Sunday, July 10, 2011

Bumps in the road of Infertility

***In the spirit of keeping people anonymous and not to incriminate anyone from our church, I'm going to keep the description of how and where and with whom this conversation took place as vague as possible while still getting across the point of what happened today.***

((Also, I do not know this person well at all that I was talking to, this was one of my first conversations with her.  I have seen her many many times at different events and small group situations.  I do not know what is going on in her life, and I know nothing about her background... this is just my description of how things went down for Jack and I today.  I do not mean to bash her or to attack her by this description either.  I only intend to give an honest description of what life is like with infertility, and what life can be like as a part of a church body as someone who struggles with infertility and how things happen to us.)) 

I was told by Carole and Renee that I was going to need to talk with certain people at our campus since we have a LARGE congregation spread out over four (almost 5 possibly) campuses.   So after church, I found this person as I have been introduced to them several times before.  She recognized my face as someone who goes to her church but didn't put two and two together with my name.   I introduced myself and told her that I was the one who needed to talk to her about the infertility ministry that I was starting up. 

At first she was taken aback and said that she didn't understand why whoever this person was at our church who wanted to start this didn't come to her.  I didn't comment... It wasn't the right setting to explain to her exactly the chain of events that lead me to going to the top of the heap and to the Pastor's Wife with my dreams, so I didn't explain.  She said she was glad at least it wasn't some faceless woman in the crowd.  She also said that she was sorry for our struggles.

Then she launched into how "teaching a class isn't going to be all fun and games, you know."  Without giving me an opportunity to respond to this statement, to tell her that I NEVER had any intention of teaching any class and it was all sort of sprung on me and it was more like a support group instead of a class... But before I could explain, she mowed me over some more.  "You are going to need to learn how to teach a class and there are some pupils that are just bad customers and you will have to be able to learn how to shut them down and not have sharing time."  Oookay... I'm sure she was just rushed.... but okay... I know there are people who come to things to just be negative and difficult... those people annoy me a lot and the teachers of classes who can't get a handle on them annoy me even more...

What was super odd was that she didn't give me a chance to talk at all about my vision or what I had shared with Carole and Renee, but more she seemed REALLY annoyed that I had "gone over her head" so to say, by going to the head honcho.  When Carole says something starts... something starts, period.  It appeared as though I had unknowingly usurped her authority... and that she was miffed about it.

She continued on her talking to me by saying, "What's great about Pastor Jim and Carole is that they are totally willing to let anyone start any ministry that they feel that God has put on their heart... and totally willing to let people fall flat on their faces."  Jack and I just sat there, speechless.  Okay, well, thank you for the vote of confidence. 

Afterward, she finished by telling me a "miracle story" which anyone who has ever struggled with infertility even semi-openly, you have all heard the stories.... "They were going to adopt and then she just got pregnant!!"  "They relaxed and stopped worrying about it and then she just got pregnant!!"  *Insert Eye-Roll* 

She did tell us a pretty amazing story however about her niece who was told her whole life she would never conceive and then got married and was pregnant within a month.   Then she says to me, "See, she had it worse than you because she was told her whole life she couldn't get pregnant."  I responded, "Actually, so was I."  (When I was 15ish, I had a cyst burst that was incredibly painful which ended me up in the ER and had an MRI (I think that's what it was... this was 10 years ago) because they thought it was my appendix... the doctor came out and said don't worry it's not your appendix, you had a cyst burst, it's no problem, you just probably won't be able to get pregnant.)

There are two fundamental differences between her "miracle story" and actual miracles.  We have been trying for coming up on four years.  1. Her niece never tried, and then conceived the first month of having sex.  So for all intents and purposes... her niece never suffered from infertility, she put all of her trust in some silly doctor and basically had borrowed infertility or supposed infertility.  If you're a virgin, you cannot complain about infertility.  2.  God doesn't have a pregnancy planned for every family who struggles with infertility.  She told us this story with the conclusion of giving us hope as she patted herself on the back with her good deed for the day of having given us hope.  Make no mistake friends, Jack and I have HOPE.  We have HOPE in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and that no matter how many kids we do or don't have, while it is all up to Him and in His plan for our lives, we are STILL spending eternity with Him in Heaven.  THAT is our hope.   What some people don't understand is that by telling people that there are "miracles that happen" and equating that only with a "miracle pregnancy" they are missing out on every other way that GOD Himself can choose to grow your family.  Maybe by embryo adoption, donor sperm, donor egg, surrogacy, adoption or foster care. 

In the spirit of keeping this blog honest... both Jack and I left there somewhat annoyed.  This is part of my calling and I know it, to help educate people and show them Grace in their ignorance.  This person had no idea what she was saying or how it would possibly affect someone who understood a struggle that they know nothing about.  This person concluded her miracle story by telling us that she was "a fertile myrtle" and that basically everyone she touched just got pregnant left and right.   Oh, gee, thank you so much for sharing that.  That helps.  A lot. 

I'm trying not to sound too sarcastic about this, but this is the type of thing that some people believe is "helpful".  What happened was that this person felt better about herself and "helpful," when really, she didn't take the time to listen at ALL to me and Jack. 

Hopefully our next meeting together will go much better and hopefully she gives me a chance to share my vision and dreams with her too, instead of her taking her own personal issues with what she believes "infertility" to be and lets that color her opinion on the need for such a ministry.  I suppose I am not surprised that I am encountering someone who has a problem, or maybe not even has a problem, but someone who isn't 100% on board and understanding why there would be such a need for an Infertility Ministry.  I also think that she doesn't understand what I am trying to do.  I am not trying to teach a class, I would just like there to be a safe place to go at church for women who struggle with Infertility.  Also, I would like to be able to minister to these women, LOVE them and care for them without judgment or condemnation or "miracle stories" to be "helpful".  Sometimes all they want is a hug or a brownie.

((Please note that I am also not condemning everyone who tries to be helpful.  My only point for this was that sometimes when people don't take the time to listen, they form their own opinions about what this couple or person needs and refuses to see beyond their own thoughts and reasoning.  Being helpful and thoughtful and caring is great, but I would like to be able to educate the church body as a whole that while yes, we do serve a God of miracles, not every couple who struggles with infertility will experience the miracle of pregnancy and telling some story where someone's third cousin's neighbor miraculously got pregnant does not help.  I understand wanting to try to be helpful, but unless you personally know a real and true story about infertility and you would like to share someone's testimony about it, then try not to share some story that has been through the game of telephone. )) 


  1. I wish that my church had a group that I could go to, I really do not know anyone personally that is going through IF, I know people who THOUGHT they were but weren't. It would be nice to just talk about the struggle of the week or month and cry or laugh with them.
    The "helpful" ladies comments really made me kinda angry and I'm not sure if I misunderstood what she was trying to say or what, but to me it sounded like she forgot what it was like to be infertile.
    I hope everything goes well with your project.

  2. People are ignorant sometimes. I believe your Infertility Ministry has a great purpose and could have a huge impact on any couples that join (and also on you both for being able to help them and meet new people struggling with similar problems). Best of luck on the next meeting.

  3. I'm sorry for this interaction. I would be frustrated too. I just think people don't know how to deal with the "sad" and so they ignore it or place a band aid there (which is hugely unhelpful. I think your ministry is a great idea and I look forward to hearing more about it.


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