Sunday, March 23, 2014

Things I Wouldn't Say To A Woman Struggling With Infertility

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I remember trying for years and years to get pregnant.  Those were hard years but they were also wonderful years of just my husband and I, bonding together and getting through the painful years of infertility.

Every month I mourned the death of a dream, the dream of ever getting pregnant.  And every month hope started anew as maybe THIS month would be the month and I'd conceive a precious little one.

I also remember many of the things people said to me:

Buy a (fill in the blank)  Car, boat, bigger house, name it they said it.  
Buy something.  Anything!  Great!  Then you will be stuck with a boat payment, a house you can't afford, a dog you didn't really want, and you're STILL not pregnant.

Just relax and it will happen
Take a vacation, they said.  Relax, they said.  Come on, you mean to tell me that I hadn't relaxed at least ONCE in all those years?  Seriously?  Not once?  Way to put all the blame on me, folks!

Are you SURE you want one?
I remember standing there with friends whose toddlers were acting up and they looked at me in frustration and weariness and said "Are you SURE you want one of these?"

"Yes.  Yes, I want one of those.  Very much." I'd say.  They would just sigh and shake their heads, grab their screaming toddler and walk away.  I stared longingly after them.

I wanted one, very much.  Because I knew that those little ones wouldn't scream forever. I knew that there were difficult times and wonderful, precious times.  And I wanted to experience them all.

"My best friend's mother's sister's pastor's wife's hair stylist adopted and SHE got pregnant right afterward."  Wow, that's awesome!

However, I don't see adoption as a way to increase my fertility. You adopt when you're ready to adopt, not so you can conceive afterward.  And for the record, that doesn't happen to everybody.

Stop trying.  It will happen.
Please see "Relax" above.

How many times have you tried and how have you tried it?
Stop.  Seriously, please just stop..........

I realized that they really meant well and they were just trying to "help," but after several years of hearing the same things over and over, it could really frustrate me at times.  And everyone always seemed to think that they were the first to have ever thought of that.

When and if she DOES get pregnant, rejoice with her!  Don't say:

Now that you're pregnant, you can STILL lose it!
I remember when I was pregnant.  I had had complications with that pregnancy (with all my pregnancies, actually) and had to have bed rest for the first six weeks and the last six weeks.

But I had reached the end of that "three month" mark and I was thrilled, because I knew that the odds of losing this baby would decrease.

A woman I knew asked me how I was doing and I said "Great. I feel really good about passing the three month mark, knowing that I probably won't lose the baby now."

She responded, "Oh, not necessarily!  You can STILL lose the baby.  My daughter lost hers in her fourth month."  I just stared at her, dumbfounded.  Why would she TELL me that.  Obviously I knew I could still lose the baby at anytime.  I was just rejoicing in making the three month mark.  Couldn't she just GIVE me that much?

If a miscarriage occurs, mourn with her!
That pregnancy went fine and our son was born healthy, but I did lose our third child in a miscarriage. Although my husband and I talked about it, a few people around me were afraid to even mention it, as they were afraid of hurting me.  However, to me, it looked like they didn't care.

One gal came up to me when I was crying about it and told me to stop crying.

She said I had a responsibility to my baby not to cry or mourn, she was in heaven and I shouldn't be sad.  Believe me, it's o.k. to mourn the loss of your child, someone you never met but carried within you for months and months and loved. 

It's o.k. to say nothing!
Sometimes people just open their mouths and say the wrong things because they feel like they have to say SOMETHING.  Bless their hearts, they mean well.  And they're trying, they really are.

Dear People, it's o.k. to say nothing.  When words fail you, don't desperately try to say something, ANYTHING, just to bridge the silence.

It's o.k. to say nothing.  Sometimes a sympathetic ear and a loving hug will say more than your words ever could.

Are you there now?
If you are living with infertility right now, I won't say I've been there.  Because I haven't.  I've been there with me, but I haven't been there with YOU.  So I won't say I know what you are feeling.  I only know what I was feeling.

