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! :)