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The following was written by Rachel J. Trotter and appeared on LDS Living. To see the full article, click here

You wouldn’t expect the mother of six children to write a story about infertility, but I have watched Sally and Ryan for many years. I have loved watching their family and the kind way they deal with the world, and the extra dose of love they have always extended to me, my husband, and our children. Sally openly shares her dark days of struggle and her bright ones, but for the longest time I really wanted to know the whole story, so I asked. Her generosity and openness with her story is a true blessing to hear.

Her journey started nearly 15 years ago when she married Ryan at 25. “I already felt like I was old,” she said with a laugh, adding, “you know, living in Utah.” We both laughed at that notion. But the two had grandiose plans. They wanted to have six children, raise them around family, and have the ideal life they had always dreamed of. They wanted to start their family right away.

One year passed. No pregnancy. While not trying to worry, nonetheless, there was some worry. So they decided to see a doctor. “That’s when things got crazy messy,” Sally remembers. She started trying to eat all the exact right foods, rest properly, work out, or not work out, or even work out differently. But, nothing. “We weren’t making any progress and I felt hopeless and helpless,” Sally said of that time.

“I felt like I was in this midst of darkness and I didn’t know how to get out,” she said with sadness. She was also doing everything she could spiritually. She was praying, studying her scriptures, fasting, and Ryan was doing all of those things as well, plus they were doing them together. She became so focused on infertility and trying to get pregnant it was hard to think of other tasks. “This is the thing I was sent to earth to do,” she said of being a mother. She had even received a blessing when she was younger saying being a mother was her primary purpose. But at the end of the day, she wasn’t a mother.

“I was going through these physically painful and painfully emotional treatments. I was doing all the right things, but it was just really, really hard,” Sally said. Luckily, she and Ryan’s relationship stayed strong and they were a good support for each other. She remembers that Ryan would suggest other options for their life like travel that would take Sally’s mind off infertility, but she just couldn’t step out of the dark hopelessness she felt she was drowning in. “I just wanted to be a mom. I was hopeless and I was sad,” she said. That lasted for nearly five years.

To read the full article on LDS Living, click here