But I can say that each day is a GIFT, and if you receive each day as the gift that it is, you will find joy in each new day.  And finding joy in each new day, in your husband, in your marriage, and in those you love, will make the journey a little easier.

"But the fruit of the joy......." 
(Galatians 5:22)

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  1. I miscarried a few times and really mourned the loss of the baby that I never met. I didn't have all those questions since we were living in a weird area where it was abnormal to want a baby and more normal to not want to have children at all.

    This was such a good post. I liked the point you made that what I 'feel' is not what someone else will 'feel' and not to approach it that way. Very helpful!!

    Thanks for the linkup!! Have a wonderful week and hope to *see* you around.

  2. Really? Wow. Considering how many kids you have it's probably a good idea that you moved, lol! Have a great week, my friend!

  3. This is such an important post. I have 3 angel babies...and there were those who said very helpful things and others who said extremely hurtful things. We have to be so careful - because motherhood is at the heart of who we are as women - we are nurturers and when a woman CAN'T seem to achieve what she is made to do, it makes her feel like a failure. Thank you for your caring heart.

  4. Rosilind, I am sorry to hear that about your little ones! And yes, we need to be careful with our words.

    I remember being frustrated with my insurance that they wouldn't cover my fertility treatments. it said that they weren't the "normal" care type stuff that they would cover. I responded that for a woman, getting pregnant WAS normal. Now, if I was a man then yes, that would not be normal, lol!

  5. My parents struggled getting and staying pregnant before they had me. I feel for anyone who goes through it. They always say God knew that they needed to go through some difficulties together and grow closer to one another before they could have children. Something like that could break up a marriage. But they stuck it out and now they have two monsters (my brother and I ha)!

    1. Yes, infertility can place a huge stress on a marriage. I took some fertility pills for awhile and the doctor referred to them as "the divorce drug." He cautioned both of us about the affect the hormones would have on me and our marriage! And they packed a whopper, lol! But the Lord brought us through it together.

  6. This is so very good! My DIL has struggled for several years to conceive and she has "heard it all" too. Breaks my heart!! We keep praying and hoping and believing God knows the desires of her heart. Wonderful wisdom you have shared today.

    1. I'm so sorry for her struggles, Nannette. I know that it was hard for my mom to watch me try to conceive all those years. Keep praying and keep believing! I know that she appreciates knowing you're praying!

  7. Great advice! Thanks for hosting & God bless.

    1. Thank you, Laurie! Thanks for joining up with us all!

  8. Yes! I'm two years into a battle with infertility and I've heard all those things (and more!). The best thing you can say to someone struggling with infertility is "You're in my thoughts and prayers." Stopping by from the Proverbs 31 Wife link up.

    1. Thank you for sharing what you're going through, Lisa! It is truly a battle, and a hard, frustrating one. Especially when you have friends who decide they want to have a baby and get pregnant their first try! You're right, that is truly the best thing to say. Thank you for stopping by, my friend!

  9. Very good article Nan! I am sharing it with some whom are currently struggling with this.

    For those struggling after a miscarriage, I would like to recommend this article I wrote off my own experiences.

    1. Thank you for stopping by and offering to share your own experiences, Cheryl!

  10. Great post! I invite you to think about supporting Infertility Awareness Week april 20-26. HDYDI is doing a theme week, and we'd love for you (and anyone) to join us -

    1. Thank you for the invitation, Katelyn. I will see how my memory holds up and if I remember by then, lol! ;)

  11. such a delicate subject, words must be used carefully.I am sorry to learn of peoples insensitivity.Thank you for sharing your lovely blog at the Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop xo

    1. Thank you, Katherine. I think many people mean well but just don't know what to say! Thanks for hosting and for stopping by!

  12. My heart is heavy as I read you story. Yes, people sometimes are trying to say something to be kind, then there are those who just don't. My mother told me, well, I never had any problems! Yikes! We finally were blessed through adoption after 7 long years. It is very painful. I just kept praying, for myself and others.

    1. My mom never had problems either. She just was able to conceive so easily and had so many kids! Not me! So glad you were able to be blessed and to bless through adoption.


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