Monday, June 8, 2009

Infertility and a Crisis of Faith

Good morning, humble readers...

I will be the first to admit that my prayer life isn't what it 'should' be. My Beloved and I pray over meals, and we do go through times when we are very focused on praying... praying for our selves, for others, for our world leaders... but more often than not, my daily prayers are the last few semi-coherent thoughts that pass through my brain before sleep comes.

I should step back a bit and mention that I do believe in the power of prayer. I believe that God does miraculous things every day. The fact that my mom is alive today, after five encounters with cancer, is a testament to the healing power of God.

So, what does it mean then, when a woman who believes in the power of prayer prays for her unborn child... and that child never actually happens?

During the 10 weeks of my first pregnancy, my Beloved and I prayed for our little one. Prayed that God would keep her healthy and safe, that we would be good parents, that we would be able to provide the secure home that she would need. And when we lost her, in the midst of our grief, we were thankful that God had blessed us with her for even a short time.

When we got pregnant the second time, some connection in my mind went a bit wonky. No one said this to me, it was purely my own misdirection... but I started to think that 'last time' I hadn't prayed hard enough. Instead of focusing on the positive (actually being pregnant), I started to play this tape in my head... 'last time' I failed physically, 'last time' I failed spiritually.

For the first 8 weeks of my second pregnancy, I was berating myself constantly because 'last time' I hadn't prayed enough, and I wasn't praying enough 'this time'. My prayers 'this time' took on a desperate intensity... make me a better person, help me be more faithful, make me good enough. And our 8 week ultrasound confirmed my deficiencies... in my mind. I failed again 'this time'.

At the same time as all this was happening, there was the logical part of my mind (that was probably shouting it's lungs out) that knew blighted ova are not a punishment from God for not praying hard enough, for not being good enough. I knew that. I know it. But that doesn't mean I felt it. My grief the second time around was harder, I think, because of all the self-blame I was heaping on my head.

Somehow along the way I had forgotten the most basic truth about prayer. Prayer does not change God. Prayer changes me. It opens my heart and mind up to God's leading, and brings me into deeper relationship with him. Prayer is the communication that feeds my relationship with him.

This past winter and spring haven't been easy. My prayer life still isn't what I would like it to be, but that tape that was playing in my head seems to have been stopped. I have been blessed with a good pastor who has walked this road (she had two miscarriages before going on to have twins), and a husband who understands one's faith journey goes through ups and downs, and sometimes having a partner on the road is all that's needed to keep moving forward.

My prayer for 'next time' is that I will be at peace. When and if I get pregnant again, I pray that I will find the joy in the moment. And if the worst happens again, I pray that God will help me to lean on his strength.


  1. I also had 2 miscarriages and the second loss was much harderr. I felt despair that I would ever be a mother. I then went on to have two wonderful sons but the fear takes a long time to go away.

  2. Thank you for sharing this post! For a while, I blamed myself for both of my losses...what could I have done different? What did I do wrong? I've bought books and have gone up and down with my prayer life. I am working on it. I pray that we are both at peace the next time around...

  3. What an eloquent post. I have the same prayer for myself! Though I've only had one loss, not two. I pray that I have peace of mind and do not second-guess myself (or my body) for the entire pregnancy.

    Thank you for sharing your spiritual journey with us. I know I need to work on mine as well.

  4. I too struggle with faith due to our infertility struggle. I have not suffered losses...but I have struggled with my prayers for a child never being answered. You put things into words so much better than I could.

    I will be praying for your "next time" and for peace and joy in your heart. (((HUGS)))

  5. I've started praying the serenity prayer every morning. Peace to accept things I can't change is what I need now.

  6. Dear Mrs. Gamgee, thanks - for the post and the very supportive words you left on my blog....

    I am so sorry that you had to bear the losses...I better not comment anything on prayer, because I am still passing through the wonky relationship with God period.

  7. Yes, I so understand the struggle to have faith when it seems like God isn't listening! I find that I tend to stray away from Him just when I SHOULD be leaning on Him the most!

    My prayers changed during my primary IF from 'give me a baby' to 'give me peace'. Lately, I've been praying for God to make my path straight according to His will.

    When I let go to find God's peace, it always feels wonderful...but then I start carrying my burdens by myself again because I think I know better.

    I'm not sure I will ever really learn not to do that!


Hobbits are social creatures, and love hearing from friends old and new. Pull up a comfy chair and let's get to know one another.