Infertility has a way of sneaking in and taking over your life.
Trust me, I know.
And it’s one thing for your daily life to be dictated by a monthly-cycle of ups and downs, but it’s another thing entirely when relationships start being controlled by it.
Women who face infertility have been known to shut down, to back away from relationships (specifically if their friends are having children), and to allow their own loss to dictate their social lives.
Guess how I know? Yep. Been there, done that.
I had to learn the hard way how to change, how to build relationships instead of tearing them down, and how to be vulnerable in my friendships. Oy! It’s rough. But so, so good.
I’m not an expert and I don’t have any never-fail answers, but I do have three things I have learned that have greatly influenced my ability to maintain relationships through emotional upheaval.
1) Don’t dismiss others because they “don’t know” what you’re going through
Dear ones, we don’t have to all experience the same exact thing to understand pain.
Yep, you’re right. Your friend from high school who complains every day about her four children who came a little quicker than she would have preferred doesn’t have ANY idea what it’s like to long for a child.
But I promise that she does understand pain. (We all do in one form or another.)
So don’t dismiss her words, her compassion, or her admonitions. Just because she hasn’t gone through the exact same thing as you’re experiencing does not discount her life experiences.
Learn from her. Have compassion for her pain, even if it comes from the fulfillment of dreams you’ve been forced to bury. And remember that God may be using her to teach your heart something new.
2) Be humble enough to explain why you’re hurting
It’s so, so easy to have someone say something hurtful and just wrap all that hurt up inside yourself, go home and determine to avoid that person at all costs.
You can do that, but obviously you’ll have to break relationship to be successful.
If we were all just random people traveling through life, I guess it wouldn’t matter much. But we’re not. We are sons and daughters of a loving God who created us for community. And He’s got something far better for us.
But maintaining relationship through hurt means embracing humbleness.maintaining relationship through hurt means embracing humbleness.Click To Tweet
It means when someone in the Body of Christ says something hurtful, you have to be humble enough to look them in the eye without anger or malice and admit that you need them to be more gentle because you hurt.
I’ve done this. More than once. And yes, it carries its own kind of pain because slaughtered pride is excruciating, but it builds relationship instead of tearing it down and it leaves you with community who will hold you up when everything else falls apart.
3) Listen, listen, listen.
When something like infertility comes into your life it is consuming. It is so incredibly easy to be thinking about what’s happening in your life, your dreams, your body, your appointments, your… your… your…
It’s important to share about your journey, but every good relationship will have give and take.
So for every time you spend an hour sharing about where things are in your infertility journey, make sure you spend two hours listening to where someone else is in their own walk through life.
And then make your friend’s struggles a matter of prayer. Pray with them. Pray for them.
In praying for others, in listening to their struggles and sorrows and joys, you’ll build life into your friendships.
And instead of feeling like every area of your life is filled with sorrow, you’ll realize the Lord can still use you to bring comfort and hope to others even through your weakest time.In praying for others, in listening to their struggles and sorrows and joys, you’ll build life into your friendships.Click To Tweet
Guess what? This list doesn’t just go for those struggling through infertility. It goes for everyone.
Every single one of us.
No matter what our struggle, be it children or no children, singleness or marriage, plenty or want, sickness or health— to maintain relationship we can’t dismiss others because of their lack of experience, we have to be humble enough to speak true, and we have to listen.
Relationship is one of the greatest gifts the Father has given us. Let’s work at it, even when it’s hard.
“A book all about not giving God the silent treatment when life hurts.” -Elisabeth Adams on Counting Grains of Sand: Learning to Delight in a Promise-Making God