When I first started this blog nearly six years ago it was because I had some things I needed to express and while I had (and still have) a beautiful group of friends who love me, there wasn’t one who could empathize with what I was going through. Not one. They had compassion, love, sympathy… but not the true understanding that comes with walking the same journey. So I started writing.
The truth is I didn’t find many women who could relate in the blog world at first either. Because what I was talking about (not exclusively) was infertility. Many of us have learned over the years that it isn’t socially acceptable to talk about that. It’s awkward. It’s unfixable pain. As a society we are terribly uncomfortable with pain, especially when it’s an unsolvable problem.
It’s just the way we’ve been trained. Even in the Church. Yes, some of my most painful moments have been sitting in the pew or standing in the fellowship hall. “Why don’t you have kids yet?” “Well, we’ve been trying for years and were told it isn’t likely.” “Well if you just have enough faith God will bless you with children.” Ouch. Not only am I infertile, but now I am a faithless Christian. Except I’m pretty sure I’ve held onto at least a mustard seed of faith throughout the years. Why else would I hold out hope and still feel a tinge of disappointment at the end of each month… even nine years later? And if it only takes a mustard seed sized amount of faith to move mountains then why on earth has my infertility not crumbled to the ground? Could it be because I have faith larger than a mustard seed that God has another plan for me? I think so.
And pain. Let’s be okay with it. We can’t live in the deepest stages of grief forever because we were made for greater things. But we can hurt and cry and let our hearts break. We don’t have to stifle the tears or hide our hurts. We live in a broken world. Just turn on the news. But ignoring pain only makes it greater. Stifling a hard story only drives the ache deeper.
As I entered into the adoption world I began to meet other women who were experiencing infertility. And as I got more open about sharing my story they started coming out of the woodwork like you wouldn’t believe. All had a similar refrain, “I suffer in silence because no one wants to hear about it.” No one wants to hear about it. Ignored. Left out. Stifled. Misunderstood.
I was recently interviewed for an article that will publish in a Christian magazine sometime in the coming months. The journalist shared with me that every person she’d interviewed said the same thing – the Church doesn’t address infertility. The Church is unequipped or flat out refuses to meet this need. (In general!! I am sure there are some churches who are doing this well, and some that are trying. But as a whole, the American Church is failing in this area). Then she asked me the question. “What are you doing to meet this need, if anything?”
There it is. I explained that I am sometimes asked to travel to speak to women or churches about infertility and that I always accept those invitations… that I blog about it on occasion. That I’m working on a book proposal and I hope a publisher will pick it up. But that question has been gnawing at me and I finally get why.
You see, it MUST start with us. Who do the young women just beginning their infertility story and those knee deep in the weeds of it need to hear from the most? US. Those of us who have been through this for a while – seen the ups and downs, twists and turns, been to the bottom and clawed our way back up again. Those of us who have been carried, and finally recognized it, and have found HOPE again need to be the ones reaching out. Because back when I was in year one, two, three, four, and five of this mess I didn’t want to hear from someone who hadn’t gone through infertility. I didn’t want to hear from the mom who waited six whole months to get pregnant. I didn’t want to hear from the pastor or elders or older women in the church who didn’t go through it. I wanted friends who were in the thick of it like me! And I wanted to hear from the infertile woman who lived through the battle and had JOY and HOPE and PEACE. But she was nowhere to be found. And no one I knew could find her for me either.
So now that I am beginning year ten of this thing called infertility I feel a responsibility to be her. I have found my friends and my community of gals who get it. I’ve found a small band of women who aren’t afraid to SPEAK UP. And that’s just what we’re going to do. Fill the gap, meet a need, and be the woman that 24 year old me needed so desperately.
We’ve got something cooking and it’s grown to be bigger than I was first imagining. But I am so honored and excited to be called to serve in this way. In the meantime let’s encourage and rally around the ones who are being brave and beautiful and speaking up! Check out my friend Wynne’s latest posts… and head on over to Katie’s to learn how to be a friend. <3