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What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting

My good friend and her husband are expecting their first child. I knew it would happen this way—I felt certain she would become pregnant long before me. I had time to prepare. I had already asked God to enable me to truly share in her joy.

So when my friends beamingly made their announcement, my heart experienced only a minor twinge of jealousy before bursting with happiness for them. I literally couldn’t stop myself from smiling.

The next day, I thought only of my friend and prayed for her as well as the safety of her developing chic pea. Until I checked the mailbox and discovered a magazine with my name on it.

I realize I shouldn’t be surprised. After all, I get tons of random mail; from AARP flyers to Smokers Outlet catalogs. Still. Irony delivered a painful blow. I fell two steps back and spent the rest of the day feeling sorry for myself.

I say I went backwards because I have stumbled through even darker days. Like over a year ago when I was convinced I was pregnant with a little girl. I crocheted her first two toys, which coincidentally matched the colors I planned to use for her nursery.

Ummm, turns out I was never even pregnant.

I vented in my journal. “My arms feel an empty ache just thinking about never getting to experience a mother’s love. Always an aunt, never a mom.”

My next thoughts took a surprising turn though. “Why do I have to think that way? About what I don’t have?”

How dare I come before God with a whiny, egocentric heart?! As if I’m the only one with unfulfilled hopes and dreams. As if God’s plans and purposes somehow take a backseat to my own.

A dear friend of mine struggled with infertility. Now, three children later, she told me she viewed things all wrong. She felt unloved by God and feared her inability to conceive was some sort of punishment. But God whispered to her. “Oh no, My precious girl. The waiting was not your fault but My design. I do have a plan for your life. But I also have a plan for the lives of all three of your children. And the time was not yet right for them.”

Of course there’s no way to really know, but we speculated about what God might have been waiting on; a future spouse or even something pertaining to one of her kid’s grandchildren. We stopped when our heads spun at the endless possibilities.

Her experience changed my perspective. I won’t lie and tell you I have zero struggles with jealousy or self-pity. But God is slowly turning me into a girl with a different heart. One who strives to make her pregnant friends not feel guilty around her. One who has genuine joy for those friends. One who loves on the nieces, nephews, and friend’s kids she’s fortunate enough to have in her life.

Children might not be in the plan God has for my husband and me. If that’s the case, God will help our hearts bear it.

But maybe God is still assembling the lineup for our twins’ t-ball team.

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  1. allison

    i love you.

    • beth

      I love you back 🙂

  2. Heather

    This was a beautiful post, Beth.

    It is very impossible to predict God’s plan. And even when you think you know what to expect you can still be knocked down by an unexpected twist.

    • beth

      Thank you Heather

  3. Jessi

    My mom struggled with infertility for years. As did her mom and several women in my family. She went through in vertro fertilization, now she’s left with two test tube and one adopted baby! She always talks about how hard, uncomfortable, and painful the process was…but how rewarding it was in the end. You never know the road God will lead you down and the struggles you sometimes will have to overcome to get what comes so easily to others. I’ll be praying for you!! Glad I got the chance to read this!

    • beth

      Wow Jessi! Thanks for sharing. Your mom sounds amazing. And I’m really glad you’re here 🙂

  4. mandi

    Wow Beth, I loved this post. it made me cry because I’ve been there and know what this feels like. thanks for sharing.

    • beth

      Mandi, I hate that you’ve hurt.

  5. I have been there and I completely understand your feelings. I wish I could say that I handled it with grace, but that would be a lie. There were many nights, all I could ask was “why?”. I just didn’t understand God’s plan. But, now looking back, I see it all so clearly.

    • beth

      Katie, I appreciate you sharing.

  6. Amanda Roehm

    I also have gone through this difficult time. Somehow God gives you a peace about it all. We had to take fertility drugs to have both our boys. (We had to get outside help). 🙂

    • beth

      Thanks for sharing Amanda!

