I want to say that I can never fully represent my wife, Suet Beng, or her feelings and thoughts if she were to tell this story. The struggle that I experienced, my wife experienced double the magnitude, and the pain that I felt, my wife felt several times more severely.
We met each other in university; she was 19 and I was 21. We had a weird relationship; we were both very different in character, but an inexplicable chemistry drew us together. I still can’t explain it today. But one thing we both knew for sure, we wanted a family together. Two: that was the magic number. We wanted two children; one boy and one girl, that was our dream. Eventually we got engaged albeit at a relatively young age. She was 23 and I was 25. The following year we got married and immediately, we decided to start a family.
And so began the first of our many trips to the gynaecologist. What the doctor shared with us was a little foreign at that time. Suet Beng was diagnosed with a condition known as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), which simply meant that several cysts had grown on her ovaries, making the rate of infertility very high. Without proper treatment, it would be near impossible for her to conceive.
We were young and optimistic back then, so we did not immediately decide to undergo serious treatment. We accepted placing the dream on hold at the time, but it was always there. We would purchase a house big enough for two children, we would prepare our finances in the same way. But until then, we distracted ourselves with serving in church, travelling and advancing our careers.
The day never came for our dream to take off. Soon enough our peers started having children – those who married later. Even those who hadn’t wanted children were having children. In the years that followed, Suet Beng chose the courageous and difficult path of undergoing various treatments consisting of heavy medication, hormone injections, pill popping and even surgery to drill holes in her ovaries. With a heavy heart, I could only stand by and watch and pray.
Finally, six years into our marriage, Suet Beng was pregnant. When I first heard the news I was elated. I fell to my knees and thanked God. It was one of the happiest days of my life. I would lean my head against her stomach to talk to the baby. We began discussing baby names, and it didn’t matter if it was a boy or girl, I was thankful for a child.
Unfortunately, the joy soon came to an end as at one of our check-ups, the worst of news came. Every angle of every scan image confirmed it. The baby’s heart had stopped, and the doctor declared a miscarriage. I remember that day so clearly, as we sat in the hospital parking lot and cried. And cried and cried. Hope had been given only to be taken away. I cannot begin to tell you how we felt. Confused, sad, anxious, angry, hopeless. And as I’ve said, whatever I felt, my wife felt it 10 times more intensely.
After that, we could not bring ourselves to do anything related to children – no full moon parties, birthdays, even weddings. There were times we even found it difficult to go to church, as it meant having to see other couples with their children. Even our marriage began to suffer.
However, we pulled through. Two things helped; the first was our relationship with God. When you are losing grip of life, clinging on to God will take you through. The second was having encouraging and supportive friends. We found that in church and through organisations like Family First Malaysia, we were able to build a network of relationships that allowed us to receive support, while extending it to others.
I realised then that we must always have hope, and we had to trust God no matter the circumstance. With that positive outlook, we continued with our journey. We considered adoption, which I must say is a very noble thing to do, while my wife continued with every imaginable procedure: IUI, IVF and so on. In the end, we learnt to be content, accepting that life together could mean just the two of us. We simply continued living and giving.
“Always have hope, and trust God no matter the circumstance.”
Now, we do have a happy ending to this chapter of our lives. In the eighth year of our marriage, God gave us a beautiful baby girl. We named her Nadine, which in Russian means ‘hope’, a name that will remind us to always have hope. Also, just four months ago, Suet Beng gave birth to a pair of twins. One boy and one girl, whom we named Nathaniel and Natanya, which both mean ‘given by God’.
I am not here to offer you a miracle solution on how to conceive, or how to have children. Instead, I want to share with you three things that I’ve learnt from our life:
- Always cling on to hope and trust that God loves you.
- Find friends who encourage and support you.
- Always be there for your spouse no matter the circumstance.
About the Author:
Soo Mun Keong is a proud father of three and believes in strengthening family values.
Having two master’s degrees and currently pursuing a doctorate with emphasis on gamification, he now teaches early years education of the future generation in an institution that has Christian values in the syllabus.