During this month’s National Infertility Week, April 19–25, we are reminded of the millions of women and men around the world who long to be parents but instead face a disease of the reproductive system.
Infertility is the inability to achieve or maintain a full-term pregnancy. According to the World Health Organization, it is ranked as the fifth-highest global disability for women. It is a disease that creates extraordinary hardship and recurring trauma for many.
COVID-19 is further aggravating the plight of infertility, resulting in more uncertainty, loss, delays, indefinite periods of waiting, and heartache.
A desire for familiarity
The infertility journey is not easy.
It can be crushing. Many who face this disease feel displaced, outsiders to their own heart, body, mind, and life.
During the waiting, people often find themselves longing for the familiarity of life before their journey, while at the same time holding space in their hearts for God to fulfill their innate desire for a child and to complete their family.
Seemingly endless cycles of planning, prayer, financial investment, dedication, action, and surrender may yield no movement or result.
Many individuals begin to question God’s presence in the process. These feelings are common and are, in fact, a normal response to trauma.
If you are struggling with infertility, trauma can be triggered or magnified by any number of events: menstrual cycle onset, pregnancy loss(es), failed treatments, stillbirth(s), isolation and limited community, insensitive conversations, seeing others pregnant, and a host of other everyday reminders of your unfulfilled longings.
According to research, the recurrent triggers and experiences of loss can become so complex that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may result.
In this world, bad things happen to very good people.
He sees your pain and suffering
What’s important is to know that Jesus understands suffering: He “wept” (John 11:35). He prayed to be spared of his own trial, death on the cross (Mathew 26:39).
When no one else comprehends the depth of your suffering, Jesus does.
Infertility can rock your relationship with God—even to despair or to question his sovereignty—but it can also create greater intimacy with your heavenly Father, who, loving you all the same, understands your pain and suffering without judgment.
Perhaps you’re reading this article and aren’t experiencing infertility but know someone who is. The best support you can offer is simply to be with them, where they are.
Romans 12:15 (NKJV) says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.”
Walking alongside your suffering family member or friend, with love and compassion, is the most powerful and significant way to help them on the difficult journey of infertility.
It is important to recognize that infertility is a disease that deeply impacts millions of people across the globe, with psychological effects that are complex. For some, the ramifications of the disease can include depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
One way to support those who are struggling with infertility is to familiarize yourself with the difficulties surrounding the disease. During National Infertility Week, take a moment to reach out to someone who may be struggling to conceive and let them know you care. Your words can go a long way.