My Own Dance Upon Barren Land: A Story of Infertility
- Lesli A. Westfall Author
- 2013 21 May
For me, as a young child I had always dreamed of being married and having children. Once I did marry, we waited to start a family. Our goal was to further our careers and to save up enough money to put a hefty down payment on a house—essentially what is now called within the fertility world “delayed parenting.” Yet, there were days I’d have this intense longing and the inevitable question, “What’s my purpose in life?” It was during a Mother’s Day church service when the pastor spoke on “barrenness.” He spoke about many types of barrenness: those who have a dream yet to be fulfilled, a wayward son or daughter, or for those who desired to become mothers. The sermon stirred in me again that childhood dream to have children. I left church that day feeling a sense of peace and purpose in my life, to become a mother, finally.
As the months and years passed—no pregnancy. I went through the range of emotions one goes through in trying to get pregnant. I felt angry at God, jealous of others who were expecting, disappointed every month, and essentially left with a broken heart. As I went through this season, I would journal. I would write out my feelings and my frustrations and prayed to God for His help. As I reflected upon what I had written I clearly saw God and His faithfulness and help every step of the way. I see it as He turns my disappointments into appointments with Him.
Since I had such a profound impression of God’s purpose in the Mother’s Day service, I just assumed I would get pregnant easily, so therefore I did not obtain diagnostic testing for my infertility—which in hindsight was probably not the best idea. A woman’s egg reserve decreases with each passing year. I did not see the first fertility specialist until the age of forty; for most medical professionals, that would appear to be too late in life. However, I had diagnostic tests. The results proved I had severe endometriosis, fibroids (similar to tumors in my womb), and a hormone deficiency. I had surgeries to correct these problems and medicines to balance the hormones. But still no baby after the corrective surgeries and thousands of dollars spent.
I sought another fertility specialist, and this time around went through two IUI’s (artificial insemination). With the last treatment, we were given the news, “With your age and egg maturity, there is no hope for you to conceive.” I felt as if those words left me lifeless. I felt as if something died within my heart. The only thing I could think of to do after receiving this terrible report was to turn to God, which as cliché as it sounds was true. I prayed asking God to mend my broken heart that was shattered in a million pieces. Truly, he supernaturally brought healing to my confused mind and broken emotions. Again, my disappointment was met with an appointment with Him. I know this may sound very odd for some, but truly this is my testimony how God can heal one suffering with the grief of infertility.
As I had such an intense desire to have children, my husband was the opposite. So there arose conflict. But we came to a resolution. The details of this are in the acknowledgement of the book. We still pray and ask God for children and keep our hearts open as to how He would like to expand our family, but in the meantime we are content and at peace within our hearts and marriage, holding to the scripture that God has a great future and hope (Jeremiah 29:11).
Through this time also, out of my pain came purpose: the invitation to lead the HOPE Christian infertility support group and to start the online Christian ministry, Dancing Upon Barren Land. (This is detailed in chapter five of the book, “Living Life While You Wait.”)
If I were asked, “What are the threads woven through your tapestry of infertility?” I would say God’s faithfulness during the journey and God’s comfort and healing for the brokenness during infertility or infant loss.
Click here to watch the Dancing Upon Barren Land video which features eight individuals sharing their stories about the journey through infertility.
Lesli Westfall is the author of Dancing Upon Barren Land: Prayer, Scripture Reflections, and Hope for Infertility. While leading a Christian infertility support group in one of the largest churches in America, a deep compassion formed within Westfall’s heart. Based upon her own experience as well as others in the group, the online ministry Dancing Upon Barren Land was created, offering spiritual nourishment for the infertility road. She now ministers to women around the world through the website and leads support groups at other local congregations.
Westfall loves spending time with her family, friends and especially her husband, Larry, whom she refers to as her man of faith and live-in comedian. She also enjoys teaching cooking and etiquette to children and traveling, especially road trips.
Publication date: May 21, 2013