The Empty Bedroom

It’s been more than two years since my husband and I purposefully chose a two bedroom apartment. We were excited about that second bedroom and what we planned on eventually putting in it. When we moved in, the room was left mostly bare because we had to wait for some life-changing news to come our way before that room could serve its purpose. We weren’t quite ready for the life change yet, but soon. We wanted to be ready. So, it sat in anticipation. Holding a few of our belongings, but mostly it was empty. Time rolled on and it remained empty, lifeless. No one ever went in there. It served no purpose.

Two apartments later, we still have the empty bedroom. We keep choosing apartments with two bedrooms because we desperately want to need one. But lately that room is only a taunting reminder of what we lack.

We still don’t have a child.

The day the doctor used the word infertility I felt like I was drowning. My ears were ringing, I couldn’t breathe. I had expected it, we’d been trying for a year, but I was also just caught off guard. She said it so casually, so nonchalantly. Like she had no idea that I had been treading water for months and that word was what finally pushed my head under the waves. This wasn’t our story. We were supposed to get pregnant as soon as we decided we were ready, surprise our family and friends with the joyous news, and live fertile-y ever after. I was angry. I was devastated. I was heartbroken. 

Truthfully, I still am.

As it turns out, this is my story. Our story, mine and my husband. It’s our reality. And it sucks. 

I have felt so alone in this journey. I didn’t know many other women (or couples, yes, guys, I know you are a part of this too) who have experienced the pain that is infertility. This feeling of loss, of grieving for something you’ve never had… it’s taken up most of my heart for the last year. I haven’t felt like myself. I have just been still, afraid to move, sitting and waiting in anticipation for something that might not come. People would ask me if I was okay, and I would tell them I was just tired. I’m not tired, I’m sad. And okay, sometimes that makes me tired too. Trying to find the right balance between staying hopeful but not getting your hopes up is exhausting. And every month, every negative pregnancy test, every period is so damn heartbreaking. 

But you keep trying. Because the desire doesn’t just fade. It eats away at you. It tears at you with every happy pregnancy announcement (I am excited for you, but I am sad for me) and every time someone innocently asks, “when are you two going to finally have kids?” (Ugh) Gut punch. Every time. Talking about it is hard. Not talking about it is hard. I feel brand new to all of this. Honestly, it still doesn’t feel quite real… like I don’t qualify, like I’m just someone masquerading as one of 10% of women who struggle with infertility. But it’s my truth. And I know it is the truth for so many others out there. Even if it doesn’t define us, it is a part of us. So many women face this –  mostly in silence it seems. Like we aren’t supposed to speak about it. Well, this rule follower is over it. I believe we need to share our stories. Because maybe if we do, someone else won’t feel so alone. 

Here it is, the story I never wanted to tell, the story I never expected would be mine. This story is still being written. For now, I am right in the middle of it, the eye of the storm… 

I am so tired of the empty room in my home. I am so tired of feeling like I am that empty room. 

31 Replies to “The Empty Bedroom”

  1. I’m so very sorry. I know there probably isn’t a “right” thing to say. I just want you to know that I will be praying and, I can’t imagine how hard it is I’m sure, but try to remember that God is always working for something good and powerful.

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    1. I hate that there isn’t ever a “right thing” to say about the tough stuff… but I figure since that will always be the case, we might as well say the hard things anyway. You never know what might happen if you do, right? Thank you so much for reaching out and for the prayers. It’s so appreciated. I definitely believe God’s plan will be better than I ever imagined. ❤️

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  2. Oh Joanna, you are definitely not alone in this but I know that doesn’t make it any easier. I’m so sorry. God has a plan, you don’t understand it, you don’t like it, you yell at Him, shake your fist at Him. Been there. God knows the desires of your hearts and I believe He answers them, just not always the way we think. Praying for you and Dan. Hang in there 🙏🏻❤️

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  3. Oh Joanna, I am so very sorry for you. I know some women who have dealt with this issue and the descriptions of the pain resound the same. Sometimes life seems so unfair. Stay strong in your faith, sister. I know in many moments hearing “God has a plan for you” does not make the pain go away. You have a wonderful husband and God has not forgotten you. He sees your tears. If you want to talk I am here. And if you don’t want to talk to me, that’s fine. But I am praying for you and your husband, and I pray that He lifts this pain and burden from you.

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  4. Joanna & Dan… I’m so sorry. To have held onto this with only your closest family and friends knowing is brave. To share with the world is even more brave. I have a couple of friends who struggled for a long time and were eventually blessed with a little one. I don’t know your exact situation, aside from reading this blog where poetic words gloss over a very difficult discussion you had, but if you ever want to talk, I’m just down the road in Burbank. I know I may be the last you want to talk to, but I hope not.
    I will pray for you and Dan. I will be here if you need to talk about it or don’t want to. Love to you both.

