We’ve been trying to conceive for six months. Six months is a funny amount of time. It’s both short: only half a year. Yet it’s also long: 26 weeks, 182 days.

 

And every one of those days I’ve thought about it. Some days in tears, a few days in calm acceptance, most days a resigned sort of waiting, because what else is there to do?

 

Six months is normal they say. Actually now that I am 30, they say 8 months is average.

 

 

But this average waiting, these weeks of the quiet building of bright hopes that only go dark and wane with the moon each month, this average waiting is hard. And it joins the growing list of the parts of womanhood that are nearly universal but aren’t explained in glossy pamphlets to you when you are 12 on the cusp of puberty.

 

And I sort of understand the silence. Trying to conceive is a private thing. It’s an exhausting cycle of small griefs to involve a large circle of people in. Sometimes I don’t want to be a part of it myself. And I wonder if there are women who really are so relaxed or full of faith that they really and truly don’t mind the waiting.

 

I suppose there are. But I am not one of them. I mind the waiting. I do not like it.

 

But I am not alone. It’s an illustrious club of women, stretching back millennia. Some of the oldest accounts of women we have are women waiting for babies. And now, I am walking with friends who have been waiting for years for their children. That is a sacred privilege, even if it’s one that no one really wants.

 

 

The flipside of this sisterhood of waiting is celebrating with those who are having babies while others wait. Sometimes it is easy to celebrate, to be buoyed with hope for the miracle of life, to remember that babies really are made and carried to term and born into this world.

 

Sometimes it’s hard, because it seems unfair, too easy, too quick. I have this childish sense of fairness, we are all waiting in line, and she cut in front of me. I have been here for six months, and my friend over there has been here for 2 ½ years, and another friend waited 9 years—9 years for her baby daughter.

 

But waiting for babies is not like waiting for movie tickets. It’s not an equitable wait. There are not a set number of babies; they aren’t going to run out. My best friend having a baby now doesn’t take away from my having a baby later. So I can rejoice with her while I wait. I know this.

 

 

But sometimes the grief doesn’t want to be reasoned with. Sometimes it’s just hard.

 

At the end of the first month of trying, I cried for the better part of four days. I cried in the middle of the night when I woke up with my period. I cried when I held my niece the next morning. I cried when I called my mom, who told me again of her crying the month she and my dad had first tried for me. I cried during most of church. I cried when I saw pictures of other people’s babies.

 

I remember wondering how people could stand this much sadness for so many months or years. Or how people could lose a baby. It seemed the grief would be too much to bear.

 

 

And then without my doing anything, the weight lifted. And I found myself in the new month, hoping again.

 

Each month has, strangely, been a little less difficult, like I’ve settled in to this idea of waiting in months or perhaps years instead of weeks. I’ve learned that the intensity of the grief is partly tied up in the hormones, and that in a few days from the start of my period I will feel more normal again. So I try to let the tears roll through me without fighting them.

 

But it’s only been six months. Maybe at a year the grief will deepen and extend.

 

Maybe for some people, the grief doesn’t lessen, and each month, each year, is harder than the last. I don’t know, this waiting is such a private pain.

 

 

Last week, I mentioned to my grandma that she could pray for us to have a baby. And this woman who prays for all her grandkids daily said, “Oh, well I didn’t know what to pray. Evan has such a busy year, and I know you’re helping him. So I have just been chatting with God about it.”

 

I was so blessed by that. I see the mercy in the wait, in my ability to help Evan without a pregnancy or baby pushing us even further. But my prayers, when I can make them, are just, “God, please give us a baby.” I know that praying for his timing and acceptance that this-isn’t-the-time is a good and right thing to pray. But sometimes I think it’s ok for us to pray for our desires and to let those around us pray for God’s will to be done.

 

My grandma in her 80s knows how short six months is. And I, in the middle of it, know how long six months is. I appreciate her praying for God’s will, for his timing.

 

I want that.

 

I also want a baby.

 

It is a strange sisterhood, this waiting. And brotherhood too, because I know that we are being carried by the prayers of so many people—husbands and brothers and fathers of friends and family too.

