(Here is the list of posts in this series.)
Going through infertility is hard and we need people who love us well through it. Unfortunately, many couples can feel ashamed and alone, so they don’t share what they are going through with others. Friend if this is you, I urge you to open up! I know that it can be hard. But, oh, what a chance it gives the Body of Christ to rally around us, love us and carry us when we are down.
However, it isn’t necessarily helpful for 23 people to ask constantly how you’re doing and expect a regular update.
This took me a while to figure out, but I learned to be very intentional about who to share things with. We have been fairly open because we want to be transparent and let others know that our lives aren’t perfect, we have struggles and we need people there for us! However in the beginning, I shared with anyone who asked and I ended up getting burned a couple times.
After this happened, I made a chart. I’m being completely serious – I wrote out “tiers” of community. Bryan and I talked about what we wanted to be in the open, what we would share with smaller groups like our community group, what we would share with our families and closest few friends and what we would keep between the two of us. This was SO helpful for me to have those boundaries.
I gave carte blanche to 3 of my closest friends. These friends have permission to ask me about any and all aspects of infertility – what’s happening, how I’m feeling about it and how I’m fighting sin. I asked these friends to be BOLD with me – calling me out on bitterness and lies I’m believing. These friends would LITERALLY write the date on the calendar when they knew it was nearing the time when we would find out if treatment worked and would make sure to ask me about it. During the hardest times, these friends would call or text with me every day – telling me they were praying, giving me scripture and just asking me how I was doing. These are the friends who stand in the gap for me… who hold my arms up when I’m too exhausted to go on (Ex 17:10-13). These friends fight for my faith and love me boldly and passionately. I honestly don’t know how I would have survived this battle so far if I had not had them.
If you have a friend or family member going through infertility, ask them what they want you to be. If they don’t have anyone who is standing in the gap for them – MAN UP! Be that person. Get your hands muddy and love those who are suffering. It’s going to be really, really hard and not always fun. Loving suffering people is complicated, difficult and exhausting! But Jesus commands us to!! He weeps with us, how much more should we weep with others??
If your friend already has a few key people, ask them how you can best support them. This is key! Your friend probably won’t want to talk about infertility all the time. They may say – I’ll bring it up when I want to talk about it. I have a close friend at work who never asks me. But we have an understanding that when I want to talk about what’s going on, I bring it up. It works great for us.
Also, be wise about the time and the place. Asking in a group of people or at a party may not be the best environment. Be aware about the conversation that could follow and use wisdom in the time and location.
If my 3 closest friends don’t ask me, I can get hurt. but if someone I didn’t know well asks me all the time, I can get annoyed. (PS – I’m confusing, I recognize that. But the way to best support me can look completely opposite depending on the day or even minute! That’s why it is SO important to ask, ask, ask. And if you’re the one being asked – be honest! If you don’t want to be asked at all, tell them! Let them love you well! )
Regardless of how often you get updates from your friend – – – pray, pray, pray. This is crucial and will be the next post in this series.
– Photo Credit: Nick Galifianakis for The Washington Post