Saturday, June 18, 2011

Reproductively Challenged

I want to first of all say that God sends blessings to us in ways we never think are possible. As a bit of background, I have been the Women’s Ministry director at our church for the past two years. I have struggled with finding something unique that I could add to the many things our church already does for the members and the community. There are many groups under the Women’s Ministry umbrella that were there before I started and function completely independent of me and my meager budget. Some groups even had their own budgets. I spent many hours trying to figure out what group or event I could plan that someone like me would attend. I’m busy with a husband, friends, family and full-time work. What kind of event would I be willing to drive the 20 minutes out to the church to attend?

It took me a good 18 months to admit that the word infertility applied to us. It took another 3 months of God’s nagging (there has to be a better word) to get me to start the support group that our community needs. I figured that Scott and I were not the only ones who are going through this, but Satan uses isolation, fear, and shame to beat us down and keep us from living the lives God has called us to lead. Our small group, called Third Thursdays, is now 4 months old. I am so blessed to have a group of women who know exactly how I feel. They know the answers to some of my questions. They feel the same longing that I feel and they can articulate it way better than I can. It is good to know that I am not alone. It is also very cool to think that God used me to help these other ladies, even if I add nothing to the mix and they help each other. God is so good.

I continue to be impressed with these women’s resiliency and hope. We share a lot of hard things, but we also share a lot of laughter. I want to share with you a list of things we, the reproductively challenged, want to ban from the general discussion all together. We compiled this list while laughing, but there are some things people say, with all good intentions, which are not helpful and can even be hurtful. Some of these have been said to me and some are things others have heard.

10 Things that the Adopting or Reproductively Challenged Couple Probably Doesn’t Want to Hear

  1. “Just get drunk, you’ll get pregnant.”
  2. “Try going on vacation.”
  3. “You’re young, you have plenty of time.”
  4. So many people are getting pregnant. “It must be in the water!”
  5. “Just take my kids for the night, and then you’ll never want kids again.”
  6. “Just relax, when you stop thinking about it, it will happen.” Fact: Stress is not a significant cause of infertility.
  7. Any complaints about how miserable you are with your pregnancy. You may be uncomfortable, but please count those symptoms or annoyances as opportunities to be thankful for your pregnancy.
  8. For those who are adopting – “Are you just giving up on having your own baby?” Or “Don’t you want your OWN baby?”
  9. “As soon as you adopt you will have one of your own. Chuckle, chuckle.” We know that you may be uncomfortable and not know what to say. But, please don’t say this. The fact is the number of infertile people who get pregnant after pursuing adoption is the same number of infertile people who get pregnant after ending fertility treatments. 5-12% maybe, if the internet can be trusted. The factor of deciding to adopt or adopting a child is not relevant. And who knows, maybe those who conceived after adopting did not have fertility problems to begin with.
  10. “Maybe God is punishing you for something. Have you confessed your sins?”

It was cathartic for us to make this list. I share this with you to help us all make the world a better, more sensitive place. This blog has had 2475 page views, 261 of those in June alone. Now, that may just be my mom and one of our good friends in Scotland, but I am guessing not. Our readers include someone (or people) in Canada, Russia, Ireland, Thailand, Taiwan, Germany, Malaysia, India and Iran. Scott and I hope that our openness can help someone else who may be experiencing something similar.

If you know someone who is reproductively challenged, the best thing to say may be, "I'm sorry you're going through this. I know it's difficult, and I hope things work out for you. Let me know if there's anything I can do." If you are reproductively challenged yourself, we offer that to you.



  1. WHAAAAAT. Please tell me that people don't say the last one. Please please please tell me that one is a joke. I see the pain and the ignorance in all of them, but of all of them, the last one is the most destructive. "Oh, things in your life aren't going right; time to add another HUGE worry to your list: your relationship with God."

  2. Oh, and by the way, I met the most awesome couple recently who had adopted an albino Chinese girl 2 years ago. The girl is so great: smart, cute, with some vision problems (this often comes hand in hand with albinism), but not what we would consider disabled. However, she was given up for adoption because conditions that we do not usually consider disabling are seen as such for many Chinese, and possibly for many people in other cultures. Just a thought . . .