In the Midst of Infertilityby Clinicians at Ganey Counseling on 11/12/15
In The Midst of Infertility
In our previous blog we gave voice to the struggle that many endure through infertility. As promised, here is some of my friend's story that she was willing to share as well as some things she is learning along the way. I hope you are blessed and encouraged by her thoughts and that you might find some comfort in her transparency if you or someone you love is also struggling with infertility.
"Once you get married, people naturally start asking you about when you're going to start having kids. This has always been a hard question for me to hear. When we first got married, it seemed like people expected us to have kids almost immediately. We had just gotten married and wanted time together to build a strong foundation in our marriage before kids entered the picture. However, deep down, I've always had an intense longing to be a mom, so when people would ask, it tugged at my heart and made me feel discontent, questioning our timeline. After several years my husband and I were in agreement and ready to begin this journey toward parenthood; we were joyful as we began the process of trying to conceive. However, each month came and went, and we were frustrated and upset that it was taking much longer than we had hoped. Then, we found out there were medical issues, which were not only hindering our ability to get pregnant all along but were also threatening our ability to ever have our own biological children. This news was completely devastating, like all of our dreams being shattered right in front of us. Despite the devastation of the news I have found hope and I am trusting that God has a plan for my husband and I and that He is preparing us for parenthood but we have no idea what that will look like - who those children will be or where they will come from. Each step, each procedure, each piece of news from the doctors is difficult and emotional. Yet I have a peace about whatever the outcome will be because I know that once we are at that point, my husband and I will be so joyful with whatever and whoever God had planned for us."
Although we may not have been dealing with this issue for as long as some couples have been, by God's grace, I have learned much along the journey so far. I hope that my thoughts can be helpful to you in your journey as well.
Here are things that I'm learning and finding to be important/helpful while walking through the journey of infertility:
- Remember that your marriage is key; protect it.
Work on being unified and make decisions you both agree on. communicate your feelings and be sensitive to each other. Avoid the trap of discussing it every time you're together. Continue to nurture your relationship and grow together by planning date nights and finding ways to have fun.
- Find helpful and supportive individuals to talk to.
This can be a very isolating journey if you don't allow others to walk with you through it. Infertility is such a personal thing that it would be easy to bottle everything up and only talk about it with your spouse. However, you need others who can support you through encouragement and prayer. On the flip side, be cautious and use discernment with what you do share with others. Protect each other and the details that should remain private in your relationship.
- Draw close to God.
Whether you already have a relationship with God or not, seek Him. He is the giver of life and has spoken everything in this world into being. He loves you, cares about your longings, and has a mighty plan for you, but He wants you to seek Him for who He is and not just for all of your dreams to come true. You may struggle with this, especially if you're going through infertility, because it would be easy to feel like He doesn't love you or care about your longings as you're going through so much pain and questioning. However, I promise that if you draw near to Him, reading His words in the Bible and seeking His will for your life through prayer, your perspective will be dramatically changed and you will begin to see His goodness and taste the sweetness in the midst of the bitter things of life. Then, you will be truly "blessed."
- Create necessary boundaries for yourself.
Limit your exposure to social media if you notice the pregnancy and birth announcements to be continuous triggers in your life. Also, continue to be supportive of others around you, whether acquaintances or good friends, who are pregnant or have kids but be mindful of the situations you put yourself in. If you're always around pregnant women and conversations that surround the topic of children, it may make it harder for you emotionally.
- Continue to live life!
Don't wallow in self-pity but continue to live your life and seek new ways to have fun. Take up new hobbies or continue with hobbies you've always loved. Remember that becoming a parent isn't your identity just like being a wife or husband isn't your identity. Yes, we long for these wonderful things in life but they don't make us who we are and ultimately, don't complete us as human beings.
My friend is not a counselor but I believe the things she is learning would be helpful for anyone who is struggling with infertility. If you are also struggling with infertility the counselors at GCC would be more than happy to meet with you. Please don't hesitate to contact us or to bring up this topic with your current counselor.
Submitted by: Sarah Loew, MS
Ganey Counseling & Consultation*ganeycounseling.com