It's amazing how many sayings there are in our language about waiting and patience...
You know, "Good things come to those who wait!," & "Patience is a virtue," or (according to Tom Petty), "the waiting is the hardest part." And I don't know about you, but anyone who says something like this to someone in pain or struggle has obviously never had major unrealized dreams in their own lives...because these adages are JUST.SO.PATRONIZING! They honestly serve no other purpose than to give the person something to say when they just don't know what to say...and I get that, I really do. It's human nature to want to offer something more than just that longing, sympathetic look to someone who is hurting...and honestly, over the years, I've learned to brush off those comments, but I know it isn't that easy for other women.
So the question is, what can we do about it? I guess in the heat of the moment, there's probably not much we can do except smile and grit our teeth...but that only leaves them feeling better about themselves and us feeling worse. And while I hate to play the victim here, aren't we already the ones that are hurting?
I think that the key to preventing future moments like this is through education. That's why I circulate my copies of the "Stepping Stones" newsletter to all of my family who knows we're having trouble TTC. Can you send your family a link to your favorite IF discussion boards or blogs? Can you give them books that deal with the emotional, physical, spiritual and psychological effects of infertility? Can you create your own infertility blog that you can send out to your family & friends? If nothing else, all of these avenues open up the board for a discussion & help your loved ones to realize the hurt and pain that are hidden behind your somewhat-pleasant facade (because we all know we put on that happy face most of the time)...I think in many cases, most people don't understand the depth of an infertile couple's pain, which reaches far beyond the mere fact that you are unable to have a child (the good old-fashioned way, like 83% of all couples), but rather completely changes you spiritually, relationally & mentally. I know for myself, the toughest pill to swallow has been nearing my 29th birthday & having people harp on me that I'm "still so young" but consciously realizing that my life is not shaping up the way that I had thought/hoped that it would (in the dream where I was 30 with two kids or at least the 2nd on the way).
So make it your goal today to educate one of your loved ones about your inner hurt and pain. You don't have to lay your whole heart out on the table...just send along your infertility articles & newsletters, or even a link to this post to let them know how you feel. And maybe, just maybe, over time, we can replace those nagging old sayings with uplifting ones like these...
"But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." ~Isaiah 40:31
"May the love hidden deep inside your heart find the love waiting in your dreams. May the laughter that you find in your tomorrow wipe away the pain you find in your yesterdays.
Now that we've focused on helping those around us help us to deal with patience in times of struggle, it's on to the REAL meat of this series...how we can help ourselves to deal in these trying times. Over the next 5 posts, I'll expound on my friend Kelli's 5 points for waiting through the struggle. I hope you'll come back to join us!