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Infertility: Silent, but Very Painful Suffering

October 24, 2011

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Rob Green

Infertility 1 - Silent, but Very Painful Suffering

Note: This is the first of a several-part series on infertility.

Dreams. We have all had them. I remember growing up in Columbus, Ohio dreaming of playing middle linebacker for the Buckeyes. I dreamed of tackling the running backs for losses and sacking the Michigan quarterback to end the game. I dreamed of intercepting a pass in the Rose Bowl against USC – another one of the teams I hated – and running for a touchdown. Reality hit my freshman year of high school. I was 5’6” and I weighed 121 pounds. My dream was over.

However, the death of this dream was not a big deal. After all, there is only one middle linebacker for the Buckeyes each year. They made it to the Rose Bowl only some of the years (even prior to the BCS) and middle linebackers don’t intercept many passes. So, even if I had been bigger my chances were still very small of seeing that dream fulfilled. But some dreams seem much more realistic and some dreams die much harder.

Imagine, if you will, a little girl. She gets a doll for Christmas that looks like a newborn baby. The little girl cares for the baby, tucking her into her own little crib, she comforts her baby when she “cries,” and she applies band-aids on all her “boo-boos.” This little girl dreams of marrying a wonderful man who will care for her and treat her like a princess. After a couple years, they will have their first child and they will live happily ever after. Sometimes it doesn’t work out that way. Sometimes those little girls grow up and they are childless. Their sisters have children, their friends have children, it seems like everyone on the planet has children but them. To make matters worse, every month they are reminded that they do not have children. Periods, as I have been told, are always inconvenient, but when you really want to have a baby it is like a dagger right through the heart. Just to be frank, it sucks.

To make matters worse, many couples struggling with infertility suffer silently. The reasons for the silence are as varied as the couples that struggle.

  • Some are embarrassed
  • Some are struggling with the thought that they are defined by their infertility and talking about it seems to reinforce that notion
  • Some wish to avoid the tensions – tensions that are caused when others simply do not know what to say or do
  • Some do not wish to play the role of “victim”
  • Some do not want to talk because there is nothing anyone can do anyway

I could think of many more reasons, but I think the point is clear. Couples who struggle with infertility suffer alone.

This introduction can lead many different directions. We are going to head down those directions. We all need this series. You will either experience the pain of infertility (the death of a dream) or you will know someone (whether you know it or not) who is living with that pain.

Today, I want to write to those of you who are struggling with infertility. Here are three things I want to say directly to you.

# 1: You are not alone. You are not alone. You are not alone.

Even if no one knows you are struggling, many others have gone before you and many more are suffering right along with you. Did you know that the Bible is full of examples of infertility? The book of Genesis contains many of them. It is not hard to see the grief they experience because of it. In fact, the grief of Hannah (1 Samuel 1) was so pronounced that she was taken for being a drunk. Please remind yourself again and again that you are not alone in this struggle. If nothing else, this should give you hope that you are not alone.

# 2: It is not your fault.

There is a sense of fear that comes with infertility testing. It is the fear of knowing that something is wrong with you. What if my sperm count is too low? What if I am not ovulating? What if I have a feminine problem that makes pregnancy near impossible? No one enjoys knowing that infertility, humanly speaking, is because there is a problem. But let me encourage you by reminding you that God is sovereign over everything. He is the ruler of the entire universe and he also allowed you and your spouse to marry and to struggle. God wants to do something in your life that is wonderful and meaningful. So, if you are thinking to yourself, “this is all my fault” then please stop and remember that the God of heaven and earth is still active and working in your life. He wants you to be a trophy of his grace.

# 3: God is able to give you children at any point.

Not only is God sovereign, but he is also powerful. Abraham was an old man and Sarah was not a young woman when Isaac was born. Rachel was barren but God gave her two sons. Hannah (the mother of Samuel) begged for years for God to give her a son. God eventually gave her Samuel, three more sons and two daughters. This does not mean that God promises every couple biological children, but it does remind you that God is more than able to do so according to his will.

There is much more that can and will be said in the coming days on this topic. Our hope is that this series would be a real blessing to you. After all, some dreams not coming true are much bigger deals than other dreams not coming true.

Join the Conversation

What biblical words of hope bring comfort during the pain and grief of infertility?

Note: This post was originally published at the Faith Biblical Counseling blog: Counseling with Confidence and Compassion. It is reposted with permission from Rob Green and FBCM. To read the original post you can visit: Infertility: Silent, but Very Painful Suffering.


6 thoughts on “Infertility: Silent, but Very Painful Suffering

  1. Pingback: Stewarding Your Infertility | Biblical Counseling Coalition Blogs

  2. Pingback: Ministering to Those Struggling with Infertility | Biblical Counseling Coalition Blogs

  3. Pingback: Creating a Culture Where Infertility Can Be Discussed | Biblical Counseling Coalition Blogs

  4. Thanks Rob for this series on infertility.  I thought your comments were spot on.  As my wife and I walked through this slow-burn trial for about 6 years, we received the grace to understand firsthand the sovereignty and goodness of God, even as things do not work out like you planned.  I also grew in the area of compassion…a much needed addition to my character.  We were blessed by a church that weeps with those who weep and rejoices with those who rejoice.  60 women came to my wife’s baby shower when we adopted our first!  Now we pray for grace to faithfully raise the 3 boys God has chosen to bless us with.  Thanks for highlighting this often silent, but very prevalent trial.

  5. Todd,

    What a great comment! The small piece of your story that you shared is so encouraging. I know that I would love to hear the details as God not only helped you during those long 6 years, but now has rescued you from childlessness is some profound and exciting ways. Your comment also shows just how important celebrating God’s victories can be.

    Thanks again.

  6. At 64 I’m a childless Christian woman still married to a wonderful Christian man after 27 yrs. People can be “childless by circumstances”. I’ve read & reread the words of Christians re childless couples… we should’ve thought about not being cared for when we’re old, we’re selfish, in moral rebellion, materialistic, filled w/vanity, we rely on others to produce & sustain the generations to come, we’re perpetual adolescents just growing old, we lack compassion, have latent homosexual desires, show an utter lack of gratitude to life in general, have chosen to live unsacrificially, show gross disobedience of God’s Word, love animals too much, shirk other home/family related duties, embrace a rejection of the divine image we were created in, our unwillingness to procreate will ultimately be punished, our marriage will end in old age & solitude w/the bitterness of bad solitude, etc., etc., etc. These things are written or said w/false humility using scriptures to back them up & have sliced me, & undoubtedly others, to the core. I wanted children so badly. I think childless people who read these kinds of things never really recover from them since these are not from fringe type blogs… everyone of these are from reformed theology folks. It’s not easy to find childlessness addressed in reformed circles, but wow… what little there is kills.

    In His Name,
    A childless woman

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