For those of you who have not read Great is Thy Faithfulness: A Story of Waiting on God, Hubs and I dealt with unexplained infertility when we were trying to conceive Z. It was potentially the most heartbreaking season of my life. Infertility sucks, and I wish that no one ever had to experience it - but if you are facing infertility, here are 4 truths that it may help to bear in mind.
1. You are not aloneInfertility wasn't something that I could discuss openly until after we finally conceived Z, and then I wanted to tell everyone what a struggle it had been. Why? Infertility is one of those things that very few women are courageous enough to talk about. I couldn't discuss it while I was facing it. It was far too painful - but once I was able to verbalize it I wanted to speak out and let others know that they are not alone. As i began to speak out, others came out of the woodwork to share their experiences with me. I even did a post on Facebook sharing my story and offering to pray for anyone who was dealing with the same thing. I think I got about a dozen private messages, some from people I hadn't really talked to in years, who were grateful for someone to be able to relate and to stand with them in prayer. It can be so easy to feel like no one understands what you are going through, like something is wrong with you or that you are somehow less of a woman or man. The truth is that 1 in 6 couples face infertility. 1 in 6! You are far from alone in this battle.
2. Your friends and family, however well-meaning, may have no idea what to say or how to support you."You could always adopt!"
"Have you tried _________?"
"At least you get to sleep in!"
"Just have a few drinks and relax"
If you have shared your struggle with many people at all, I'm sure you have heard some great intentions hidden behind incredibly unhelpful words (or actions). I once heard someone say that people can only speak out of the ignorance of their inexperience - meaning that you can't really speak to something unless you've walked through it yourself. Try to remember that even your most supportive friend may put her foot in her mouth when trying to be encouraging, and don't be afraid to let those closest to you know how they can best support you. Chances are they want to know but aren't sure how to ask.
3. You're legacy and/or calling to motherhood is not determined by you ability, or inability, to have childrenWhen my grandfather passed away several years ago, I was obligated to stand in line and let everyone express their condolences to me and my grieving family members. Obviously, it wasn't something I was really looking forward to, but as more and more people came down the line and spoke to me I kept hearing the same sentiment. "He was like a father to me" or even "He was the closest thing to a father I've ever had."
Psalm 68:6 says "God sets the lonely in families," and I saw that fulfilled in a new way standing in line that day. My grandfather's legacy and influence extended far beyond his own flesh and blood. He made a real and even eternal impact on so many people that I lost count. God had put the gifting of fatherhood within him, and he used that gifting to help many.
4. God sees you, God hears you, and God loves youThis was the hardest one for me. I knew in my head that God saw, heard, and loved me - but in my heart I was angry. If He saw, heard, and loved so much then why was he allowing me to go through this? To be honest, I'm still learning the answer to that question - but I do know this:
Every time I have felt like God was holding out on me, He has ended up giving me the very thing I needed (whether it was what I wanted or not) and I definitely grew closer to Him in the process. God isn't ignoring you and He certainly hasn't forgotten about you. Keep talking to Him, even if you are angry with Him. Even if He never gives you a way out, He will always give you a way through.
If you are facing infertility, please feel free to send me a message via Facebook (link in the sidebar) or leave a comment. I would be glad to keep you in my prayers!