I’ve noticed that people like fixing other people’s problems, and the problem of infertility is no exception. In conversations with people about your infertility, have you ever heard anything similar to the following?
- A friend of your friend was struggling to get pregnant. Then she and her husband fostered some children, and because she wasn’t so focused on getting pregnant anymore, she finally did. (In other words, your anxiety is the reason you’re not pregnant.)
- A friend of your friend was trying to get pregnant, but then she adopted some children and now she is perfectly content as their mother. (In other words, you don’t have to parent biological children to be happy.)
- A friend of your friend’s was having trouble getting pregnant. Then she adopted and realized God was truly the one in charge of her family. And now she’s pregnant with twins. (In other words, you also must not have given over everything to God yet. Otherwise, you would be pregnant too. Okay, that’s the pretty cynical interpretation. Maybe they are trying to say that God’s timing is not your timing.)
Whatever the case, while these people are well-meaning, oftentimes such anecdotes can be upsetting, depending on how grief is treating us these days, how heavily we are relying on Jesus, and how receptive we are in that moment.
Or maybe instead of anecdotes, you’ve received recommendations such as the following:
- An awesome infertility specialist who helped your friend’s sister get pregnant
- A grief group or counselor who really helped your cousin sort out her marriage, so your problems could probably get sorted out there too.
- Dietary supplements that helped your friend’s coworker get pregnant
The truth is, all of these recommendations might be great options and exactly what you need right now. But even true stories and excellent referrals only go so far, especially when we try the same approach as someone else, and it doesn’t work for us the way it worked out for them.
Sometimes don’t you wish you could just blurt out: “Will you stop trying to fix me? I’ll figure this thing out eventually! Don’t you worry.”
Ah, and here is where we realize we are the pot calling the kettle black. Because if we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that the way other people approach us with our infertility, is the way we approach them with their issues. We try to solve other people’s marriage problems, work problems, money problems, health problems, house problems, you name it. We’re all privy to the act of jumping in and trying to fix someone else. After all, fixing someone else a lot easier than taking a good, hard look at ourselves.
Maybe all of us could step back and ask ourselves why we are trying so hard to solve other people’s problems?
Maybe all of us could step back and remember to live, laugh, and love even in the midst of all these problems.
Maybe we could step back and remember there is really only one problem in the world. Sin is at the root of all of our problems: your sin, my sin, and that first sin that broke the planet. Maybe we should remember there is a man who came to handle that one problem: Jesus.
Jesus is in the business of fixing problems. It’s just often not the problem we think needs fixing. For example, Jesus fixing our problem of infertility doesn’t mean He will make us all fertile. What it does mean is He can give women struggling with infertility a full life. That full life might come through getting pregnant via dietary supplements, mothering through foster care, moving beyond our fears through counseling, or something else altogether. But no matter how He goes about it, Jesus reminds us that infertility was never our ultimate problem. Seeking after a full life apart from Him is where the ultimate problem lies.
So the next time someone tries to fix your “problem” of infertility, remind yourself that you do this too. Tell yourself maybe there’s a nugget of truth in what they’re saying, and listen with humility. Ask Jesus how He might want to use this interaction to teach you about your ultimate problem. And who knows? He just might use one of those well-intentioned anecdotes or referrals to do just that. 🙂