What’s the worst thing about infertility? That’s a great conversation starter in a room full of infertile couples.
For many women – and men – it is often the realization that our self-images are tied up in the notion that we can achieve what we want to, when we want to. It’s worked in the workplace. Now, we want to switch gears and apply the same success formula to starting a family: Effort + Intent = Results.
When we can’t succeed on our terms and our timetable, we wonder: Why not? What am I doing wrong? We start to feel anxiety and resentment about the lack of control we have over this situation. We want something desperately – we’re clear on the goal – but we can’t seem to get there. It’s stress-inducing. And crazy-making!
There’s another piece to this, too.
We’re not just successful people who are ready to succeed at baby-making and parenthood. We’re also part of a culture that celebrates instant gratification and effortless success. Without even realizing it, we’ve bought into an attitude of entitlement: If I want it, I should have it. Like everyone around us, we believe we should be able to chart our own course… set our own timetable… control our own little world….
So, where does God fit into that?
That’s a great conversation stopper in a room full of infertile couples.
If we think we’re planning it all and doing it all, then what’s God doing? Watching us? Thwarting us? Focusing on people He cares about more than He does us? Is He waiting for something? For us to apologize, or redeem ourselves, or give Him an assignment? What’s His role in all this – or does He even have one?
Struggling to answer these question leads couples to the realization that infertility brings us face-to-face with unconscious expectations. What is it that we expect of God when we want something desperately? How do we think our relationship with Him works – or should work? And how might our expectations be affecting the trajectory of our journey?
I’m convinced one of the purposes of a season of infertility is to focus our attention on these important questions, and to find answers – from deep in our hearts, from scripture, and from God Himself.
If you’re tired of spinning your wheels and trying to force a solution to your infertility problem, maybe you should take time to step back and consider these difficult questions. The answers may give you some very good clues about the best Next Steps to take on this journey.
For more insight into the infertility journey — and cause for real hope — read Pregnant With Hope: Good News for Infertile Couples.