Why do some couples struggle with infertility? Here’s what I’ve learned.
One of the first commandments that God gave to Adam and Eve was to “multiply and replenish the earth” (Moses 2:28). Having a family is a central teaching of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—but what about those who struggle to get pregnant? What about those who never have children? For these people, the commandment to have children can be a painful reminder of their trials.
I know firsthand about the trial of infertility; I am surrounded by it. Almost every married woman in my family and my husband’s family has struggled or is struggling to conceive.
Recently, I have been watching my twin sister wrestle with infertility and as I’ve watched this struggle, I’ve had so many questions. Mostly, why? If having a family is so important to God, why isn’t it possible for every couple to have children? Why do people who don’t want to have children get pregnant, yet others like my sister who desperately want children, don’t experience that blessing?
I thought I could put these questions aside when, after two years of trying, my sister finally got pregnant. She and my family were overjoyed. All of our fasting and prayers had been answered! But the joy was short-lived. Only a few weeks later, my sister miscarried; she was devastated. I was too—and I was mad. Why did my sister have to suffer this trial so long? Why did she get blessed with a child after so long, only to have it taken away?
That day as I drove to my sister’s house, I had no idea how to comfort her; with so many questions, I couldn’t even comfort myself. So I brought my questions to God. While the answers didn’t come all at once, over time I have been comforted by what I have received. Here is what I have learned:
- Trials are a necessary part of life. In her article “Finding Peace from Stories of Infertility in the Bible,” Rachel Sheffield perfectly articulates the power of infertility-related trials and lessons in the Bible. The stories and her words have shown me that infertility does not mean that you are unrighteous or that God doesn’t love you; it’s simply one of the trials some people have in life.
- God has a plan. Sheffield shares the story of Elisabeth and Zacharias.“I wonder how Elisabeth felt,” Sheffield says, “when she realized her pregnancy was at least in part caused by the fact that her son, John, would prepare the way for the Messiah. Being the faithful woman that she was, she probably used it as a lesson to teach her son to trust in the timing of the Lord.” In this same way, God is aware of each of us and has a plan for us. He has promised each of us blessings and happiness. Trust in the blessings he has given you and trust in the plan that he has for you.
- You are not alone. My sister suffered alone for a long time. When she finally reached out to others, she learned about other people’s journeys, which have helped her with her own experience. Reach out for support and encouragement to those around you. You may be surprised at who has gone through your same struggle.
I know the Savior is aware of each of our struggles, and ultimately he is the one who can strengthen us through any trial.
—Megan Anderson, Mormon Insights
FEATURE IMAGE BY JUSTIN GROEP
Find more insights
For another personal story about infertility, read Carolynn Spencer’s “Learning to Cope with Infertility” from the June 2012 Ensign.
Infertility often involves waiting. For more insights on waiting, read Erin Kramer Holmes’ BYU devotional speech, “Waiting on the Lord: the Antidote to Uncertainty.”
Many of my questions began with why. To understand the “why” of infertility, read my other article, “Why does God Let Bad Things Happen?”