I recently read this article Dealing with Infertility and Childlessness thought some of you might think this is interesting too...I have heard 1 in 6 couples before like it states but for some reason never thought about this. That is ALOT of couples...I attend a ward that is enormous in the sense that it has over 190 children in the primary alone (yes it is a baby factory....j/k) and when I think of this, this is hard for me to think this is true but what I don't know is the struggle that many may have had to have those children or that in someone else's ward they may have more infertile couples than mine...
The article states:
Couples who are not able to have children may experience a wide spectrum of feelings—jealousy, despair, envy, isolation, and bitterness. They may feel singled out for an ordeal few others seem to experience, and they might find it difficult to fit into social circles where everyone else has children. The anguish can go so deep that seeing a baby can feel like a knife in their hearts.
I know I have felt like this before! There have been times when I don't even know what to say...My husband and I raise my 10 year old daughter whom I had before I met my husband. James and I don't have any children together and people assume we are done or only want(ed) one...Little have they known that we desperately have wanted children for years...
It further states:
Men and women tend to react somewhat differently to infertility. Women often experience profound grief and sadness. They tend to cry a lot and to reduce their anxiety by talking about what they're experiencing. Men, on the other hand, express fewer anguished feelings and seem to be less affected by being childless. They generally don't feel as free to talk about their feelings and tend to have less opportunity to discuss them with friends.
How many of you are the cry-ers? That is me for sure...not recently but it comes in waves...I am sure you can relate!
I especially liked this part of the article but think it can most definitely apply to friends as well...unless you have struggled with infertility yourself or have had a person really close to you go through it, you most likely don't get it and can risk saying some really dumb things to those that struggle even though you never intended to:
What Can Family Members Do to Help?
Couples struggling with childlessness need support from family members and friends. However, it's important not to be intrusive into this very private dimension of a marriage. Here are a few tips to help the ones you love.
- Show understanding and acceptance.
- Listen without giving advice.
- Let the couple know you are there for them.
- Don't ask a woman if she is pregnant.
- Give the couple respect and privacy.
- Don't offer false hope.
- Don't joke about infertility.
- Don't suggest solutions, such as infertility treatments, adoption, or foster parenting. These are options that should be privately discussed between a couple.
- Don't offer the commonly repeated misinformation that a woman who adopts often gets pregnant soon after.
- Learn about infertility so you can be an informed listener.
"So How is the Adoption Going?"
I know people are just trying to be caring but really this HAS got to be the worst question you could ever ask someone that is wanting to adopt and waiting. Trust me they will tell you first or you will see them with a child and by this you will know "How the Adoption is Going." By asking this it only brings up the painful reminder that they still aren't parenting the child they so desperately pray for or that a birth-mother has not chosen them to care for their child...
Instead ask them "Is there anything I or we can do to help with your Adoption?" This shows you are thinking about them and they might really need your help! Ask them if they have Pass-a-long cards that you can help give or if they have a blog/site you can link to your email signature for others to see. Trust me they will always remember you asked and that you cared instead of thinking about the fact that they are still waiting! Hey and you never know you may just be the one that helped them find their baby!
If you want to read the entire article you can click here
**Original article was written by Jeremy S. Boyle, Research Assistant, edited by Stephen F. Duncan, Professor, School of Family Life, Brigham Young University.