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    1. Hey lady, thank you for reading and for reaching out. It’s always exciting to hear stories of people who had similar experiences to a happy ending. ☺️ Thank you for sharing. We so appreciate the prayers and support! Love to you guys as you begin your exciting new journey. ❤️

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  5. Oh Jo, your words took me back 7+ years to our own story of infertility. I am so sorry you are fighting this battle – it’s so maddening and makes you feel so alone, but you’re not! Once I started opening up about what we went through, I found that SO MANY more were going through it too and we were able to hold each other up through the rollercoaster of it all! Praying for you and Dan – for joy amidst the waiting and the pain, trust and hope in Jesus alone who can and – I believe – will fulfill the desires of your heart, and for the blessing of your family growing in his timing!!

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    1. Jess, I don’t even think I knew that you guys struggled with infertility. Thank you so much for sharing that with me. It’s certainly a comfort to know that I am not alone. And it gives me hope when I see your beautiful family. I am trusting that God’s plan is so much more beautiful than my own. As painful as it is to wait, I will trust in His goodness. Thank you so much for reading, encouraging, and praying. Love you!!

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  6. OH! It’s the most horrible thing a want to be momma could hear! But you are loved and god knows the desires of your heart. And sometimes babies come to us in ways we may or timing not have expected. You are so wonderful, and I love seeing all the adventures you are having. This adventure hard as it is will have a happy solution for you, I just know it. When times get hard, as you know they do just remember all those who are hear to lend a shoulder. I will be here supporting and praying for you! Even though I haven’t seem you in 11 years you still are a very cherished person in my heart!

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  7. Love you, your heart, your honesty, your emotions and your dreams.

    Many friends of mine have been, or still are, in your shoes. I have grieved with them, prayed and hoped with them and tried to support them any way I could, being the “fertile-y happy” friend. I hope I can do the same for you.

    Sometimes, well it always is, a God’s timing thing. One gal got pregnant after she got the chicken pox, after years of trying! Another couple had given up and began enjoying loving each other to love each other, and then came the pregnancy. Another took years of IVF and multiple “fails” and finally was pregnant and the next came along easy breezy. Another had a tough time with their first two and are still trying for a third. And two more friends are still waiting, with as much patience and faith humanly possible. Treatments, weight loss/diet plans, period tracking, testing, adding/subtracting medications you name it. They have and are doing it all.

    I don’t know if any of this is helpful, or just makes you hurt even more, but there is hope and a reason. And I’ll listen (rather read) to you vent and process any day you need me.

    Love you.

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    1. It really is amazing how many different versions there are of this baby story, you know? No two are the same, but it makes you feel so connected to know there are others going through it too. God’s timing is not always easy for me to accept (being the planner that I am), but I am trying to rest in His plan and His goodness. I can only imagine His timing will be well worth the wait. Thank you so much for reading and reaching out. Love you too!

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  8. Jo! This is so moving! You are one incredible person. As I read your story I thought of a number of friends I know who are struggling with this same thing. Sure every story is different, but I love that you are sharing yours so others can find peace and comfort they are not alone. I have loved seeing all of your fun adventures and the experiences you are having! Keep going strong and shining like you always do. So many good things are ahead and will come in time (even if it’s not our time). Praying for guys! Xo!

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    1. Thank you so much for reading! And for your sweet encouragement. It’s been pretty amazing to find connection with so many others who are or have experienced similar situations. I so appreciate the prayers! ❤️❤️❤️

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  9. I sincerely appreciated when my dear friend shared her own story of infertility when I was a newlywed after I probably asked the “Gut punch” question and quickly learned from her that just never know what’s happening and to just not ask. You are a beautiful writer. It’s already evident how many souls you’ve touched and comforted through your words and openness, and I hope your own soul finds peace in the midst of the heartache. ❤

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    1. Thank you so much, Karlyn. It’s been so eye opening to be on the other side of it… also knowing that I have been the person to ask that question of someone I didn’t know was struggling. And I think that’s absolutely why it’s important to talk about it. It’s been a relief – like I finally took my mask off. And not that it means now I am just openly sad all the time… but that I am being honest about where I am (in the highs and lows). There’s definitely a freedom in it, and such a heart warming connection with so many others. Thank you for reading and for your kind words. 😘😘

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  10. Dean Anna, I found your blog today and reading this entry broke my heart. I want to tell you how brave this is and how proud I am of you. I am finding that I limit the love I have to give and accept as I hide my own pain and diminish it. But as I allow myself to hurt and share that pain, I heal and find myself more open for honest and loving relationships. I know that God is great and He is mindful and aware of you. I hope you feel His love and the love of those around you. Thank you for being brave. You are a beautiful soul.

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    1. Awe, Rach, thank you. I so appreciate your sweet words and encouragement. It’s been the hardest season in our lives, but we are so thankful to have so many willing to buckle up and take this journey with us. God’s plan is never less than perfect. I’m trying to lean into that – even in the particularly hard days. Thank you for reading and for reaching out. I hope that you are well! ❤️

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