“I’m spotting.” I had no idea how those simple words could pack such an emotional punch. Or how about this one – “It’s negative again.” Maybe you don’t know these words intimately. Maybe your bad news comes in the form of a sigh or disappointed grin as you ride the same nauseating roller coaster again, hoping that this next time is your last. But when you find out you’re not pregnant again, no matter what the package looks like, the contents are the same. And as much as you try to remain optimistic, hopeful, and thankful to God, your heart tends to migrate to the land of doubt, disbelief, and spiritual angst.
If you haven’t figured out by now, I am no stranger to the struggle of wanting children and not being given any. My wife and I have had a few diagnoses, and have accomplished corrective surgeries. We have a known condition that doesn’t make it impossible to have kids, but it does make it harder. We have been trying for 14 years now. We have experienced several miscarriages, including one ectopic pregnancy, and one chemical pregnancy (that we know of). We have tried medical treatments and other strategies (never IVF though). And the more my wife and I endure doctor’s appointments and medications, the more my heart aches for her. But not only that, what was once something that burdened me vicariously through my wife has become mine to bear.
As a young believer, there were times I would cry out to God and ask why He hasn’t given us children. Was it my sin? Is this only supposed to last a few years? Should I expect to have children at a really old age like Sarah and Abraham? These questions came in waves. Now that I’m older, the tides have risen high enough in my soul where I now feel the depths of sorrow that my wife has probably felt all along. For some men, this kind of feeling may be foreign, or even short lived. But I know there are other men out there who may be facing this burden more immensely and are reluctant to share. I want to be the first to say, you’re not alone. I want everyone to know that, as men, we do deal with these kinds of emotions when it comes to children. It doesn’t mean we are less of a man if we do. And we should endeavor to seek the LORD and the prayers of our fellow man as we renew our minds through this kind of trial. We would be less of a [godly] man if we didn’t.
One thing that God has taught me in all this is to remain thankful for what He has given me, and not what He has not. I intend to write more details about some Scriptures and life lessons God has brought to my wife and I because of this prohibition to have children, but this initial blog is meant to bring out the fact that God has given me sooooooo much despite the one desire that feels like a throbbing, stubbed toe within my spirit. It might be painful, and it has the propensity to attract all of my attention when I’m not faithfully exercising thanksgiving unto God. However, it is also not the god of my life. It is a genuine desire, no doubt. And it has become an even greater desire as time passes. But when I look upon the gift(s) of my wonderful marriage, my occupation, my health, my finances, and above all, my eternal salvation, to not cry out “thank you!” to my God, who has taken me out of darkness and has adopted me as His child, would be more of curse to my soul than not having children.
This short blog may not sound encouraging, but I wanted the men out there who are struggling with the burden of not having any children to know that God has blessed you with so many things already. I know what it is like to want children. Bad! I share this burden with you. And whether you have been dealing with this burden for a few years or decades, I am placing my hand on your shoulder, asking you to pray and share with other men you trust your struggle. And while you do that, meditate upon the immeasurable riches of His kindness toward you (Ephesians 4:2-7), knowing that you deserved nothing good except hell, yet He gave the greatest He could give, Himself (Galatians 2:20). And He did so on your behalf so that you could receive something greater than children – fellowship with Him.
-Until we go home