Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The House Always Wins

Do you ever gamble? I grew up playing nickel-ante poker with my family every summer, but now as an adult, I don't enjoy gambling anymore, even in a friendly family game because I'm very risk averse. Why risk losing my coins if I know I'll get to keep them all by not playing? I know, I know...you risk takers respond with the flip side of the coin - pardon my pun - "But you could walk away with even more coins than you started with if you play!" But that's my issue, the word "could." It's not a certainty.

So me being the risk-averse person that I am, did not react well when I first learned some statistical facts about fertility...most specifically, your chances of getting pregnant each month is only 15-25% depending on your age. Seriously!? 15-25% is why you dragged us into same-gender classrooms in middle school and insisted that if you don't use a condom you WILL get pregnant, as if it is a certainty! Of course, I'm fine with that being taught to students because hopefully that will scare enough of them into abstaining or at least using protection, but at some point the truth should be revealed to women that in reality, your odds each month are not that high, even if you are perfectly healthy and fertile. Perhaps when handing out the marriage licenses..."Oh by the way, you should know that your middle school gym teachers were lying to you, you only have a 15-25% chance of conceiving each month...congrats and happy honeymooning!"

And here is another alarming statistic that I don't recall ever being focused on: 7.4% (1 in 13) of married women in the U.S. ages 15-44 are infertile (unable to get pregnant for at least 12 consecutive months). And this figure is from 2002, mind you. That equates to 2.1 million by the way. That's not a small population. That's the population of Houston, TX. Did you know that April 22-28, 2012 is Nation Infertility Awareness Week?

I'm glad that awareness is brought to it because frankly, it's easy for those of us who are the "1" in the group of "13" to feel a bit forgotten about by our fellow sisters. (Whatever happened to Lucky 13?!) Especially when we read statistics like this:
  • 25% of all couples become pregnant in their first month of trying
  • 60% become pregnant within 6 months
  • 75% become pregnant within 9 months
  • 80% become pregnant within 12 months
It's super easy for me to feel like I just bet all my coins on blackjack, and the house kicked my butt, stole all my money, and ran off laughing. Are you telling me that I'm in a minority of 20%? How did I get to be so "lucky"? God, couldn't you apply that fortune to something like, oh I don't know, the LOTTERY??

But there is some good news, or rather, a light at the end of the tunnel: 90% of couples trying to become pregnant do so within 18 months. Ok, there's still a chance for me there since this is our 15th month to try...

Even better news: You are not alone. You may be a minority of those suffering in silence through infertility, but you are certainly not the only one experiencing that pain. You have a whole 2.1 million women, right now, shedding tears and uttering prayers over the same struggle. And more importantly, you are not alone if you are a believer in Christ.

God says in Joshua 1:5, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."

A close friend shared this verse with me today, and I encourage you to take it to heart as well.
2 Chronicles 20:17, "You do not have to fight this battle. Position yourselves, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD. He is with you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Tomorrow, go out to face them, for Yahweh is with you."

So tomorrow, wake up with courage knowing that God is by your side, carrying you through this painful trial. He is with you always, with love so abundant that we cannot even comprehend its depth. No matter where your infertility pathway leads, remember that you are not alone.

1 comment:

  1. Your posts bring back all the memories. We struggled too. Praying praying praying.