  7. juli

    Beth, i love you, and your courage to be so transparent. i hate to know you hurt like this sometimes. i hate to hear any of my sisters grieving. with this message, i am both praying for you and your honey, and praising our Father for working wonderful things in you — eternal and priceless fruit of His Spirit, and for being faithful in comforting you. ~ juli <3

    • beth

      Thanks Juli. Appreciate your love & prayers. xoxo

  8. Allison

    I’m so enouraged and inspired by your posts, Beth. I’ve received the same type of mail over the past year….magazines, baby registry info, and even sample baby formula. It’s this sad and frustrating reminder of what isn’t there. But our talks and your posts are a true blessing for me and a reminder that God has a purpose in everything. And even if we never see that purpose come to fruition, we may have peace in knowing we’re an intricate part of his plan.

    • beth

      And I’m encouraged and inspired by our talks. Thanks for sharing your heart.

  9. Carolyn Trucano

    I have walked where you’re walking. It first began at church when we turned old enough to “promote” to the next department. Problem was everyone in the 25 and up age group had children, and we didn’t. We volunteered to teach in the children’s department (not a pure motive for teaching, but I’m being truthful). God didn’t answer our prayers for children at the time we thought we were ready to begin a family. I can’t say – even now – that I know God’s plan and purpose in our “expectant waiting” – I started back to work because nothing was happening. We had even talked about the possibility of adopting (in vitro fertilization wasn’t a possibility back then). Still, there was an underlying trust in God as in Romans 8:28.

    • beth

      Thanks for sharing Mom 🙂

  10. I am glad I know someone who I can share this experience with. We have been trying for over a year, and been going to the doctor and had all sorts of tests. They know something is wrong with me but they just dont know what exactly. So frustrating. It is the hurry up and wait some more game. I have full faith that we will have our own kids, and we have already decided we are going to adopt.

    I find comfort in thinking about and praying for our children specifically. God already knows exactly who they are, their names, what they will look like, what they will be good at, what they will do when they grow up, how they will bring Him glory. So I pray for them. Weird? Oh well.

    I am humbled and comforted by the thought that God’s desire to hold them and love them is so much greater than mine. He loves them so much more than I am even able to. Thats a lot of love!

    I fully believe you will be a mom. I dont believe God gives women such a desire for children… just to be a big mean bully and not allow them to have children.

    This sunday I visited Elevation and Furtick said this…”God doesnt make us wait because He is being cruel. He has us wait because He is being compassionate.” Every other story they told this sunday was about couples who couldnt get pregnant or have kids. Coincidence?

    xoxo. Love you bethy poo!

    • beth

      Cool stuff! Thanks for sharing. Love you too Kelly-welly!

  11. sry… that was much longer than I thought it would be 😐

    • beth


  12. Katie B.

    Beth, you’re a great writer! I find myself wondering all the time about God’s plan too- a deep desire to know NOW instead of blind faith. My brother and sister in law have now been trying for 2 years to no avail. Then he leaves to go to Afgahanistan for 6 weeks and all I could think about was that maybe he was going to die there and that’s why God had not given them a baby. Thankfully he’s on the plane on his way home as I write. I know that’s terrible to think but not knowing seems to give me more to worry about… I trust him completely just wish he’d give me inside tips I guess. Good luck with your book- based on your comments it looks like you are already a blessing to so many!

    • beth

      Katie, You’re not the only one who has morbid thoughts like that! They run through my brain all the time. So glad Jason is on his way home–I saw your mom’s post about it this morning. Thanks for sharing and for your encouragement.

  13. Feeling like as a dude I should not have gotten as much out of that as I did, lol. My wife and I have not had a biological kid yet and it weighs on us. I know these words are going to bless the hell out of her. Thank you for writing these! SN: I am friends with Allison Martin and she is how I stumbled upon this article. Liked the one about what to not say to folks who are expecting, too!

    • beth

      Being that you’re a dude, I’m stoked you got anything out of my rantings at all! 🙂 Women aren’t the only ones who wish to join the secret society of parents.
      I’m seriously honored. Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to tell me about you and your wife’s struggles. And yay for Allison–a truly awesome woman who connects people without even knowing it!

  14. You are an amazing, wonderful woman and I am proud and thankful to be your friend. I love you and love to read anything you write. What insight and what a teachable heart you have! Thank you for sharing it with all of us and loving your friends and all the people in your life with such passion.

    • beth

      Kristi, you are truly a gem and I’m honored to be your friend. I love you. Thanks so much for your support.

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