Janet and daughters, Kim and Shannon, who each share their infertility story
All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.—2 Corinthians 1:3–4 The Message
INFERTILITY SUPPORT GROUPS are comprised of couples of all ages and walks of life, but the most important commonality in every group of infertile couples is the desire to have a child. One in six couples experience infertility, yet many say they feel alone, suffering in silence. Don’t let that be you. Like the many couples sharing in this book, there are couples in your vicinity who understand your pain. Hospitals and fertility clinics usually provide support groups. Shannon mentioned RESOLVE, a reputable national infertility organization, but it isn’t Christian-based, so also check for a support group at your church or a church in your area.
Numerous infertility and grief Internet chat groups, Facebook groups, and blogs function as cyberspace support groups, but use discretion before disclosing personal information.
Visit several support groups before settling on one that works for both of you. Keep the following precautions in mind when joining a group, whether online or in person.
- You’ll hear about other doctors. If you’re happy with your doctor, be glad others are happy with theirs, too. If you’re looking for a new doctor or a second opinion, this is a good place to locate a referral.
- You’ll hear about other couples’ treatments and options. Every situation is unique, so discern whether what you hear about is applicable to your issues.
- Celebrate with successful couples and cry with those who aren’t. If you’re successful, share your happiness with sensitivity to those still waiting. Some won’t react the way you hoped. Also, be sensitive to your reactions to others’ success.
- Respect each other’s privacy. Don’t share stories outside the group unless the couple has given permission.
- Beware that the interaction may be painful. It could be too much of a reminder of your loss or what you’re missing.
A support group, in person or online, won’t be a panacea, but every journey is more enjoyable and tolerable when you’re on it with someone who knows the territory.—Excerpt from Dear God, Why Can’t I Have A Baby? Chapter Ten, “Getting Needed Support.”
What Mommies-in-Waiting Say About Support Groups:
“FINALLY, THERE WERE OTHERS who understood what it’s like to want kids and not be able to have them. It was good to fit into a group, even though it was a group of infertile people.”—Sharon
“IT’S WONDERFUL HAVING a place to express myself. The group helps keep the fears and anxieties from overwhelming me and spilling over into other areas of my life. Now that I have a place to talk about everything and leave it here, I don’t talk about it all the time. There’s nothing like being around people going through your same experience. God, I feel heard, understood, and accepted. Dare I say normal?”—Shannon
WE WERE WAITING at the hospital when we learned the devastating news: none of our ten adopted embryos survived the thawing process! We hadn’t prepared for that outcome. Throughout the last couple of years, our friends, family, and small group at church had been praying for us. We were thankful for their support as we grieved our loss and tried to decide what to do next. —Julie
GOD HAS BLESSED ME with opportunities to mentor and counsel women suffering from infertility. He has given me a story he uses to touch others. God has given me hope out of heartache, and that’s worth everything. —Sauni
Dealing With People’s Reactions
Your loved ones will say all the wrong things. All of us who have gone through infertility agree on this point.—Laurie, A Mommy-in-Waiting
- The Top Fifteen Things Not to Say or Do, And To Say Or Do To Someone Experiencing Infertility.
- Suggested Responses to common questions or comments.
- Heart Choices Today: Understanding the Cry of Infertility—For those who don’t know what to say to the infertile and for those who are infertile and need to have someone understand their pain.
|American Fertility Association—National Office 666 Fifth Avenue, Suite 278 New York, NY 10103-0004A nonprofit organization with resources on both fertility treatments and adoption||National Support Line888-917-3777||www.theafa.org|
|A Place to Remember—A national clearinghouse of information for women facing complicated, bed rest, or the death of a baby.||800-631-0973||www.APlaceToRemember.com|
|In Due Season Ministries||www.indueseasonministries.org|
|RESOLVE National (not a Christian organization 1310 Broadway, Somerville, MA 02144-1779Check for the local chapter in your firstname.lastname@example.org|
For a complete list of National Contacts and Books and Resources see “Sanity Tools” in Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby?