I don’t know what it’s like to struggle with infertility, and it may or may not intersect with your story, but here’s what I do know, the emotional, physical and spiritual pain that comes with infertility is worthy of our conversation. We have to go there. We have to talk about it, because it’s a reality for so many foster and adoptive parents or those considering it. We have to be givers of grace to each other, willing to sit with each other in the pain without trying to solve the problem. It could be easy for those of us who are passionate about foster care to jump to a fix of “you should become a foster parent” for our friends struggling with infertility, but that may or may not be their best option. So, hear me in this—that’s not our intent. Today, we’re diving into Caroline’s story of infertility simply to open the conversation of how to determine if that is the right next step for you and how we can compassionately walk with our friends through infertility.
HERE ARE MY 3 TAKEAWAYS FROM OUR CONVERSATION:
1. Women are valuable and worthy, regardless of their ability to conceive.
You are not less than because you are not able to have biological children. I want you to hear that. After a hysterectomy at just 11 years old, Caroline ran from any thought or conversation about children. The emergency procedure that saved her life also changed it dramatically. As friends moved onto this new stage of marriage and parenting in their 20s, she was struck with grief and sadness, recognizing the lies that she believed about herself. Without the perceived space to share, she wondered what she had done wrong to deserve this. And when she did talk about it, it seemed as though people were only interested in fixing her, leaving her feeling more worthless without the ability to conceive. Her now husband’s response was different. He wasn’t worried, wasn’t eager to jump in with a fix. He saw her.
“I learned I was valuable. I was worthy. I was female.”
2. It’s okay to want to be a parent.
Caroline wanted to be a mom and raise a child with her husband, Bruce. I think it’s important to allow for that dream for our friends who struggle with infertility—even when biology would say otherwise, not to dismiss it or ask that they move on. Infertility didn’t stop her heart from desiring to have a family. It’s okay to explore the options available to you for having a family. Working in child welfare, Caroline saw foster care up close and personal. She knew that if they decided to pursue foster care, the goal would be to reunify the child with their biological parent. She knew this. She weighed the risk of having to say goodbye, and she decided it was worth the risk.
“I wanted a chance to parent—to be a mom—even if that was temporary. I was willing to risk the heartbreak if [reunification] came to be.”
3. One of the greatest gifts you can give someone struggling with infertility is to listen without rushing to fix.
Well-intentioned advice can be hurtful. It often comes from a place of not knowing what to say or wanting to offer help, and yet, to jump in with solutions without listening could lead to greater despair. Caroline needed someone to grieve with her, to process the trauma with her, and to validate her feelings as normal. She wanted to know she was not alone in this. We have to be givers of grace to one another—to allow ourselves to identify and notice that the other person is hurting and to sit with them. We have to see the pain and choose our moments of counsel with great care. There will be time to speak and what we share matters.
“I’ve always known that adoption and infertility were two separate things. Growing up, I heard, well, you can always adopt. I know the words were meant to be helpful, but I also already knew that I couldn’t adopt unless I was okay with my situation.”
Meet Our Guest
Get encouragement and updates in your inbox.
Be the first to know about new episodes, posts, resources, and stay in the loop about what’s coming up.