I think one of the more difficult things for couples suffering infertility is the constant reminder of what you don’t have. None of it is done directly, but simply comes with the territory and is just part of the ache that continually stays in your heart.
I feel lately I have been experiencing more of those reminders. Awkward moments when people ask, how many kids do you have or I bet your family is on your case to have kids. Without fail every time…I produce awkward silence…wondering how I should answer. As often as I get the question I am beginning to think I should have already come up with a generic answer by now, a go to response, but I seem to be thrown every, single, time.
I realize a generic answer doesn’t always work depending on the person or situation, but I usually always walk away wondering if I should have said something different or something more. Then again what if I would say too much, the last thing I want to do is make anyone uncomfortable with my answer.
Do I share about the miscarriages, do I share about the adoption, do I share about the desire in my heart to be a mom or do I choose to just be silent? More often than not I choose the latter. A simple no, followed by silence, and I move on to change the topic.
No matter what the situation, the end result is always the same the reminder of what I don’t have. The continual reminder of the road we have been on for the past 6+ years and the feeling like sometimes we are the only ones.
I guess if there is no other purpose to this post, it’s to say I know what you are going through. The thoughts and feelings of wondering what others are thinking about you, hoping you are not being judged, but concealing in your heart your inmost longings.
Couples who experience infertility often suffer in silence, not wanting to inconvenience anyone with their troubles. It’s something that can’t be seen, so it’s not noticed. Often deeply personal and hard to initiate in conversation unless they are asked. It almost becomes a taboo topic.
Now I begin to wonder if my silence in conversations only contributes to it. Perhaps acknowledging the five babies I carried, but never held, would provide an opening in the conversation. An opening for someone else to share their story, their loss and their hurt that they have held on too for so long, but dared not to tell anyone. Perhaps sharing would help another woman find healing.
Although, I always dread what seems like a million questions when we tell someone we are adopting. Perhaps sharing about our journey, even though it hasn’t been easy it is filled with so much love, would inspire someone else. Perhaps it would help them love their neighbor a little more.
As I reflect on what I am writing, I can’t promise the next time the question is asked I will have a good answer. I know for certain though, I will think twice and perhaps maybe allow my heart to help someone else’s hurt.
So for all the times I keep silent, I hope that in some small way through posts like this, the silence will be broken and perhaps someone out there will also begin to experience healing. Perhaps someone will also feel they are no longer alone when the question arises.
Thank you for being willing to share your cross!!!! It means a lot knowing im not alone. So sad, to lose five little ones. 🙁 It is hard to know what to say when people ask the “kids” question. Ive gotten it a lot lately, getting to know people at my new job. Sometimes i say, “not yet, but pray for us!”, it seems like most people understand the ache behind that.
Everyday Ann says
I have also found peace in knowing I am not the only one, it’s a sense of community in our struggles. I love your response, I think I need to try that one!
Laura Ziegler says
Thanks for sharing, Cassie. Even though people are well-intentioned, these questions are intrusive, especially when the reality is what it is. And, at least in my case, I’ve found that my husband has never been asked these questions. I find my answer too is dependent on the situation, and your respectful approach is probably better than my usual witty and sometimes snarky responses. But there needs to be an awareness from people that these questions are very personal. A candid conversation with friends and family that is initiated is different than being asked these questions.
Everyday Ann says
I agree it is very personal, especially when people press the question and suggest solutions for you. I try to just assume people are wanting to make small talk. There have been many times I have bitten my tongue before responding!
Cassie, you are a awesome mom. You were open to life and carried those precious gifts from God if only for a little while. And now you are still saying yes to God in opening your heart for those precious boys that were born for your family. God is so good! Having 6 miscarriages myself there is always a sadness and longing to have met those little angels but knowing God’s plan is so much better than ours. I know that I was able to have our other 7 children but I often get asked the opposite questions Are your going to have any more? (Only God knows..You are asking the wrong person) or are they all yours or etc. etc. We must be joyful in our trials and yes your witness to these people might help them grow in holiness and grace if not for them then the next time they talk to another person. You have good friends that you know you can share the good and bad times Cassie. I pray that you know that anytime you need you can call or we can go out and just talk. I know that we don’t see each other but at events and a couple of date nights but I am always a listening ear if you need or even if you don’t need. Thank you so much for your blog. It gives me so much. God bless.
Thank you for your courage in writing this post.
Your attitude expressed here is so calm. I am still in the place where I am hurt by every question, even casual ones. How did you get to where you ate now, able to see the good intention?
Everyday Ann says
Time and prayer. For me it was realizing that some of the generic questions are just out of habit, people trying to make small talk and from there most people are caught off guard and don’t know how to respond when your answer includes infertility. Often insensitive things are said or asked, but unless they have a loved one going through it the topic is taboo to them. That being said the questions still aren’t easy and I feel an ache everytime they come up. And I definitely have had my moments where I have had to bite my tongue a few times!
Thanks for this. I read in my prayer this morning that hurt and loneliness can bring me to seek consolation in Jesus’ heart as He knew these too. I am working on prayer and waiting in patience for time to do its work.
Your recent past about getting the room ready is so sweet. I do hope you can have fun with the planning and will pray that all goes smoothly.