Becoming a parent is something that many couples dream about and plan for. Most women can recall wanting to be a mommy ever since they held their first baby doll. Once a couple begins trying to start their family, however, they just might discover that God’s plan for them is not what they themselves had envisioned. Meredith Erickson and her husband have spent the past two years yearning to see their family grow, and to help ease her weary heart, Meredith started her blog, The Baby Wait, to not only document her journey but also give other women in her situation a place to come together.
4word: Tell our readers a little about your background.
Meredith: I am a 31-year-old accountant and follower of Jesus. I graduated from Pepperdine University and worked at KPMG for 7 years. I currently do finance and accounting for a hedge fund in Chicago where I live with my sweet husband. We love our church and dear friends, and try to get in as much travel as possible despite the demands of our jobs.
Part of the Lord’s story for my life included what felt like the longest wait ever for my wonderful hubby, and now we are waiting for what feels like forever to have our first child. Our infertility journey is coming up on its 2-year anniversary, and I recently started a website called The Baby Wait as a ministry to those suffering with infertility, miscarriage, and adoption.
4word: Tell us about how you and your husband met.
Meredith: Now this is a cool story. When I worked at KPMG, I was part of their training program, meaning that I spent a few weeks each year teaching the new hires fresh out of school. I randomly got paired up to instruct with a guy from the KPMG Chicago office (I was in Minneapolis at the time), and at the end of the week, he told me he thought I would hit it off with a friend of his. I was excited and skeptical all at the same time, of course. I asked two very important questions: 1) Is he a Christian? Like, does he love Jesus? and, 2) Show me a picture (duh!). He managed to find the very best picture my husband has ever taken and I was smitten. He had his nephew on his shoulders, people!
We exchanged phone numbers, started text messaging (I know), then graduated to actually talking on the phone before we finally met in person. The day we met face to face was the day we knew we would get married. Fourteen months later we were husband and wife!
4word: At what point in your marriage did the two of you know you were ready to start a family? What signs pointed to you being ready?
Meredith: We were almost 30 when we got married, so we went into marriage knowing that we didn’t want to wait long to have kids. A few months after our wedding, we decided that it was silly for us to intentionally prevent a pregnancy. We were married, we both had good jobs, we had just bought a condo with 3 bedrooms, and we certainly weren’t getting any younger. We had also just walked alongside some good friends as they suffered a miscarriage, which was heartbreaking to say the least, so we figured, why not? Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that almost two years later, we would still be desperately trying to have our first child.
4word: What has this journey to start a family been like? How have you and your husband dealt with the bumps in the road?
Meredith: I will always remember the almost fearful giddiness we felt the month we took our first pregnancy test. At that point I don’t think I even fully understood ovulation or knew if/when I ovulated, but we thought for sure we were pregnant. I mean, that’s what happens, right? You have unprotected sex and you get pregnant! Well that obviously didn’t happen. 22 cycles later, it still hasn’t happened (although we now know A LOT more about how it all works – maybe too much).
The first few months we brushed it off as “normal”, and it wasn’t until the six-month mark that we started to take it all more seriously. We shared our desires with both of our parents and asked for their prayers. Once we hit the one-year mark, we were referred to a reproductive endocrinologist and did multiple tests all to find out that there was nothing wrong. Our cause of infertility was – and still is – “unexplained”.
Every two-week wait felt like an eternity, and the “trying to conceive” message boards that I discovered helped pass the time. Have you all ever read those? Everyone’s symptoms completely contradict each other, yet people end up pregnant with every symptom! It’s dreadfully confusing, yet I was completely entranced. I was spending precious time on a site that was void of the gospel, a site filled with women that put their hope and trust in “baby dust.”
After each negative test, I would shame my optimism with an, “I knew it”, and all of my emotions would go into “sleep mode,” ready to creep up on me at the most unexpected moments, often times days later. I found myself being short and nasty to my husband for no reason, and would eventually burst into tears. It is safe to say that I had (and still have!) one volcanic meltdown every cycle.
To be completely transparent here, over time I have come to recognize that most of my meltdowns occur after I feel jealousy. For example, after finding out at brunch that another friend is pregnant, or after cradling that newborn baby at church, or after seeing too many stinking women at Whole Foods involuntarily rubbing their perfectly round bellies. It’s embarrassing to admit, really, because deep down I am ecstatic for my friend, and I cherish the opportunity to rock that little miracle in my arms, and the random ladies at Whole Foods… well, I’m sure they’ll be wonderful moms, but these moments trigger reminders of the task that I cannot seem to cross off my list no matter how hard I try. They have something that I do not, that I want so desperately.
Now that I have recognized these triggers, I try hard to fight jealousy with an iron fist by relishing in God’s love for me. I remind myself of God’s goodness, that He is with me - with us - through it all, that He is the one in control - not me - and He has a beautiful story written for us – we just don’t know the ending yet.
