Saturday, April 28, 2012

Don’t Ignore Infertility

So this week is National Infertility Awareness Week, and RESOLVE (an organization which promotes infertility awareness) is sponsoring a blogging challenge.  This years theme is: Don’t Ignore Infertility.

I actually feel like what I wrote about last year was in line with this very topic.  And as I re-read it, I have had a difficult time coming up with what I wanted to say.  I sometimes worry that I harp too much on the best way to approach someone struggling with infertility.  I wouldn’t want to seem bitter.  Nor would I want to seem like I sit around waiting for people to say the wrong thing.  I’m not.  I don’t. 

I do think that infertility is just one of those trials that is hard to approach.  Because it involves a couple’s intimate life, the subject becomes somewhat taboo.  For that reason, lots of people don’t approach it at all.  This makes it a very isolating experience.  My hope is (by sharing my perspective as a woman who struggles with infertility) that I can help others who don’t have to experience this trial first hand know how to reach out to those who do. 

Infertility is excruciating.  It is so hard to lose the baby you hoped for.  It is hard to lose your fondest dream of becoming a parent, of creating a child with you sweetheart.  Imagine it: one of the greatest gifts that God has given his children is to procreate.  And you are not able to participate.  

Along with the obvious pain of being unable to conceive, there are more subtle losses as well.  Those who struggle with infertility may struggle with identity issues.  I was raised knowing that the most important role I would ever fill would be that of mother.  Particularly within the church, parenthood is emphasized strongly and constantly.  Rightly so, for there is nothing more important in this life than families.  Of course the principles of righteous parenting should be taught frequently.  But when you are unable to be the person you thought you would be, it can be difficult to know where you fit in.  You are reminded continually that what you so desperately desire is just out of reach.  And you worry that no matter how hard you try, you will always fall short of the person you were meant to become. 

And there is the loss of relating with your peers.  Should you pause and really listen, you might be surprised to note just how often topics such as breastfeeding and toilet training come up when a group of women get together.  Naturally these things would be discussed.  When you are mother whose world revolves around her children, of course they would be the topic of conversation.  I’m not saying that they shouldn’t be.  But I am saying, I know what it feels like to sit and smile politely because I don’t have a labor story to swap.   I know what it feels like to melt into the background when the conversation turns to how many children to have and when to have them. 

Infertility is a lonely road.  The kindest thing you could possibly do for a friend who is struggling with infertility is to walk with them.  Please don’t ignore them.  Please don’t ignore their pain.

Maybe you could remember to give them a hug on mothers day. 

Maybe you could tell them in a private, quiet setting that you are expecting baby #3.   

Maybe you could be mindful of the blessing you have been given to carry children.  I think one of the most heartbreaking things a person struggling with infertility has to bear is listening to others complain about being pregnant.  I understand pregnancy is difficult.  By all means complain to your husband, mother, and other fertile friends.  But please, oh please do not complain to someone who’s infertile about weight gain or morning sickness.  I would give anything for that, and so would many others like me.  Complaining about being pregnant to someone who struggles with infertility is like complaining of a broken leg to someone who is paralyzed from the waist down. 

Maybe you could tell them you are praying for them. 

These gestures are simple to offer, but HUGELY appreciated.  No one likes to be ignored. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Where I’ve Been

(Recognize those ‘shrooms?)

Lately I have been snuggling with this little gnome. 

There simply hasn’t been time for much blogging.  You see, the most alarming thing has happened.  Since the moment he was placed in my arms, time has sped up.  I can’t believe he’s three weeks old already. 

There doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to smooch that double chin and play with those little toes.  Every time I look at him he’s different. 

All that waiting for his arrival has made me really want to relish each moment we have together.  I have been really trying to focus on being present.  On giving him my full undivided attention when I feed him, burp him, change him, or hold him.  On enjoying the moments he’s wrapped up tightly in my arms or making cute little slurpy noises while I give him his bottle.  Because I know they’ll be gone all to soon. 

Creating quilts or scrapbook pages or clothes will have to wait.  Right now I’m creating memories. 

Things might be a bit quiet around this little blog for a while.  But I do hope to write a post for National Infertility Awareness Week (which is going on right now).  And I have been trying to record all of the details surrounding our sweethearts birth.  You can read all about that here.       

I feel like I say this a lot, but I really do feel so grateful to all my friends who have shared the journey with me.  We have felt so much love and support for our little family these past weeks.  The well wishes, sweet little gifts, and encouraging words have meant the world to us.  We just feel nothing but gratitude.  Thanks so much for celebrating with us!