I’ve written and re-written this post in my head several times over, but never actually put it on paper or a screen. “Is it too personal? Am I showing too much of my heart? What will my couples think?”

If you’ve been around the blog for a while, you know I’ve never shied away from sharing my shortcomings and burdens. But this feels different, somehow. There have been so many times over the last several months where I thought I was the ONLY one struggling with this, so that’s why I’m finally blogging about it- because if you’re there too, I want you to know you’re not alone. 

A season of waiting | photo by Justin & Mary

It was never a question of whether or not we wanted kids, just a matter of when. When we were first married, I thought I’d want to start a family around our second anniversary (3.5+ years ago). But then my business took off and my desires changed- suddenly, I felt like a baby would threaten the success I’d worked so hard to achieve, and I was affronted that this yet-to-be-conceived child thought they could come in and force me to change my priorities.

I remember the night Matt & I finally had a real conversation about the concept of a family- I told him that I felt like getting pregnant would mean there was a ticking time bomb attached to my business: T-minus nine months ’til implosion, and then I’d cease to be a photographer anymore. I LOVE my job, and I was resentful at the thought of being forced to give it up. But Matt, in his ever-loving patience and kindness, took my hands in his and said,”If it comes to it and one of us has to leave our jobs to be a stay-at-home parent, I’ll do it- I don’t want you to feel forced into anything.”

Ok, so I no longer had that burden riding on my shoulders. I was free to relax.

And sure enough, as time went on, God softened my heart- I went from being resistant to the idea of starting a family, to passively interested, to excited at the prospect of seeing Matt as a dad.

A season of waiting | photo by Justin & Mary

But here’s the thing- in the public school system’s effort to cut down on teen births, they never teach you that getting pregnant might actually be difficult. It’s like Coach Carr from Mean Girls says: “Don’t have sex. Because you will get pregnant and die.” If that logic was true, then obviously, having a baby would be as simple as not preventing pregnancy, right?

If there’s anything I’ve learned over the last year and half, it’s that starting a family is often anything BUT simple.

Because that’s about how long we’ve been trying to begin ours. As I look on with joy at my friends who are announcing first and second, sometimes third pregnancies, I’m only ever thrilled for them (truly!). But it also throws into undeniable contrast the fact that we’re not there yet. And with every passing month when the answer is once again “no,” I can’t help but feel more and more saddened.

And to be honest? Sometimes a bit angry, too. I’ve also occasionally wondered if this is some sort of cosmic payback for the fact that I was resistant to pregnancy earlier in our marriage, so now when I actually want a baby, I don’t get to have one because I was ungrateful in the past (that’s completely inaccurate theology, by the way).

A season of waiting | photo by Justin & Mary

But one thing I’ve never felt is hopeless. There have been so many moments over the last nearly-year and a half where I’ve found myself weeping, literally crying out to God because I just. don’t. understand why it hasn’t happened for us. And yet I know, I KNOW that there’s a purpose for it! Whether that reason is because God still has work he wants to do in Matt & I before we’re ready to be parents, or because he has something else entirely planned for us, I know that His plan is perfect and His reasoning is infinitely better than ours.

And I also know that it’s OKAY to be sad about this right now, too! That there’s worship in expressing my sorrow to the Lord, because he’s the only one who can offer any sort of comfort for this kind of trial. But at the depths of my sadness, I still have trust and hope that Jeremiah 29:11 is true: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord. ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'”

A season of waiting | photo by Justin & Mary

So we wait. Sometimes with more patience, sometimes with less, but always with hope. Because I know this isn’t the end for us, and I know there are so many adventures waiting for us, no matter how big or small our family is.

All photographs courtesy of the incomparable Justin & Mary.

**Please understand, dear blog friends- this not something we’d like to talk about with anyone other than our close friends and family right now, so thank you in advance for understanding that I won’t be replying to any emails about this. It’s not because I’m callous, I promise. It’s just because it’s so very personal, and I’ve shared as much as we’re ready to share at the moment. We’re both looking forward to reading any blog comments you want to leave, though!**

Why “not yet” isn’t the end | Travels toward a family

October 3, 2016

  1. Natalie says:

    Thank you for being so brave and open and sharing in hopes of encouraging others! You are the best!

