Sade had been married for eight years and was not looking forward to her husband’s birthday. She wished there would not be another family gathering or party. Unfortunately her husband did not understand .She confessed to my friend who was in her thirties and still single then that she envied her and wished they could exchange places .She told her
“It is better to be single than to live like this, every time I walk into the room, I can feel all the eyes on my abdomen, expecting to see something”.
I feel her.I know what it is to go somewhere and have everyone’s eyes on your fingers like ……
But it is one thing to look and quite another to ask, and to ask as if we genuinely have the right to.
Many times we gloss over the story of Hannah without realizing that perhaps, we are as guilty as Peninnah. Have you noticed that when the Bible records Peninnah’s touting and Hannah being reduced to tears, it occurred when they went up to the temple.
Yes, the temple which in our day is the church.
What does that look like? It is this constant reminder of the challenge of infertility and the art of continuously asking women trying to get pregnant to come out for prayers incessantly like God needs to see them in front of the altar before he answers.Perhaps if we are better acquainted with their sorrow, we will be more sensitive with our demands of them .
I have been in church almost every time the doors opened and I cannot remember if I have ever heard up to five times an altar call for people having difficulties raising their children or in difficult marriages
Infertility itself affects about 1 in 6 couples and is never the same for everyone. Unfortunately it is rooted in taboo and shame with a large proportion of the blame allocated to the woman .making her feel like a failure and unconsciously alluding the predicament in which she has found herself a reflection of a previous wayward lifestyle. This false generalization has not spared some of the many women we know who actually entered matrimony as virgins the scrutiny and unfair judgement of the public .
We do not know the many reasons why some people are still childless and it is not in our place to tell them to adopt , Not every one has the capacity for that and adoption does not totally remove the pain of infertility.Sometimes we rub this pain in by not inviting these people to baby celebration events such as baby showers/dedication on the pretext that we do not want to hurt them. But it is actually better to invite them and be non-judgmental about their decision
We seem to always be so ready to dole out advice for those expecting to have a child or more children forgetting that secondary infertility is also emotionally draining,hence the need for us to be more emotionally intelligent as we use cliches such as ; Junior needs a brother to play with or you have to do these things once and for all, the earlier the better or the famous or what are you waiting ? Honestly it is this entitlement mentality in other people’s matters that cause the most hurt.
Someone I know was one time trying unsuccessfully for a second baby and was at her wits end as month after month, the tiny spot of blood meant there was no point on checking for the two pink lines .She was further hurt when another friend of hers inquired from her what was happening. She gave the excuse that her husband was working elsewhere .to which the friend replied :is it not just one night .You can imagine how hurt she was. She eventually had that child and I was glad when she mentioned that she told her friend later how that statement deeply hurt her.
Another friend told me how pressured she felt whenever she met a mutual friend of ours who was also trying for a second baby like her during the time. This friend always greeted her with how far, anything yet 🙁
When are you having a baby is probably not in our place to ask.
We do not know the endless consultations the couple may have had, the miscarriages and perhaps failed financially draining IVF attempts which are an absolute emotional roller coaster . The many bitter tears of disappointment , unworthiness, failure as well as resentment of being unable to achieve something that others are doing so effortlessly have crippled the self-esteem and outlook to life of many.
.No one goes into a marriage thinking they would be childless and I am concerned that while some people are really struggling with this visible challenge, we are putting salt on the injury with unsolicited advice and insensitive questions .This is not to say that we are to pretend like there is no issue but .if we must bring up the subject, timing as well as the right relationship context is crucial .We should also remember that the probability of them broaching up the subject with us is dependent on how comfortable they are with our relationship.
There is no need to ask a woman if she is pregnant, especially if she is trying for a baby.
Pregnancy does not hide.
It will show.and although we may claim to be wanting to know, it might probably be more emotionally sensitive to pray, wait and see .
And while we are at it, if we must necessarily call out women trusting God for children, can we ask the couple to please come out if they will. It takes two to have a baby and when we always ask women to come out only, we inadvertently are laying the fault and sole responsibility on them. Unfortunately, not many women have the support of their husbands , who ironically might be the problem.
As tempting as it may be, let us treat these women with respect when we converse with them rather than being womb watchers Sometimes they have other problems they would like to talk about and we should learn to rejoice in their victories in other areas without always referring to their empty crib or keeping a downward glance at their abdominal girth while in a conversation.
Today as we celebrate Mothers day . let us remember that there are several women who more than anything desire a baby and are battling with the loss of something they feel they are missing out from. This grief of infertility has several stages and phases and one of the greatest ways we could help is to stop asking them “Are you pregnant?!
Happy Mother’s Day
Ps-Sade eventually had a child at the thirteenth year of marriage followed by a set of twins one year later .