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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Getting It Right

Sometimes I have the tendency to focus on the negative. I guess it's easy to complain about things not going my way or those comments I hear that really get under my skin. Then there are times, thankfully, when I am really touched by a friend who reaches out or a family member who takes the time to understand and listen. It would be unfair to never recognize the support that we do receive from those who take the time to show that they care.

Several years ago I made a very simple scrapbook out of the cards and letters we'd received after our miscarriages. It is sad but true that by the time we had our sixth loss the level of support appears to have gradually decreased. That is mostly due to the fact that we did not share the news of our pregnancy and subsequent loss as openly as we had a few years before. The hurt that came from recurrent loss caused us to pull back and seek comfort from a smaller and more personal group of immediate family and friends. I don't want to over-analyze it, but I only want to say that I've been extremely grateful for all of the kindness that has been shown to us over the years. Even now that we have not experienced a new loss in a couple of years, I am especially thankful for those of you who hang in there with us month after month and year after year, with what seems like little or no news or progress. If you're reading these words right now, and if you leave comments or send emails or pray for us, then I'm talking about you!

Occasionally I get out that scrapbook that I put together (which needs to be updated) and I'm always touched by the notes that were written, the encouraging words and Scriptures that were shared, the photos of flower arrangements that were sent, and more.



I know it's easy to get bogged down by careless comments and unwanted advice that seem so prevalent to those going through infertility. But today I wanted to focus on the positive - something I should do much more often. A few weeks ago I received an email from one of my oldest friends. I want to share a paragraph from it with you because it has really stuck with me. He wrote:

"I wanted to let you know how sad I feel about y'all's* situation, but how much of an impact you sharing your story in your blog has. Even though I rarely comment, I always read your entries (hoping not to see myself as an example of what not to do, but knowing that if I am, you would still be a great friend and love me anyway). A few weeks ago, some of our best friends had a miscarriage, and it helped me greatly to go back and read some of your earlier entries to try to make sure I was being the best friend to them that I could be. I really grieved for them, and can't imagine having to go through that. Of course, it reminded me of you and I wanted to let you know that I pray for you regularly."

He went on to say that he had made our last name his password for the month at work, as a reminder to himself to pray for us. In the same email, my friend told me that he and his wife are expecting their second child. I cried when I read the letter, but not because I was jealous, and (believe it or not) not even because of how much I hate infertility. The tears came because this is a friend who cares, and I am truly happy for him. This is friendship. This is getting it right. I don't know if this will make me sound selfish, but the sincerity behind those words made me forget for a second that I don't have what other people have, that thing that I want so badly. Furthermore, the fact that he was able to use what I'd written to reach out to other friends experiencing miscarriage meant the world to me. It made me feel like I don't write all of this down for nothing! (Thanks, RCP. I know you've always been afraid of making an appearance on my blog, but I thought you deserved a little praise. You and your sis are great friends to us.)

This is just one example, but I have some other gems like that. I keep them stored away for times when I need reminding that people do care. What about you? What are some examples that stand out in your mind of people getting it right? I would love to hear stories of how people have encouraged you in your struggle.

*Note: Yes, here in Texas we actually use "y'all's" as the plural possessive for "y'all." Just wanted to clear that up! :)

15 comments:

Tanner's said...

Stacey, such a beautiful post. I hold on to those rare emails and notes pulling them out when I need a reminder that God is using my journey. He uses you everyday in my life, I am so thankful for you and our growing friendship! I love you!

sharonvw said...

I so not what you mean about the support dwindling as the years go by and the miscarriage tally increases. We've experienced the same and its all for the same reasons, we just slowly with drew and stopped sharing the news of our pregnancies and subsequent losses with everyone, it just became to painful!
(((hugs)))

Erin said...

Wow, that's so, wow. Very moving to read that post Stacey. How amazing to see and know that even though you have suffered so much you've been able to help others. Your friends note was beautiful, honest, and refreshing in that he has silently been thinking of you all this time. I really do think that the silent prayers are the most special.

Thank you for sharing.

Amy said...

Stacey,

I just want you to know that I love you, and I think of you everyday. I have not been well enough to respond to your post as I would like to but I want for you to know that you always touch my heart.

You are such a loving and special person that I know with all that I am that our gracious God will give you the family you and your dear husband so desire. I admire you for being able to go forward after so many losses. I admire you for sharing your experiences and journey with us. I thank you for the learning experience that you have shared with me.

More than anything I admire you for the love and support that you have been to so many even while struggling with your own pain.