  2. Jillian Schweitzer says:

    Oh, man, I’m so right there. We’ve been trying now and each month, I curse my period. Sending all the hugs.

  3. You’re a strong girl for sharing your heart like this <3 But know it will resonate with lots of couples out there in the same spot… Sending all the love & prayers your way! xoxo

  4. Holly says:

    How do people hug in France? That is the type of hug I want to send your way!!! Love your heart for sharing. Thinking of you and Matt!

  5. Mary says:

    Oh, Abby. God hears and knows your sweet desires and it was so good to read this. You are not alone. We are struggling with infertility now (after having 2 easy, uncomplicated pregnancies), and your post has lifted me up. There are good days and there are bad, but trusting in the wisdom and graciousness of the Lord is certainly a saving Grace (literally)! 🙂 I am praying for you and Matt. Hugs! xoxo

  6. Sarah says:

    ❤️❤️ I feel your pain! Thank you for being to vulnerable, I so needed this reminder this morning that God is in control

  7. Big hugs to you Abby! Thank you for sharing such a deeply personal story. I have heard the same thing from quite a few of my wedding industry friends. God blessed many of my friends this year with the gift of children, and their joy is my joy. I hope that some day very soon you and Matt have the joy of being parents. You will make wonderful ones. 🙂

  8. Abby, thank you for sharing your heart! I’m always so impressed with how beautifully & eloquently you express things. Praying for y’all, sweet friend!

  9. Meredith says:

    Abby, my heart goes out to you. We have been there time and again but through it God taught us so much about Him and ourselves in the waiting and the in between times where He said no or not yet. In our brokenness, he made us stronger where we needed to be and softened our hearts where they were bitter or hard. I pray for wisdom and insight for you as you wait in the in-between knowing that His good and perfect timing is just that . . good and perfect.

  10. Megan says:

    You are so brave and inspiring for sharing your story. We love you guys!

  11. This was such a sweet post! It’s amazing how life can be a struggle at times but so wonderfully great with God at the front and faith. Praying for you guys! 🙂

  12. Rebekah says:

    Abby – thank you for sharing and being such a light for Christ through this season of your life! You are using your trials for His glory and that radiates his love and goodness to the world! Love you, sweet friend!

  13. Shalese says:

    The title of this is so perfect . . . “not YET.” His timing is perfect (and sometimes frustrating and hard and sad — you know it’s ok to feel that way), and I’m praying all kinds of strength & hope & faith over you both in the waiting.

  14. Love, oh my heart. I know all the ways this waiting is making you feel. I wish none of us had to feel the ache of waiting for a child we’ve whispered to the heavens to receive. But, there is so much hope! I’m sending so much love and so many prayers to you and Matt and I’m here if you need anything at all!

  15. Sydni says:

    So sorry you are dealing with this Abby. Hope you can find comfort in God during this period of waiting. <3 <3

  16. Michelle says:

    It is the hardest thing to share something so close and personal. We were right there with you not too long ago. It took us 4 years and a specialist to get to we’re we are today ( 8months pregnant). No one tells you how hard it could actually be, but never give up . We hoped and prayed it would just happen one day, but we then had to come to terms that we actually needed help. Our fertility specialist and our nurse were some of the most amazing people and I knew we made the right decision to come . It’s so hard especially being a business owner you know what it’s like if you want something bad enough you work hard at it, but there is no working hard at this . You are such an amazing person and I loved meeting you at Creative at Heart ( round 2) . You are not alone and you will be in my prayers. I shared our whole journey on our blog and it was the hardest blog to write , but I felt if I could help just one person it was all worth it.

