By Hannah Salsberry
From as early as I can remember, I have wanted to be a mother. I spent my entire childhood carrying a baby doll around with me everywhere I went (my mom likes to point out that most of the time, I had one in each arm). As I got older, the desire to become a mother grew. I have been nicknamed the ‘mother hen’ on a number of occasions in my friend groups over the years as well. Motherhood was never anything that I ever imagined not happening in my future. In February of 2011, that thought would be challenged.
I found myself at the doctor’s office watching an ultrasound, revealing over 23 cysts covering my ovaries. I was given the diagnosis that day of severe PCOS (poly cystic ovarian syndrome) and endometriosis. The problems I was facing in the months previous were more serious than I thought, and I was faced that day with what would be a long journey for me. As the months went on, procedures would fail, medicines would fail, and my idea of worth would be questioned. I was eventually given the label of “infertile” at the age of 23 years old.
I would give into the lies that I was somehow less of a woman, less desirable by a man someday, a burden to my family and future husband, and that my dream of being a mother would never happen for me. I believed that God surely didn’t care about me and that He took the very thing that gave me identity to begin with. I would believe that I should be ashamed of sharing about my health journey because no one would understand me and this was something that most people my age don’t face. I would believe that I was alone and there was no point in opening up about my struggles with faith or self esteem or a number of other things.
Oh, but then in the process, how I healed. How He met me. How my God carried me through. How every red light I was stopped at with tears streaming down my eyes, He showed up. How people spoke into my life, laid hands on me in prayer, attended my appointments, and reminded me that I would be a mother someday and that while the journey may be long, God saw my heart. How I would repeat this entire grueling process from beginning to end all over again just because of the nurses, doctors, staff, and women I’ve been able to love on in the waiting rooms and at my doctor’s office. How I would go through this entire process over again because of the way it has encouraged the people in my life and built faith. How I’d endure it all over again because it’s opened my eyes to the way I so critically view others before understanding their situation (she must be _____ because she’s ______, etc.). How it has taught me that sometimes the cure is worse than the disease and that people we may pass everyday could be in severe pain.
The future may still be uncertain. The journey to pregnancy may or may not be an easy thing for me, but regardless of what lies ahead, in this past year and a half I have learned more than ever in my life that I’m beautiful and made perfectly by God. I’ve gained a four word testimony for my life that I know in full faith will be my anthem in life: He carried me through. Whether I have my own children, adopt only, or both, I know I will be a mother someday. I know that the man God created for me isn’t going to see me as a burden, but that he’s going to be equipped to fully walk through this with me. I know that God hears every prayer for healing, because at my last appointment, I received good news for the first time since that February day. I now have less than 5 cysts and while my endometriosis is getting “worse”, I honestly know that my God hears and my God heals.
I may be sick. I may have a diagnosis. I may carry a medical label. But, I am worth more than those things. I am worth more than my sickness. I am worth more than my diagnosis.
If you’d like to get in touch with Hannah or ask her questions about her journey, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you are facing an ailment of some sort, know that you are not alone, and that while the road may be long, you are worth more than your sickness.