September 10, 2010 § Leave a comment
Infertility seems to short-circuit our brains somehow. We often let our biological clock, out of whack hormones, and general frustrations out on our husbands. They do not understand. They may grieve, they may want children as well, but they do not understand.
This problem is not a new one. In 1 Samuel chapter 1 we read about Hannah. She is married to Elkanah who loves her very much. However Elkanah is also married to Peninnah, whom he doesn’t love. Hannah is barren, but Peninnah has several children. As most jealous women would do Peninnah makes Hannah’s life miserable. She teases Hannah about being barren, causing Hannah to break down. Elkanah, when he notices Hannah’s distress says this very eloquent thing, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?”
Seriously?! Doesn’t he know she is trying every remedy known to man to get pregnant. Isn’t he the one who loves her? Yet he can’t enter into the depth of her grief. He cannot wrap his sweet XY chromosomal brain around Hannah’s grief. Ladies it is true in my life and my journey. I have the most supportive and sweetest husband in the world. I am blessed beyond measure. However, the man, to this day more than five years since I lost my ability to conceive naturally, makes comments that hurt my heart. He thinks he is being sweet or funny or even intimate and instead his words throw acid on the wound created by my empty womb.
So what are our options ladies? Do we rant and rave, throwing fits and turning blue trying to get our men to understand? We can certainly do just that, but the question is do we want to have a spouse? At the end of our trying to conceive journey will we find a husband with whom we share the rest of our lives? Or do we end up either a single parent or making dinners for one? We have to decide if the quest for a child, or the quest to have our emotions understood is worth a broken marriage. I am not saying stuff our feelings. Instead I am encouraging us to wait to respond to our husbands. I am encouraging us to give our husbands the benefit of the doubt. They love us. They don’t mean to hurt us. So the next time our sweet husbands say something ridiculously hurtful, instead of gearing up for battle or running to our rooms and slamming the door, let’s take a deep breath. Remind ourselves that they have XY chromosomal brains that do not think the same way we do. Then let’s calmly say, “I feel hurt by those words, please don’t say that.” Doing it this way will help our husbands know our pain, but without the fireworks ensuing.
What are some ways you are fighting the battle of “He just doesn’t understand?” Share with me your stories. I’d love to pray for you.
Please note that I realize that some husbands are not loving and are abusive. If you are in a situation like that please find help.
August 18, 2010 § Leave a comment
Infertility often brings out the worst in us. Hurting and sad, we lash out and turn inward. We covet what others have and we have a difficult time entering their joy.
I remember vividly the day my older sister called me to tell me she was pregnant. Do not get me wrong. I felt excited for her. I was glad I would be an aunt again, but there was also pain. Pain that she had conceived easily, at least from my vantage point. Let’s be real. I was not a fly on her bedroom wall. I did not know how many months they had “tried” nor if she used some form of ovulation prediction. I just knew she was pregnant and I was not. I also knew she was pregnant naturally and natural pregnancy was not an option for me. I was already taking shots and on hormones for my first IVF experience. Those hormones were wreaking havoc on my emotional and mental health. I was a wreak. Add in my desperate desire to conceive and voila, instant craziness.
The pain was real and the joy was too. I continue to struggle with this dichotomy. I still wish away my ashes ofinfertility and my pain of loss. I hate that I get teary going to baby showers. I do not wish infertility on anyone. Oh, but my grief and pain still rear their ugly heads when baby announcements come. I struggle. I am joyful and I am sad. I am joyful for them and sad for me. I am sad for the me who could fully enter my friends’ joy. Yet there is something more. I am also more joyful than I had been for my friends. I realize it doesn’t seem to make sense, but it is true. I know the pain of being unable to birth a child. I do not want any of my friends to have to go through that pain. So although there is a pang of wow that hurts, when I hear of a friend who is pregnant, there is also more joy. I am more amazed at the miracle of conception and bringing a healthy child into this world than ever.
Yes, my relationships have changed because of my infertility. Being invited to a baby shower or hearing a friend is pregnant, not only brings joy, but it also brings pain. Sometimes the pain is so real, I choose not to attend the shower. Other times the pain is so mingled with the joy that I can go to the shower and fully enter my sweet friend or sister’s joy. There are even some times when pain is not involved at all. Those are the times I praise God for His miracle in my heart. I have discovered, when I am honest with my friend or sister at the appropriate time (not at the baby shower), that she will mourn with me as I rejoice with her. Thus together we fulfill what God tells us through Paul in Romans 12:15, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”
Father help us to enter into our friend, sister, co-worker’s joy as she has a child. Help us not to harbor jealousy or bitterness. Instead let us rejoice with her. Please give her an understanding and compassionate heart so that she may weep with us as we rejoice with her. Give us wisdom about how and when to discuss our pain with our friends. Help us to run to You with our pain, and rest in knowing that You can do a miracle in our lives, in our bodies, and in our hearts. We patiently wait for You. In Jesus’s name we pray. AMEN.