“You can’t have a child” – facing the consequences of infertility or singleness.

Posted: October 5, 2012 in Uncategorized
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“When are you two going to get married?” can fast turn into “so when are you starting a family?”, but for many people their dream of becoming a parent never becomes a reality. Although technically you won’t be tested for infertility until after a whole year of trying for a child, questions can arise even after 6 months.

Mags* is in her late twenties.  She got married young.  Her and her husband decided to wait a few years before starting a family, but they were met with a brick wall when the time came.  A number of years has now elapsed.  She is confused but clinging to God.  On the one hand she blames herself for waiting and not being open from the start, on the other hand she can’t close the chapter marked ‘baby’ because she doesn’t know whether one might unexpectedly come along down the line.  She is walking into a future marked ‘unknown’, secretly hopeful but not wanting to get her hopes up too much so as not to put her life on hold whilst waiting.  She admits that sometimes she cries herself to sleep over the situation.

It is not just married couples who go through the challenge of wondering if they will ever become parents, single men and women are faced with the same query.  Katie* always dreamed of being a mother, but she has now gone past the age of 40 with no sign of Mr Right on the horizon.  She is bubbly, dynamic, faith-filled and beautiful, yet she has come to accept that if she ever has children it will have to be through adoption.  Katie says there is nothing wrong with adopting but that she has had to go through a painful grieving process in order to reach a place where she accepts that her bloodline will probably stop with her.

Young girls grow up often assuming that it is their right to be able to have children if they want to, so chatter takes place about the number of boys and girls they would like to have.  Some women pick out potential names for their desired dream team only to discover that Prince Charming hasn’t come along in time or that the life she hoped to have with him isn’t unfolding like the fairytale she imagined.  There are people who tell me that their first child came along ‘too quickly’ or their baby was ‘unplanned’.  When I hear these claims I am reminded of those at the opposite end of the spectrum who are hitting disappointment month after month when signs of the woman’s monthly period arrives in place of a positive pregnancy test.

Increasingly couples labelled as infertile (unless a miracle occurs) are coming into my path.  What many of them have in common is a sense of guilt for being upset about it.  We know that God can come through with a miracle even after a long wait – Abraham and Sarah are classic examples of that with her becoming pregnant when she describes her womb as being ‘good as dead’ – but when the life you thought you were going to have doesn’t come to fruition it can be challenging.  Perhaps we need to create a culture within our Churches where we tell people that it is ok to grieve, whether that be for the loss of a loved one or the loss of fertility, rather than thinking that because we are believers we need to have it together all the time.

Everyone goes through struggles during the course of their life, many of which are unknown to the people around them, but the question we can put to ourselves during those dark moments is whether we will allow the tough experiences to crush us or make us.  Will we let God use the hard stuff to mould us into someone more compassionate with an increased capacity to receive His love or not?

A thought:  If we have God then we have everything we need.

A prayer: Lord, we ask you to be the strength we need in our times of weakness. Be with all those who are hurting or suffering in secret this day. Give us your heart of compassion and use us as a channel of your healing love. Amen

Resources:

1. HTB Church (sorry if you are not in London) run a course called ‘Waiting for Children’. The course title is one of hope and expectancy rather than closing a door because of a label you have been given. If you or anyone you know is in that place of waiting or struggling with fertility issues perhaps take a look:

http://www.htb.org.uk/whats-on/courses/waiting-children

2. There is also a book written by two Christian women who had different outcomes to their fertility journey. It is called ‘Just the two of us?’ by Eleanor Margesson and Sue McGowan:

                                                          Just the two of us?

Also a book by Rosemary Morgan called ‘Living With Infertility – a Christian Perspective’:

rosemary

© Maria Rodrigues-Toth

*Real names have not been used

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Comments
  1. Nice post. Infertility is a different road for each of us. It reminds me of the parable of the blind man, and the disciples ask Jesus who sinned? the blind man, or his parents? I know like the blind man I have been used by God in my struggle.

  2. Thank you HopeFaithHome… And thank you for being a light to others in your own times of darkness.

  3. As a woman who is currently undergoing invasive investigation for “sub-fertility” i think this kind of thing is loooong overdue!!! It is a lonely road to travel, sometimes, because there is an expectation for a woman to have a baby for which she has been designed. There have been times when I have longed for someone to share with – another woman as there is only so much Hubby can understand. But the Church has been silent! Sometimes I cry, like Rachel to Jacob, give me a child, lest I die… other times I plead like Hannah, give me a child Lord and I will give him or her back to you. But after 1 year and 1 month (being 35 the “get checked point” is 6 months), I am learning to surrender my desire. How I wish I lived in London – I would so attend. Maybe something like this will “spread” oop north.

  4. Bubba’s Hopeful Mumma – Thank you for your honesty. It is a different journey for men and women because a woman’s physiology speaks of motherhood: hips to carry a child in the womb, breasts to feed a baby etc. You are not alone in your experiences. There are more Christian women dealing with this than is perhaps realised. God bless you lots. Will follow your progress on your blog.

  5. […] “You can’t have a child” – facing the consequences of infertility or singlen… – a great blog post over at Woman in London. A real heart-rending issue and she writes really well about it. […]

  6. Lauree says:

    The older I get, or rather the increasing distance I move away from the idealized age of expectation for things like marriage and motherhood, I feel like motherhood is just as equal a desire of my heart. My girlfriends and I have danced around a conversation that asks the question, “How old would you be if you were to consider adopting as a single woman?” We joke, but I know that it’s a real desire of our hearts. Thank you for your thoughts and sensitivity on this topic!

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