1 out of every 6

or 1 out of 8. I’ve seen it both ways.

That’s the number of couples who struggle with infertility.

It’s amazing how something that can feel so isolating is actually pretty common, according to those standards.

In the few short weeks since Chris and I were “diagnosed” (how am I supposed to say that anyway? Is diagnose even the right word?) it’s been pretty amazing to me how many people we interact with who have walked down this road before. I either know, or know of, couples who have tried a variety of reproductive therapies (in vitro included), who have used donor sperm, who have adopted, who are trying to adopt, or who have reached a peace about the possibility of never having children.

Friends, coworkers, acquaintances…it seems like people just seem to be coming out of the woodwork. {And not even just for me; my mom has been able to talk with women / family members on both ends of the spectrum as well.}

I have been incredibly encouraged by all of their stories. No, they don’t all end with a baby (or not yet anyway, none of their stories are over!) but what they’ve shared with me has a) validated that what I’m feeling / going through is normal and b) given me stories of God’s faithfulness and provision through infertility that I can draw from. One couple in particular invited us into their home, fed us, and let us stay way past their kiddos bedtimes so that they could minister to us & provide wisdom that can only come from a couple who has walked through the fire and come out on the other side.

That meant so much to me.

Earlier tonight I caught up with my best friend from high school. She’s a social worker who worked for a while at an adoption agency (plus she has a knack for speaking bluntly) so I was interested in hearing her perspective. In addition to a lot of helpful info & encouragement to continue trusting in God and making my marriage a priority during this season of life, she offered me some advice that I thought to be very wise, which was to guard myself…against whom I tell about what we are going through, and/or how much I tell them at this time.

Her point was that everyone has an opinion…and while there is nothing wrong with me seeking out the opinions of people I know & love, or of people who have experienced infertility…opening up this discussion to “the masses” could definitely muddy the water when it comes to reaching a decision about how to move forward.

And I think she couldn’t be more right.

What I’m quickly learning is that until you have experienced a taste of infertility…you just don’t really understand. And that’s okay. I certainly didn’t! But what’s not okay is to spout your opinion like it’s the gospel. I’ve already been told by one particularly daft person that “maybe you just aren’t meant to have kids of your own” and that I should “just adopt.” {More on that another day perhaps…today I want to focus on the *good* in others; on the love that we’ve been shown.}

With the exception of the aforementioned person, I feel as though we have done a pretty good job of guarding ourselves up to this point. Although most of my family & closest friends don’t have many personal experiences with infertility, they love Chris & I (and more importantly, God!) and have surrounded us with just this wonderful support group of compassion and prayer. Then there are the other “1 in 6’ers,” those who are opening up their lives and stories to us so graciously. They are an unexpected blessing in the midst of this struggle, and every piece of advice or wisdom is deeply meaningful to me.

There is more that could be said, on what is helpful to hear versus what…isn’t. On setting boundaries for people’s opinions in my life. On not putting our business out there for everyone to dissect. But none of that is for today really.

Today is to say that it’s so very nice to not be alone.

Blessed am I.

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