It’s not often that a newly married couple thinks they will struggle with infertility. And it’s not often that a couple struggling with infertility will give others a laugh about it.
The pains and heartaches of infertility will never be forgotten, but Spencer and Whitney Blake, parents of two adopted boys in Idaho, decided to cope with the trial with something most couples would never dare to consider — humor. Instead of making creative pregnancy announcements, they posted infertility announcements on their blog in honor of Infertility Awareness Week —announcements that have since gone viral.
“There were definitely hard days where there wasn’t much to smile about, let alone laugh about,” Whitney explained. “But we have always tried our best to be cheerful people. The humor wasn’t so much a one-time conscious decision as it is just kind of our way of life. We like to laugh, and we especially enjoy laughing together. We just tried to find the funny in our situation, and there were some times we didn’t have to look too hard.”
For Spencer and Whitney, things didn’t turn out the way they had planned. After trying for pregnancy for about a year, they were diagnosed with “unexplained infertility” and battled infertility for several years.
“One of the hardest was the feelings of inadequacy,” Whitney said. “Families are central to the gospel, and we know that motherhood is one of the most divinely significant roles we as women will ever fill. It was sometimes hard to reconcile those gospel truths with my inability to bear children. There were many times I felt like I was not measuring up or that I was not enough.”
With families being such a huge part of the LDS culture, most every LDS member will see themselves bearing and raising a family of their own one day. Despite knowing deep down that the struggles of infertility were not a punishment, Whitney wrestled with the idea and blamed herself for the inability to procreate. A few years following infertility treatments, they decided Heavenly Father’s plan for them was to grow a family through adoption.
This trial didn’t diminish their faith, but opened new doors for them to receive the blessings of parenthood. It was during those “soul-searching, broken-hearted, sobbing-on-the-bathroom-floor moments” that they learned to trust and strengthen their relationship with Heavenly Father more deeply.
“When I begged for my desires for motherhood to be realized, I eventually learned that He was not saying ‘no,’” Whitney said. “He was saying ‘wait.’ I know that some of those blessings don’t come during our earthly experience, but I do believe that someday they come.”
Answers to Prayers
It was at an adoption conference when a popular scripture verse, 1 Nephi 3:7, was shared that Whitney realized Heavenly Father would help her progress into the person she was meant to become with or without children.
The verse reads, “And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.”
“I learned that motherhood is so much more than having children, or even raising children,” Whitney said. “I could love and nurture those within my sphere of influence, and as long as I was doing my best and utilizing the Atonement, my efforts would be enough. That peace and understanding did not come overnight, but with a lot of prayer it did eventually come.”
Although those prayers weren’t answered by birthing their own child, the couple adopted their first son, Mason, in 2012 and two years later adopted their second son, Kellen. The blessings of adoption deepened Spencer and Whitney’s testimony that Heavenly Father truly knows His children. Life without infertility is no longer conceivable, because they would have never met their Mason and Kellen to be sealed together forever.
“When Spencer and I were dreaming of and waiting for our children, we were waiting for Mason and Kellen,” Whitney stated. “Not just any baby, we were waiting for our babies. And thanks to two brave birth mothers, we found them. When I look back on the creation of our family, I can see Heavenly Father’s fingerprints throughout all of it.”
And as Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin stated in his October 2008 General Conference talk, “Come What May and Love It,” one of the first things we can do during times of testing and trial is “learn to laugh.” Spencer and Whitney stand as true examples of enduring hard times with faith as they bring a little humor to a very difficult matter.