Today is the final day of National Infertility Awareness Week and we reflect on suffering and infertility and how family, friends, pastors, physicians and others can help those struggling to feel supported. Thank you for visiting us this week, and know that we are here for you beyond this time. You are not alone!
About 25% of infertile couples have more than one factor that contributes to their infertility (American Society for Reproductive Medicine). Even if a couple is seeking medical interventions, finding healing can be a long, complex process that may or may not end in pregnancy.
To those experiencing infertility, phrases like, “It will happen in God’s timing!” or, “Just relax, you’ll get pregnant when it’s meant to be!” can feel like a dismissal of the pain they’re dealing with here and now. While God does have a plan for their lives, this does not mean they cannot or will not struggle with or question the hardships they experience. Paul Claudel said, “God did not come to remove suffering, He came to fill it with His presence.” As they seek to grow in trust of God’s plan, couples dealing with infertility need to be reminded that God’s presence is always with them, and that they are not alone.
Instead of offering spiritual advice or a catch-all phrase, listen first. Simply asking a friend struggling with infertility how you can pray for them will go a long way. Sometimes, yes – they may ask for an increase in trust for God’s plan. But at other times, they may need prayers for discernment, processing anger, grief, or fear, or any other emotion or situation on the roller coaster of the infertility journey. Pray for the intercession of the Holy Family for whatever God has in mind for them. Most importantly, by asking how you can specifically pray for a friend struggling with infertility, they will know that they are not alone.