I have been putting this off. Not wanting to even address this issue that has caused so much pain, grief, and stress in my life, I have ignored the struggle within me to share this part of my walk with Christ. Close relatives and friends know of my pain, but where else does God want me to go-to reach? I do not want to be THIS person. I do not want to share this. This is not the way I want to glorify His name. I would do it with a miracle. He may have other plans.
(I literally cringed as I wrote that. It actually hurt.)
Infertility. I walk with it everyday. I wake up to it. As I walk through the grocery store I endure it. People have no idea, but it is all around me all the time. Making others aware of this pain so that it might help just one other person is my goal.
A DEATH IN THE FAMILY
Grief is the most egotistical of all emotions, and infertility is grief—a grief that no one else understands. Most people don’t have a clue. When suffering through infertility, every day you wake up NOT PREGNANT opens a new wound. It’s another day of death. Every minute of every day is spent mourning the loss of a child-a brother, a sister, a life. They say that time heals all wounds, but not this one. Time is your enemy. Every day is another funeral, another failure. At least, that’s how I feel.
I FEEL ALONE
If you’ve ever experienced the loss of a loved one, you might have a frame of reference for what I am describing. That’s not to downplay the grief associated with death, nor is it to say that the feelings are the same. They aren’t. But they do share the emotional exhaustion and the intensity of pain. Infertility is death, but with this tragedy there is no funeral. There is no gathering of friends and family. There is no closure. And as so often is the case, no one will take care of you because they do not know they are needed or how to respond. You break all ties, further isolating yourself. You can’t go out because—heaven forbid—you may see someone pregnant or with a baby. You start skipping birthday parties and baby showers. There is no way you can endure passing around baby items. Family reunions are out of the question because a cousin has a baby on the way. Getting together “just to hang out” is no fun because they don’t understand. (And who wants to be with a bunch of happy people anyway or, the opposite, who wants to hang our with someone who is depressed?) You’re left without the energy or the will to so much as dial a telephone. Your loved ones begin to wonder, “What’s their problem?” Soon you become a punch line. “What do you think is her excuse this time?” Or even worse, they judge you and say, "I'm over it." But for the infertile it never ends.
HOW CAN YOU HELP SOMEONE YOU LOVE?
If you know someone who is having difficulty with infertility, understand that they need you. I can’t tell you what they need, except to know that you are there for them unconditionally. Unconditionally means when they are crying, weeping, screaming, out of their minds with sorrow and saying things or doing things they don't mean. Your relationship will likely be a little bumpy for a while. Heck, it might be a lot bumpy. You must take it upon yourself to single-handedly keep the relationship alive. Don't get too wordy. Saying "I'm sorry" is enough. A hug is better than trite words or long lectures that you think will help. At least once a week, you also need to ask specifically about their infertility and how things are going. Maybe they won’t want to talk about it. Respect that. But maybe they need to vent. Listen and be supportive; that alone will go a long way. Ignoring the issue only makes a person feel isolated and alone. Finally, I want to encourage you to be persistent. This isn’t a grief that gets easier with time. It gets harder. The longer they go through this, the more painful it will become and the more they will need you. One more word of advice if you are infertile: surround yourself with people who lift you up and who encourage. Avoid those people who are blind to pain and tear you down.
NEVER TRULY ALONE
This has been my life year after year. Five years of attempt after attempt at getting pregnant, I am exhausted but still trying. Anger has been a companion on my journey as well as bitterness and I fight with them everyday. The pain has become a friend that reminds me of the pain my Lord and Savior experienced on my behalf. If you want to read more on that read my article Feeling the Pain.
You can't connect with a loving God when your heart is filled with rage. And I have been filled to the point of explosion. When I am almost to explode, He reminds me of who I am and what He has done for me. What keeps me still trying? It is the picture of my Savior on the cross-the picture of hope. I cling to His faithfulness, His promises, and His unconditional love for me. This does not mean that I am going to get exactly what I want, but I continue to hope that my desires can match up with His plans for me. He shows me love when every morning I wake up with that death, that awareness of infertility, and I make it through the day. How could I ever leave Him? That would be insanity. He gets me through. The pain is never ending but I am enduring because of Him.