Thursday, December 26, 2013

Isolated, But Not Alone

I came across this very helpful blog post about infertility by Jeff Cavanaugh. The author expresses thoughts and feelings that we hadn’t yet untangled but had been experiencing. Here are a few points that resonated with us:
  • “My wife and I attend a church full of young families where people seem to have children all the time. Not only does such a church remind infertile couples of their infertility with painful regularity, it can also leave them feeling isolated and alone, out of step with everyone else their age in a different stage of life.”
  • “...Feelings of isolation and alienation are real. Friends in the church have seemed thoughtless at times, not considering how things they say might be hurtful; at other times they've been awkward, aware of our struggles but at a loss for what to say. Often the strain has been entirely our own fault—we've promised in our church covenant to ‘rejoice at each other's happiness and endeavor with tenderness and sympathy to bear each other's burdens and sorrows,’ but sometimes jealousy and bitterness sap our motivation to do any rejoicing or accept any comfort.”
  • “...Grief and pain that come with infertility can put infertile people in a spiritually dangerous position. While a godly friend might confront someone who's struggling with anger or lust, few people with an ounce of compassion would dare to confront a fellow Christian over the sins infertility can give rise to—anger, discontent, jealousy, bitterness, and idolatry among them.”
  • “Sometimes when infertile couples are in the throes of feeling isolated and desperate to be normal, they just need you to be a friend, to remind them that they are normal, that you like them, and that you want to live the Christian life side-by-side with them.”
I will be recommending this article to many people and returning to it myself.

Cavanaugh, Jeff. "How the Church Makes the Trial of Infertility Better (or Worse)."The Gospel Coalition Blog. The Gospel Coalition, 26 Dec. 2013. Web. 26 Dec. 2013. <>.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Family Discussion

Christmas morning involved tears and a big family discussion about infertility. After I said we were really excited to give one of our gifts, an eager family member exclaimed, “Are you pregnant?!”

I had specifically told that person the day before that I was not pregnant. “No. I already told you I’m not, but thanks for reminding me of the fact,” I less-than-graciously responded. This snarky comment immediately produced tears, and I felt like a jerk. We quickly apologized and hugged, then the whole family talked. It was a very open and helpful conversation.

The infertility journey is mysterious to everyone, including the couple and the people around them. The couple can withdraw and become overly sensitive, while others can say hurtful things or stay away in fear of offending them. As a family, we reached two conclusions:
  1. Never ask a woman if she is pregnant. If she is, let her tell you in her own time and her own way. Don’t ruin her surprise. If she isn’t, you will cause pain. A person dealing with infertility has to tell herself and her husband every month that she is not pregnant. Don’t make her say it again.
  2. Ask questions. There is no good way to insert “so, we’re still infertile” into a conversation. However, it can be a huge part of the person’s life. Give them an opportunity to talk about it. Some couples may not be willing to talk openly about infertility. Asking a gentle question at least shows you care and gives them an outlet if they want one.
We are so blessed to have family members that are supportive of and involved in our lives. I am convinced that few families would be willing to touch the infertility topic, let alone delve into it like we did. We are very thankful.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Dark Time

This month is the closest I have ever been to depression. After deciding to let myself grieve, the tears won’t stop. My husband doesn’t know what to do with his weepy wife. I am typically even-keeled, not the type of person to jump up and down in excitement or cry at sad movies. Last Sunday, I cried through much of the church service.

Some of the tears may be related to my lack of purpose in this phase. My wise husband encouraged me to take a step back from my part-time job and pursue volunteering instead. Maybe volunteering will help me focus on others instead of myself.

Our Christmas trip will be a good diversion.

Monday, December 2, 2013

On Grief

I turned twenty-eight last week. We always wanted to be “young” parents, but that is obviously not going to happen.

This blog post by Stacy Fulton really hit me today. Here’s a quote:
There's nothing wrong with the grief you experience and the intensity of feelings that may seem to overwhelm you at times. However, you must make a choice to work through the grief process and allow the Holy Spirit to do a work in you through it. When you ignore or push aside the grieving process, it only serves as a means to build walls, to become bitter and even unreachable.
Those who allow themselves to grieve properly, to feel, and make themselves vulnerable to GOD in the process will be the ones who come out on the other side of this changed. Regardless of the outcome, you will be changed.*
I can see now that I have built walls to protect myself, but they may actually be hindering me. By pushing away the grief of infertility, I am removing the occasion for the Comforter to step in. Regardless of the outcome of infertility, I want to be changed for the better through the experience. I want my faith to be stronger. I want to be refined by trials, not hardened by them.
*Fulton, Stacy. "Good Grief! Am I Going Crazy?." N.p., 22 Oct. 2012. Web. 2 Dec. 2013. <>.