**I wrote this post for our MOPS blog last week. I know I’ve shared my story here before but it has really great tips below that were shared from a counselor that works with the group Brief Encounters in Portland.
Sometimes the journey to motherhood isn’t what we had in mind. I know that it wasn’t for me. It began a long, hard journey that was riddled with tears and pain. When the days turned into months and there was still no positive pregnancy test my heart sank deeper and deeper. When that incredible day came with a positive pregnancy test I could hardly believe my eyes. The excitement was almost beyond comprehension. Our hopes and dreams of what that baby would look like and be like were soon dashed as we discovered that the baby was growing in my fallopian tube. I questioned God at every turn. How could He allow this after almost a year of trying to get pregnant. It felt like a very cruel joke. This process was one that brought me closer to my Creator and Lord than ever before. When the anger subsided I had a choice to make, walk away and be angry or turn to Him and let Him comfort my broken heart. I’m so thankful I chose the latter. We eventually did get pregnant again and it was terrifying and exciting. It was high risk and worth every challenging turn along the way. My miracle daughter is now 7. After a couple more years of trying to get pregnant I was labeled infertile. That’s a heartbreaking word for mom longing for more children. Our miracle son Isaac, who’s adoption story really is a God story, is now 3 1/2.
I share this with you because the road to motherhood was not what I expected, came with many sorrows and yet with many joys. That’s the journey of life I suppose. I had many dear friends walk through that pain with us. But along the way I also had many times when I felt alone, isolated in my pain because others didn’t know how to come along side me and often times others would say things that they meant to be helpful but were like daggers to my heart. Because of my journey and knowing friends who have walked an even more painful road that I have in these areas I had a heart to bring in two women to address infertility and pregnancy and infant loss for our last meeting.
If you want to read more of my story you can hop on over to my blog and read more in depth our story of infertility, losing a baby, and the story of our two miracle children through natural birth and adoption.
If you’ve never faced these things yourself, you will surely meet someone who has at some point in life. Here are some resources below from the meeting. I found them very helpful and hope that you find these tips helpful for you as well. (We also want to acknowledge that every person is different and may want or need different things during times of grief.)
About 20% of couples struggling with infertility have no identifiable cause. Secondary infertility accounts for about 50% of all infertility cases.
Cost of one IVF cycle: $12,000 to $25,000 plus emotionally taxing
Average cost of IVF treatment per successful birth (i.e. multiple cycles): $61,000 Average cost of infant adoption: $22,000 to $50,000
IVF success rate: Women under 35 = 39.6%; Woman 42-43 = 11.5% per cycle.WHAT TO SAY AND DO (OR NOT) TO BE SUPPORTIVEDON’T SAY
- “Just stop trying (relax) and it will happen!”
- “Stop being selfish and be grateful for the child you already have.”
- “When the time is right, it will happen. Just have faith.”
- “Maybe it isn’t meant to be.” or “If it’s meant to be, it will happen.”
- “Why don’t you just adopt?” or “Just adopt a baby- then you’ll get pregnant for sure!”
- “Have you tried IUI/IVF/Clomid/Acupuncture …
- “You are still young. You have plenty of time to get pregnant.”
- “Trust me. You are lucky to not have kids.”
- “Maybe you are not meant to be a parent.”
- “If you really wanted a baby, you probably would have one by now.”
- “It could be worse. It could be cancer.”
- “I totally understand how you feel!”
- “Whatever you do, don’t give up. It’ll happen!”
- “Everything happens for a reason.”DON’T DOStop thinking you can’t be supportive because you’ve never struggled with infertility Stop assuming they don’t want to hear anything about your pregnancy or kids
Stop endlessly talking about your pregnancy
Stop complaining about your pregnancy
Stop asking if they are pregnant yet
Stop asking women you just met if they have kids, how many, or are thinking about having kids
- “I cannot imagine how hard this is for you, but please know I am here for you.”
- “Kids are a blessing and I can understand why your heart desires one (or another one).”
- “I love you.”
- “I will pray for you and your miracle baby.”
- “I am here if you ever need to talk. I can only imagine how hard it must be.”
- “I totally support whatever decision you make.”DO Listen! Let them talk. Or cry.
Don’t offer advice unless you are asked.
Send them a card/note that you are thinking of them. Let them know you care.
Reach out. Don’t wait to hear from them.
Email them a link to a sensitive website/photo etc that made you think about them.
Light a candle, say a prayer, put out good thoughts for them.
Leave a token of your care (flower, food etc) at their door step.
Remember them on Mother’s Day.
Tell them to ask if they need anything, but know that they might not do so. Follow up.
Accept that everyone grieves differently.
If you don’t know what to say, admit it. Or just be silent and let them talk if they wish.
Continue to invite them to events and fun activities, and let them decide whether they feel up to attending. Accept their decision.
Encourage them to take care of their own physical needs (healthy meals, exercise, sleep, seeing appropriate professionals, etc.) without being bossy or judgmental.
**The book that my story is published in that we shared during the meeting is called God Makes Lemonade if you’re interested in reading more inspiring stories of how God can turn sour situations into sweet mercies.