6/22/12

Understanding the Cry of Infertility

I was one of those "instantly pregnant" women, so I have to admit that it is hard for me to identify with women who struggle to conceive. But that's exactly why I need to read books that help me relate to women who hurt in this area (and others). As a Christ-follower, I am called to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15). I want to be an empathetic friend.

That's why Janet Thompson's book, Dear God, Why Can't I Have a Baby? was so revealing and encouraging. The book not only gives hope and encouragement, it also helps women and couples with tools and direction as they wait to share their love with a child. I have to admit that I was a bit indifferent to women/couples in this circumstance, because I simply didn't understand the depth of their pain and concern. When women suffered miscarriages, I felt sorrow for them, but I didn't know how to relate other than a simple, "I'm so sorry." When couples waited for years and years to have a baby, I tended to pull away from them, because I was afraid I might say the wrong thing.

Janet's book changed all that for me. Now I know how to relate to those with "empty arms."

She opens with her own family's infertility story. She's an authority by experience ~ she has paid the dues of pain. Age 21 and newly-engaged, she felt her "world" was finished. She could not have children, "the dream of every little girl who ever played house." Yet God blessed Janet with a child. And then her own daughter struggled with infertility. And then her husband's daughter had to deal with endometriosis and infertility.

As a result, this book ~ a finalist for the AWSA Book of the Year award ~ is practical and full of mentoring moments that face the struggle head-on. Janet understands. She speaks to all the frustrations and fears that arise from infertility. 

"You might be thinking you're not dong something right ~ especially when everyone else seems to have baby making figured out," Janet says. Yet "few couples prepare for infertility," she says. "You still feel an innate 'right' to have a baby. I know I did."

She speaks of frustrating, ignorant comments that others make, and cautions, "don't listen to them and definitly don't say them to yourself or each other." I cringe, knowing that in my ignorance, I no doubt hurt some women in the past.

Janet seems to cover all the bases concerning infertility. With solid wisdom, she cautions that a child won't instantly "heal or help a strained, unstable marriage," and then she provides tools for helping couples build firm, strong marriage foundation before adding children.

This book is so packed with practical wisdom and biblical truth that I can't do it justice in a simple post. But one of the most powerful parts of the book was written by a "mommy-in-waiting," Sarah Cochran. It is titled "Infertility ~ Satan's Lies and God's Truths." That chart of lies and countering scriptures alone is worth the price of the book!

Other helpful additions include numerous charts and tools for the journey. One of my favorites is  "Ten Ways to Survive the Holidays When You're Infertile."

Dear God, Why Can't I Have a Baby? offers hope and help, but also solid comfort. Like a good friend coming alongside, the book is like a caring companion, dealing kindly with thoughts and feelings while assuring the infertile reader that God has a purpose in the journey.

"Not everyone understands, but God always understands and he is eager to hear from you," Janet says. "Regardless of your faith, you matter to God."

I pray that this book will encourage those who need it most, and open the eyes of others to understand how to relate to "the cry of barrenness" (see Genesis 31:1) in the hearts of so many women and couples today.

Janet Thompson is the founder and director of About His Work Ministries. She speaks to topics relevant to today's Christian. She is also the author of Dear God, They Say It's Cancer, Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter, The Team That Jesus Built, and many Bible-based studies. Janet She developed the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry at Saddleback Church, where she and her husband, Dave, have been members since 1987. She served there as a lay minister for 12 years. The Thompsons have four married children and 10 grandchildren.