Tuesday, October 21, 2008

~National Infertility Awareness Week~

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!

13 comments:

Heather said...

Tammy, this is really excellent advice. People sometimes just don't know how what they're saying comes across or how uncomfortable/upset it can make those affected by infertility. Often they might be well-intentioned but just haven't thought about what they're saying hard enough -- this helps! Thank you!

Nikki said...

Great info, thanks, Tammy!! We have a new couple in our church that is going through these troubles right now, while I did have a 2 year period of time where I had the same problems I know mine was different because I did have 2 children, but I also got really mean responses. I'm so thankful to the Lord for what He has done for you. I don't know if you know this but I've been praying for you for as long as I've "known" you. You were always heavy on my heart.

Tammy said...

Nikki, thank you so much for your prayers! It has touched me to know how many people were praying for me.

Carolyn said...

(((((((((((((Hugs)))))))))))))))))

Charity said...

Thanks for sharing this! also for the encouragement to those of us still facing infertility. I agree about the questions, it seems that people really don't think before they ask questions. One doesn't have to be around me much to see how much I love children, and most children are drawn to me.

Well, just my two cents. :) Thanks for helping others realize what infertility means and how to encourage others.

Mrs. U said...

This is wonderful, Tammy!!!

His,
Mrs. U

Mishel said...

What an excellent post! I suffered from secondary infertility after my second child, eventually having a hysterectomy last year. While I was so very thankful for the two blessings the Lord gave to us, we endured harsh comments and judgements from those (often in our homeschool circles) who assumed that we "purposefully" had only two children. ::sigh::

Blessings and prayers to you Tammy!

Tori said...

Great Tammy! I can't even imagine what women go through when dealing with this.
Thanks for helping me understand.

Maria Therese said...

Thank you so much for this post! My name is Maria and I met my husband on a Catholic Singles website. We were married on June 16th, 2007. My husband is 44 and I am 42. I have been a daycare teacher for 20 years and LOVE children. I've always wanted children of my own. We have been trying to have them since we were married. Unfortunately I have had some issues with ovarian cysts and had to have surgery to remove them on 2/12/08. That's the day I was told that I had severe endometriosis and could be infertile.

We are still trying (and praying!) to be able to have children. It is a big struggle and often I find myself in tears. The thought of never being able to be a Mom and have a child of my own, is devastating to me. I try to accept God's will and pray to be able to accept it, but it's very difficult for me.

I think in the 16 months I've been married I've tried everything (vitamins, drinking green tea, ect.) to be able to get pregnant. Fact is, I know when I'm "fertile" every month, but still my time of the month always arrives. Now we have a bunch of ladies at work who are pregnant and one works with me in the classroom. I'm very happy for her, but it's difficult when the pregnant ladies get together and talk about being pregnant. Do you know what I mean?

It is just so difficult to want something so much and NOT be able to have it! Do you know what I mean??

Maybe you can pray for me? Thank you so much! I really appreciate it!

My email address is: prayrosary4life@aol.com

I also have a blog at:

http://hailmaryfullofgrace-mt.blogspot.com/

May God Bless you.
Maria

Tammy said...

Thank you for the comments! Big hugs to those of you who read and have a little better understanding of infertility...big hugs to those who have gone through infertility, whether primary or secondary.

Maria, thank you for your post. I have just prayed for you.

Michele said...

Well done Tammy! (o:

Dorothy said...

You did well to bring it up. My feeling is, it is none of my business if a couple chooses not to have children or if they cannot have children. It's their business. It's personal. If they want to talk about it, that's fine. I don't ask. I have 3 children. I wanted them so much, and I couldn't imagine going through life childless. My heart goes out to couples who want kids and haven't yet had them.

Renee said...

Thank you so much for this.