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  • Writer's pictureSarah Sisson Rollandini

Dealing With the Emotions of Infertility - Part 3

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?

We'll wrap up this series in part three by taking a look at the experiences of inadequacy, loss of perspective, despair, and helplessness. Then we'll illuminate those feelings with biblical wisdom, and offer some day-to-day steps for holding onto hope.

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

Common Emotions of Infertility

1. Inadequacy

What it is:

feelings of weakness and deficiency; feeling flawed

Why we experience it:

Having a baby is something we've dreamed about since we played with dolls. For most women, the desire to become a mom is a natural part of adulthood. When we can't get pregnant naturally, we feel "less than" and ask "What's wrong with me?"

Biblical wisdom:

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14, NIV)

In God's love letter to you, I imagine him saying this:

Dear One,

I'm so sorry you're hurting. Please do not take your experience of infertility as a sign that you are not good enough. I made you and love you just as you are. So much so that I count the hairs on your head and delight in the color of your eyes and the terrain of your cheek. You don't have to do anything, or be any certain way, to earn my approval. I find you uniquely beautiful and am so pleased that I created you.

Stepping into hope:

-Contemplate verses about God's infinite love for you. Start here.

-Offer to babysit or hang out with a favorite niece or nephew. Be fully present and take note of the things you love about that special kiddo. Now think about how God's love for you is similar, only multiplied beyond human imagination.

-Do something you rock at to remind yourself of how capable--far beyond adequate-- you really are.

Photo by Alec Douglas on Unsplash

2. Loss of perspective

What it is:

Blindness to the "big picture"; hyperfocusing on the problem

Why we experience it:

Like any chronic illness, infertility seems to draw all of our energy toward fixing the problem. When every hour is consumed with wishing, hoping, and working toward a baby, it's natural to lose sight of life's richness.

Biblical wisdom:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phillipians 4:6-7, NIV)

This verse reminds us to rely on God--not ourselves-- for peace of mind. You have a plan, so work it to the best of your human abilities and, rather than obsessing, present your desires to God in prayer. In the middle of infertility, peace is an illusive commodity of which we're sorely in need. Paul makes it clear in his letter to the Philippians that talking to God is the antidote to anxiety.

Stepping into hope:

-Keep a daily gratitude journal. It's no accident that Paul encourages us to hem every request to our heavenly father in thanksgiving. Study after study have proven thankfulness to decrease anxiety and increase optimism.

-Pray all day every day. When worry creeps in, float a prayer to God, who is always listening. Be satisfied that he's got your back so you don't have to think about it!

-Go out! It's nearly impossible for infertility to consume your thoughts when you're having a glass of sangria with a friend or listening to a great band. Make plans for FUN at least once a month!

Photo by Raquel Santana on Unsplash

3. Despair

What it is:

the complete loss or absence of hope

Why we experience it:

For many of us, a diagnosis of infertility is the first time we experience dissonance between our plans and God's. The first time that pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps and pressing on doesn't actually help us accomplish our goal. With our whole life philosophy called into question, we lose our center. We begin to doubt ourselves, our God, and our future. Despair is a natural result.

Biblical wisdom:

I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.

Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. (Psalm 27:13-14, NIV)

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. (Psalm 43:5, NIV)

When I'm down, the Psalms are my go-to verses. The first verse above, Psalm 27, speaks of actively waiting for the Lord by anticipating his goodness. You know the old adage, "Don't count your chickens before they're hatched"? Well, this verse states the opposite. Go ahead and count those chickens because you can depend on God. Although perhaps not in the way you would expect it, he will come through for you. Visualize that time, prepare for it, and hold tight to hope.

The second verse, Psalm 43:5, is David's pep talk to himself. Every now and then, we need to remind ourselves, as David did, that we're not in the fight alone. Simply remembering that God is on our side and choosing to exalt his power over ours can help us "fake it til we make it", or until we internalize the genuine hope that belongs to every believer.

Stepping into hope:

-Go to church! Even when you don't feel like it, go and be with other believers who can encourage you. Here are 8 more reasons why.

-Get off the couch. Take a walk, a hike, a swim, a shop, a cartwheel, a get the idea. Get your body moving and those magical endorphins will boost your mood!

-Help someone. When we step outside ourselves to support and encourage others, we can't help but feel better.

Photo by Aiony Haust on Unsplash

4. Helplessness

What it is:

powerlessness; the inability to act effectively

Why we experience it:

It's as simple as this: our bodies aren't working for us and we can't fix them

Biblical wisdom:

I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13, NIV)

Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD himself, is my strength and my defense ; he has become my salvation. (Isaiah 12:2, NIV)

The above verse from Philippians, written by Paul while he was in prison, reminds us that it is not perfect circumstances or perfectly functioning bodies that make us conquerors, but the strength of Christ within us.

In the next verse, the prophet Isaiah reiterates (or rather PREiterates) that God--not our willpower or any particular outcome--is the source of our refuge and strength. If we truly take hold of these promises, there's no way we can lose.

Stepping into hope:

-Read about overcomers. Start with Joni Eareckson Tada, Nick Vujicic, and Michele Cushatt.

-Watch movies about overcomers. Start with this list.

-Check out what the Bible has to say about overcoming.

-Do something to help a cause.

-Take the smile challenge. See how powerFULL you can be by smiling at everyone you encounter for a week straight.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Thanks for tuning in for this three-part series on dealing with the emotions of infertility.

Until next time!

Your hope cheerleader,



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