God has blessed Shawn & I with wonderful friends...from everywhere! I remember when we first moved to Maryland away from my family and the first of my adult friends. For months I cried and cried saying PLEASE God give me friends. He did. When we moved to NC I was a little wiser...I started praying before we moved and began praying God please prepare friends for Shawn and I there that will last a lifetime and let us meet them quickly! He did yet again. We moved in shifts to Ohio but that didn't stop God from forming friendships and bonds that seem like we have known each other for ever.
I say all that because during each of our moves we have been trying to conceive and people sometimes don't know what to do with that. So many of our friends have had "quick" pregnancy. They decide they want to have a baby and with in a month or two they are pregnant. Even some that have struggled but now have babies. I have the feeling that sometimes people just don't know what to do or say so they just back off or don't mention it. I have read and re-read this devotion almost everyday since I received it letting it seep in. My guess is that I am not the only person that God is going to put in your path struggling with infertility so here are somethings that I hope will help!
What Can I Do To Help?
If you love someone who is carrying the heavy load of unplanned “un-pregnancy”, you may find it difficult to know how to offer support for their struggle. They definitely need your encouragement, but it is sometimes so difficult for friends and family to know how to offer the support. As we struggle with infertility, our relationships with friends and family are undeniably touched. Those who conceive easily may have difficulty truly understanding the struggle an infertile couple faces every single day. In our effort to offer support for those who struggle, we submit these suggestions for ways that friends and family can offer their own support to those they love. These are simple, practical ways to show your love and support. If Sarah’s Laughter can help you in any way, please feel free to contact us at any time.
What to Say...
I’m so sorry.I’m praying for you. (Only say this if you really will pray!) How would you like me to pray for you? (Join in agreement with them in prayer. Don’t assume you know what they’re praying for. They may be praying for something that seems totally off the wall to you. You don’t have to understand why certain things are important. It may be important for your friend to not be invited to her cousin’s shower, or to be called into work on what should have been her due date. When you validate their feelings by praying in agreement with them, it can be a beautifully healing thing.)I’m here if you need to talk. (Then don’t be afraid of what they may say. Don’t be offended if they don’t want to talk. Being available to them as a sounding board is priceless.)
What NOT to say...
Relax, honey. It will happen. (This minimizes the hurt the couple is feeling. Also, sometimes it doesn’t happen.)You’re so lucky not to be tied down with kids. You can go on vacation any time you want.At least...you were only a few weeks along, At least...you have one child. At least...you have time with just the two of you. (A good rule of thumb is--if you start a sentence with “at least” it’s probably the wrong thing to say!)So whose fault is it--yours or his? (Infertility is not an issue of fault. It is a medical condition that carries a heavy emotional and spiritual burden. This is an intensely personal battle. If they want--or need--to share personal, medical information with you, let them. It’s really quite an honor to be trusted with such vulnerable information. If they don’t want to share, please don’t ask.)You can always have another baby. (Unfortunately, many who experience infertility also experience loss. Even if they are blessed with a houseful of other children, they still grieve the baby they’ve lost. They love this baby. They want this baby.I know how you feel. (No, you don’t. Even if you suffered with infertility or miscarriage, you cannot know exactly how this person feels. You may have a good idea based on your own experience, but not the specifics of this situation.) Don’t cry. It’ll be okay. (Let them cry. Let them cry with you or on you. Just let them cry.)
Infertility and loss are excruciating experiences which tend to be extremely private. If someone dares to trust in you and shares these experiences with you, take their hurt very seriously even if you cannot relate to their pain. Maintain their confidence. If someone else questions you about your friend’s childlessness, keep the information to yourself. Even when others ask out of concern, remember the intimacy of this situation. If and when your friend wants to share with others, she will--just as she shared with you. Realize that baby showers and Mother's day are painful but they still want to be a part. These are excruciating events for those who struggle.Realize that the grief an infertile couple carries begins anew approximately every 28 days.Don’t panic if the couple “emotionally vomits” on you. Don’t cringe if they start talking about sperm counts or post-coital tests. Your support can be life giving to someone who feels like they are going to collapse under the weight of an empty cradle.Don’t be afraid of anger. Hurting people tend to lash out. If they are angry at their spouse, their doctor, their baby, their body or even at God, let them vent.Give hurting couples an “out” on Mother’s Day/Father’s Day, on days when you have a baby dedication at church, for baby showers, etc. Let them know about the dedication in advance if you are comfortable doing so, so that they can decide if they want to attend that Sunday. These are hard events to attend. Don’t criticize if they do not attend. However, follow up with them if they miss more than just the difficult days or if they are pulling away too much.Let them know you care. However it works for you and those you care for, just let them know you care.
As Philippians 4:13-14 says, we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength, but it is so good of you to share with your infertile friends/family in their trouble. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for caring for hurting people and making such a wonderful effort to ease the pain of unintentional childlessness.
(c) 2009 Sarah’s Laughter-Christian Support for Infertility & Child Loss
I want to thank all of my friends that continue to pray for our miracle. Thank you for standing in the gap, holding our hand high when we can't, for BLESSING us by allowing us the privilege to love you and your children. God has strategically places each and every one of you in our lives...and our lives have been changed because of you! WE LOVE YOU! Spring has Sprung...have a wonderful weekend!!!