4word: How did your blog “The Baby Wait” come about?
Meredith: About 15 months into this journey, I prayed that God would reveal to me His purpose in this time of waiting. Sure, it was drawing me closer to Him and it was drawing me closer to my husband, but WHY?! Why was He making me wait? What was the point? I just wanted to know. What had I done? I was frustrated and ashamed, and I just wanted God to reveal the purpose in His plan. He didn’t have to tell me when or how, just WHY. In fact, I got to a point in my prayer where I said, “God, if it means that I don’t get pregnant for a while, FINE. Just help me understand. Help me see Your glory in this mess.”
Not long after, the idea for The Baby Wait popped into my head. I hated that I spent time browsing the dumb message boards, but I craved community. And I wanted to be reminded of God’s goodness: through scripture, through song, and through story. A few friends had shared stories of friends, or friends of friends as I started to open up more about our struggles, and these stories were amazing! They brought tears to my eyes and made the hair on my arms stand tall. God’s hand in these stories was undeniable, and I clung to them as reminders of God’s faithfulness. I wanted more of them, and one day had the idea to create a site where I could browse through story after story of God’s faithfulness. I shared it with one of my good friends just for fun, not thinking much of it, and she insisted that I follow through with it. But I needed a “name”, and I’m an accountant, not a Creative Director, so I was sure that this was the point where my idea would die a slow death. But one morning I sprang out of bed, turned to my husband and said, “Baby Wait! The Baby Wait!” And that was it. I give God every ounce of credit for helping me come up with that name. I dream in numbers, not words!
4word: Are you able to utilize “The Baby Wait” as an outlet for your passion of connecting with women?
Meredith: Yes! I realized not long ago that God has been preparing me for this my whole life. He put a desire in my heart to connect with women over a decade ago. Early in my 20s, I wanted to teach young women financial awareness (think Suze Orman for the next generation), and then I had a heart for young women fresh out of college, and then I had a heart for single women that yearned for a husband (because I was one for a long time!) It all prepared me for this moment.
And my singleness – that was the most important broken road of all. The pain and suffering that I experienced drew me to yet a deeper relationship with Jesus, and I learned to lean into Him with my sadness, and that He would be my man of sorrows if only I would let Him. I waited for my husband for what felt like forever, but the Lord had the most wonderful surprise ready for me. I am so thankful that I waited, that none of the others along the way worked out, because this husband of mine is everything I have ever hoped for and more than I knew I needed. God’s faithfulness in this part of my life gives me the utmost reassurance that He will do no differently when it comes to our future family.
So now I am in my glory. I feel the pain and hurt of every woman that reaches out to me, and I mourn with them. I love to lift them up in prayer, and it is my joy to provide encouragement and hope for them in this trying time of their life. I have to give all the credit to Jesus though, because these words, these inspirations – they all come from Him. If someone told me that I would lead a ministry someday I probably would have laughed, but the Lord provides abundantly to fulfill His purpose.
4word: What are some stories from women on “The Baby Wait” that have stuck out to you the most?
Meredith: They are all so unique that it’s hard to pick a favorite! I think that is the beauty of the stories God writes. Each one is different, and He is always finding new ways to showcase His glory.
I think I personally relate the most to those about breakthroughs in infertility because they give me hope. I have never been pregnant, so am fortunate to have never experienced a miscarriage, and we are not currently pursuing an adoption. But to say that I love them all is an understatement. Every single one is special to me, and I marvel at how different they all are. My prayer is that every single person that visits this site is able to find a story that really resonates with what they are feeling and going through.
4word: What thoughts or advice would you share with women (and couples) who are going through a difficult time trying to conceive?
Meredith: Trust in the Lord. It can be a long, painful, uncomfortable journey, but when you release control and put your faith in Him, you will be overcome by a sense of peace that will get you through the very toughest moments.
And try to get to a place where you can be open about your struggle with those closest to you. I will always remember the burden that was lifted when we told both of our parents what was going on. Vulnerability is so powerful, and when you open up, that many more people will lift you up in prayer.
Meredith’s story is one that many women could tell. The journey to starting a family is not the same for everyone, so draw inspiration from Meredith’s example and find ways that you can be an encouraging presence to someone going through a difficult time with trying to conceive. If you dealt with or are dealing with infertility, visit The Baby Wait and share your story. You might find other women with whom you can connect and take this journey.
Have you dealt with infertility or struggled with having children? How were you able to make it through that situation?
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Meredith Erickson is an accountant by day and blogger by night. She started the website, The Baby Wait, as a means to bring hope and encouragement to those struggling with infertility, miscarriage, or adoption. The Baby Wait shares reminders of God’s goodness through scripture, through song, and through story.
Meredith and her husband live in Chicago, Illinois. They love to cook together, do house projects, get in a good workout, and most of all; have friends around their table. They are still waiting for God to reveal the rest of their story, and look forward to the day their home is filled with children.