I started this post a LONG time ago and honestly lost momentum. Honestly.
After initially posting about our struggle to conceive, I suffered from what Brene Brown would call, "A Vulnerability Hangover."
I had bled all over the internet, and I wanted to run away limping.
But I also found that talking about "the crazy" really helped to settle "the crazy."
And this post in my drafts folder kept hanging over my head.
And I have written and erased and written and erased. And pretty much erased 3/4 of the intro. Which I might add, included calling myself "The Mayor of Crazytown" and requesting cupcakes at my intervention. ;)
But the one sentence remains...
Maybe this post can be a tiny plank in a very long bridge that connects people who are hurting to people who don't know what to say.
So. Here we are. Lord help us all
1. Use the word family. People often refer to having a baby as "starting a family." And they often ask when someone is going to "start a family." This can kind of stink for people who don't have kids. We don't have kids, but we have a family, and I LOVE my little family. I'm so proud of us, and I'm so glad they're mine. Talk to your friend about her FAMILY. Say nice things. Ask questions. That one seemingly small act that can really be a catalyst for healing.
2. "I accept your weirdness." Your friend totally has the unfulfilled need to nurture something right now. And it aches. Yo. It aches. So...that need probably gets *somewhat* met in seemingly odd places. Like right now...I am "overwintering" plants. Read. I am stupidly optimistic. I brought some plants in before the first frost...you know. Just hoping for the best. Things did not go well with the dahlia's.
I was chatting with Tim the other day, and he looked at my second plant and said,
"Yea. Your geraniums are gonna be fine."
And I'll be darned if that wasn't like, the most loving thing a person could say.
I DO NOT HAVE BABIES YOU GUYS I HAVE GERANIUMS!!!
My favorite thing in the world is when people ask about my dogs. I was on the phone with one of my friends a few weeks ago, and over the phone, I could hear her husband ask about my dogs. Bless him.
The other day, one of my friends left a Facebook comment and called my dog "beautiful."
Oh my word. The most loving think you can do for a childless woman is to call her dog beautiful. I am being dead serious.
People who cannot have babies often become crazy dog people. Can we all just get over it?
About 18 months ago, I got strangely attached to a stinkbug that had taken up residence in between our plastic and fabric shower curtains. (((Happy New Year, Lyle!)))
Do you guys remember the article about the tiger who lost her cubs and became depressed so the zoo gave her piglets dressed in tiger vests to care for? DO YOU REMEMBER? (Upon further research, I don't think this is the entire truth, but just stick with me, guys).
I'm sure her little tiger friends were in the background like, "Oh MY WORD, You guys! Harriet is nursing TINY PIGS WEARING VESTS!!!"
And everyone else was like, "Hey. Be cool. She's in a weird place right now. Leave her be."
That's right, people. Leave her be.
3. Any decision you make is going to be the right one. Crazy Baby Stuff takes a lot of money, time and EMOTIONAL ENERGY (fertility treatments, home remedies, etc.). It's easy to get "stuck." Sometimes, we just need someone to encourage us to make a decision AND reassure us that ANY decision is going to be the right one. Even if you're not sure about this. Please just SAY IT. ;)
Sometimes, the decision not to act is...in itself...a decision.
Last weekend, I had a sweet friend tell me to "Put my big girl panties on and deal with it." She used expletives and everything! It kind of frightened me (haha)...but it helped.
4. You are not alone. Holiest of all holy cows. Um...loneliest road ever? For sure. I tried giving examples, but all the stories made me sound like a bitter, old, childless hag.
4 1/2. I prayed for you when... Over the past few weeks, I had several friends say to me, "I was praying for you in the car the other day..." or... "I couldn't sleep the other night, and I was praying for you." This is a habit I'm trying to adopt more in my own life. How many of us have said, "Oh, I'll pray for you." Only to later forget? GUILTY! SORRY! I'm trying to be more intentional in my relationships as they pertain to my prayer life.
You get the idea. I think this is applicable in all situations. Not just infertility.
5. My kids love you/ thanks for loving my kids. Sometimes, I feel totally inept around young moms and their babies. My friends are all like...up at 6am on a Saturday busy keeping children alive, and I'm like...uh...I brushed my teeth and watched Netflix...?
It feels good to hear, "Hey. Childless friend...I would trust you not to drop my infant. Thanks and good job." ;)
6. You are not a horrible person. Uh...if you have a child under the age of 3, I probably have a voodoo doll of you in my closet somewhere. I'm totally kidding. It's a BABY EXPLOSION out there, folks. My closet is not that big.
All joking aside, one of the hardest parts of this journey is the fact that it gives you somewhat uncontrollable, negative feelings about your mom-friends. When they have babies, you are simultaneously filled with LOVE! SO MUCH LOVE! And then you are blindsided with...
GUILT, JEALOUSLY AND RAGE!!!!
THEN MORE GUILT!!!
THEN DID I MENTION THE LOVE???
Needless to say, it's a very confusing, exhausting time.
I think we walk around feeling 10% heartbroken, 5% jealous and 85% guilty for all of the above.
It's that 5% that will get you down every time, am I right?
We need some grace. Actually, we need lots of grace. I have my fair share of friends I need to call back.
7. You are made in his image and you are perfect.
Your friend feels like a broken, old, busted up mess.
When she stands before The Father, He doesn't see her has broken. He sees her as whole and highly favored.
Tell her that. Text her that. Write it on her bathroom mirror. Slip a note in her car.
Whole & Highly Favored. Does a more comforting thought exist?
8. Someday, this won't matter. Infertility is a hole that is just really hard to see out of.
I am very much looking forward to my late 30's/early 40's. Ha. By then, I know I'll have more peace about whatever has happened. We'll either have kids...or we won't. And if we don't, I am very much looking forward to being the wealthiest, most well-rested person in my entire circle of friends. ;)
But...I am so glad my marriage is going to survive this. I am so glad my friendships can thrive through this. The more the merrier, am I right? ALL ARE WELCOME TO TAKE RESIDENCE IN CRAZY TOWN! Moms and non-moms alike!
(((And also, when I say "someday this won't matter," I mean...you know... heaven and stuff))).
Aren't you glad the this is not the end of the story? The story ends with The Kingdom of Heaven. Beauty. Redemption & Grace.
Forever & Ever Amen.
9. God wants to make you whole. Your faith will make you well. I recently heard a sermon about how Jesus didn't just want to heal people physically, He wanted to heal them spiritually at the same time. I really loved that. He wants us to live full, whole, spiritually healthy lives. He's on your team.
10. Your road is hard and I'm proud of you. After my November Meltdown of 2014, I had two friends check up on me the following week (if someone is weeping in your car, it's probably a good idea to follow up. ;) ) They both told me they were proud of me. No statement has ever made me feel more safe in a friendship.
Don't tell your friend, "Life without kids is easy." Your friend is struggling to have kids, and THAT IS HARD! No amount of 11am Saturday wake up calls is going to fix that.
It's true, on Saturdays, she gets to sleep in, but she also desperately wishes she had a reason to get up.
*and a giant fist bump to those of you who are struggling. You are stronger and more courageous than you realize.