For a long time, I kept my feelings associated with infertility to myself. And when I say to myself, I mean all to myself. I didn’t talk much to my family, my friends, or even my husband about it. After all, I was the one who was sterile. This was my burden to bear. I started believing a lie, the lie that says, “You are all alone in this. No one will understand. There’s no reason to burden anyone with how you’re feeling about it, because they wouldn’t get it anyway.”
This lie will kill a person from the inside out.
I once heard speaker Paul David Tripp say that this lie is one of the worst things a person could ever believe, and that it’s simply not biblical. “Stand firm in the faith,” Scripture says, “because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” (1 Peter 5:9, NIV)
I recently asked Amy Brown, co-host of the Bobby Bones show, to share a guest post on my blog. Thousands of people read it and then replied to her words on the Bobby Bones Facebook page. As I scrolled through the comments I saw something I didn’t expect. Countless women dealing with fertility issues. Countless women looking into adoption. Countless women who have babies, and countless who still don’t. Countless women like me.
Here’s what I realized that day: the world becomes very small when we choose to believe it is. At one point, I believed it was so small that I couldn’t even tell my own husband how sad I was about being infertile. Years later, when I was talking about starting this blog, he was surprised. He said he didn’t think I’d have much to say on the topic. “I didn’t think it really affected you,” he told me.
I felt sick to my stomach. Not because he shouldn’t have said that, but because based on the information I had given him, that’s the conclusion he had drawn.
My own husband didn’t know that part of me. He didn’t know, because I never told him. I never let him into that corner of my heart. Not because he wasn’t safe. Not because he wouldn’t have been there for me. But because I wanted to protect him. Because I wanted to be the hero and deal with my pain all by myself. And because I believed I was alone, and that I deserved to be.
I told him then how I had really felt. I cried and became a blubbering mess, explaining why I had kept my sad feelings from him. He looked at me with both love and pain in his eyes and gently said, “I wish you had said something.”
I wish I had too.
We don’t need to say something to everyone, but we do need to say something to those we love, to those who love us, and to those who need to hear our words. The world is not small. It is big and messy, and there are a lot of people who will misunderstand us, misadvise us, and say unhelpful things to us. But even so. If we shut them out, we miss out on giving them the opportunity to love us, to be there with us, to bear the burden too, and to suffer alongside. The ones who love us will want to be there with us. We must open the door to them, or all of us will suffer all the more.
So let’s stand firm in the faith as Saint Peter once said, knowing there is a sisterhood around the world encountering the same trials, knowing we have a God who cares, and knowing we are not alone.