Fortuitous Turns: How Infertility Taught Me Faith
I can remember always searching to answer the age-old question, “What do I want to be when I grow up?” As a child I was like many other little girls; I wanted to be a veterinarian. Just out of high school, I achieved some success in the corporate world while completing my pre-requisites at a junior college.
As I quickly climbed the corporate ladder, my overly inflated ego decided I did not need a degree, so I continued to build my career. I met an amazing man and fell in love. We both worked hard, and we enjoyed traveling and entertaining friends. We lived a very indulgent life.
One year into our marriage, I was diagnosed with a condition that could cause infertility. We both wanted children, but we were planning to wait a few years before opening that chapter. After the diagnosis, the timeframe suddenly became an issue. As each test result came in, I needed what I potentially could not have. We decided to not delay trying to conceive any longer.
After more than a year without success, my husband and I became desperate to fulfill our dream of raising a family. Through a series of disappointing, invasive, and now what seem to be ridiculous scientific measures to conceive, I found myself drowning in tears. I spent my days lying in bed, utterly devastated.
I had been blessed with a beautiful life; the desires of my heart were always fulfilled, and I’d never suffered the loss of a loved one or the disappointment of an unattained dream. Now, I was forced to look within for the strength to build a future that was different from what I had previously scripted. This challenged everything I was and had ever been.
I had always been a planner, and some may even say a controlling person. I now consider this unplanned turn of events an amazing opportunity for me to grow and evolve into my best.
When I found myself depressed and depleted through this process, I sought counseling so my husband and I could talk to someone about the loss of our dream. We needed to deal with the potential blame we could develop toward each other, learn tools to help us heal, and have guidance to redefine our future with alternative options for building our family.
I was shocked to find that not even our fertility clinic could refer us to anybody that specialized in family planning. They were willing to refer us to a marriage family therapist, but I believed that there should have been a specialist for our situation. So many couples were, and are today, dealing with infertility, and I saw the need for therapists who could help transition them through this specific type of loss. I was inspired to develop that service for others.
My depression was short-lived. I began functioning again a few months after the last failed in-vitro, but through all of the sadness, I had quit my advertising job and found that the experience had changed a once-driven career woman into someone different.
I attempted to rejoin the corporate world, but it felt as if I was walking into a boardroom naked. Although still unclear of where I was supposed to be heading, one thing was certain: the answer to that question, “What do I want to be when I grow up?” was certainly not who I had been throughout my corporate career.
I definitely wanted to help others: call it the natural need to nurture left unsatisfied, an outlet to heal my wound, or just simply an uncovering of what was already there. Regardless of where it came from, I was on an alternate path from that point forward. Without words to explain it, I knew I was heading where I was meant to go.
In my journey to heal, I focused on my health, my lifestyle and my personal growth. Once adamantly opposed to adoption, as we healed and grew the idea became more attractive. Our hearts opened more each day. We were ready to let our previous dream pass and embark into the uncharted waters of adoption.
During our healing time, we visited a marriage and family therapist as a precaution to preserve our marriage from any unhealthy emotions that may have been lurking as a result of our loss. I met other couples going through similar situations and they, too, sought a specialized person in this area, and although we gained some help, the need for specialized help became more apparent to me.
We felt that it was not primarily our marriage that needed attention. We needed a professional for more than just marriage preservation tools and emotional healing; we needed someone to help us move on, to learn about our options and explore those alternatives in an emotionally healthy way. I felt that gentle nudge again by something bigger than me. I re-enrolled in school as a human development major.
As we began the adoption process, I continued to reflect on our experience, trying to pull out every ounce of potential growth and knowledge. I wanted to understand the “how,” the “why” and the meaning behind having endured such an ordeal. Through that, I learned about my own spirituality, my true self and my innate gift to help and inspire others.
After exploring surrogacy, embryo adoption, international adoption, open adoption, and everything in between, we settled on open adoption with a local family. I was good. I felt closure approaching. At that point, my mother invited me on a road trip to New Mexico as a final step in the reflection and healing of a difficult three-year journey.
While there, we visited a very well-known site called Chimayo, recognized for healing. Chimayo is a sacred place that evokes peace deep within the soul. The curative dirt beneath your feet is cool and velvety. Letters of deep gratitude form the restored canvas of dirt walls in the holy space; prayer candles illuminate their photos.
During our visit, I prayed that our future baby be blessed with good health and that my husband and I would continue to heal and grow through this process of building our new family through adoption. Afraid to ask for too much, I quietly hoped one more time for the true desire of my heart; to have our own baby, made from our love.
The trip inspired me to consider incorporating spirituality and holistic healing as an offering in my dream of helping women and couples in their family planning. It was another brick laid in the foundation on which I would build my future in helping others.
A month after returning from my trip, my husband and I prepared ourselves and our paperwork. Our appointment with the adoption agency was on a Monday morning. It all seemed so robotic, but after all we had endured, the romanticized idea of making a family the traditional way had long been lost in all the injections and pill-popping.
The Friday before our meeting at the agency, I learned that I was pregnant. It’s not an unheard-of story, but still one that deserves the question, “How?!” Was it the mind-body connection, divine intervention, a fluke, the power of intention, or just coincidence? I now believe that it was the power of many of those things combined.
Over 10 years and not one, but two beautiful, healthy daughters later, I am inspired every day. My daughters’ presence in my life and seeing the world through their eyes has brought my dreams full-circle.
I aspire to use nature to help others to reconnect with their true selves, to develop awareness of the mind-body connection and to find hope and healing. I dream of facilitating growth for those who seek wholeness, of helping those who want to rediscover themselves or uncover reoccurring patterns in their lives. I dream of helping others to heal, to face fears, to reach their full potential. My dream is to use the amazing teaching abilities of horses to help others to get to know their true selves.
Although it may not be conventional, I firmly believe that as we get further and further integrated into technology and fast paced society, we grow further and further away from our true selves, our relationships, and nature – all of which are essential to growing. Though I set out to practice as a therapist to help couples with family planning, through this journey and my studies, I learned so much about myself; my interests, my strengths and my weaknesses. I realized that healing others with the use of horses is my true calling.
My experience was not so much about the infertility itself, but about what the journey taught me, and how it could be helpful to so many other women.
Although I had spent my life carefully trying to plan every detail, always looking ahead to discover my purpose here on earth, I never could have written the perfection that faith has created. I know now that it has been the unexpected turns that led me exactly where I am supposed to be.
This is how my story was meant to be written, and the rest is only just beginning!