Every month, millions of women in the U.S. face infertility. While they've done all the right things to conceive, when their period arrives, once again they find themselves on that emotional roller-coaster ride of high hopes and dashed expectations. Another month of empty dreams, another month with an empty crib.
Infertility is defined by the medical community as the inability to conceive within one year of unprotected intercourse (6 months for women over 35), or the inability to carry a child to live birth. The most frequent causes of infertility include blocked fallopian tubes; poor or absent ovulation, especially in women over 35; endometriosis; and for men, problems such as low sperm count and impeded sperm motility.
According to Jennifer Saake, founder and director of Hannah's Prayer, a nonprofit Internet- and newsletter-based infertility support group, "Women need to remember that infertility is a medical problem. Too often we're told, 'If you'd only relax, or go on vacation, you'd get pregnant'! Or we even secretly fear that infertility is God's way of punishing us for some unknown sin. In my own struggle with infertility, I ended up praying and reading my Bible, hoping I'd earn a child. I became angry with God when I did everything according to the 'rules' and didn't conceive. It wasn't until I realized that I was making having a child my idol that I was able to find peace with my situation.
"God understands," adds Jennifer, "how desperately I need the healthy release of tears when my period starts unexpectedly, or I receive negative test results. The key is not to allow bitterness to blind me to God's compassion in the midst of these trials."1