How to Throw Yourself a Pity Party
Are you a crier? If so, I envy you. There are times when I know that a good-old-fashioned cry would do me good, yet I remain dry eyed. I grew up hearing that I was a tough cookie. My parents regaled me with stories of my stoic demeanor, of a three-year-old Sarah in a hospital hallway, dropping my mom's hand and grabbing the nurse's to march into surgical prep without a backward glance. "You were such a trouper!" Mom and Dad bragged while I puffed up with pride at my clearly superior ability to endure fear and pain without a peep.
This bottling up of inconvenient emotions all came to a head, of course, when infertility came knocking. I had spent 27 years acing "Control 101" and had no ready release valve for the powerful emotions elicited by the monthly hope-wait-grief cycle. Perhaps experiencing infertility's chronic distress has ambushed you, as well. If so, I'm here to help.
Friend, you need to throw yourself a pity party. Set a timer for 30 minutes and 30 minutes only. Lock the doors, pull the shades, crank up the saddest country soundtrack you can find (or whatever gets you in a melancholy mood), and ruminate over your losses.
Lament the loss of control over your body and your inability to plan anything around doctor appointments and prime-time intercourse.
Mourn the loss of baby dreams and pre-born babies you won't meet until heaven.
Grieve over the injustice of too easy pregnancies for too clueless friends and the mothers who'll never stop to count their blessings like you will someday.
Let the tears flow until your head aches and your heart breaks and the only thing left to do is take a nap.
Aim for David's outpouring of distress in Psalm 6:6, "I am weary with my sighing. Every night I make my bed swim. I dissolve my couch with my tears." Can you picture it? That Rachel Ray sofa floating in your living room on a river of tears?
Such limited-time pity parties, when we allow tears to flow freely, can remove toxins, release emotions, lower stress, and elevate our moods. More importantly, emotional outpourings help us to let go of the poorly-fashioned ropes we've been clinging to and grab hold of God's compassion and comfort instead.
Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 1 that Jesus is the Father of compassion and comfort, who comforts us in all of our troubles. That, in fact, "just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ" (2 Corinthians 1:5 NIV).
Sister, you were never meant to brave infertility alone. Whereas self-reliance breeds despair and bitterness, dependence on Christ brings hope and transformation. The truth is, he's an expert on suffering and can help you navigate yours. When we feel abandoned, we would do well to remember that God is not immune to our pain.
In Psalm 56:8, after David pours out his fears and sorrows to God, he lifts up this prayer, "You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book." (NLT)
Let your "tough cookie" facade crumble by throwing yourself a pity party today. Then, allow God to speak truth into your hopelessness. I have not abandoned you. I am here. Every one of your tears is precious to me. My plans for you are still good.
And don't be surprised if, like David, your outpouring of tears turns the after-party playlist to songs of praise.