What I have learned is that there is no way to understand what infertility is like unless you’ve been down that frustrating and lonely road.
It’s taken me a while to write my reaction to this Huffington Post article by Amy Gibson, partly because I agree with most of what she said and feel I don’t have much to add, and partly because I’m scared. Scared to open up even more than I already have, and scared to critique those who have sincerely tried to be supportive. I get that they are trying, that they are saying what they think is best, and that most times they don’t know what to say so they try to figure out what would be most comforting and say that, and never realize it is the last thing I want to hear.
Yes, thanks for praying for us, and thanks for offering to be there if I needed to talk, and thanks but no thanks for telling us that it will happen eventually.
It’s not that I don’t appreciate it, because deep down I know I do, but I’ll be honest – I’m not too big on God right now, and I’m not about to pick up the phone and call someone who can’t even remotely relate to my situation, and I’m way past the point of entertaining false hope. Amy hit the nail on the head about how no one can truly relate unless they’ve been in your shoes. And that’s been the support I’ve cherished most – old friends reaching out on Facebook, readers noting their similar trials in comments, and old roommates taking the time to send me notes of encouragement, to pray with me on the phone, even when they too are struggling in the same situation.
I will say this doesn’t mean I don’t need the support I get from others who are just trying to show us friendship and love in the best way they know how. Right now, I shrug off these texts and open invitations, but I am truly thankful for this support that I know I don’t deserve, and there’s not much I’m feeling thankful for these days.
The worst anybody can do, as Amy mentions, is not react. I’ve experienced this even with my own family, and it is by far the most hurtful. I don’t know why people clam up – possibly because they are uncomfortable and aren’t used to exposing themselves to others in that way. But the worst you can do to a relationship is not acknowledge someone else’s pain, even if it makes you uncomfortable.
They are human. And you need to show that you are human too. Who knows what is around the corner, and when you will need their support in difficult times.