Friday, December 10, 2010

Sit with me

The other night DH & I were having dinner with another couple we are friends with. The husband is one of DH's good friends from college, and he has been very supportive of him throughout our infertility.

At one point, he asked us how "things were going," and DH responded that we had gotten another negative. Before there was even a pause, DH continued and said,"...so we are thinking about adopting. We think that that is where God is leading us, and we hope that a year from now we will have a child or are well into the process...."

Of course, since DH had steered the conversation in that direction, they responded to the adoption part. They said very sweet things about how we will make amazing parents, what a blessing it will be to provide a family for a child, etc., etc. But they said nothing about the BFN, nothing directed at our pain, and nothing but their "bright hopes" for our future in relation to adoption.

I couldn't blame them. It was DH who had added that piece of information and made it the focal point, after all. It wasn't like they jumped to "just adopt" without us even mentioning it.

I had to wonder, why did DH throw that in there? Yes, we have been talking about adoption, but we are far from doing anything or making plans. One, I think it is comforting to him that we can have "a plan." But more than that, I think it was too difficult for him to make others face our suffering. If he had ended his statement by saying that our cycle was negative, it naturally would have forced them to be a little uncomfortable and find something to say....but by offering the adoption idea, he handed them something to say. I think he subconsciously did this to make it easier on them, which also made the conversation easier on him, as well - they don't have to face the hard emotions, and we don't have to face the potential awkwardness of their response. Lastly, I think DH was trying to stay positive, look at the bright side, and trust God...and simply doesn't feel it quite like I do.

This is all speculation, of course, and as I write it out I am curious what DH's actual motivations were - I will have to ask him.

But as I thought about it later that night, I realized that if I had been the one responding, I would have left it at the "our cycle was negative" part. I would have hoped for a simple "I'm sorry" in response, but know we would probably have gotten something a little awkward. But that's ok. I don't expect people to have the perfect response.

I love how in the book of Job, after he has lost everything - family, health, and wealth, Job's friends come and simply sit with him and grieve with him for a week. Nobody talks. They just sit with him. Ironically, when they do start talking they say a lot of unhelpful and even wrong things that God later rebukes them for, but for that first week I love that they just care for their suffering friend by being with him. I want to be this kind of friend, and I am thankful we do have a number of friends who are caring for us in a similar fashion. But it does seem like a learned skill, in a way. Or that we have to un-learn something in us that wants to "fix" the problem for others, or "be positive" and help them look at the bright side. But I love when friends don't try to do this, and are instead able to acknowledge my pain and love me through it.

I am thankful God has shown me this - and there is nothing like learning it through personal experience. I hope I will be a better friend in the years to come because of what God has shown me about suffering through infertility.

12 comments:

Leah said...

Sometimes I think the best support comes in the form of silent presence. Unfortunately, people always feel like they need to talk, and unfortunately, a lot of what they say is not helpfu at all.

I think God works in such mysterious ways. I think in a few years, you're going to look back at this time of your life and be amazed at how things worked out.

I know your heart hurts right now. I know so well the pain, and the death you are experiencing. But I also believe there is hope and healing. And someday, you will hold your child, and the way you become a mother. . . well, you won't be able to imagine a better plan for your life than the one you are given.

Thinking of you Hillary.

Kakunaa said...

I think you hit the nail on the head. Grieving with you without words is often better than platitudes offered with awkwardness. But...it can be hard to offer that silent support. HUGS.

A said...

I think it is also so comforting when people say less than more. With IF, sometimes I feel like we know so much, we are talked to death sometimes (even among each other!), and when things done work out, we need that supportive silence.

Hang in there- praying we all can rest in the joy of Jesus' coming if we can't find joy anywhere else. Easier said than done, I know...

Melissa G said...

Sitting with you....

andreajennine said...

Yes, the friends who sit with you in suffering are the ones who often comfort the most. And I think you're right that most people learn to be that kind of friend through suffering. That's the kind of friend I want to be now.

Andrea said...

Bless your sweet husband, as I interpreted his response as a way of telling your friends that you all were committed having a child of your own...no matter the course. And perhaps he was protecting you from being drawn into a very personal conversation on IVF. Besides, I found that when friends asked aboout "how things were going" they didn't understand the infertility process anyway.

As for sitting with you, I'm in. Sending continued prayers and love.

xxx

Melis.sa said...

I love that you brought up Job and how his friends do come to support him and when they start to speak they do say ridiculous things. My dh and I were just talking about Job the other week...

I do believe you guys will make fantastic parents :)

Jem said...

I don't have any words to add to what the others have written, except to say I am sitting with you.

Jem

P.S. I hate to hear the words, "I'm sorry" after a loss. I much prefer "I'm here for you."

Amber said...

Infertility definitely teaches us how to have more compassion towards others. I've been a long-time follower and feel so frustrated for you that you've went through so much. I pray that you find the answers and comfort you are looking for.

Kelli said...

I'm here and, as always, praying for you.

Jess said...

I think sometimes we redirect the conversation subconsciously to avoid awkardness/embarrassment. I'm sure DH didn't do it on purpose, but sometimes we are too conscious about what others think of us and we try too hard to make others feel comfortable. It is so very difficult discussing infertility with others who just don't get it and the pain along with it.

rae said...

I have to admit I would probably respond like your DH. I can't stand awkwardness. I do everything to avoid it and bring out the positives and something people feel comfortable talking about. I am an awesome subject changer! Ha!

You are brave! I have never been able to tell friends we were in the process of fertility treatments...much less about the million BFNs! Sometimes I wish I was able to be more open about my infertility, but after 5 years, I am pretty sure that is not going to happen! Ha! Thank you so much for sharing your journey! I really relate to your feelings and will be going through IVF really soon. It really helps to know when I feel these feelings, I'm not alone. Praying for you!