(I’m doing a series on “loving your friend through infertility” – – check out the list of posts here)
In case I didn’t emphasize it enough earlier, in order to love people well we need ASK them how to love them! This is true in marriages, families and friendship and becomes even more necessary when someone you love is suffering.
I wanted to write a very practical post regarding some questions one could ask their friend. This list is not all-encompassing and it SURE isn’t a “script” for conversation. However I know that when infertility isn’t your reality, when you haven’t walked through it yourself, it’s hard to know where to start!
If you haven’t read my previous posts, I would suggest you do that before going any further:) My fear with bringing very practical application is that people would miss some of the foundational things I said earlier and my heart behind these questions.
Done? Alright. I am barely scratching the surface, but wanted to give you some jumping off points. I’m starting with a very wide scope and am moving narrower and deeper as we go.
- Are there certain situations or environments that are especially difficult for you?
- How are you doing fighting sin in these situations?
- Are there any places or situations you avoid because the temptation for sin is too great? Are you able to have gospel motivations for this or do you feel like you’re just escaping? Are there places you should stay away from because the despair or sin you fall into?
- How is this struggle affecting your daily life? Are you able to do the things you need to be doing? How are you doing taking care of your house? Loving your husband? How does it affect your job?
- Is it easier to be alone? With a small group? With a large crowd?
- How have your friend and family relationships looked through infertility?
- How supported do you feel?
- How can we as friends and family love you better?
- What are some practical things we can do to show we care? (i.e – making meals, taking her out for a massage, sending cards)
- How do you feel when someone announces their pregnancy? Is this really difficult for you? How could we help alleviate the blow? (I will post more on this particular topic later)
- Is it difficult to be around pregnant women or families? What are your main emotions? Sadness? Jealousy? Bitterness?
- How is infertility affecting your marriage?
- Are you and your spouse on the same page?
- Do you both have people you can confide in? Maybe even a couple that is walking through this with you?
- How is infertility affecting intimacy? (Particularly valuable and important when in treatment)
- What are the different ways you both are coping? How have you been communicating in the midst of this?
- What are some frustrations you have experienced? Dig deep – can you think of some joys?
- How are you physically feeling? Any treatment side effects?
- What is your long-term plan? What’s your end goal? A biological baby? A family? The end goal largely directs the next steps.
- How do you feel about treatment? Adoption?
- What thoughts run through your mind? What do you hope for? What do you fear? What makes you rejoice? What makes you weep?
- What has brought you comfort?
- What are you believing about yourself?
- What are you believing about God?
- What’s your default state? Hope? Despair?
- Are you able to hold onto joy through these times?
- What are you feeling in your lowest moments? What coping mechanisms are you using?
- How are you doing preaching the gospel to yourself? Can you see the gospel transforming your current situation?
- Have you felt comforted by Scripture and prayer?
- What truths of God are you holding on to? What characteristics of God are difficult to believe?
You always want to get down to the heart of what your friend is feeling. Dig deep – ask probing questions about their heart. Listen and engage.
– Photo Credit: Nick Galifianakis for The Washington Post