Tuesday, March 11, 2008


This really is an odd place to be. I'm in a Women's Bible Study on Tuesday nights. Tonight was week 5. For the last 4 weeks, we've spent the entire post-Bible study chat time talking about pregnancy, child bearing and parenting. It's a 7 woman Bible study. I and a college student are the only women in the group who do not have children (including my friend who is pregnant). So we (the college student and I) participate when we can with nervous humor anecdotes from babysitting and friends kids, but mostly we just sit there staring at the floor and occasionally each other. It's glaringly obvious that we have virtually nothing to add to that conversation and I just feel conspicuous and weird. Even if we didn't struggle with infertility, I still find a little off putting that the persistent conversation is a topic in which only some of the very small group can participate. I feel equally annoyed when the topic turns to husbands, because the group again includes that same single college student, as well as a very recent widow. I can't help but feel uncomfortable for them.

Tonight I had the worst time of it. I think some of it was "good grief, here we go again" but then I found myself equally frustrated at myself. If I participate in the conversation I feel like a fraud because that isn't our world yet, and it still may never be. We continue to tell ourselves that there is value in this journey because it is what God has designed for us. It is valuable now and its value is not contingent on whether or not we get a child at the end of it. So we're not counting on things going "our way." We're just being obedient and following one step at a time, trusting that it is Good, whatever the outcome will be.

On the other hand, if I feel uncomfortable or sad, I feel ungrateful for and insincere in my enthusiasm about the opportunity we have been given in our EA. I found myself very frustrated at this fight between my emotions.

Eventually I was tired of arguing with myself and I excused myself to the bathroom, collected my thoughts, returned to get my things, and left. 6 months ago the exact same scenario would have sent me to tears. I'm grateful that I'm not at that point anymore. But I guess I still find myself sensitive to heavily saturated exposure to the topic. Though we're grateful for this journey, it still hurts that we have to work so hard and that our wait has been long for something that others come by so easily. I guess those kind of conversations, at such a frequent and prolonged interval, just remind me of that. I feel uncomfortable, and then I feel guilty for feeling uncomfortable. CS Lewis said something like "Grief is unpredictable. It never stays where you put it." I guess that's what I'm dealing with because I was surprised to be caught by grief, when I have so much joy for our journey. I don't think I'll ever be "cured" of my grief. A lot of it is resolved, but some of it is not and I think that's ok. But I guess I feel like the world expects me to be "over it" now that God have given us this new dream so I am hesitant to share my heart with anyone, save you, dear readers!

I guess at the end of the day I don't think it's completely unreasonable to think that 7 women should be able to find something else in common to talk about. I don't want to pretend like pregnancy, childbearing and children don't exist, but I guess this journey has made me painfully aware of my surroundings and of those awkward moments when you glance around the room and wonder if the topic at hand is making someone uncomfortable. Maybe I'm hypersensitive. I don't intend to say anything to the group, but like I said, the internal struggle between my emotions is frustrating. Have other IF "graduates" experienced and dealt with this? Have any tips? It's not like I don't want it to never come up, but I do think that every week for nearly the entire visit is an excessive amount of time to visit about any one subject that doesn't include the whole group, especially since our group is very small so finding commonality in Christ shouldn't be hard.

I also recognize that Satan can do a number on my heart and that in a blossoming small group built on the Lord is exactly when I should expect an attack, so I don't want to give this an undue position in my heart and I want to call a spade a spade, if it is indeed a spade. But I also want to be responsible with navigating my emotions and being obedient to the Spirit in dealing with the cobwebs and spiders that escape as He overturns the rocks in my heart.

Our meeting with the caseworker is tomorrow! I am excited! Hopefully we'll come home tomorrow with a much clearer understanding of what lies ahead of us, procedurally. We'll update tomorrow! In the mean time, thanks for thinking of us and for joining us in prayer!


  1. Jen--You're a special person to be able to feel others' pain so acutely. I too feel uncomfortable and "less than" when a group of women incessantly talk about pregnancy and childrearing.

  2. this is why i have such a hard time participating in groups like that. I try but it just feel ways touncomfortable and awkward.

    Good luck with your case worker tomorrow

  3. I wonder if, after examining your own heart, it would be helpful to speak up to the group about it. I think it would probably be a great service if you let them know that you understand that pregnancy and childrearing are significant life issues that they want to talk about, but that your fellowship together should be centered on Christ and not a common stage of life and that you're concerned for those who are left out of conversations focused on marriage and motherhood. I think that's totally legitimate to express, as long as it's done from a humble heart to serve.

  4. Time and time again it seems like for those who have never dealt with this, it is just no where on their radar, even if they know you are going through it. It has happened to me so many times. I have to believe it's because they can't possibly wrap their minds around it, or maybe it's one of those topics no one wants to think about because they are just so thankful it's not happening to them. Either way, I pray that the women in your group, and people everywhere, can become more sensitive to others who are dealing with infertility. I just wonder how many times I have done the same to others, whether talking about married life in front of single women, or who knows what other topics.

    I also agree that Satan could be at work here. Good for you for sticking with it. Only good can come from it, whether you educate these women or take the opportunity to work on your own emotions.

  5. Good luck with your meeting with thw case worker tomorrow, I'll keep you in my thoughts. I know what you mean about feeling left out sometimes. Often when I am sitting around the lunch table at the hospital, the conversation usually revolves around someone's pregnancy, recent birth, or their kids. I just sit and nod like a bobblehead.

  6. I know this might feel forced at first, but maybe you could make a list of topics you would be interested in discussing with them. You don't have to show them the list, but you could jump right in next time and bring up one of the subjects before they bring up kids. That way you can jump start the conversation toward something that is more inclusive. Just an idea, but it might work.

  7. Hi, Jen! I know this sort of thing often happens and it must be really rough for you. I would suggest, as another person said, just having a bunch of topics that you would like to discuss at the ready and blasting ahead with one of them whenever you can. You're very gifted linguistically and are a good conversation leader, so I know that you'd be able to lead another conversation or conversation subset.

    The reason that these topics come up so often among women is just that once these things do happen (pregnancy, childbirth, child-rearing), they basically become one's world. Everything in one's life is now wrapped around these things, so it's natural that when women get together, these topics would just naturally overflow. I know that as a woman who has one child and is looking at having another, I have a TON of questions regarding pg, childbirth and childrearing that I am anxious to ask other women who have been through the stages I haven't yet reached, and gatherings of women are natural places for these questions to come up. Also, there is great joy and comfort in comparing stories (birth stories, pregnancy stories, baby stories) and hearing that one is doing a decent job and not as badly as one thinks. Having the support of other women is essential in the childbearing process, especially when one feels like a complete failure most of the time. Have you considered just plunging into the middle and asking a bunch of questions for future reference? I have found the advice and experience of the older ladies to be invaluable. I know you're not "there" yet, but one could think of it as research for future experiences rather than as a negative experience.

    Please forgive me if any of that is horribly insensitive. Never having dealt with IF, I'm sure I make the same insensitive comments that other people make, and I do apologize for it!! Love you!! Diana