Latter-day Saint Life

2 things that helped me navigate infertility with more faith and less fear

Whether we experienced adversity last month or 20 years ago, trials shape our lives in ways we may never anticipate.

Editor's note: LDS Living recognizes the sensitivities and triggering emotions that can often accompany infertility. We also recognize that every person’s individual experience with infertility is different and that there is no one-size-fits-all solution or statement that will provide peace, comfort, or direction. Reader discretion is advised.

You can find more resources for or personal stories of faithful families battling infertility here.

When our infertility journey began, there were 11 pregnant women in our new ward. My then-husband and I had just bought a home in a great area, and I was anxious to make new friends. While church usually made me feel safe and connected to a community, seeing lots of young families and babies was difficult. I would often quietly leave after sacrament meetings and cry in my car.

However, this time also taught me that trials, even infertility, can lead to beautiful blessings. These experiences can help us understand how God prepares us for the unexpected in our lives and brings us closer to our Savior and each other. Looking back, there are two things that helped me navigate my infertility journey with a faithful perspective: finding connection and really looking for the Lord's hand in my life.

Finding Connection During Trials

Whether we experienced adversity last month or 20 years ago, trials shape our lives in ways we may never anticipate.

In the most unexpected moments of my day-to-day life, I will suddenly remember the pain, joy, isolation, and sadness I felt when we were trying to have a baby. When grief resurfaces from an overwhelming trial, it’s helpful to find ways to connect with others to combat the loneliness that comes with these feelings.

Every April, during National Infertility Awareness Week, I still post on social media about my losses—even though they’re now in my rearview mirror. For all its downfalls, social media can be a place of beautiful connection and learning, reminding us of God’s hand in our lives.

During this week and other times during the year when my grief resurfaces, connecting online helps me feel seen and find others who understand my experiences.

When I was going through infertility treatments, I shared my experiences on a blog. Externalizing my feelings felt good and cathartic. As I wrote, a part of me saw infertility for what it would become: a life-changing experience. A trial, yes, but a life-changing one because my faith and relationship with Christ grew.

Articulating my experiences didn’t take away bad memories of white hospital walls or another doctor looking down and sadly shaking his head that another procedure didn’t work, but it made them feel more real.

Sharing our experiences with a therapist, trusted friend, ministering companion, or family member can help us process the many feelings associated with infertility and other trials. It often requires vulnerability and mental and spiritual fortitude, but being open about our experiences can help us get through difficult times and bring light to others on their journeys. This interconnectedness we experience reminds us of God’s love and personal awareness of us.

We opened up about our infertility struggles with our ward family, and these people became some of the most tender and loving friends during that difficult time.

After I had my second in vitro fertilization (IVF) failure, I didn’t feel great but dragged myself to church. I sat in the back row of my Relief Society class, avoiding eye contact and feeling defeated in every way possible.

A woman in front of me leaned back and said how sorry she was. We chatted briefly, and she lovingly mentioned that her relative was a well-respected embryologist in another state. I called him the next day, and we talked about my case, chances, and hopes.

In the end, we did not get pregnant working with him, but I will never forget his kindness and medical expertise that brought light where there was none. Through a simple connection with a caring ward member from the back row of church, I knew the Lord saw me and was aware of my struggles.

Seeing How the Lord Prepares the Way

When I look back on my life, I can see how the Lord has prepared me for the trials I’ve faced. That hasn’t made them easier, but it has helped me feel closer to my Savior.

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Finding peace through my infertility journey

There are times we may not feel seen by the Lord, especially when we’re deep in pain, confusion, and grief from trials. When this is the case, looking through personal journals or reading the scriptures can remind us of times when the Lord has answered our prayers and comforted us.

Elder Neil L. Andersen said:

“When personal difficulty, doubt, or discouragement darken our path, or when world conditions beyond our control lead us to wonder about the future, the spiritually defining memories from our book of life are like luminous stones that help brighten the road ahead, assuring us that God knows us, loves us, and has sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to help us return home.”

Meeting Sister Ardeth Kapp when I was a young teenager was a spiritually defining memory. Because she also experienced infertility, my interaction with her was a tender mercy that showed me how much God was aware of me before I walked my infertility journey—and is still aware of me today.

Another way to understand how the Lord knows where we are on our path is to pay attention to moments that might seem insignificant but actually show God’s tender mercies. I believe that when we seek that awareness, we can find sacred moments of clarity amidst our sorrows.

Looking back on my life, I can connect a hundred little things to how the Lord prepared me to handle years of infertility. Some of those things are glaringly obvious in hindsight, like friends who became family, a scent to remind me of home, a person who showed up at just the right time with my favorite treat, and moments of solace in prayer. However, while going through that time of loss and unmet expectations, I didn’t always see Him.

As a licensed therapist, I see a lot of women and couples going through infertility. I will sometimes give my clients a homework assignment to write down these reassuring moments that show someone—anyone—is aware of them, even if these reminders seem insignificant. These examples might look like the warmth of a stranger at the grocery store or the kindness of a friend who drops by to say hello. When my clients look for those moments, they usually come back a little more connected to themselves and what is going on around them during this challenging time of their lives.

Our trials also bring us closer to our Savior because they help us see others through His eyes and give us opportunities to be His hands. If I didn’t know the pain of years and years of infertility and infertility treatments, I wouldn’t have the depth of empathy that I feel now for others in their suffering. I wouldn’t feel as genuinely humbled by all human life.

I recently had an experience that allowed me to grow in compassion and see how I can support others going through infertility. The mother of a young woman I taught let me know that this precious daughter had just had a miscarriage from an IVF cycle. We immediately found a time for her to come over. I listened to her story, and we all cried over the loss.

Through guidance from the Spirit, I found words to help her see her infertility in a different way than she thought she could. I encouraged her to look at self-care as a changing need and embrace where she was from moment to moment. We spoke about how her husband might grieve differently than she would, and that was OK. I told her that one day, she would have a bigger story to tell, and someone else would find hope in what she shared.

The compassion I felt for her came from a deep place in me, a place close to my heart and close to my Savior.

There are times when infertility feels in my distant past and times when the pain of long days and nights, shots, blood tests, and sadness feels as fresh as if it were yesterday. Our varied and many difficult trials in life may seem to tear us down, but they can also build us up when we trust in God.

I’ve learned that whatever our trials, Christ is there in all of them. Remember to look for Him—and help others find His presence as well.

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