  17. Love you, love you, love you dear friend. Thanks for sharing your heart so clearly and hopefully. xoxo

  18. Mary Marantz says:

    Girl! I am SO proud of you and love you so much! And you know we are right there with you and feel everything you wrote! My favorite part “there is worship in expressing our sorrow” Ohhhh YES!!! I love that we have a God who doesn’t need us to slap a smile on all the time (and call it joy) in order for Him to love us and draw close to us and talk to us. I love that we can take every pain and every hard thing and every good thing too, to Him and He holds us right in the palm of His hand. Crying with us, laughing with us, always holding us closer. The most important thing is that YOU know you are not alone either Abby girl. I am ALWAYS here when you need someone to talk to who totally understands! LOVE your beautiful, beautiful heart!

    xo
    Mary

  19. Abby I just want encourage you that it’s very apparent that the Lord helped you write this. Your hope is so evident and I know that lives are going to be changed by this vulnerability and your hope is going to be multiplied. I almost didn’t comment because I don’t want to be one of those people that causes pain but I also don’t want to be the friend that disappears out of fear just because I’m pregnant. We shared the same fear of losing our businesses. Two years ago is when I overcame that fear and then pregnancy wasn’t instantaneous for us while it was for others and I wondered the same things you are wondering right now. I hope my current position doesn’t discredit my past fear because I do remember being in the unknown and I just want you to know that I’m praying for you both. We love you and I’m so proud of you for so beautifully sharing this deep part of your heart.

  20. Megan says:

    Right there with you. Thank you for sharing. it is always nice to know you’re not struggling alone. It took me a while to move from “I can’t believe God is doing this to me” to “God I trust your plan but this still hurts.” Spot on with the mean girls reference.

  21. Deanna says:

    ❤❤❤

  22. Martha Wiles says:

    Oh sweet Abby and precious Matt,
    I remember asking my doctor did something change in the way of making babies that I was unaware of. I hated the monthly disappointments. Three years for Carlee. We lost a baby 15 months later. Then came the long wait for Jonathan.
    Almost four years. And while I was carrying him, the doctors wanted me to abort him. Miracles. They never cease. Tommy and I wanted four or more children. Well, that did not happen for us. May you both physically and mentally and emotionally feel the calm, peaceful, strong love of our spiritual Father.
    Thank you for sharing your heart. We shall pray boldly for you both.

  23. Bethanne says:

    Abby, your words moved me to tears. I am praying for you and Matt and for your growing family. It will happen; He will make it so. You’re going to be an incredible mother, and Matt an incredible father. I’m praying for strength, for patience, and I never want you to lose hope! I love that you were so open and honest about your struggles and thoughts; keep sharing your beautiful words, Abby! <3

  24. Lauren Swann says:

    Love you sweet friend!! This post was written so beautifully and I can’t wait for the day when we can all rejoice with you and Matt!! Xoxo praying for you today!!

  25. Erika Mills says:

    Oh my heart. The hope you have and the prayers you are praying, the whispers and the yells, are all heard. God is such a merciful God and has laid such a great plan for you, Matt and your family. Prayers that He will continue shaping the desires in your heart to walk in line with His will. <3

  26. Megan Kelsey says:

    I’ve been reading James 1 this week and I love that God promises He is there in the midst of our trials. That Jesus suffered too and He knows every ounce of the sorrow we are feeling. That trials strengthen our faith like nothing else can. I know that’s a strange thing to say to anyone going through a tough time… but I know God has incredible plans for you and Matt and this is a part of that. You are a joy to anyone who meets you and you’ve impacted my life in a way that few other people have – your confidence, positivity, and courage to set boundaries for your family and “say no” has literally changed my life this year. Keep claiming Jesus as the center and the king of your lives and marriage – He will never abandon you or give you more than you can handle.

  27. Marissa Lynn says:

    Oh Abby what a beautiful and honest blog post, while I had years of unexplainable waiting for our first child, and even our second, I spent most of that time feeling so LOST. I always thought my purpose was to be a mom so I was 100% fixated on that, I had nothing else to grasp to, and the thoughts and emotions took over most of the time. I, unlike so many, found my ‘what I’m meant to do’ AFTER the years of struggle, building my career with small babes in tow. I remember so many of these emotions and I pray for you and your husband for the peace from God while you wait. Love you and thank you for sharing your heart and journey Abby.

