I was perusing Kayce's Doula Journey today and found her post about infertility. She shares an article by Vita Alligood entitled, "Infertility Etiquette." I also found it at RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association.
Every once in a while I get thinking about how incredibly blessed and fortunate I am. I have only experienced a few short-term struggles to get pregnant (9 months and 5 months). I cannot even begin to comprehend the heartache of those women who spend years with anxious empty wombs. Becoming a mother was always my most cherished dream. I know I would have been utterly devastated to be denied that greatest wish. I learned a lot from Vita Alligood.
I must admit I'm guilty of "playing doctor." Vita Alligood urges, "Infertility is a complicated problem to diagnose, and reading an article or book on infertility will not make you an 'expert' on the subject" (source). While I've never claimed to be an expert, I am guilty of reading a few websites and thinking I have something to teach people who struggle with infertility. Even when I haven't outwardly proclaimed to have wisdom, I have often thought to myself, "There must be some explanation!" or "I wonder if they would just (fill in the blank with something I read on the internet) maybe that would work?" Who am I kidding?! I feel ashamed of myself. I want to let myself off the hook by acknowledging that my intentions were good. I just really wanted to help! But that doesn't excuse my arrogance.
There are several women in my life who struggle with this heartbreak. I thought a lot about them during my recent pregnancy and postpartum period. I wondered if seeing my bulging stomach and then tiny newborn caused them pain. No doubt it did. I would ask myself often, "How come I get to have this blessing and they don't? It's not fair!" Sometimes I feel guilty that pregnancy and childbirth are so easy for me. But I know it helps no one to punish myself for my blessings.
Vita Alligood concludes, "So, what can you say to your infertile friends? Unless you say 'I am giving you this baby,' there is nothing you can say that will erase their pain. So, take that pressure off of yourself. It isn't your job to erase their pain, but there is a lot you can do to lessen the load" (source).
So I resolve to stop "playing doctor." I resolve to do whatever I can to "lessen the load" of my friends who struggle. And I resolve to never take my children for granted or complain about them. No matter how difficult it is to be a mother at times, I would never wish those trials away because they mean I have children to love and be loved by, and they are beyond worth it.