 

That is good to remember, because, as interminable as this season feels, one way or another it will draw to a close, and I will be able to remember and pray for God’s will and a baby for those who are in the season of waiting themselves.

 

 

As Lent approaches, how are you thinking about waiting and praying?

 

10 Responses to Six Months In : Thoughts on Waiting and Trying to Conceive

  1. Britta W says:

    Amy, thank you for sharing your heart. This is a journey and struggle I am very familiar with. Jim and I are finally pregnant, but it took a year and half (and a miscarriage) to get there. I will say the first 8-ish months were the hardest, at least for me. The constant roller coaster of emotions did eventually even out a bit (except for those surprise days when I found out one of my friends or acquaintances was suddenly and so easily pregnant…) But I also grew to know several women who have the same struggle, and that fellowship has been particularly sweet. So take courage, continue to hope, and be blessed by the relationships that grow in the time of waiting. We will be praying with you!

    • Amy Rogers Hays says:

      Thank you Britta. Those are very kind words. And Congratulations! You know when you know someone’s story, their wait and vigil keeping, it is so sweet to rejoice with them. But it’s also a reminder that a lot of people don’t share their journey of waiting publicly, and what can seem easy and fast on the outside isn’t. And I know that surprise pregnancies have their own journey to make too! It’s a mysterious thing, this motherhood business. Thanks for the encouragement and the prayers. We really appreciate them. Love to you and Jim and the new little one!

  2. Lindsay says:

    This post came at the perfect time. I, too, am 31 and have been trying for about 6 months. I just had a hormonaly driven conversation with my husband about this “waiting” and although he tries, I know he will never understand what it’s like to be the hopeful mom-to-be waiting everyday. And I swear, if one more person tells me, “you just need to not think about it, THEN it will happen,” I will lose my mind. Your post made me feel like I’m not alone in our pursuit to have children. I really appreciate you sharing your experience. Many prayers to you!

    • Amy Rogers Hays says:

      Thanks Lindsay! Every marriage and couple is different, but I have found that my husband and those of my close friends do seem to experience the waiting in a different ways. My husband points out he’s not riding the hormonal waves like I am, and he just seems steadier about it. And in general the way he expresses hope and grief is shaped by his own experiences of hard things in times past. Sometimes that steadiness is encouraging to me, and sometimes I just want him to mirror my experience more. But it’s his own experience. Oh and people’s well meaning advice, how exasperating! You are very much not alone! May the Lord bless your waiting in a way that surprises and comforts you. – Amy

  3. Thank you for being so honest with your feelings and with how hard waiting for a baby is. I hope he/she comes soon and will remember you in my prayers. Sending a hug.

  4. Lesa says:

    Thank you for sharing. I remember feeling those same things as we were trying for our son Parker. Statistics and averages don’t make the waiting any easier. It hurts. I am feeling some of that pain now too, but in a different way. I want another baby. But circumstances with our first made us decide to wait. Waiting is terrible when you don’t know if or when it will come. But know you are not alone in your wait. I am praying for you, Evan and your family.

    • Amy Rogers Hays says:

      Thank you Lesa. I imagine that waiting for a second baby is hard in a different way, especially after a wait for a first. You sort of know both the pain and the joy in real way. And the uncertainty of the wait is the difficulty isn’t it? People tell you that it will likely turn out, eventually, but we have so little control. Not that we normally really have that much, but these sorts of things strip of us of the illustion that we are in control. Thanks for your kind words and prayers. I pray that this wait will be redeemed for you and your husband and Parker as well.

  5. Amy Axelson says:

    It took me at least six months to get pregnant the first time. What helped me wait patiently was deeply trusting it would happen when my body and life were ready for it. This way of being carried over into my empowering birth and nurturing parenting. Well wishes to you. Your blog is beautiful.

    • Amy Rogers Hays says:

      What a good thing to remember. It’s not always easy, but it’s good remember that we are working with our bodies, not against them, and that we can be patient with the process. Also remembering that how we think about children, the process of having them and imagining them is the beginning of parenting. It gives the waiting purpose. Thanks for your kind and encouraging words Amy.

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