August 12, 2011


I was twenty five years old.

I was standing in a Shopper's Drug Mart trying to decide which home pregnancy test to buy. It felt like an important decision at the time. This was the little device that was going to tell me I was pregnant, after all.

I remember wondering why home pregnancy tests came in packs of two.

I remember the young woman who slipped past me to grab a two-pack of First Response brand. I smiled at her, and she politely smiled back. I must have looked out of place there in the family planning aisle and she waved the pink box at me.

'These are the most reliable,' she said softly, and made her way to the cashier at the front of the store.

On that sunny March day, I didn't wonder why she would know that. I do now, though. Oh, do I ever.

I think of her sometimes and wonder if she knew then what I didn't... that the reason you buy a two-pack is because a pregnancy test doesn't always tell you you're pregnant. Sometimes a pregnancy test is just money down the drain, an eternal three-minute wait, and another nauseating dive on the infertility roller coaster.

I bought a single test that day. I also bought a sweet little bib that said 'I love you, Daddy' in pink and purple letters. I had it all planned out in my mind: from taking the test in the early hours of the morning to slipping upstairs to place the bib on my husband's pillow and waking him with the exciting news.

That was seven years ago... more negative home pregnancy tests and three-minute waits than I can even remember.

Sometimes in the month that marks the beginning of our hopes and dreams for kids, I think back and wonder what I would have changed. More fruitful, usually, is trying to verbalize what I've learned... to draw together lessons wrung from heartache.

I decided, seven years later, that it came down to three things:

1. God is good. Period. My circumstances don't change Him. My circumstances and heartache and grief only augment the realization that I am nothing apart from Him, and that in all things He is right beside me.

2. Hope is meant to be a free, wild-winged, tangible thing. And I don't mean the I-hope-to-have-kids-hope, but the hope that remembers that we are being fashioned for eternity. The hope that clings to the truth that this long, dark, painful road is not the end of the story, not the final word.

3. I wouldn't change it. Crazy? Maybe. But even for all the tears wept and the pillows thrown and the deep unspoken, guttural prayers that were nothing more than groans and pleas of a waiting heart, I have learned so much. The joy and peace that frames my life is whole and brilliant... a hard-fought lesson and a blessing I wouldn't exchange for anything.

I don't pretend to be off this roller coaster... the grief of infertility is one that lingers even in a joyful life as two.

But God is good. Always. In the hard stuff, in the joyful stuff and in everything in between. And it really doesn't get better than that.

Thelma is wife, writer, and relentless joy-seeker: a Canadian girl learning to love God, her best friend and the joys and sorrows of their life as two. When she's not writing or putting her feet up, she likes to pretend she knows a thing or two about photography and dreams of running a marathon some day.

Author Website: Life as Two