don’t really know, but I am no longer sad. My prayer was, “Lord, if it’s Your will, let me get pregnant, but if it’s not, lift the burden off of me.” He did that for me. As a 33 yr old, going through natural menopause, I am so so thankful that I don’t have a kid. God gave me exactly what I needed.

  31. shanna
    September 30, 2014 at 11:22 PM

    *babydolls, not barstools…. I love sharing my testimony, and I hope that it helps someone as it has me. Don’t ever lose faith in God. In times of depression and sadness, cling to Him. I wish I would have hung on, but I wasted valuable years in my life, but hey, that’s just another testimony. I look at what God has brought me through, even though I don’t deserve it, He loves me. He loves you, too. His answer is there, and He will give it to you when it’s the right time. Trust in Him completely.

  32. iphie
    October 28, 2014 at 4:46 AM

    am lost for words but what i know that there is no temptation a christian faces without a purpose. Every true christian will at a point face one of such challenges. butt by Gods great grace we will pull through. I am full of hope am still believing God make good His promises.

  33. Jeannette
    April 26, 2017 at 4:38 PM

    I have been looking for answers for this issue for 5 years. Before that I lived in the belief that God had children for my husband and I; It just hadn’t happened yet. Then I went to the gynecologist for a check up and there were three eggs left on one side. The doctor did something unexpected. She sent me home with a prescription and instructions for purchasing a test and what to do. I never got a definite response on the test and by now the eggs are gone.

    I also notice that this article and others like it are at least two years old. Two years ago I was dealing with skyrocketing and plummeting hormones, taking care of a parent with Alzheimer’s, and losing my first and likely only house. What I would like to find is a site where the counselor is a Christian and a support group exists. My husband is very sensitive about who I talk to and how I talk. I tend to agree with him; however, this is a big issue and its affected our marriage. I need to be able to unload. Why isn’t this issue addressed?

  34. Linda Guest
    July 2, 2017 at 8:24 PM

    Being in my religion and being a missionary does not take away the pain of the fact I never had children. I am 50 now.

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