When my husband, Glen, and I had been married for only six months, my doctor told us it was very unlikely that I could ever have a baby.
Glen accepted what the doctor said and severed all hopes of ever having our own child. But I was determined to have faith and hope that one day I could experience the joy of giving birth. Although the doctor had given us little encouragement, I wanted to wait and see what Heavenly Father’s answer would be.
Over the next three years I focused all my efforts and prayers on being able to have a baby. I wondered if my faith was being tested. The fertility treatments and surgeries I underwent were emotionally and physically draining. After each failed attempt, I felt more hopeless and privately defeated.
I knew many women who had experienced fertility challenges, but most of them had eventually been blessed with having a baby. I felt alone in my sadness. I knew it was wrong to continually feel sorry for myself, since I had so many other blessings, but my grief became overwhelming.
One particular day after a long telephone conversation with my mother, my heart ached. I felt that no one I knew could truly comprehend my despair. I yearned so much for someone to put their arms around me and tell me that they knew exactly how I felt.
Suddenly I was reminded that our Heavenly Father is the only being who can know our hearts, minds, and feelings. Having complete faith in this, I began pouring out my thoughts to Him in prayer. In the moments that followed, I felt immediate relief. I was no longer alone. I had often prayed to Him asking for an answer, but I realized that what I really needed was His comfort.
As my five-year wedding anniversary approached, my health deteriorated to the point that a hysterectomy was necessary. In the months following the surgery, I felt betrayed by my own hope and faith. I did not know what to pray for. Adoption, postponing a family, and not having children were all options I was not ready to explore.
Following a friend’s counsel, I decided to pray and submit myself to Heavenly Father’s will. I asked Him to help Glen and me pursue whatever was right for our family. I now had to depend on Heavenly Father to guide us down an unknown path. What a blessing it was to turn it all over to Him!
Approximately nine months following my hysterectomy, Glen and I adopted a two-month-old baby girl. The path that led us to her was the answer to our prayers and the right thing for our family. Although the arrival of our little girl was the climax of this particular journey in my life, I felt it was not the end. I had been healed of the heartbreak I had experienced but needed to feel I had learned the things Heavenly Father wanted me to learn.
When my daughter was a year old, I sat in fast and testimony meeting and listened to a man share his testimony and express gratitude for his trials. He said he was thankful for the things he had learned from them. This statement perplexed me somewhat, and I began to feel discouraged that I might not attain the peaceful understanding that he had.
Later that same day I received a call from my best friend, Becky. During the conversation she commented on how I had grown from my trial of infertility. I appreciated her comment but wondered whether I really had gained anything from my years of suffering.
Becky went on to tell me that at church that day a woman had shared her gratitude for the joyous experience of giving birth. Becky was relieved that I had not been there to hear what she assumed would have caused me pain. She also mentioned a woman we both knew who was expecting a baby, unhappy about her situation, and far from the light of the gospel. Becky expressed her frustration that I have had to deal with infertility while so many women are able to have babies when they do not understand what a sacred privilege it is to bear a child.
Before I even had time to think, I heard myself telling Becky that she should never suppress the desire to testify of the joy of giving birth. And I told her that I would not want to trade places with anyone. Suddenly, I realized how priceless my personal testimony had become, and I knew I would never trade it and the happiness it brings for anything—not even the ability to have a baby.
As soon as I had spoken these words, I felt a sense of peace. I realized that for six years I had been on a journey of learning through my trial of infertility. I had learned how to seek and receive true comfort from Heavenly Father. I had learned that I must completely submit to His will and let Him lead me on the right path. And I had learned that although I will not have the experience of giving birth on this earth, I will always possess the ability to be happy through my testimony of the gospel.