*This week is National Infertility Awareness week. 1 in 8 couples are affected by infertility. You probably have someone in your life who is silently suffering from this crushing disease (yes, infertility is a disease). Make yourself aware, and please keep everyone on this painful journey in your thoughts and prayers.
I have been pretty open about my and my husband's struggle with infertility. I am a pretty open person in general, and I find it cathartic to talk through and write out my thoughts and feelings. I have been so fortunate to have a community of friends and family who are thoughtful and supportive. It has also been so meaningful to me to have other women who have been or are in my shoes be open about their journeys. Even though all of our stories are different, there is something comforting about what we have in common. I know I'm not alone in this, and for that I am thankful.
One thing that has caused a little pain in being so open is that people don't always know what to say. Infertility is a sad and uncomfortable topic. I get it. People have good intentions, but there are some things said often that are just not comforting. I hear lots of things that aren't really helpful (there are even lists out there if you want some examples), but one phrase bothers me more than the rest:
"Everything happens for a reason."
(If you have ever said this to me, I'm not mad at you are hurt by you. I know you meant well. That's why I'm explaining my problem with this phrase.)
My reasons for disliking this phrase have to do with my faith. It's totally understandable that we as human beings want to make sense of everything. It makes us feel a little more in control. If something has no real purpose, we can't make sense of it. But I don't believe that's the way life works, as not everything makes sense. This isn't unique to infertility. When we take on the attitude that everything happens for a reason, it's easy to fall into the trap of believing that our actions and behaviors can dictate how God feels about us. Romans 8 tells us that God works for the good of those who love him and that absolutely nothing can separate us from his love. Jarrid Wilson explained this better than I ever could:
"We live in a fallen world, a world full of sinful people, people who are in need of the grace of Jesus. With this being said, we have to understand that there are things in this world that are going to take place that aren't of God, his character or his doing. He may have allowed them to happen, but he didn't forcefully direct them.... I hold true to my belief that God does not have his hand in sin, darkness or anything contrary to that of good as it states in 1 John 1:5, 2 Corinthians 5:1 and 1 John 3:5"
I'm not suffering from infertility because of something I did or something I need to learn. If Ahmed & I are able to have a child one day, it won't be because we learned our lesson, so to speak. We live in a fallen world. Infertility is a result of sin and nothing else. Do I believe God has the power to cure our infertility at any moment? Absolutely. But just because he hasn't does not mean that he has left us alone in this. Everyone has struggles. Infertility isn't fair. Life isn't fair, but God told us we would have trouble in this life. He offers eventual relief from this pain through salvation, but the relief isn't immediate. I also believe that God can and has (and will continue to) use our situation for good. The only way I can remain hopeful in all of this is by trusting and knowing that God is in control, and no matter what happens or how long this journey is, my identity is still in Christ.
PS. If you still don't know what to say to me, that's okay. Feel free to ask me how I'm doing, or just give me a hug. :) What I really have found most comforting is when someone simply lets me know they are thinking of me.
|Ahmed, Griffin, & me|