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  • Sarah Sisson Rollandini

Dealing With the Emotions of Infertility - Part 1

Updated: Sep 22, 2019



Hopefully you've been following my IGTV series, 10 Things I Learned From My Therapist During Infertility. But even if you haven't, you know that infertility lays out a minefield of changing emotions for us. Which ones will we step on today? Failed procedures bring grief and loss. Decisions about next steps plunge us into feelings of frustration and financial/bio clock pressure. We can't escape the emotions that TTC brings, but we can learn to dwell on God's truths for perspective, while enlisting practical strategies to help us survive each day.


In this three part series, we'll take a look at the most common emotions faced by couples struggling with infertility, illuminate these feelings with biblical wisdom, and offer some day-to-day steps for holding onto hope.





Common Emotions of Infertility


1. Anger


What it is:


the state of being mad or annoyed


Why we experience it:


Angry feelings usually arise because of unmet expectations. In the beginning of TTC, you likely expected to become pregnant with very little effort. When weeks turn into months or years without a baby, feeling angry is a natural outcome.


Biblical wisdom:

Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life. (Ephesians 4:26-27 The Message Bible)


Being angry is not sinful, but staying angry can give the Devil free reign in your heart and make you miserable.


Stepping into hope:


-Take time out to pray, breathe deeply, and be real with God about your feelings.

-Exercise your way through some of that nasty energy.

-Make it a habit to insert humor into your day. Watch a sitcom, peruse crazy pet videos, or subscribe to your favorite comedian's newsletter.




2. Resentment


What it is:


Feelings of displeasure or indignation toward a person, act, or remark viewed as causing injury or insult


Why we experience it:


Other women seem to achieve pregnancy effortlessly. We cannot. We are navigating a world full of swollen-bellied Fertile Myrtles and we can't join the club.


Biblical wisdom:


Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. (Luke 6:37, NIV)


We feel offended by the pregnant woman in the checkout line or the insensitive comment of a friend who should know better. In the middle of infertility, we are wired to spring on any perceived offense, often not knowing the offender's motivation or situation. We judge our inward turmoil in light of the other person's outward happiness or lack of empathy.


God asks that we stay out of the judgement seat which he alone is qualified to occupy. That we refrain from jumping to conclusions and activate our forgiveness muscles as he shows us grace. That person you'd like to drop kick into next week, although not dealing with infertility, has her own battles, too.


Stepping into hope:


-Avoid obsessing about past hurts and/or offenses

-Choose to see people the way God sees them: imperfect, often clueless, but worthy of love.

-If a friend has upset you, talk calmly to her about your feelings. If connecting with her is impossible, find a TTC friend who will empathize and offer understanding.



3. Grief


What it is:

Keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss; sharp sorrow; painful regret.


Why we experience it:


We may grieve over the loss of control over our bodies, our plans, and our schedules. Grief is also the natural experience after a miscarriage, tubal pregnancy, or a failed cycle. Couples experiencing infertility encounter a new cycle of loss each month.


Biblical wisdom:


Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5 NIV)


Does this verse mean that you will wake up tomorrow with a pregnant belly and restored fertility? Probably not, but it does mean that light will prevail over darkness, joy over sorrow. It means that God's plans for you are ultimately good and that you can trust what he's doing in your life right this minute, even when you can't clearly see his purposes.


Stepping into hope:


-Don't stuff your feelings. Take time away to face your grief and acknowledge your losses.

-Do something tangible to remember. Plant a garden, float flower petals in a stream, or light a memory candle.

-Both tears and sleep are therapeutic. Cry and take a nap when you need to.




4. Guilt


What it is:


A feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined.


Why we experience it:


During infertility, we may feel guilt over putting off pregnancy until we're older, for prioritizing career over family building, using contraception, or for having an abortion in our past.


Biblical wisdom:


There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:1-2 NIV)


Some of the guilt we experience during infertility is misplaced. There is nothing inherently sinful about diving into a career or attempting to establish a stable marital foundation before bringing kids into the relationship. Healing from abortion requires continually seeking God and his unfathomable mercy, which casts our sins as far as the east is from the west. As a result, we can show kindness toward ourselves while experiencing the freedom brought by no condemnation from God. He's THE chain breaker.


Stepping into hope:


-Journal about your feelings. Sometimes just getting the reason for your guilt down on paper is enough to send it packing.

-If you haven't already, ask for forgiveness from God for past offenses, including your attempts at holding the weight of the world on your shoulders. Then, forgive yourself and let it go.

-Replace mislaid guilt with positive statements, such as "I'm doing everything I can to have a baby now" and/or "Tomorrow I have a chance to try again."





In part two, we'll explore the emotions of discomfort, isolation, depression, and frustration.


Until next time!


Your hope cheerleader,

📣

Sarah

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