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Survive the Pain of Infertility

  • Whitney Hopler Live It Editor
  • 2001 26 Dec
Survive the Pain of Infertility
Most people dream of having a child - or several - someday. It's a natural part of life that's filled with great joy, and the dream is one that's so commonly fulfilled that it's easy to take it for granted. But when you expect to conceive a child and don't, panic often sets in. Does this mean you'll never experience parenthood? Will you have to subject yourself to painful and expensive fertility treatments, with no guarantee of success? Will you conceive, only to have the child die? Should you pursue adoption, or make peace with a life without children and direct your energies into other ways of serving God?

There are no easy answers, since each couple's situation is different. But God will walk through the pain of infertility with you, and enable you to survive whether you eventually birth a child or not.

Here are some ways to cope with infertility:

  • Don't let the quest for a child consume your life. Take time to enjoy your current blessings, and thank God for them. Seek to live a full life now even though you're not currently a parent.

  • Remind yourself of how much God loves you. Read the Bible's promises of God's great love for you just as you are, and know that His love for you is not dependent on any kind of performance, such as whether or not your body can produce children.

  • Allow yourself to express all your emotions to God - including anger. Know that God cares how you feel and understands why you feel the way you do. Realize that God hasn't caused your infertility; it's the result of the fallen world in which we live. But also keep in mind that He may not choose to make you fertile, and that you may not fully understand why. Don't attempt to bargain with God to try to convince Him to give you a child or blame yourself because you aren't conceiving. Honestly share your feelings and requests, but also ask for peace and grace to strengthen you no matter what happens. You may want to write out your thoughts and feelings in a journal, then pray about them.

  • Share your feelings with other people who you trust. Accept their support and encouragement.

  • Support and encourage your spouse during your shared struggle with infertility. Pray together, and show love to each other whenever you can. Keep romance alive in your marriage, especially during fertility treatments that can make sex seem cold and clinical.

  • Research the specific infertility problems you're facing. Gather information from the library, the Internet, your doctor, and other sources so you'll know what options you have available should you decide to pursue fertility treatments.

  • Be graceful when interacting with people who are expecting babies or who have just become parents. Although it hurts to be reminded of what you cannot attain, you can offer a word of congratulations to show appreciation for them. Also remember that every child who enters the world is a reason to celebrate. Remember, too, that sometimes you have celebrated something others were yearning to celebrate, such as an engagement or a new job.

  • Set some boundaries to determine how involved you and your spouse are willing to be in fertility treatments. Decide how much of your emotions, time, and money you'll invest before committing to treatments, and stop when you've reached your limits.

  • Ask yourself whether it's important to you to parent a biological child, or simply to be a parent. Could you love an adopted child as much as a biological one? Might God be leading you to adopt a child whose life He plans to weave together with yours?

  • Invest in the lives of other people's children. Develop relationships with children of friends and family members. Channel your love for children into their lives, to bless them. Whether or not you eventually become a parent yourself, your love will bear fruit in the lives of all children with whom you develop relationships.

  • Consider whether you could live a fulfilling life and glorify God without children. Realize that not everyone is called to parenthood, and don't feel that you have to pursue it simply because most people do.

  • Ask God to use your time of struggling to help you grow more into the person He created you to be. Ask Him to transform your suffering into something good in your life.

Adapted from Infertility: A Survival Guide for Couples and Those Who Love Them, by Cindy Lewis Dake, copyright 2002 by New Hope Publishers, Birmingham, Ala.,, 1-800-968-7301.

Cindy Lewis Dake is a freelance writer, editor, and full-time mother. After nine years of infertility and one failed adoption, she and her husband, Edward, became the adoptive parents of Ryan.

Are you struggling with infertility, or do you know someone else who is? What encouragement can you offer others who are dealing with infertility? What have been your greatest challenges with infertility? Are you at peace with not having children? If not, have you pursued adoption? If so, how does a life without parenthood give you more time and energy to pursue other ways of serving God? Visit the Books forum to respond, or read what others have to say. Just click on the link below.