Saturday, March 26, 2011

Lanolin on my belly, drink this, just relax...and other random thoughts

It has always amazed me how many people in the with-children world are infertility experts. So many people I barely knew had stacks of advice for me; each a sure cure for the barren womb.

"Just soak virgin wool in lanolin, and lay strips of it on your belly every night. within two months you will be pregnant. I guarantee it."

I tried it, but I got a rash from the lanolin and then read a report stating many people are allergic to lanolin in it's undiluted state. But, I still wasn't pregnant.

"If you just drink a small glass of red wine every night, it will increase blood flow in your ovaries and you will be pregnant in no time."

Seriously? I am pretty sure alcohol and pregnancy have never been a good idea.

Oh, the advice got better as time went on. Most people just said to relax, "quit thinking about babies and you will have one." I think that mostly works for people who don't want to think about babies. It seems like most teen mom's weren't thinking about babies when they got pregnant. But for me, it didn't work.

At the point I knew there was no hope of becoming pregnant I found the advice from strangers comical. The total hysterectomy made it possible for me to at least stop wondering if this was the month. Unfortunately, unsolicited advice didn't stop there. One woman even suggested that if I had enough faith, God would restore my uterus and ovaries, allowing me to have the baby I dreamed of. I'm not putting God in a box, but really? What kind of advice was that to give a woman grieving the loss of a dream.

Through all of our grief, and even now as we walk in healing, the one thing that will make my skin crawl is the phrase, "Oh well, you can always adopt."

It's not because adoption is not an amazing and very important part of many families. Adoptive parents and children are just as bonded as any other family and they are truly YOUR OWN children once they are in your heart.

My problem with that advice is that it discounts the grief of the couple facing adoption as their only choice to fill their family with children. As if adoption will completely remove all of the emotional stress of finding out your infertility is terminal. Or, even worse, that the infertile couple is also completely out of the loop with modern possibilities and they have no idea that adoption is available. I realize people say things like that out of a desperate need to offer help. We all want to be able to fix someone elses problems. But guess what, permanent infertility, especially when we are talking about a loss or disfigurement of reproductive organs, is not fixable. no one on earth can make it go away.

Of course we know that adoption is something to consider. But sometimes it just isn't possible. If a couple is called to adopt, then they absolutely should, but if not...don't. It's okay to allow the Lord to heal you even if that healing doesn't include children. I always thought a baby would be the only way my heart could ever feel joy, but now, after years on the healing side, I know my joy comes from only one babe...the one in the manger, who grew into the man who took my pain upon his back.

If you want to care for those hurting over infertility, tell them you love them. Tell them you are so sorry for what they are going through and tell them you are praying. But, please, unless you are a fertility specialist, don't try to fix it for them. Just be there when we need a hug.

Blessing and Joy on the Journey,

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