The Label

“Sub-fertile.”

Somehow the label was comforting. Freeing. Validating.

The first year of trying in vain to start a family had been the worst year of my life. Too many well-meaning people had handed me cliches that constructed the bars of the prison I found myself in. Isolated. Carrying a burden no one understood.

“You haven’t even been trying for long!”

“All in God’s time!”

“Stop thinking about it and relax, then it will happen.”

“Maybe God has a different plan for your life.”

So many easy answers were handed to me, neatly packaged with a colourful bow that wrapped swiftly around my mouth, silencing me.

I was thirty and desperate for a child.

I lived in a vast barrenness that year. I was lost in the desert of my emptiness. I plodded through endless desolate days, one flowing into the next, a meaningless stream of hours, weeks, months.

When you long for something so desperately it invades your every cell and seeps into every crack of your identity. You become possessed by this fixation; the more you try to ignore it, the bigger it looms, chasing and hounding, engulfing you entirely.

Every month the faint flicker of hope was promptly extinguished by rising pain.

I was in constant disguise, the pull of the shadows only occasionally ripping the falsehood away.

My only rest from the relentless warring that controlled my mind and raged inside my heart was the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Experiencing grace liberated me from myself. It was like climbing into a hot bath after a long gruelling run. An unburdening. A sigh of relief and contentment. For a brief time my turmoil was on pause and my life felt meaningful and hopeful again.  

To know I could quit my striving, to know I was good enough, to know all of life and faith was a total undiluted gift – it kept me that year.

But I am fickle and the grace moments are fleeting at best…

But my Father knows and my Father sees.

And He knew what I needed.

So here we were. A string of tests completed. Staring at a gigantic wall of smiling baby faces – success stories – sipping on complimentary herbal tea, facing an overwhelming set of lifestyle changes and a bucket-load of supplements and herbs. In the company of people who understood and took us seriously.

And cradling a label that was setting me free.

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