  28. Tori Watson says:

    Thank you for sharing your heart, my friend. You know Aaron and I walked a very similar path – almost 19 months of waiting, hoping, wanting, aching, crying. I don’t know why the timing is the way it is for those of us who it doesn’t “just happen” for…but I do know that clinging to Hope and choosing to rejoice in the midst are so rewarding. I’m proud of your response and know the Lord is glorified by your genuine heart and persistence to seek Him in your sadness. I love you and am praying for favor on you, peace as you wait, and His perfect timing in granting this precious desire. ❤️

  29. Jean says:

    You are my brave, loving, sweet granddaughter and I love you so much. I have known you were hoping for a child and have been praying for you and Matt. it will happen all in God’s timing. Love you!????

  30. Deborah Zoe says:

    Thank you for sharing this <3 We've been trying for our second for almost two years, experienced a miscarriage last fall and have now begun fertility testing. You are a brave woman for sharing all of this. It's weird to share something so deeply personal, yet you know that by sharing you can empower, encourage and strengthen those who are battling this too. Infertility, miscarriage and all the emotional questions that surround pregnancy need to be talked about MORE. All those fears you shared about getting pregnant — I felt them too!! There needs to be far less judgment and far more THIS IS ME TOO, YOU'RE NOT ALONE, IT'S HARD, HERE'S A HUG. Thank you for opening that discussion Abby, I'm so appreciative of you sharing your heart 🙂

  31. Michele says:

    Abby- My husband and I were in a very similar situation. I was fearful of “losing” myself to motherhood. God slowly transformed my heart, and when I felt “ready,” it didn’t happen. I thought I was being punished for being fearful which I also knew was poor theology. Then one day after a year and a half, the test was positive. God’s timing is so unbelievably perfect. We now have the coolest almost 6 month old. We have been able to use our testimony to encourage others, and we know thats why we went through what we did (in addition to the amazing work he did on our hearts). Praying for you!

  32. Rose says:

    Oh Abby! I’m praying for you and Matt. I’m so thankful for your words both now and when you told Alex and I to be patient. We too thought it would be instantaneous. And while it hasn’t been a year for us, we have still been so disappointed each month when we’ve been told, No. We have to continuously remind ourselves that it will that time. I always think of you and know that we are not alone and that when the time is right He will make it happen. I love you Abby, and I’m cheering for ya!

  33. Christina l forbes says:

    The strength and courage to write a post with this much vulnerability, honesty, hope, faith and love is truly brave of you guys. My heart goes out to you guys and I pray that you continue to have your faith and trust that God has a plan and that he is with you. May you two continue to hold on tight to each other, lifting each other up in times of weakness and that the amazing love that you already share continues to deepen and stays strong. XOXO

  34. Heather says:

    Abby- hugs:) I know you don’t really know me but I felt compelled to add my encouragement here. I too experienced infertility for 8.5yrs. What you said is so true! Hold onto that hope:) that was the hardest tag to hold onto at times. I also learned that being vulnerable & sharing this load with community made so much of a difference. Our story was briefly shared in a video contest through a fertility company (we ended up doing IVF) & I thought the videos might encourage you. https://www.hearttoheartcontest.com

    Hang in there:) heather

  35. Thank you so much for sharing your heart ???? We have miss arrived twice since March and I can relate to your feelings! Prayers for you and your husband!!!

  36. Katie Vogel says:

    Abby, you have such a beautiful and open soul — personal things like this are never an easy thing to share, and yet most of us have experienced/are experiencing the same feelings/doubts somewhere in our lives. You are a source of joy and inspiration, pointing everyone toward YOUR source of hope. Thank you for sharing.

