We are reading the book “When the Cradle is Empty” by John and Sylvia VanRegenmorter. This week we will look at chapter 7, “What do you say to Aunt Sally?”
“How can you deal with well-meaning but sometimes insensitive friends, family, and fellow Christians? What should you tell them about your infertility , and how? And what should you do if they hurt you?”
The chapter goes on to talk about different relationships from the curious stranger to close family members. The responses will vary depending on who you are talking with. The section I liked the best was on how to handle telling close friends and family. She lists three approaches to lessen the hurt that may come from those close to you:
“1. Don’t remain silent. Many couples have endured unnecessary hurt simply because they haven’t told close friends and family members that they’re facing an infertility problem. Once you share with parent, siblings, and friends that you’re trying to have a baby and are getting medical help, it’s amazing what can happen. Often the silly questions disappear, the “funny” jokes cease, and the supposedly friendly jibes are never launched again.”
“2. Correct patiently and kindly.” When you get insensitive advice (just relax, maybe you should just adopt, give it time) these loved ones usually mean well but are ignorant about infertility and the solutions. Kindly address their statements and correct the faulty information e.i. “Statisitcs show that couples who adopt are not more likely to give birth than couples who don’t adopt.”
“3. Remember that those close to you may hurt too. This is an important caution, especially in dealing with your parents. You may grieve the fact that you have no child; they may mourn because they have no grandchild. Infertility may threaten their hopes as well as yours.” I wanted to add that parents also feel the pain that they can’t fix this for their adult children.
The chapter ends by reminding us that we are all only human. Most people mean well, some are insensitive and only a handful are down right rude. She closes with the following:
“People may let us down, but there is One who never will. ‘God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear…'” (Psalm 46:1-2).