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The Next Nine Months

In January 2005, we decided to officially start trying to conceive. I was so excited! I told all kinds of people that I expected to be pregnant soon. Some friends from church had just announced their pregnancy, and we talked about how we would probably be pregnant together. I started counting down the months until I would be at home with a baby. My patience had finally paid off, and now I would soon be pregnant.

Or so I thought.

We started out by “not not trying,” as Aaron put it. In other words, we weren’t preventing conception anymore, but neither were we changing our lifestyle specifically for the goal of conceiving. In my proud assumption that I would now be getting what I wanted, I figured we would be expecting by the end of three months, tops. More friends announced pregnancies; I daydreamed about joining them soon and going through it all together. February passed by – no worries. March – I was impatient, but not anxious. April – wait a minute, why isn’t anything happening?

At this point, we move from the casual approach to the attack method. I read about fertility. A couple months later, I started charting my cycles, and began suggesting to Aaron that we time intercourse to optimize chances of conception. Now, I thought, we’ll get somewhere. Now I am educated, armed with the knowledge necessary to bring about my desires. I will do this!

At this point, every month turned into a cycle of hope and despair. I would tell myself, “Surely you’re pregnant this time – look at your beautiful chart!” Then another voice would say, “Now, Andrea, don’t get your hopes up. You’ve had perfect charts before, with no pregnancy.” After wrestling back and forth like this, I realized that I just had to stop that internal conversation and say to myself, “You don’t know if you’re pregnant or not. You have no way of knowing. Only God knows if you have conceived, and that knowledge is in good hands.”

Nine months later, I wasn’t welcoming a newborn baby Patterson into the world. I was still fighting for contentment. I read Psalm 16 a lot. I prayed a lot. I sought help through fellowship. But I was impatient. I wanted to be in control of when we conceived, and I clearly wasn’t. I was starting to wonder what was going wrong.

How do you hold on to a good desire without turning it into an idol? I know that God says children are a blessing; my desire for children is a good thing. Yet that desire remained unfulfilled. I didn’t want God to take away my desire, but I knew I needed to be patient while I waited for Him to grant it. A good friend suggested that my desire probably had not morphed into an idol as long as I was not accusing God of withholding blessing from me. That thought helped me a lot at that time.

In September 2004, the heat turned up several degrees. I’ll tell the story of the past nine months in an upcoming post.

(By the way, right now I find it deeply ironic that my chronicle of infertility can be divided up into two nine-month sections. What’s even more “fun” is that there are living reminders of each of those nine month periods, friends’ babies that were conceived and born in those exact time frames.)

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