This week is National Infertility Awareness Week. Infertility effects 1 out of every 8 couples. If you yourself haven't experienced infertility, the chances are very good that you know someone who is going through infertility right now.
This blog post is a little long, but I wanted to take this opportunity to encourage those who haven't gone through infertility to be a blessing and an encouragement to those who are in the midst of it. Please take the time to follow the links and read through the short articles - I'm sure it will come in handy for you some day!
***The definition of "infertility" is the inability to conceive within a year's time.
***The foremost thing to remember is that infertility is a medical problem.
Now, some suggestions for offering support that is appreciated:
First of all: please, no nosy questions! I had to stumble my way through so many questions (and to be honest I'm still on the receiving end of painful questions and comments). It is so hurtful to be asked yet again, "When are you going to have children?" "Do you want children?" "Why don't you have children?" "Whose fault is it that you can't have children?" etc., etc. If it has been asked, I have probably had to answer it and it is not fun! There has been only one time in which I appreciated someone asking me about my situation - a friend who felt led of the Lord to approach me because I was heavy on her heart. In the privacy of her living room we talked and cried together. She listened to the Lord and was able to minister to me.
Infertility has been likened to reverse grief. When someone dies, you mourn for them. Slowly, as time passes, the grief lessens. With infertility, it is the opposite. Slowly, as time passes, the grief intensifies. Going through infertility has also been compared to going through cancer. Please know that the person or couple you are praying for and trying to be an encouragement to is going through times of intense grief and sorrow!
Infertility Etiquette - this article by RESOLVE will help to explain what to say and not say. Please don't blindly hand out advice. "Just relax" is the most ridiculous thing to say to anyone. Remember that infertility is a medical condition. If someone broke their arm you would not say, "just relax and it will heal." No, you would take them immediately to the emergency room.
Also by RESOLVE, Infertility Myths. This article will help you to see that "just relaxing" or "just adopting" isn't what it takes!
Sometimes there isn't really anything you can say that is going to make the situation better. A simple hug and "I'm praying for you" truly goes a long way!
I want to encourage you to be an encourager to a couple/woman facing this struggle!