It is not a hard thing at all to like you, but to love you is so much easier. You are one of the truest people I know, and one of the best.

Much love to you and yours always. Thank you for your comment on my blog. it always makes my heart lighter.

Amy

twondra said...

Once again, making me cry because of a wonderful post....how do you do that? :)

Since beginning this journey, I've gotten a lot of wonderful comments, poems, support, e-mails, scripture, etc. I started a journal where I keep all of them. I'm on volume 2 right now. :) I've looked at them so many times when I'm down and it really helps me a lot. I would say 95% of what is in those journals have come from blog readers, people I've never met. It's amazing to me.

Jenn said...

What a sincere and heart-warming post. Hopefully you don't get tired of all the "praise" but what an inspiration you are! And what a shock to read that you're negative most of the time. I do not see you that way at all and never have for as long as I've known you. It just shows how humble you are.

andrea_jennine said...

Excellent note, post, and question! I am fortunate to have a lot of friends who "get it right," but one definitely stands out. She is faithful to ask questions about infertility without making unwanted suggestions; she just wants to understand. She follows up regularly whenever she knows I have a doctor's appointment or anything like that. She has announced her pregnancies very sensitively (to me before anyone else, so I don't get caught by surprise, and with compassion but not guilt or complaining), and she has not shut me out of her kids' lives or her life as a mom. She's just stayed so refreshingly normal with me, and I never feel like the two-headed infertility monster around her.

Andrea said...

Wow, you are so blessed to have a friend like that! I'm glad that you have supporters on Blogger and in real life. :-)

Connie said...

Oh, how I pray that I've gotten it right. I love you both so very much and you mean the world to me!

Andi said...

So, I read this first thing this morning on my handheld (blackberry wannabe thingy) while stuck in a boring training class. I left a comment, but I must not know how to use said blackberry wannabe.

I just wanted to let you know, that even though I've been busy traveling with work lately, and have been somewhat out of touch, I still have kept up with your blog and I continue to think of you and Chuck often. Your posts are as well-said, genuine, and touching as always. For some reason, this one seemed like an appropriate one for me to comment on. :-)
Love you!

Marian said...

Hi Stacey, I new to your blog and I want you to know that I'm so glad I stumbled across it! So many people in our journey through infertility have "gotten it right" just by standing next to me and offering a shoulder to rest on. Many a mother's day a church have friends just come behind me and put their hands on my shoulders...just to let me know~"you're time will come dear friend" Those are the things that kept me going. Look forward to journeying along with you. Stop by and visit anytime. Grace & peace

Alicia said...

I really like the scrap book idea, its a nice way to document what God is doing in your life. What a blessing to have a friend who loves you guys so much. I have one friend who no matter how busy she is I can always come to her for support. She doesn't always say the "right" things but it doesn't matter because she loves me and it shows.

RCP said...

Hey Stace, I am humbled to show up on your blog under one titled "Getting it right." I know I don't always get it right, and it was relief to be a good example instead of a bad one, which I'm sure I could be at times too. But, as I said in the e-mail, I know you would forgive me and still love me anyway. Now I just have to explain to my co-workers why I'm "tearing up" (manspeak for crying) at work. =)

Kathryn said...

Thank you for this honest, touching post. Thank you too, for your sensitive comment on my post that was so negative.

We only had our little one for 10+ weeks, so i haven't much documentation. I've one pic of an early ultrasound (that Duane snapped on his camera before the ultrasound tech chewed him out. She said we would get copies afterward, but of 3 ultrasounds, i think we only had one.) He did save our + Preg test - i found it in one of his drawers when reorganizing. That touches my heart.

When we lost our precious hope, people verbally said, "Sorry," but we had few written condolences. The one that sticks in my mind is a card. Duane has folks who are cousins of his cousins & they all grew up together. We consider them family. Parents, 3 sibs & their spouses. Every one in that family signed our card & the matriarch wrote such a touching note. It touches my heart in a deep way.

You are so sweet & thoughtful. Thank you for sharing.

Becky said...

Sorry for the belated comment, I have been away from my computer helping friends move this week.

"What are some examples that stand out in your mind of people getting it right?"

My first thought when I read the above question was you, Stacey. You are someone who definitely gets it right and I have so appreciated the support you have given me since we lost our baby.

I love the idea of doing a scrapbook for the cards, letters, emails, and blog comments we've received. I think I need to do this, what an encouragement it would be to have something like this to take out when I am feeling down.