Obsessing Over Infertility

AP news release (11/09) – Doctors have long worried about a link between fertility drugs and ovarian cancer.  But, Danish researchers recently analyzed medical records of 54,362 women and found that, over a 13-year follow-up period, those who took fertility drugs faced no greater risk of ovarian cancer – even if they’d undergone 10 or more treatment cycles.

Why is it that obsessing over when we’ll get pregnant isn’t enough?  We have to compound our suffering by worrying over other things we can’t control—like whether the fertility drugs we take now will bring on some new kind of suffering later.

“Fear and faith seem like opposites,” writes Joel Osteen, “but both ask us to believe something we cannot see.  Fear says, ‘believe the negative.’ Faith says, ‘believe the positive.’”  Why is so much easier for us to embrace fear?  And if we hate feeling fearful, why do we choose fear as our response to uncertainty?

The truth is, it doesn’t feel like a choice.  Loss of control flips a panic switch somewhere deep inside us.  Our instinctive fight-or-flight response takes over:   Hurry!  Fix this!  Solve it!  Now!  We don’t want to feel afraid.  We hate it.  So, in response to fear, we fight for control—struggling to maintain a steady course down an unfamiliar road toward a destination we hope we can find.

Parenthood.  Is it just up ahead?  We want to believe we’re on the right road… but something tells us we’re lost.  And alone.  In growing darkness.  Uncertainty compounds our panic and, before we know it, we’re careening down a dark road at top speed – scared to death, and hoping to make it in one piece.

Is there any other way to make this journey?  Yes…, but it requires us to do the unthinkable:  relinquish control.

Letting go in the midst of infertility is completely counterintuitive.  It feels like giving up.  But it’s not.  It is simply a humble admission that we are not in control.  We desperately want to be, but we’re not.  Unconsciously, we’ve resisted facing this obvious truth.  Why?  Out of fear that we’ll be overwhelmed by despair.  We’ll see how small and helpless we truly are in the face of intractable infertility, and heartbreak will become defeat.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

When we admit we are not in control, we make room for God to enter the story.  Will He help us?  Will He care?

“Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

Those were Jesus’ words to a panicked father when he heard his daughter had died.  Jesus understood the man’s instinctive response was fear and grief.  But Jesus told him:  don’t choose fear… choose faith.  Trust me… not what they tell you, or what you see.

What is your visceral response to bad news?  Do you rush to embrace grief and fear?  Or do you believe (“walk by faith…”), despite what you see (“…not by sight”)?

It’s your journey.  And it’s your choice.

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Find more resources and cause for hope at PregnantWithHope.com [tweetmeme source=”pregnantwhope” only_single=false]

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Filed under Control, Perspective, Trust

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