Loving Your Friend Through Infertility- Seek a Godly Understanding

(I’m doing a series on “loving your friend through infertility” – – click here for the introduction.)

If you find out that your friend is struggling to get pregnant, don’t be afraid to “go there.”  Infertility is often confusing to people who don’t have experience with it. People get the thought of “not being able to get pregnant” but the reason it’s hard seems foreign.

It’s not a death, which people have experience with. It’s not a struggle in relationships, another common issue. It’s not even always a sickness.  It’s more like a void, a notable absence. It’s an unmet desire that can bring you to your knees. You feel completely out of control, frustrated and disappointed your life’s dreams are not happening the way you always hoped they would. There are many emotions that are experienced – some happening all at once.

The more understanding you have, the more you can be there for your friend. Obviously you can’t understand exactly what she’s been through unless you’ve been there yourself! However, pain and suffering is universal. And the more you know, the better you can love and support her. Step into her world.  Ask her what is going on.  Do research.  If she’s taking her basal body temperature, try to figure out what she’s talking about!

If she’s going to see a reproductive endocrinologist, find out what she may be going through.  Ask your friend lots of questions and do additional research too. There is a TON of information online that can help answer many of those questions.

Listen to your friend.  How is this experience for her?  Is she feeling betrayed by her body?  Is she frustrated and angry that she has no control?  Is she bitter that “all” of her friends got pregnant right away? Is she sad over the loss of what is supposed to be a magical time? Is she feeling isolated and abnormal? Ask good questions and really listen to what she is trying to say.

There are a million things that can be floating through someone’s mind as they are struggling with getting pregnant. “What is wrong with me?” is usually one of the first.  However, the top fears can often reveal the idols in our heart.

Here are some typical idols that can be revealed in certain lies. Often we  believe multiple lies, so there can be multiple idols we are worshipping.  These are some examples.

  • “Everyone else gets pregnant without even trying and we can’t.” – Idol of approval or normalcy
  • “I feel utterly worthless because I can’t have a baby.” – Ascribing ultimate worth to parenthood
  • “There are people who get pregnant time and time again who are awful parents. They don’t deserve to have a baby.” – Thinking babies are “deserved” and not a gift; believing works based theology

See what is at the core of your friend’s suffering.  Don’t misunderstand me. There is VERY legitimate pain in infertility.  There is sadness at the death of a dream.  There is disappointment in failed cycle after failed cycle.  There is pain in missing out or delaying the joy of conceiving, carrying, birthing and parenting a biological child. There is a lack of privacy when tests, cycles and personal issues become round table discussion for doctors, nurses and family.  (If someone told me that what would be “normal conversation” these days, I would never have believed them. The previous me would have been MORTIFIED at some of the things that are close-to-public knowledge.)

However, often our legitimate pain takes a downward spiral.  This can come out in depression, anxiety, bitterness or a plethora of other sin.  Friends, we need to understand infertility well to be able to see where our friends are coming from. But even more than that, we need to understand the GOSPEL well.  We need to see our friend’s struggle so we can preach the gospel to her always, but especially in those times.

To be continued…

-Photo Credit: Nick Galifianakis for The Washington Post

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About jackielopina

Follower of Jesus, Pastor's Wife, Cookie Baker.
This entry was posted in Family, Friends, Infertility, Jesus, Loving Your Friend Series and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Loving Your Friend Through Infertility- Seek a Godly Understanding

  1. Kristin Lewis says:

    jackie. this series is sooo good. thank you so much for writing it. i look forward to growing in my knowledge and understanding of infertility and how to love friends and family through it. you are an invaluable friend and resource in the craziness of life. love you lady.

  2. Hi Jackie. I just started following your blog. I think this is a really important thing to do. While no one in my family ever struggled with fertility we have buried a still born baby girl and watched the struggle of extremely premature babies. Many times, we all take the fertility/child bearing experience for granted…as if it is just something that happens. I think you are doing a really good thing here.:) Blessings to you!

    • jackielopina says:

      Oh, stillbirth is extremely heartbreaking and I’m so sorry your family had to go though that. You’re so right- it is hard that our culture preaches this lie of “everything is easy” – having a family included. It’s been helpful and eye opening for me to see how common infertility, miscarriage and stillbirth is… And yet people in that situation feel like they’re they only ones who have been there. The more we can learn and become aware the better we can cope with and support others when this does happen! Thanks so much for your encouragement and for reading!! So glad to have you!!

  3. Erica Turner says:

    Hi, I’ve just “happened” to stumble across your blog and am so thankful I did. My husband and I are struggling through infertility (and a recent miscarriage) as well and it is so refreshing to read your thoughts. They echo my own. I have wonderful friends, but none locally who have struggled with this so thank you for being so vulnerable and Christ-centered in your postings. It helps me to feel understood, even by someone I’ve never met :)

    • jackielopina says:

      Erica I’m so glad to have you!! When we first started this journey, it was such a breath of fresh air for me to meet others who were walking down a similar road. It was so nice to hear someone talking and with everything they said I would think- I’ve felt that exact thing too! Know that you are not alone!! :) I will be praying for you in your journey and that Christ can be glorified above all else!! Thanks so much for the encouragement!! :)

  4. Curry Winters says:

    i am teared up with joy and sorrow for you friend. so glad to walk out life together and learn from you!

  5. Great post! ~Carrie-Anne

  6. Michelle says:

    Hey Jackie,
    Thanks for this post. It is so insightful and helpful. I never know what is the best way to support friends in this, so I really appreciate your vulnerability and honesty!! Thanks for sharing your journey.

  7. steph says:

    Love this and love YOU! It is so wonderful to see how God is using you here

  8. Pingback: Loving Your Friend Through Infertility- Know How the Gospel Transforms This Battle « Hoping in God

  9. Jana Kitts says:

    I am so enjoying reading through your blog as I am struggling through infertility. I was just telling someone what a difficult thing it is to have friendships right now because it’s like no one knows what to say or how to talk to you. They almost avoid you.

    • jackielopina says:

      Jana I’m so glad to have you!! Friendships can be so hard during this time. One, because when you’re suffering it’s really hard to let people in to the sorrow and the tears and two, because when people haven’t been there, it’s not their reality. Even our friends that love us deeply can be at a loss for what to say or how to comfort us. And often, we’re the best teacher! I know that fertility can bring much suffering and I encourage you to cling tightly to Jesus, who is sovereign and loving and kind! One verse that I have been continually reminded of and pointed to during our battle so far is “God is good and does good!” Psalm 119:68. Even when it doesn’t feel like it, THIS is the truth! Jana let me know if there is anything I can do to support you through this journey! I’m hoping that my blog continues to be an encouragement to you and can point you to Jesus above all else:)

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