biblical advice for every stage in life

Facing Infertility

Facing Infertility

Discovering infertility in your marriage can be heartbreaking, but it does not have to be hopeless.

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Beyond the Heartache of Infertility

“So, when are you going to have kids?” That question is invasive enough when babies are part of your plan. What if you have just found out you are unable to have children or experienced yet another miscarriage? How are you supposed to deal with the awkward conversations about children that inevitably come up? Facing infertility can cause a woman to wonder about her identity. Looking around at other families with children you might ask, “What is wrong with us—why can we not have what they have?” You can feel like your marriage is missing something, or you may blame yourself for making decisions along the way that have hurt your chances to conceive. Maybe you have already considered or started some kind of infertility treatment and you are worried about the cost or risks that you may face.

In addition to the heartaches of genetic infertility, more and more couples are finding that time spent finishing degrees, launching careers, and establishing marriages have pushed them beyond the ideal window of fertility. Whatever feelings you may be experiencing, you need to remind yourself of several important truths.

REMINDER ONE: It is Okay to Grieve

Hoping to offer comfort, some may downplay infertility and even point to the things you can enjoy as a couple without kids. If you already have at least one child, some people may not understand why you would be so sad about secondary infertility ending your hopes for more children. Whatever your circumstances, it is common to experience a great sense of loss in finding out you cannot have a child. Infertility is a tragic reality of our fallen world, one that rightly causes grief. Jesus told his followers that those who mourn are blessed and will be comforted (Matthew 5:4).

A husband may not entirely understand what a wife facing infertility is going through, especially as her emotions are affected by changing hormones. This can be a vulnerable time for any couple. It is important to share your thoughts and feelings openly, not stuffing them or letting your grief get lost in distractions and busyness.

REMINDER TWO: It is Okay to Hope

Because of God’s goodness, you are never without hope. Psalm 113:9 says, “He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children.” You cannot know exactly how God will choose to work in your life, but you can know He is able. He can restore fertility when it seems impossible. He may help you grieve your inability to have biological children and then cultivate in you a desire to adopt and love a child in desperate need of a Christian home. Your ability to hope in God begins by releasing everything to Him in prayer. In his letter to the Philippians, Paul wrote, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

REMINDER THREE: It is Essential to Be in Community

It is tempting to avoid talking about infertility and all the accompanying struggles. Couples may want to pull away from other families, unsure what they will think or say. As awkward as it may be, however, you still need Christian community as a safe place where you can “share your burdens with one another” (Galatians 6:2). It is in community that you also can find encouragement from others who have been where you are. That is the context of 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”

recommended books

Empty Womb, Aching Heart

By Marlo Schalesky

Discover hope and help for those struggling with infertility. When the professional advice isn't enough, and you've had your fill of well-meaning comments from those who haven't experienced infertility, Marlo Schalesky wants you to know you are not alone. The true stories she tells of couples who share your hopes, fears, frustrations, and the comfort only God can bring will encourage your heart. Infertility strikes at the core of what it means to be a woman or man, tests marriages, and shakes faith. The honest, open, and emotionally resonant first-person stories in Empty Womb, Aching Heart will touch your life--as you "cry in the diaper aisle," wonder if you "are less of a woman," ask "How far should we go?" or whisper to God, "It's not fair."

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