January 8, 2010

The Bible and the Pain of Infertility

This is a challenging article from the Journal of Biblical Counseling on coping with infertility, and some suggestions on how to comfort and counsel (and how not to counsel) those who are suffering from infertility.

An excerpt:

People have very definite ideas about what reproductive technologies are acceptable. Are you going to do in vitro? Is that right to do? Right for us? People will very likely render their opinion about a wide variety of methods. This may seem like an invasion of your privacy.

Your level of faith. “If you have more faith, God will bless you with a child. You just don’t have enough faith.” “You are not responding to your suffering correctly.” “Trust God! He knows what’s good for you. He has good things for you.” People say these things to you very casually and they are not helpful. They are handing you another burden to carry—you don’t have enough faith!

In the midst of our infertility, I cried a million tears. I cried out to God. I read the Bible. I read about Hannah. I read about Rachel. I read about Sarah. I read about Elizabeth. But they all had their babies! I read these stories over and over again thinking it would help. It did help in one way. It validated how hard infertility is. Hannah cried, “Give me a baby or I die.” In my own anguish, I ranted and raved. If I saw a story on TV about a baby thrown in a dumpster, or a child who had suffered abuse, I screamed at the television. That was part of the way I processed my anger.

Grief. No funeral. No burial. No flowers. No cards. Yet there is a death: the death of hopes of the wonder of a child emerging from your love.

How would a counselor work with me? I’m angry. I feel defective. I’m trying to figure out where God is in all of this, but can’t. I come to you. What are you going to say to me? How does your own experience with childbearing relate to my experience of infertility?

Read the whole thing here.

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