  37. Melissa McLemore says:

    You are amazing and so very brave to share your heart in such a personal way. I have seen so many of my friends face the same struggle. You will be in my mind and prayers!

  38. Latie says:

    Abby, you will make an amazing mom one day. No matter the road it takes to get you there. I am sending you big hugs. Hang in there!! <3

  39. Oh sweet Abby, I hope and pray you are SO encouraged by all of these comments because God is speaking so much truth and love through them! Our story is a little different in terms of the waiting (getting married later in life, having the longest miscarriage ever, etc.) but the beauty is that God uses each of our stories for His glory and His purpose and He is going to use yours too! You are so right that there is worship in the waiting, He still has things for both of you to do before children come and the things He has for you after they come will look a little different, but will still be for His purpose! Thanks for being vulnerable and sharing your heart. God is going to use that too 🙂

  40. Mia Bjerring says:

    Abby, I’m so sorry you are going through this, but seeing that you never lose hope really inspires me. I was in tears reading this. You are so brave for sharing this, and I’m really glad you did. I love that you are real when you write. You are relatable for a lot of women and in a way I can relate to this (but in a different way from where I am in my life right now, if that makes sense), but never losing hope relates to all of us. You and Matt are going to make the best parents some day, and I’ll be praying and thinking of you in this time of life. So much love and so many hugs to you <3

  41. Kayla Lapp says:

    This is the bravest, most beautiful blog post I’ve ever read. Hugs! ♡

  42. Lyn O'Connell says:

    How many times can one rewrite a comment because it just doesn’t feel like enough. Your vulnerability is so clearly not in vain but oh so needed by so many. Continue to love and respect you more and more each day. <3 <3 <3 <3… x1000

  43. Dale Harburg says:

    Abby, as an “infertile” mom of three wonderful in-vitro babies and one natural surprise ballerina baby (when they said it would never happen that way) hang in there! I shed many tears all those years ago when I was disappointed each month, but all that disappointment made becoming a mom that much sweeter!!! Best of luck to you two!!!

  44. This is such a beautifully written post, Abby. Thank you for sharing your heart, and your hope, with us. Love to you and Matt!

  45. Shannon says:

    So beautifully written Abby! I am sure it was hard to write and share. Writing about Chase was the most personal post I had ever done and it took me months before I got up the strength to share. You are so amazing! I am truly sorry for what you both are going through. I know it’s easier said then done, especially in those moments you breakdown but just keep having hope and faith! And it seems like your doing that. It’s all that got us through our struggles. You will be in my thoughts and prayers! Xoxo

  46. Ethan With The Pants says:

    Well, I wasn’t planning on crying in the workplace this month. That went to hell.

    Abby, you’re my only sister. That’s probably for the best because between you and Seth I’d probably have killed a third sibling. But as my only sister, you’re a part of me that I like to pretend is still a little girl who needs defending from bullies (and boys). It took me a hot minute to even accept that were going to get married, much less embark on this fantastic journey you and Matt decided to head down. And the idea of you having a kid just seemed so remote to me, like nah, she’s my sister, not a mother. My mom is a mother. My wife is a mother. My sister is a sister. Duh.

    But you’re you. And your desire to be a mother is no different than my desire to be a good father. Or my joy at seeing my wife be a good mother. I’ve had the joy of working with you these past few years, and seeing the lens (get it a CAMERA joke!) I viewed you with shift from the little girl I needed to protect, into the young woman, consummate professional, emotional confidant (be it to a crying bride, an angry brother, or a new photographer in need), and especially loving aunt (to a niece and nephew who ADORE you), and spouse who gives so many f*^k’s about her husband it constantly reminds me to be better about giving f#&k’s about my wife… all that to say… You are gonna be one hell of a mother, whether that’s sooner or later.

    Your little family has prepared for and weathered the storm of life to be in a position that you can make the choice to strive for pregnancy, rather than have it foisted on you at a time of great difficulty. I may not believe in God, but it’s no leap of faith to think that a child wasn’t part of the plan for your early career, so that you can reach that point of success and professionalism that you had the breathing room to actually think about having kids.

