You Don’t Have To Be So Quiet

One thing that has struck me during my journey in secondary infertility is how many women are going through the same thing and just don’t talk about it. I know for many women it is simply a matter of privacy - it’s something they’re not willing to share because it’s so personal. And I understand that. But when I first realized that I wasn’t going to just have as many kids as I wanted as often as I wanted and that I may not be able to have any more kids at all I felt kind of lonely. I knew one or two people who had faced this, but didn’t know if it was something they were willing to talk about or not. And there were so many people all around me getting pregnant over and over.

Face it, we hear this ALL the time: “We weren’t expecting this baby! It’s such a surprise!” Or, “We weren’t even trying. I’m not ready for this one!” As a woman who has never experienced this I must ask - How are you “accidentally” getting pregnant? I’m not trying to be funny. I seriously don’t understand what you mean. I can only assume that you weren’t truly faithful to your method of contraception. (Or that perhaps you don’t use contraception.) I’m not judging; I’m just assuming this is the only way someone would get pregnant when they don’t want to. If you have experienced a “surprise” pregnancy maybe you can help me understand!

For a woman struggling with infertility this is one of the hardest things to hear from our friend. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t tell us you are pregnant. We want you to be pregnant! We are happy for you! But it does mean that you probably shouldn’t complain to us about not being ready or being overwhelmed at the thought of yet another child. At the same time, I am trying to be mindful that although I am experiencing infertility, I do already have one amazing child. I don’t want to be insensitive to those women who have no children at all and have had a much more difficult struggle with their own infertility.

According to the medical dictionary infertility is defined as “the failure of a couple to conceive a pregnancy after trying to do so for at least one full year. In primary infertility, pregnancy has never occurred. In secondary infertility, one or both members of the couple have previously conceived, but are unable to conceive again after a full year of trying.” I have several girlfriends who have never used the word “infertility” but who spent longer than a year trying to conceive. And even more surprising is that I have several girlfriends who have been trying to conceive for years. The more I talk about my own infertility, the more people open up to me and tell me that they are struggling with it too!

So why are we being so quiet? 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” It is our responsibility to comfort others who are in an affliction that we have experienced ourselves. We are to share our stories and tell others how God has been faithful to us even in the hard times.

I have mentioned my friend Kate before. She has spent three times longer on the road of infertility than I have. But she has also been my biggest encourager. She has often reminded me not to lose hope and told me that she believes God can and will give me another child. She has talked me through my diagnoses and treatments. We have swapped stories about surgery. She answered all of my crazy questions about the fertility drug I started taking and told me what to expect (which was absolute paranoia!). She sends me messages to check on me all the time! And most importantly, she prays for me. When I am discouraged, she is the one who is able to offer me more encouragement than most others can, and that’s because she truly knows how I feel. And what’s even more exciting is that she is now expecting a healthy baby boy in just a few months! If that doesn’t give me hope, then what will?

If you are experiencing infertility, please don’t bear your burden secretly. Talk to your friends so that they understand what you are going through. If they know, they will be more sensitive when they’re around you. (And hopefully they’ll be less likely to tell you stories like, “All he did was look at me and I got pregnant! Two kids in less than two years. I can’t handle this!”) And find someone who has gone through it, or is still going through it, who will talk with you about it. Find someone who will answer your questions and tell you their stories. Find someone who will meet you for coffee when you’re having a particularly difficult day. And when you are able, become that person for someone else!

Let’s stop pretending. You don’t have to pretend that you aren’t ready for kids. You don’t have to pretend that you’re focusing on your career right now. You don’t have to pretend that it doesn’t matter to you whether you have children or not. Be honest with those people that you are close to. You will be amazed at how much of your burden is lifted when you stop pretending. And you will be pleased with how much support you will actually get. And you will be surprised at who has been walking alongside you going through the same hardship. You don’t have to be so quiet. Someone wants to encourage you, but they have to know that you need it!


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