“Are you willing to wait for God’s best?”
That question evokes very strong responses among infertile couples. Many get angry or tearful at the thought of ongoing uncertainty. Most will say they’re willing to wait – but for how long? What’s the point of waiting? Does God have a purpose? Is His best that much better than “good enough… and now”? Will there ever be a baby?
Underlying the impatience is rapidly-growing worry over increasingly difficult questions. What does it mean to be singled-out for suffering? How long will this grief continue? Why is everyone else able to have a baby? Where is God in all this? And why doesn’t anyone seem to have satisfying answers?
One of the hardest things about infertility is feeling simultaneously set apart and afraid. Stigma and fear of failure generate an intense desire for privacy, but the result is often deep loneliness and an unsatisfied hunger for hope.
One of the blessings of the infertility Bible study group is the freedom to express feelings and ask questions within a supportive community. Everyone understands the struggle.
If you were to join us, here’s what you’d hear. These are actual quotes from women in the group, used here with permission:
- “I know God is there, but I don’t understand why it’s taking so long.”
- “I’m mad at God that He won’t give us a healthy baby. I can’t understand: if He has the capability of giving us a healthy baby, why won’t He?”
- “I’ve been thinking, “A baby is a baby; give it to me now.” I have no patience that’s all I can think about.”
- “You wonder, why God? And you think, what else can we do? What have we done that’s so wrong?”
- “I wonder, ‘Why? What did I do wrong before marriage, or during marriage?’”
- “I keep thinking, why doesn’t God think I should be one of the ones to conceive?”
The men in the group share equally strong feelings about the frustration and uncertainty of waiting for God’s best, but they’re more likely to express their feelings in terms of anger. They say things like these [again actual quotes, used with permission]:
- “Why isn’t God giving me kids of my own? That’s what I ask myself.”
- “I am angry at God. We sincerely want to be parents. We feel like we’re ready. We don’t understand why God isn’t ready for us to be parents.”
- “I feel abandoned by God.”
- “We’re going to church and going through the motions, but I’m not getting any traction.”
- “Sometimes, it’s like, ‘You’re not doing me right, God. This just isn’t right. What did we do to deserve this?’”
- “I sure am close to being angry at God. I don’t understand at all. I mean, what is going on here?!”
It is not only healthy and appropriate to share feelings like this with people who understand the infertility journey, it’s essential.
As Trey said, “You can’t take it all on yourself. But with infertility, it’s very common to keep it private and not open up. I think it’s critical to have support. For us, that was huge. It’s so important to surround yourself with people who understand and can relate.”
Why? Because you can’t change your feelings about this experience until you see the connection to your thoughts. Thoughts determine feelings, actions, and even outcomes. If your thoughts are consistently anxious and self-focused — When will it happen for me? Why is everyone able to get pregnant but me? — you will constantly be filled with worry, feeling helpless and hopeless.
If, instead, you choose to dwell on different thoughts — God has promised His best to those who trust Him, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” — you will begin to feel and act differently. You will find peace in the midst of uncertainty. And that can transform the journey.
It’s a moment-by-moment battle to take negative thoughts captive, and one worth fighting. Surround yourself with people who understand… people who are fighting the same fight you are. Encourage and inspire one another. And in God’s perfect time, you will emerge victorious.
*Every person quoted here is now a parent. It can happen for you, too. If you’re not in a group, find one or start one; the PregnantWithHope website tells you how.
For more resources and cause for hope, visit PregnantWithHope.com.