My husband and I had been married for two and a half years when we decided we would like to start expanding our family unit of two. The short story is we’ve recently celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary and we are still without children. The slightly longer version is that for the first three years of our marriage, with great anticipation we imagined what our lives would look like as each little child came along, and our excitement at the thought of becoming parents grew. However, after a year of trying we had not been able to conceive. We were not too concerned but had heard that it was standard to go to the GP for tests if nothing had happened after 12 months. When the results returned we learnt that as it stood, for us to achieve pregnancy was a physical impossibility. In no time at all we found ourselves sitting in the waiting room of a clinic waiting to see a fertility doctor to see if our situation could be improved. We felt shocked, confused and heartbroken all at once. The next 6 months saw us flung back and forth between a range of specialists and undergoing further testing and intervention. After this, conceiving naturally was now a possibility so we looked to the future with a little more hope than we originally had.
Now this is the place in all the blurbs on the back of fertility books, or ‘about the author’ in fertility articles online where they show the photo of the happy family with that inevitable caption ‘Jane Doe is now the mother of Little Billy and expecting her second child’. But that is not us. God might still have that picture in his mind of us for the future, but that day – if it ever comes – seems a long way off. Another year has passed, and my husband and I are still waiting, and still longing for a child.
So it is from this vantage point from where I will be blogging through our book for this month Just the two of us? Help and strength in the struggle to conceive. I am looking forward to reading it this month with you, whether you yourself are struggling to conceive, whether you’re supporting others in that situation, or whether you want to be well prepared for the time this kind of sadness intersects your own life.
I feel it is important to emphasise from the beginning that this forum is not primarily intended to discuss the merits or otherwise of assisted reproduction methods. Those discussions are important to have and will necessarily occur at points over these weeks. But to reduce the discussion of this book to the ethics of assisted reproduction has the potential to be cold and impersonal, let alone not a true reflection of the breadth of this book. It is my hope and prayer that reading Just the two of us? will instead focus on thinking through the implications for people dealing with infertility: what it means for the way we think about ourselves and the way we think about God, how to care for people in this situation, how to prepare ourselves for the hills and troughs of life, and how the gospel of salvation through faith in Jesus revealed through all the Bible speaks to all of life.