What Did You Just Say!?!?

I have found that one of the most insensitive things anyone who knows I’m trying to get pregnant can say to me is, “Just relax, you’re trying too hard.” Or, “Oh stop worrying, it’ll happen the moment you stop thinking about it.” I wrote this entry in my diary after one particularly frustrating day:

“I’ve discovered that no one knows what I’m going through but me. Everyone tells me stress causes infertility – but what they don’t seem to understand is that infertility CAUSES STRESS! People who don’t know what it feels like to NOT be able to get pregnant, seem to be the most critical and the most ready to offer their opinions of “you’re doing it wrong” or “you know that’s not really going to help, don’t you?” or “you’re trying too hard” or “are you sure that’s the best thing?” or “have you read anything about that?” or “you just need to take a vacation.”

Every time someone offers these tactless words of advice, I instantly have visions of myself taking a turn-step back and delivering a round house kick to their right cheek. Whether it’s a church member, a friend or a random encounter, it always shocks me to hear it and I physically have to calm down and bite my tongue. I know they don’t mean to hurt me, but I can’t help but take it as a deliberate hit to my infertility nerve. During these times, I like to recall 2 Samuel 22:41, “You placed my foot on their necks. I have destroyed all who hated me.” No, I’m just kidding.

Taking offense when people are insensitive is a perfectly natural reaction. Even Job couldn’t help but respond with sarcasm to the advice of his friends, “Surely wisdom will die with you!” (Job 12:2) When people don’t understand what you’re going through, you can’t blame them for saying something hurtful that you know they don’t mean. You are dealing with a kind of pain that they, thankfully, hopefully, will never understand. I know it hurts. It feels like you’re being told that everything you’ve been through, everything you’ve done, every prayer you’ve said, every test you’ve taken, every single time your heart has dropped right onto the bathroom floor, has been a silly waste of your time.

Ephesians 4:31-32 says, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”

It’s not just infertility that can strike a hard nerve. I’m guilty of insensitivity too, usually completely by accident. I can recall times I’ve opened my mouth and said something insensitive and instantly wished I could’ve taken the words back the second I felt them leave my lips. It’s amazing the offenses that can be dished out over the course of one single breath.

When I first started dealing with the reality that Josh and I would be facing difficulties getting pregnant, I unloaded on a single friend of mine who had recently gone through a very tough breakup – but I wasn’t thinking about her or her feelings, I was thinking about me. After a few minutes, I paused to give her a chance to give me a little “poor baby” time, and she squeezed my hand, looked me in the eyes and said with all sincerity, “I’m so sorry you’re going through this, but at least you have someone to go through this with.” In my own sadness, I had completely blindsided her with insensitivity to her situation. I have the exact same reaction when I hear people talk about how terrible their kids are behaving. I immediately want to respond with, “I’m so sorry you’re going through this, but at least you have children.”

We can all take a lesson or two in tactfulness and awareness. Every person has a button to be pushed or a nerve to be hit. I do. You do. If we all knew everything that upset everyone and had the sensitivity to avoid offending everyone around us, we’d all be walking on stilts to avoid the piles of eggshells surrounding us, although I’d probably do more damage on the stilts. The point being, insensitivity is impossible to avoid. So the only way to deal with insensitivity is to decide that you are not going to be offended.

In the article, The Sin of Being Offended by Hayley Dimarco, the best-selling author of Mean Girls, Hayley writes:

True strength comes in changing ourselves and that means our ‘reactions’ to others. For it is not what others do to us that counts, but what we think about what they do to us that matters. Offenses lie in our mind not in others’ actions. No one can insult you or hurt you verbally unless you decide to allow it….. If we, as believers, can turn our focus upward instead of inward, we can be free from the slings and arrows of mean people. There is a unique kind of freedom that comes with deciding not to allow the hurtful words and mean actions of others to control us.”

I love that, I’m going to repeat that in bold – “If we, as believers, can turn our focus upward instead of inward, we can be free from the slings and arrows of mean people.”

Psalm 121:1 says it best, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence my help cometh.”

Just picture it! What a vision! Keep your focus on God. Draw your strength from the one who never offends. Find security and peace in the one who saves you.

Have a great week!

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One Response to “What Did You Just Say!?!?”

  1. While going through this infertility journey I used to despise the comment, “It will all happen in God’s time. If it’s His will it will be His way.” What??? How could the one person that I was to rely on for everything in my life be the person I was to blame for all of this? Don’t get me wrong, I blamed God, got mad at him, and even have said a few choice words to him on occasion. It wasn’t until I took responsibility for my own reactions that I realized I could have a direct impact on the actions of others. Thank you for sharing your thoughts….once again you are SO right!

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