It's one of those days when I feel blue. My heart is heavy today as I think about all of those who live with infertility and loss.
I have been thinking about how people respond to the pain of others. What is it that drives us to reach out to someone who is hurting? Is it a shared experience that we may have had before, moving us to reach out and tell them that we've been there? What are some reasons why we don't reach out sometimes?
I think some reasons are:
1. Because we think we won't know what to say or how to help. We're scared to try, for fear that we might say the wrong thing. Maybe they are going through something we know nothing about or have never faced ourselves. We would rather stay silent than say the wrong thing.
2. Because we don't think we know them well enough to "intrude" on their grief. How well do I have to know someone to tell them I'm sorry for their pain? Can it be a friend of a friend, or a family friend's daughter? Will he or she think it's none of my business?
3. Because we're too busy as it is. We have enough problems to handle today. We may think, "How can I be there for someone else if I don't take care of myself? Besides, I'm sure she has friends and family who will be there for support. She probably doesn't need me."
4. Because we are too wrapped up in our daily lives to notice.
I hate to say it, but I have been guilty of all of these things at one time or another.
It is definitely true that going through infertility and recurrent miscarriage for many years has made me much more aware of and sensitive to the pain of others. This sensitivity carries over many times to those who are struggling with entirely different problems as well. Still there are times when I fear I will say the wrong thing, or I don't think I know the person well enough to reach out, or I'm too caught up in my own issues to even think about someone else. I know that we can't always be available, and this is not about feeling guilty about that. I simply want to do the best that I can.
When you are struggling, you need to know that someone cares and that someone is standing with you. Maybe that's why it is so hard to hear all of the questions, suggestions, and unwanted advice right then. You just want genuine support, love, and prayers. It doesn't take a lot of words or attempts to "fix it." Just care, plain and simple.
There's a girl that I kind of know in real life. I used to work with her mother. A few years ago she married a young man whose family are good friends with my in-laws. His mother played the Wedding March at my wedding. We are Face.book friends, even though I really don't know this young woman very well on a personal level. Last week she lost her baby. She was 6 months pregnant, and everything suddenly changed at a routine doctor visit. Some of the things that I listed above came into play in my mind: Should I reach out to her? Do I know her well enough? Will I say the right thing? I haven't been through the exact same experience. I know they have a very supportive family and church family. I don't want to intrude...
But then I remember that some of the sweetest blessings have come from people who have taken those risks with me. People whose lives have been touched by pregnancy loss have shared their own experiences. In some cases I've known them for years but never knew they'd lost a baby. Some sweet friends who have never experienced infertility have been kind enough to walk beside us even though it is hard, and even though it has been years and years. Some have been the parents of my friends, and some almost complete strangers to me (and thanks to this blog, so many "strangers" I now call dear friends).
I've been praying for this young couple, and I'm going to send a note to let them know that I care because I do, and I know how hearing that from a heart that is truly sincere can go a long way.