    Jess and I are pulling for you guys, and we know this obstacle will be overcome just like every Tough Mudder worth of obstacles you have successfully navigated so far. I love you, Abby. With every iota of my being. You’re my favorite sister.

    Ethan

  47. Michelle says:

    Oh girl, I have been there. We put off and put off having a baby because we were rich in time and had a long list of things we wanted that would be complicated by children. Then when we decided we were ready, nothing. It was a long and emotional couple of years, but now 16 months into our parenting journey it’s so clear why it didn’t work out sooner. His timing is perfect and when your journey to growing your family turns a new page you will know why you had to wait, and it will be so worth it.

  48. Paige says:

    I love you guys! Hugs and prayers to you both. “His time not ours” is what I need to remember with you. Wishing I had a magic wand I would give you your dreams!

  49. Heather says:

    Abby,

    Thank you for sharing your heart! I’m so glad to see the Lord working through you and hearing your testimony was a blessing. I pray the Lord will grant you & Matt the desires of your heart and bless you abundantly beyond what you can imagine for being faithful and trusting him! Hugs to you! ❤️

  50. Nilo Burke says:

    Abby, your words are beautiful and so true! God has so much planned for your lives and He is carefully planning everything so that it is for your good and the good of your family. You are so brave to share your heart with the world. You are not alone! Now many others will feel that they are not alone just by your blog post! Bravo, friend, for always keeping hope alive!!!
    Much love to you and Matt!!!

  51. Abbeigh says:

    I wish I could reach through this screen and give you a big hug! Your heart for God is beautiful, your hope is inspiring, and your willingness to share part of your story is brave. So much love to you, sweet lady. So much love and so many prayers!

  52. JP says:

    THANK YOU for writing this! Thank you for being bold & brave. We are praying for you & Matt!

  53. Tricia says:

    I loved every word that you shared Abby (not to mention the coach carter quote!), so thank you for being so brave. God works in mysterious ways, continue to put your trust and hope in him. You all are such a beautiful couple and will be amazing parents to be! Praying for you❤️

  54. Hayley says:

    Abby, thank you so much for your courage to write this post. I can’t imagine how difficult this time must be for you and your husband. You are in my prayers! I wish you both the very best.

  55. Mary says:

    We’ve never met but I have followed your journey as I’ve followed many others silently without a friendship… I hope I’m brace enough to change that one day seven years of seeing, following, & rejoicing for the same peers and never reaching out to actually meet or form a real friendship is where I’m at.

    This is So beautifully written, the timing is everything and you spoke what’s in every women’s heart the fear that just because we waited doesn’t mean we aren’t deserving. We waited 9 married years before we tried and when it didn’t happen when I wanted it to …. I thought “I’m being punished for not wanting sooner” …. but it’s all about the right timing. It will happen when you need it to the most. Sending love, hope, and positive vibes
    Xoxox

  56. Hey, Abby!
    So many others who love you and Matt have said all of the things that I would say, however….I just want you to know that you are so brave and bold and inspirational and I thank you for sharing your heart and allowing God to assist you in explaining it so eloquently. God is so perfect and the work that He is doing is probably working on so many things (and people) that it’ll make our heads spin.

    I cannot wait to continue to witness the testimony that the Lord is creating, building and perfecting in your and Matt’s lives. Love you much. Xo

  57. Kristen Duffy says:

    Thank you for sharing, Abby. Praying for you both. You’ll be incredible parents whenever the time comes 🙂 (and incredible photos, as always!)

  58. Rici says:

    Dearest Abby!!! You are such a brave lady!! I am in awe of you! Your courage & Strength! and all this with open hands to our God!!!!! WOW! All I really want to say is that I am sending prayers your way. :***

  59. Rici says:

    Oh, and the last paragraph about it being personal! Very wise! Thank you for being such a wonderful example! (this actually gave me inspiration to think about sharing more personal stories again. Just maybe. One day.)
    Love!

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