Saturday, November 20, 2010

Judging a friend going through Infertility

**this post has been edited to add Melissa's response**

I'm in need of some dire help. I have a very close friend who is struggling with infertility. It is to the point where the struggle seems to have literally consumed her. All she seems to think about is having a child. I've tried talking to her and encouraging her, but she doesn't seem to appreciate it. It's like anything I say or do isn't right no matter what I try.

Part of my problem with helping her, though, is that they aren't really doing anything about the problem. My friend says she really wants a kid but doesn't want to "put the money where her mouth is". They say they don't have money to spend on doctors or adoption, but then they go off and travel around the world, take vacations, go to concerts and other events, etc.

Those things are all fine and dandy but if you're consumed with having a child, shouldn't your financial priority be just that? And if you can't afford doctors or adoption, don't they realize that kids are going to cost even more??? Last I was informed, my friend was going to an OB that specializes in infertility but had just done some of the basic tests for her. I don't think the doctor is all that great since it sounds like she's done more of the old style testing and not focusing on the real health issues. And I doubt that they've had him tested yet. I'd like to help her out more, but if they're withholding information (which is their right), than what am I supposed to do and how can I effectively help?

Lately, my friend has even been saying that she's not even interested in adoption any more. She just wants her own biological child. While I can understand that desire, I would think that at least a child would satisfy some of the longing. I have some other friends who have adopted and absolutely love the kids more than many biological parents and their own kids. Wouldn't it be best to put all of one's love and devotion into a kid whether biological or adopted?

My other concern for my friend is that she seems to be struggling greatly with her faith. I think at times that she turns her back on God. I think her covetousness for a child is driving her crazy and taking her away from God. She can't be around pregnant women or newborn babies. She gets upset when friends (or anyone for that matter) announce their pregnancies. It's like the jealousy has consumed her as well.

From Rachel:

I have been trying to figure out a kind and gentle way to reply to you. Unfortunately I haven't come up with anything. So here goes:

Stop judging your friend.

Until you have walked in her shoes you have no right to judge what she is going through, She is grieving and when you are grieving, no one can tell you how long it will go on for. With IF you aren't letting time heal, in fact it's quite the opposite. Time only makes it worse because more people have gotten pregnant and more people have had babies and you've wanted a child even longer. The pain grips you to the core, in a way you can't even fathom if you haven't been there.

You need to cut her some slack or stop being her friend. If I were in her place, you are the last kind of friend I would have wanted around me. People know when they are being judged and your advice most likely comes off as insensitive and not genuine.

As for how they are spending their money. First of all is that really your business? Second of all, you have no idea how much money they might spend on recreational things. A spendy vacation could be quite cheap with vouchers and time shares. Concerts can be as well if you buy extra and sell them for more, covering the cost or even making money.

And going through treatments isn't exactly the cost of a vacation or concert. We spent $42,000 to get our son. And we are going on $25,000 for #2.

Having a baby costs money, but NOTHING in comparison to what it can cost to simply achieve the goal.

About her not wanting to adopt anymore. Can you not possibly understand that some people aren't ready to take in another person's child? Or go through the heartache of being chosen and then unchosen, or not being chosen at all? We have gone through the adoption process 2 times now and it is GRUELING. Much more so than any treatments we have gone through. It is also often more expensive than treatments.

Unless you have had the choice of carrying a child taken away from you, I would suggest you stop deciding what she should and shouldn't do. If heaven forbid you went through IF I promise you that you would come back weeping and begging for forgiveness from your friend for your judgment towards her. I know this, because I have had to do it.

As for her faith, you are probably right, it is probably struggling. That doesn't mean that God doesn't still have a hold on her. During my darkest times, my family feared for my faith and yet it was then that God was doing the most work in me.

Pray for her. Pray with her, but seriously, please stop giving her advice. If she wants it, she will ask for it.

This is probably the hardest thing your friend will ever have to go through. Stop trying to make it better and come up with solutions. Because you just can't know how it will end or how much it will cost, or how much heartbreak she will endure. If she needs help, please have her email us, we would be happy to walk through this with her.

My suggestion for you is maybe stop being friends for a while. It seems maybe her situation is too much for you to handle and I simply cannot fathom that you are doing her much good as a friend.

Take a break and cut her some slack.


