The Business of Hope: Part 2 of 5


It's hard to believe that our first little one is due this week!  I'm so excited to meet her (and evict her) that I can hardly breathe sometimes! (Of course, that also could be because she has her feet firmly planted in my lungs...) 

Because this week is so different from every other, I've also chosen to write about something very different.  

This week I'm posting a 5 part series about my experiences being diagnosed and treated for infertility.  I can't lie - it's personal and somewhat painful to share. But I also feel it's incredibly important to create an open dialogue about the topic (something that is strangely lacking or taboo) and share the experience in the hopes that those who don't know much about it can become more familiar with the journey and those who are going through it are reminded that they're not alone.  

Friends, as you read this, please do so with an open heart and mind.  Please know that the intentions are not for pity or grandstanding but for a greater understanding of something that is still so isolating for so many.


Click Here to Read Infertility, Part 1

Infertility, Part 2                                                                                                                      

A Conversation with Unnamed Friends… 
I sat at the table staring into the empty space over my friends’ heads.  My food sat in front of me cooling to the temperature of the blood in my veins.  Why did I let myself talk about this? 

Earlier I had discovered that friends of ours were also struggling to get pregnant with their second child.   They seemed like safe people to talk to so dinner was arranged.  And yet here we were… 

“We adore Sarah and we really want her to have a brother, but if she doesn’t, she doesn’t and we’ll just have to be okay with that,” Mrs. Friend said as she took another bite of her meal.

You feel free to be okay with it.  You already have a child.  I am NOT okay with it.   I smiled vaguely back. 

“The reality is that this may be God saying that we don’t need a baby.”  

I wonder how God would feel if I shoved this penne up your nose?  Perhaps this is God telling me that’s what I need.  I looked over at Scott.  He seemed to be somewhat oblivious to the conversation.  I doubted he’d try to stop me though.  Best friend and partner in crime.  Or lunacy.  

Little Sarah, maybe 3 years old, squirmed in the chair next to her mother, and Mr. Friend began to entertain her with the crayons left by the waiter.  I smiled at the little girl and made a silly face. She giggled and made one back.  Perfect - Maybe we can redirect.  But Mrs. Friend continued. 

“Someone actually brought up IVF to us.  I was horrified.  I don’t know how anyone can justify that.  That’s such an insult to God and it’s so unbiblical, you know?  Men who jerk off into a cup and you wind up with some random baby, or WORSE, people who carry other people’s babies and they try to tell you it’s yours…” She shook her head. “It’s just so wrong.  I hope you’re not considering it.” 

There are few moments in life where I have any desire to look at my own face, but I do often wonder what horrified mask my features froze into right then.  I’m usually pretty good at finding a witty twist to shut down a conversation, but if words ever failed me, they certainly did at that moment.  I attempted to swallow, but my throat had completely dried out.  Sahara-like, really.  Were anyone roaming the restaurant with a portable X-Ray machine I would not have been at all surprised to learn that there was tumbleweed lazing about in my trachea.  

By the time dinner was finished and the bill was paid, the shock was beginning to wane.  In the car, I vented to Scott.  

“Does she even know what IVF is?  It has nothing to do with random donors or inseminating strangers and even if it did… what the hell?!  And then to say it’s unbiblical… explain THAT to me??  I must have missed the ‘Thou Shall Not Embark Upon In Vitro Fertilization Treatment’ commandment.”  

I took a breath to steady myself, but the tide was not to be stemmed. 

“And she has the nerve to talk about God’s will?  Like He’s discussed it with her?  God’s will was for some crack head with no respect for life to pop out four kids and abandon them or use them as government funded pay days but He doesn’t want US to be parents?  Cause that’s what I heard!!  AND FURTHERMORE, WHO THE HELL TALKS ABOUT “JERKING OFF IN A CUP” IN FRONT OF THEIR 3 YEAR OLD?!?!”   

Scott had the good sense to stay quiet.  I may not rant often, but when I do, batten the hatches.  

Despite my bluster, what I mostly felt was… small.  It was as though, in addition to my body being useless and my emotions being completely raw, my faith had been attacked too.  By a friend.  By someone I thought would understand where I was and what I was feeling.  Once again, I felt alone.

The funny part is that the conversation actually wound up being helpful.  For weeks previously, I had looked at the Fertility Clinic information, stuck to my fridge with a blue thumbtack shaped magnet.  I had even taken it off the door and started to dial the number once or twice.  But I always ended up putting the little white card back.  The idea of more talks with strangers, more tests, more unwelcome opinions and judgments from people who might find out was overwhelming to say the least.  But something about that night- something about that conversation – wound up giving me a little bit of courage.  What was the harm in finding out what came next? 

An Opinion on Opinions (and Intentions) 

I’m a little bit of a Pollyanna at times in that I believe that most people are well-intentioned.  For example, I wasn’t angry with my friend for disagreeing with IVF or other fertility treatments.  I’m quite sure that her opinions, much like mine, are based on her level of knowledge regarding the subjects, her personal experiences, and her interpretation of major influences within her life.  Those things are all valid and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with someone having opinions that are radically different from mine.  More to the point, I don’t think she intended any harm by sharing her opinions, however vehemently.

The trouble, it would seem, comes when someone presents their opinion as fact.  When one stops allowing for any additional contributions – new evidences or deeper knowledge; differing life experiences; new angles, interpretations, and perspectives – that’s when someone becomes the very definition of “Closed Minded.”  And that’s when a simple viewpoint moves from neutral territory to an offensive strike.  

IVF, pregnancy and children are hot button topics that EVERYONE seems to have an opinion on.  Advice regarding them is doled out the same way a firehose doles out water: here it is, hold on tight.  I honestly believe that this is due to the fact that people are quite passionate about babies and children and there is an innate desire to offer protection by sharing and defending decisions they’ve made in the past.  But, whatever the subconscious intention, the result is that many views regarding these topics tend to move quite quickly into the My-Opinion-Is-God’s-Word category.  For people who are still in the Fact Finding stage and forming their own beliefs, this less-than-delicate approach from friends and family comes off less like advice and more like a judgment.  Add to that the confused emotions that I previously mentioned, and you have the equivalent of an emotional Tet Offensive. 

In my experience, the best reactions we received anytime we mentioned our very personal quandaries, were from people who either said, “This is a big decision. Let me know if there’s anything I can do” OR “This is what we went through and the decisions we made, but you have to do what’s right for you.”  

Had my friend softened her tone and altered her diatribe to include some room for a difference of opinion, the smallness that I was left feeling might not have lingered.  I also would have probably sought more information as to how she had drawn the conclusions that she had and at least considered her points. 


Click HERE to continue on and read Part 3 of the series

More Reading
 Infertility, Part 1 

*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.
**This article is strictly our experience with infertility and not meant to be read as medical advice or fact.

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  1. Oh my word. I cannot imagine what must be going through a person's head to say such awful things to someone who is going through a monumental struggle!!! You are a bigger person than I am, because I'm afraid I would have let her know exactly what I thought of her opinion and exactly where she could put it.
    I am so thrilled for you to welcome your little cherub :) you and Scott are going to be the most wonderful parents! (Just remember, mentioning 'jerking off into a cup' is only kosher in front of your child if you're in public at a restaurant where people DEFINITELY want to hear people talking about semen! Enjoy your meal, folks!)

  2. lol - I will keep that in mind. Thank you for your encouragement. We are blessed to be where we're at. As I said, I think she probably meant well, and may have just been going through her own struggle and process... but, yeah... not exactly the most open minded or uplifting approach!


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