“What do you do when the answer is no? What do you do when you struggle to your knees and lift your head and survey the world through grieving eyes?”
Inconceivable by Shannon Woodward
The book was on my kitchen counter, waiting for Janice to pick it up. It was 2:30 AM and I was finally on my way to bed but, I couldn’t help it, I had to look at it. “I won’t read it, I don’t have time. I need to get to sleep. I’ll just take a quick look at it,” I thought.
I sat down on the stairs to read a few words, but hours later I was still sitting uncomfortably on the same step. I needed to know her story.
As I read, I relived my own monthly heartbreaks and, as another of my monthly cycles ended without success, I longed to understand how Shannon made such peace with her defunct womb.
Part of me felt guilty reading it, like I was peeking into someone else’s mail. She didn’t write it for me. Shannon wrote this book for women who are struggling with infertility and “have reached a decisive end.”
You see, I was one of those infertile women that the early Shannon would have quietly despised.
Yes, I suffered — for three and a half years I begged and pleaded with God to let my body conceive. I waited my turn, wincing as I envied the growing bellies of my sisters and friends. And I had given up much of my hope and labelled myself infertile — barren.
But then one day, the stick changed color. I had been given my miracle.
I was pulled from the trenches of infertility. I felt like a soldier who was excused early from battle and left his brothers behind to fight without him. I felt sorry that it couldn’t have been all of us called out.
It’s almost too much to comprehend when something you’ve wanted so desperately finally happens.
I was so scared it wasn’t true. It couldn’t be true. It wouldn’t be true. I would lose the baby. The baby would die once she was born. Something would go wrong. It was just too good. It just couldn’t possibly be happening. But I needed it to be happening. It couldn’t go wrong. I wouldn’t survive. My prayers turned from begging and pleading for conception to begging and pleading that I wouldn’t lose this life.
Now that my miracle baby is almost a year and a half old, I’m still in shock that I have her and I’m still afraid that I’ll lose her. I cling to every moment I have with her and try to memorize every smell and sound. I know I may never have another baby.
I’m more than thankful. Words like blessing and gift and even miracle can’t explain what I’ve been given. Life. I’ve been given more than life.
I am no longer an infertile woman. And so I know Shannon did not write this book for me.
Yet, while Shannon wrote Inconceivable to the specific audience of infertile woman, I found it speaks to every grieving heart that is struggling with loss or suffering. It is about surrendering to God and letting His will become ours.
Inconceivable is a gift – a very real gift – to each woman who’s enduring the ultimate pain of a barren womb and to each woman who has received a “no” from God that broke her heart.
Shannon takes us with her as she remembers her ugliest thoughts, her biggest mistakes and her stomach-turning sorrows. And as helpful as it is to walk together through that pain, the gift is how she reveals the path she took to come to peace with her infertility.
If your grief for your never-to-be-born children has “gone far past its expiration date” and now “reeks of the vinegary residue of soured sorrow,” follow Shannon.
If you are mourning a path you will never take or have grown bitter with suffering, read Shannon’s story.
She spent 18 years on a most unenviable road of suffering, but she learned and grew to be a woman of peace and faith. She can help each of us get to where she is now. Let her knowledge of scripture and her passion for God inspire and challenge you so that you also can find freedom and peace.
October 29th – November 4th is
National Infertility Awareness Week
In honor of NIAW, Shannon Woodward will be joining us tomorrow to chat further about her experience with infertility and her latest book Inconceivable.