Kay sent me a message via the contact form on my website and told me she’d be willing to share her story. And it’s National Infertility Awareness Week, so this was perfect timing.
Kay West is a wife and mother of two adopted children. Her family is Canadian, and her life is the story of city girl meets love of her life, country boy. They marry, and together they set off on an adventure of infertility, adoption, and moving to a strange new land. Kay is a speaker, writer, a great listener, and a supporter of all women navigating their way through this crazy thing called life. You will often find her with a book in hand, chocolate ice cream in a bowl, and a cute pair of shoes on her feet. Kay blogs over at Three Toques and a Tiara where on Monday she shares a little of their life story challenges and happiness, Wednesday a little spiritual uplift for midweek, and Friday she shares 5 simple things that made her week. Come join the fun over there at threetoquesandatiara.com or on Instagram @threetoquesandatiara.
The thing about hardships is that they ebb and flow with the tides of our lives. For me, our infertility trial seemed to ebb forever, then it flowed, and we found balance again. Then we began the adoption part of our journey, and it ebbed and flowed more frequently, but they were less dramatic, the waves not as threatening.
No one told me there was a chance I wouldn’t be able to have biological children. After a couple of years of “trying”, my husband and I went to the doctor, who sent us to a specialist. After more tests then I can remember, and more time I felt was wasted, the specialist concluded we had “unexplained infertility”. He even went so far as to ask us, “Huh, why aren’t you getting pregnant?”
Those were the days when people assumed to know us and our situation. They assumed we were selfish and didn’t want kids. Perhaps we cared more about money than we did about having a family. Maybe we had decided to finish school first, or, heaven forbid, we just weren’t interested in having and raising a family. When people make assumptions or think they know what is going on, that is when the questions start to come.
Some tried to be polite, “When are you having children?”
Some more forthcoming, “You’ve been married an awfully long time. Any children coming soon?”
Some downright went for it, “Still no children?”
I learned to put on a brave front, but every time a family member or friend announced their family was expanding by one, or sometimes two, my heart would break just a little. No one told me that once the specialist determined what was “wrong” with me, I would undergo multiple procedures, put on several drugs, and basically put through hell for the next couple of years.
Never mind the financial expense, the emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual taxes were great. Emotionally it drains you, every month wondering if this was the month it would happen, only to feel the let down when it didn’t. Physically the monthly blood work, which led to bruising, the poking and prodding of my body, the general discomfort, and even pain after a hysterosalpingogram or an IUI. The different drugs they put you on that make you angry, or sad, and throw your hormones off balance for years to come, not to mention your weight as well. Mentally preparing yourself for another disappointment, or pain that was now coming from the bruised arms. Mentally trying not to feel like a failure, a broken person, someone who wasn’t whole. Spiritually wondering why Heavenly Father didn’t want me to become a mother. Why wasn’t I worthy of that blessing?
No one tells you that if your husband isn’t a saint, an absolute rock, you might not make it through together. The toll it takes on husbands is just as great, because husbands love their precious wives, they want to be their heroes, and this will be a problem they just can’t solve. All they can do is hold your hand through it. Thank goodness I am married to a saint. My rock.
After those two years, my husband and I decided together to put an end to the infertility treatments and continued on with life. My spirit continued it’s yearning to become a mother. I can see so clearly how we were guided by the Divine to adopt our two children.
When you go through trials it is easy to think that Heavenly Father isn’t there for you. My husband reminded me that the relationship we build with our Heavenly Father is only strengthened through trials as we turn to Him and trust Him. So when I wanted to turn from Him, instead I turned to Him and prayed with all my heart. For months, that prayer never once left my heart.
While visiting teaching all of a sudden, this kind sister I had visited for months told me about her family member who was in the process of adopting. After that, two other people I had spoken with on a fairly regular basis talked to me about people they knew who had or were going through adoption. I never initiated these conversations, the Spirit did, and I knew it in my heart that Heavenly Father had answered my prayers.
My husband agreed and we began the adoption process through LDS Family Services. Almost exactly 9 months later, we held our son in our arms, 24 hours old. A year later our daughter joined our family, 36 hours old.
Sometimes in life, the waves are threatening. Just as the Savior invited Peter to walk with Him on the water the waves came and Peter began to doubt, “And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” (Matthew 14:28-31)
When the waves in our lives begin to threaten, we need to turn to Him, to trust Him. This valuable lesson I learned helped us through many more trials that would follow because our little ship did not sail smoothly. The adoption process brought its own stress and difficulty. It was followed by a miscarriage and a D&C. Then we lost another child we were trying to adopt after having her for the first year of her life. Our daughter is special needs due to some choices made by her birth mother during her pregnancy, which followed to severe bullying in middle school, and now on another adventure of homeschooling her.
Through all of this, I learned that no matter what, the Savior is there to take us by the hand and guide us across the water no matter how threatening our waves. I never would have been as strong today without our first big trial. My relationship with my husband would not be what it is today without all our trials. Through it all, together, my husband and I have leaned on one another and on our Savior to guide our ship safely through.
Today our story is that our life still comes with times that are hard, but a little less so. Times where the Lord’s Hand is more evident and the struggle is not so unbearable. Times where we can feel and see the hardship as the blessings they are intended to be. Maybe even times when our boat doesn’t need a sail at all because the currents will carry us peacefully along.
Today we are able to look back and completely see the Lord’s Hand in our lives. He guided us every step of the way. He led us before, during, and after those trials, and continues to lead us still.
If your own boat is empty, and the waves are threatening you in any way, the one thing you can keep it filled with is faith, and hope, because the waves will soon become still, and your way back will become more clear, and the understanding that you are never, ever alone will become more abundant as you make your way back to the shore. Whatever your hardship is, whatever your challenge, there is always Someone guiding your boat safely back to shore. Whether your tide is ebbing or flowing, your ship will eventually make it back safe and sound, and may just be filled with more blessings than you ever thought your little boat could hold.