I'm writing today about something most people are afraid to mention; something I went through, along with nearly 7.5 million other women. It's something that makes us feel inadequate, broken, empty and the scariest of all feelings in the world: it makes us feel alone.
Infertility isn't something they teach you about in school when you're a teenager. It's rarely something you can be warned about, but almost always includes the types of feelings you will only feel at the lowest points of your life. A few years ago, I started my own battle with infertility and came to my lowest of lows.
My husband and I had been married only a short while before I decided I had to be a mother. It had been my lifelong dream and I was determined to wait nine months and not a moment longer before adding to my family. I'm a planner, so these plans I had made were finite and nobody was going to tell me any different. When those nine months came and went and I had no baby to show for it, I was flooded with more emotions than I ever thought possible. After a year, I visited with my doctor, who started me on treatments that only increased my bitter feelings when month after month I was reminded that the treatments were not working. I visited with a specialist for more invasive treatments. They didn't work either.
I can't describe to you my feelings from back then, because I don't have the words for it. All I can say is that I just remember pain. I felt pain physically, emotionally and even spiritually. I ached to be a mother. Despair became my constant companion, my relationships suffered, especially with my husband. Infertility had consumed my life.
Around this time, I learned about foster care. I had always considered adoption, but it was something I planned to do after my biological children had grown up. As the months made it more clear that I was not going to be able to conceive a child in my own time, I began to consider what it would be like to bring someone else's child into my home. My research on adoption led me to the Department of Human Services, where I learned that, at the time, there were more 8,000 children in foster care in my state. I suddenly felt selfish.
I had prayed every day for God to send me a child, but I could no longer focus on my own sorrow when there were 8,000 children begging God every day to send them a mother.
I'm telling you these things because I know there are women out there, and maybe even some men, who know all too well what I went through. I want you to know that you are not alone. I've been there. I know how it feels. I know your pain.
But I also want you to know that there is so much joy to be found in holding a child who needs you even more than you needed them when you were at your lowest of lows. While you smile through the pain but are dying inside, know that there are children out there who are feeling it too and they are hoping that you will consider being theirs.
I know without question the love a mother has for her child, even though I never carried one. I am a mother to five beautiful children and I believe that God answered my prayers through them. I'm no longer aching. The pain is gone and it has been replaced with happiness. I wish that happiness for you.
I know your infertility struggle. I felt it. But I don't feel it anymore. Foster care and eventually adoption…saved me. Let it save you.
Carrie is a stay-at-home mom of five who is blogging about her foster care experiences for MetroFamily. Learn more about her and our other bloggers here and check out all our foster care resources here.