I spent almost 30 years being petrified of having children. My parents had an oops baby at the age of 40 and I had watched tumultuous times with a toddler (and divorce) follow. Growing up, I was told that children are unpredictable and uncontrollable; what if I couldn’t cut it as a parent? What if some poor kid inherited all of my weaknesses?

Courtesy of my baby sister, I also knew, firsthand, what making a bottle at 3 am felt like. When I told my parents how tiresome it was, they’d laugh and tell me never to have children. Looking back, I see the pain that they were in during that time in their lives, and where the jokes came from. What I didn’t realize was how far they’d sank into my heart.

But then life happened; my stronghold husband happened and 30 hit. I was still afraid but I trusted that there might have been lies in my head about what I thought I knew about children. I gathered every ounce of courage that I had and we went for it. And went for it. And went for it. The months and years went by. A doctor told me she was surprised (by my total lack of contraceptives) that an accident hadn’t yet occurred in the decade that Mike and I had been together.

After months of failed attempts with fertility meds and other procedures, we were told that we couldn’t have children without IVF. A strange peace came over me as I calmly signed up without even thinking twice. It wasn’t until the procedural consult that I realized the true mess of what hundreds of self-injected shots (they were going to trust ME to give myself shots?), dozens upon dozens of doctor appointments, and painful ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome might mean. I was poked over 15 times with a needle, afterward, in an attempt for them to get blood, but my nerves prevented anything from being released. Strong smelling salts were used to revive me as I passed out before being sent home in defeat, without any of the paperwork in hand. I returned to the clinic to try the procedural consultation again, and that time I brought my husband AND my (hilarious) nurse friend along…She vowed to do the shots for me and although she never wound up having to do even one, I am forever indebted to her for ensuing the confidence in me that I needed.

I felt instant shame about the thought of sharing sadness, with others, about our infertility. Maybe it was my punishment for fearing the idea of children, who are blessings from the Lord (Psalm 127:3). I read on blogs and social media that God has the ability to open and close wombs. A friend asked me one day, “If God wanted you pregnant, don’t you think you would be pregnant?” Ouch. But consulting others for their loving arms wasn’t something I was entitled to…As the one who’d publicly admitted to not wanting children all of those years while everyone else was busy changing diapers, I was the last person who deserved empathy; so I kept quiet.

Going into the IVF transfer, (which is the main procedure where you walk into the clinic not pregnant and walk out in the hopes of being pregnant) I was completely numb. If it worked, I’d have to face my fear of becoming a parent. If it didn’t, then I knew that it wasn’t God’s plan, and that I’d tried everything I could. In some ways, God had prepared me for that moment so adequately, that there aren’t words to describe the peace I felt. And in other ways, like when I literally watched my baby’s embryo placed into me on an ultrasound, my entire being was transformed and I was the never the same again.

Leyton was born on October 28th, 2015 and nothing about the experience beared even a slight resemblance to what I’d been told and had prepared for in my head. You see, angels were in our hospital room that day. From the moment my water broke, and an (angel) friend told me to go get it checked…to the precious prayer Mike and I had moments before the Pitocin kicked in…to the (angel) nurses who literally cared for my body, rubbed my feet and brought me clean linens…I felt no pain. No fear. No terror over the agonizing moment of what giving birth would feel like. Of course, it hurt, physically. But my mind had been so set on total fear taking over that when love (God) entered the room instead, I was caught by complete surprise. I heard God tell me that what I’d been through was not punishment. That what all of us endure on earth is never punishment and that He was for me; not against me. That He loved me and wanted to bless me despite my ignorance. Any mother will tell you that there aren’t words for the moment you first hold a baby in your arms… bewilderment, instant unconditional love, awe, joy, peace, and astonishment don’t even scratch the surface. My love for the precious boy in my arms instantly demolished what a lifetime of fear had built.

“Perfect love drives out all fear.” -1 John 4:18

God is love. He never wants to punish us but always has our best interest in mind. As I type this, I am thinking of friends who have had lengthy battles with infertility, those for whom no procedure has worked, those who have lost babies and loved ones, some who are still just waiting to meet their husbands, those who have looked pain and loss in the eye and have won the battle or continue to fight it. And to all of you, I say: You are incredibly perfect in the eyes of God. You are loved, and you are not alone. There is pain in the night but joy comes in the morning. One day, you will see the face of God and He will shine His light upon you and embrace you, envelop you in it and hold you till every tear is gone. Until then, stand strong and have hope in the wait (I strongly recommend this Minnesota-authored study for anyone battling through infertility).

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain.” -Revelations 21:4