A few months into trying to get pregnant, we had several well-meaning people giving us suggestions of what to try to do to make pregnancy happen more quickly.
I would smile and nod and say, “You know, that’s a good idea,” then walk away with every intention of ignoring their advice, or at least just saving it for later. Not in a bitter way or with a mean attitude, but simply with an understanding that my heart was in a different place.
And while they say insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results, I don’t think this applies to trying to get pregnant.
We refrained from using Ovulation Predictor Kits (OPKs) until the tenth month.
I did not chart my temperature or my cervical fluid.
I didn’t change much in my diet (though eating healthier is a good goal whether or not you are trying to get pregnant).
We didn’t ask the doctor if we could go in early to do hormone tests.
All through Scripture, the language around women who conceive babies reveals God’s sovereignty in every step.
Abraham and Sarah – “The Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did to Sarah as he had promised. And Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the time of which God had spoken to him.” (Genesis 21:1-2)
Isaac and Rebekah – “And Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren. And the Lord granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived.” (Genesis 25:21)
Jacob and Leah and Rachel – “When the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren.” (Genesis 29:31) “…Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb.” (Genesis 30:22)
Elkanah and Hannah – “They rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord; then they went back to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her. And in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, ‘I have asked for him from the Lord.’ “ (1 Samuel 1:19-20)
Boaz and Ruth – “So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife. And he went in to her, and the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son.” (Ruth 4:13)
Joseph and Mary – “And Mary said to the angel, ‘How will this be, since I am a virgin?’ And the angel answered her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.’ “ (Luke 1:34-35)
There’s no mistaking God’s hand in these pregnancies. So who am I to think that I have more control than God here?
And that really was my and Eric’s heart behind our slowness to take additional steps. I knew especially for me that taking steps would give me a false sense of control, and it would add stress to the process. I could too easily become obsessed with trying to figure everything out – and, ultimately, even if you do figure everything out, you still don’t have control on whether or not you actually conceive.
I don’t think that taking action is unbiblical. And I don’t want to shame anyone who has been more “active” than we have at different points along the way. This really is such a personal decision! We are now at a point where we are taking baby steps forward. But I didn’t start by doing much other than being aware of the potential time I was ovulating each month.
I really just felt like, at least for us, there was a time and place to be proactive, but during the first year of trying to get pregnant (which they tell you is the normal amount of time), we didn’t want to freak out or stress about things we didn’t need to worry about at that point in the journey.
We waited until month 10 to start ovulation predictor kits (OPKs), and we chose to do them mainly because we knew the doctor would ask about those and we wanted to be proactive in that conversation. However, those didn’t necessarily change our actions much from what we were doing beforehand. I am so grateful that we haven’t been using those the entire time, too! They actually brought a lot of stress into our intimacy, made our time together more about trying to make a baby than about enjoying each other. They too easily took the focus away from us and our relationship. I learned during the first month to not even tell Eric what I was seeing each morning when I took the test. It was more for me to know and track, not to put this burden or expectation on him to be ready to “get it on” when he got home from work that night.
Early steps the doctor mentioned to me as possibilities were hormone supplements or a low dose of Clomid. This could be what leads to us getting pregnant – it could even happen in the first couple of months! However, I don’t want to look at that as the ultimate solution. Even if I do get pregnant right away once I start taking something, I don’t want to wish that I had tried that six months earlier because then I might have gotten pregnant faster. I can’t think that way – I have to believe that God is still sovereign over the timing, even with prescription assistance, and that He is the One allowing the medicine to make a difference in my body.
There may be a point where we have to make more serious decisions about medical intervention. I pray that doesn’t happen, but at the same time I 100% believe God can use doctors and medical technology to be involved in His will, to be part of how He plays out His sovereignty in conception.
Ultimately, I urge you to pray about decisions and surrender this desire each day to the Lord. I really think this is part of why trying to get pregnant hasn’t taken over our marriage or caused me to neglect Eric in my pain. I am sharing my pain with him, but together we are releasing the timing to God and the process it takes to get there. We aren’t stressing about trying to “make it happen.” We are enjoying intimacy together and enjoying our season of life together, even on our bad days where we grieve together.