From Melissa:

I think that if/when you TRULY love someone, you get to a place where you would do ANYTHING for this person.
This is easier said than done....but CAN be done.

Sometimes the THING that you must do is to be quiet and present all at the same time.
It doesn't matter what the situation is of another person (IF, loss of spouse, divorce, financial ruin, terminal illness, severed relationships, etc) UNLESS it is OUR situation, we have absolutely NO place to judge

the Bible is very clear about this
Luke 6:37
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

Believe me, I KNOW how hard it is to watch someone who seems to be "slipping" in their faith, so to speak, but WE can not save them anyways.

If you TRULY love this friend, which I am assuming you do since you are seeking out advise on how to walk through this with her, then pray that you can stop judging her.

The Bible talks about laying down your life for someone.....which means be willing to put all your needs and opinions and thoughts and comforts aside for the one you love.
When Rachel initially went through IF, she wasn't always nice to or at wasn't b.c she didn't love me and she certainly didn't mean to hurt me...but she did. And God showed me how to lay my life down for her.
It wasn't easy
But it worked
I stopped expecting anything from her
I started showing her I hurt WITH her FOR her
I stopped judging her (b.c I did!)
I was ok with the times she was hurtful KNOWING she, in no way, MEANT to hurt me

If these things are not worth doing for your friend, which may be the case...then I agree with Rachel. Maybe the friendship needs to end.

But no matter WHAT...please please please commit to praying for her! For her healing, for her family to grow, for her to see Christ like she never has before, for so many things.



Searching said...

Well said, Rachel.

SamBev said...

Amen! Amen, Rachel loved your reply/post couldnt have said it better myself!

Draven Ames said...

I hope that you two are able to get along and help one another through life's struggles. I like how you're doing this site. Keep new posts on here.

Since I am new to blogging, I'm leaving my link after each comment. I hope you don't mind.

Draven Ames

Leesha said...

You both put this so eloquently. I wished more of my friends & family would read your blog. Thanks for your honesty.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to add as well--even though the writer's friend doesn't seem to be "doing" anything about her infertility, she is actually doing the important work of coming to terms emotionally with the fact that her life isn't going to be the way she thought it would. Sometimes you have to move through one pain before inviting in more (the uncertainty of ART and the adoption process).

MaryAndMungo said...

"I would think that at least a child would satisfy some of the longing."

Adoptions is not a cure for the longing of childlessness, it is about parenting traumatised children. I should know, I have three adopted traumatised children. I was like your friend - all consumed with childlessness and i had to get over it before i could adopt. if she is still hanging onto the possibility of a biological child then all thoughts of adoption SHOULD be put to one side until she can come out of the other side of her treatment.

get over yourself and be the friend you should be.

Mom and Wife said...

Hmmm I disagree. Yes IF is so hard but I think its ok to give a friend going through it some tough love also. IF is heartwrenching....but its not the worst thing in the world a woman or a family can go through. I think too often people get so swallowed up by IF they cant see it anymore.

Anonymous said...

Oddly enough, I had to "laugh" at your response. As you tell me not to judge, you turn around and judge me. You don't know my full story and background. I personally HAVE been through IF. So, I have experienced everything as well and know what it's like. However, I chose to not go down the dark painful path that many seem to do. I looked at the positive in life through God and His amazing grace. Did I want a child? ABSOLUTELY! But God is in control and sovereign in EVERYTHING! I learned to trust and rely on Him fully. Fortunately for my DH & I, after several IUIs and rounds of Clomid and researching/starting the adoption process, we got pregnant. We're now once again looking into adoption since we have pretty much been told another pregnancy is unlikely and that the one we did have was pretty much miraculous.
I understand your general point of not judging them and I seriously try not to. My thing is that it's hard to feel sympathy if they chose not to do much about the situation. I really do want to know how to help her and how to respond. I have let her have her space and time but I get in trouble with her for not being a good friend. So what you're advocating and suggesting isn't what she wants from me. I don't give any advice ever other than stating what did & didn't work for us. All I really do most the time is listen. So, with all that in mind, what would you suggest?

Cozy in Texas said...

I came across your blog today. I was so excited when my granddaughter arrived and it was a while until I stopped and realized that many of my friends who are now in their 50s were never married and were not blessed with children. We've never really talked about it but I'm sure it must be hard for them.