I’ve been hearing about the importance of good self-care all my life. It requires me to be attuned to my body’s needs, respond to my body’s messages appropriately, and seek help when I can’t solve a problem. Because there is more to me than just my physical self, it also means responding constructively to my emotional, intellectual, psychological and spiritual needs.
That became very difficult when we were going through infertility.
It’s a common problem, and one that can snowball rapidly.
Insufficient self-care can quickly undermine a relationship as our list of unmet needs grows – along with our frustration, resentment, hurt and anger. We can’t control infertility, but a truly committed partner would sense our needs and meet them. Right? That unvoiced expectation puts tremendous pressure on a relationship already stressed by the challenges of infertility.
If this is the best self-care we can muster, what’s the alternative? Who else can help us? Christ, in community.
“For where two or more are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” [Matthew 18:20]. That’s the foundational assumption on which we built the infertility Bible study group.
People who are struggling through infertility need help and hope. We need to surround ourselves with people who truly understand the struggle, and care deeply about it. We need to immerse ourselves in the powerful promises of God – who is bigger than the problem we’re facing. And, we need to experience the caring presence of Christ through community.
It’s too much to expect good self-care to do all that. In the midst of infertility, it can’t and it won’t. Neither will the world’s best partner.
If you are one of the “we” going through infertility, stop expecting the impossible from yourself – or your spouse. You need a community to surround you and lift you up. You need to find comfort in the knowledge that you are not alone – and to experience that comfort, first-hand.
When you seek and find it, you will also find affirmation, belonging, support, hope, encouragement, inspiration, compassion, spiritual sustenance, and much more. And, you will (re)discover the joy of giving all these things to others who – like you – are so hungry for them.
How do you find such an amazing community? A growing number of hospitals and churches are starting infertility groups, using Pregnant with Hope: Good News for Infertile Couples as the basis for discussion. If you inquire and find there is no such group, equip yourself with a copy of the book and print-outs of a few blogs that have been particularly meaningful, and point out the need.
The risk you may feel you are taking – “what will people think?!” – is well worth the incredible support you will find God providing in response to your call for help. Remember, “Everyone who calls, ‘help, God!’ gets help” [Romans 10:12]. So, don’t be afraid. Think of it as very good self-care.
And if, for some reason, you don’t get the response you want, contact me directly (firstname.lastname@example.org). I’ll work with you to start a group in your area. There’s lots of information on the website, PregnantWithHope.com, about how to get the ball rolling. Find one other couple, and we’ll be ready to begin!
The help and hope you need are closer than they feel. Please, take a step toward them. It will completely change the way you experience the infertility journey.
For more resources and cause for hope, visit PregnantWithHope.com