I’ve had so many woman ask me what they are to say to their friend who is struggling with infertility when they have children of their own. First, every time I get an email like this I am so encouraged. It’s a true friends to reaches out to a complete stranger to try and understand their friend better. Second, I think I have put off writing about it because everyone is so different and reacts so differently to things, this is just my experience and what I have learnt talking with other woman.
This morning I woke up and decided to sit down and write. You know, God works in mysterious ways because I had two friends reach out to me in the morning specifically to infertility. It was the extra blessing and nudge I needed.
Words are so effective. Proverbs 25:11 says, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” You can say the exact same thing with different words and tone to make it feel completely different. I have been told so many times, “I just know you will have a baby” in the desire to encourage me. Well, the hard fact is we haven’t. After 6 years of waiting, my practical self wants to respond, “Do you really KNOW?” I’ve found these words to be more encouraging: “I’m praying God makes you a mother someday,” or “You would be a wonderful mother.”
Reach out. I think one of the things that hurt the worst is silence. I know it feels awkward and isn’t fun to talk about, but try to push past those feelings. This past Mother’s Day I had so many friends reach out in different ways and it was so encouraging. Just a tip: I received a lot of texts and messages on Mother’s Day and felt almost overwhelmed. There’s something demanding about a message or email on your phone that makes you feel like you need to respond. A card sent ahead of time is so thoughtful. You can read is when you aren’t busy and in the privacy of your home. Depending on your day, it can bring tears and it feels safer to be open and vulnerable in your home.
Motherhood can have rough days, I don’t want to take that lightly. On the tough days when you need to talk with a friend, choose that friend wisely. I want to say this as gently as possible, but when a friend with beautiful children complains to me about her busyness and burdens of child care…it hurts. Deep. A good friends recently went through a tough patch of morning sickness with her first baby. She told me, “I told a friend I’d never complain about it to Jessica!” We both laughed and talked for the next hour on how she was feeling, her baby, and all her baby/motherhood dreams. It’s those gentle, honest moments that mean the world to us and allows easy conversation.
Guilt. So many woman have told me they feel guilty when they become pregnant again if they have a friend who has waited awhile. To be honest most of my friends have 2-3 children already and I want to celebrate each one! Every child is an absolute blessing and don’t let us steal any of your joy. When you do find out, go ahead and tell your friend. I always feel awkward when I hear about a close friend who is expecting through others. It may make you feel guilty but when we are singled out (most times because you don’t want to hurt anyone) it ends up hurting. We don’t need a fancy-super-sensitive way to be told, but fair warning: we may laugh or cry, or both.
Emotions are fickle, and most times we don’t understand them. Sometimes we need to walk beside you in your exciting-new-baby-phase. Sometimes we need to quietly slip away to have some privacy to process things. Sometimes we need to squeeze your little ones for comfort. Sometimes we just need someone to sit beside us as we cry. No words necessary. Just be.