Loving Those Who are Walking the Road of Infertility
One in eight women are affected by infertility. With a statistic that high, there is a high likelihood you know someone who is experiencing or has experienced infertility. There may be times where you want to show you care, but simply have no idea how to do that. My prayer for this article is that you walk away feeling like you are able to love them in a way that is a blessing to them while simultaneously pointing them to the one who loves them most—Jesus.
Infertility is a common pain and we see that pain all the way back in the beginning of time. Actually, through the book of Genesis alone, we see three accounts of infertility with Sarah (Genesis 11 & 16), Rebekah (Genesis 25) and Rachel (Genesis 30). This pain is not uncommon, yet feels so foreign and hard to navigate at times. Thankfully, we are not left without any guidance on how to love those who are suffering. Scripture gives us the direction we need.
Galatians 6:2 calls us to bear one another’s burdens. Plain as that. But what does that look like when you have never been through a specific trial, such as infertility, yourself? How do you know how to love those walking that road? 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (ESV) says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and 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. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too” (emphasis mine).
While you might not know the pain of infertility specifically, surely there has been a time in your life where you have endured suffering. Did people in your life love you well? If not, what could they have done differently? What did they do well that you can pass on to someone else who is suffering? Allow the Lord to use the trial you endured to impact the way you love those going through infertility.
As someone who has been walking this road for two years, I want to share just a few simple, practical steps on how to love someone going through infertility.
Talk to them about it: Many times, infertility is the elephant in the room. If you know that someone in your life is going through that pain, talk to them about it. If they don’t want to talk in that moment, they’ll tell you, but opening the space for them to speak what’s on their heart shows you care. Romans 12:15 tells us to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. In the midst of a painful time, it may be hard to speak up and say, “Hey, I need you to weep with me right now.” So, opening the door for the conversation simply by asking, “How are you doing with infertility right now?” can be a huge blessing to allow us to live out Romans 12:15.
Only say what you know to be true: With the best intentions, people like to say things without knowing whether or not they are true. Saying things like, “I just know it will happen soon!” or “This will be your year,” or “Next year, it’ll be you announcing a pregnancy!” are truly not helpful. The truth of the matter is, only God knows if, or when, the couple will have a baby. Instead, pray with and for them and speak the truths we find in Scripture.
Acts of service speak LOUD: I cannot tell you how many times our family and community have come around us to support us through this season. Whether that was a text on a day we had an appointment with our doctor, or dropping off items I would need after a procedure. There were so many times where our doorbell would ring after a hard day, and when I opened it, a friend would be standing there with a cup of coffee for me or a note of encouragement. Just as a way to say, “I see you; I am here with you.” You don’t always have to have the right words to say. A small gesture of kindness can say it all.
Church, we are in this together. Please don’t allow discomfort or fear of not saying the right thing stop you from loving those who are walking this road. Let us bear one another’s burdens knowing that suffering on this earth is temporary. And one day, our Savior will come back for us, and when he returns, he will wipe away every tear.