I have always been a planner. At a young age, I planned to graduate a year early from high school, graduate from college, serve a mission, get married, start graduate school, have my first baby just before finishing, and then live happily ever after. Everything went according to my plan—until it came time to have a baby.
Because of some of the wording of my patriarchal blessing, I have always felt that the timing of having children wouldn’t be what I wanted, so I wasn’t totally surprised when, after a year of trying, Ryan and I still hadn’t been able to conceive. We started going to doctors to see what we should do. I never expected major problems, but after six months of visits to specialists and testing, Ryan and I were told that there was very little chance we would be able to have children on our own.
We were both in a state of shock for a while, then discouragement, and then disappointment. I also fell into a fairly significant depression. I could not stop crying.
Within a few weeks, we decided to tell our families. As soon as we did, they started praying for us, and as they did the depression lifted. It was a huge help. After that, and over a period of time, I was able to start having more faith in the Lord and His plan—not my own—for my life.
One Sunday about six months after we found out we likely would not have children without interventions, I was sitting in church partaking of the sacrament. I felt completely overwhelmed with gratitude that even though my plan was not working out, I was still happy. I was so thankful that when my sisters and friends call to tell me they are pregnant, I am truly happy for them and not jealous. That going to baby showers isn’t hard on me but rather a time to have fun with and rejoice for my friends. That I could go with my sister to her ultrasound and be excited to experience that with her. That I could be nothing but thrilled for the birth of my nephews. These blessings were truly something to be grateful for.
That peace and happiness has continued with me, for the most part, in the 4 1/2 years since Ryan and I started trying to have children. I am happy to be married to my best friend, and we have enjoyed this time to spend together, just the two of us.
Still I know that the ache of wanting to have children is still with me, that I still really yearn for them and if I could get pregnant today I would, because once in awhile something will happen and I will have glimpses of the pain that is there, bringing instant tears to my eyes. But most of the time I am just happy and hopeful. That Sunday as I reflected on the joy I felt despite my wishes and plans not being met, and how grateful I was that during this waiting period I didn’t have to wait in pain, I thought of a scripture in the Book of Mormon, Mosiah 24:14-15:
“And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.
“And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.”
I know that is what the Lord has done for me; eased my burdens so that I will not feel them during this time and so that I can still enjoy life. Even though I don’t comprehend how it works, I do know that it does work. Sometimes He takes the pain away. Sometimes He helps us carry it. And sometimes He makes us stronger so that we can carry our burdens.
I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who answers prayers and for our Elder Brother, Jesus Christ, who through the Atonement made it possible for me to find strength and comfort and release in difficult situations. And so I will witness that He does visit us during our afflictions because of His great love for us. And I am so grateful.