reaching out

Based on my Follow-up to Mother’s day post, a reader asked me this question.  I liked her question and the opportunity it gives me to share (because I believe this is a very common issue), so I’m turning it into a full post.

This is W’s question:

“I’ve been lurking here for a short time and I know you don’t know me from Adam but i just feel you could help me. Maybe write a post on it or e mail me or whatever. My question is – on Mothers Day (or any day) at church how could I make it easier for you. Is there anything I could say to bring a light to your day. I have four children and honestly that makes me feel strange trying to convey hope and love to you who are waiting to adopt. Maybe I shouldn’t feel strange I just don’t want to say anything that would hurt more than just keeping silent.
If you haven’t already gathered this there is a woman in my church – my age – who is waiting to adopt and it just feels like there is this barrier between us. I thought you could help me. I hope I’m not out of line here – I just want to convey love and all I have to go on is ignorance.

Thanks – even if you decide not to answer – thanks for sharing here so honestly. W—-“

Thank you for asking this. First off

Every Situation is Different

But, if it was me here’s what I would want you to do:


1. Hug me, invite me to dinner with your family. Let me get to know your kids.

It takes away some of the pain to have kids in my life. Even though they are not mine. At church this past Sunday the biggest joy for me was watching the kids that I know personally.  Knowing them personally meant that they weren’t just angelic faces and cute girls with perfect dresses and bows in their hair.  They were real people instead of icons of pain.  That helps so much.  Also when they were leaving, after their song, some of the kids I’m friends with grinned at me and one high-fived me on the way out of the sanctuary.  It meant something to her that I was there and that made my heart sing!

2. Once you get to know her better: trust her with your child.

Especially if you still have a “babe-in-arms” place your child in her arms. I don’t know how your friend is feeling right now, but I know that there was a time when I was terrified to reach out and ask to be allowed to hold a child. And toddlers are torture, because sometimes you reach out your arms to them and they laugh and run the other way. This is no big deal to a normal person, but to someone who is aching to hold a child it can be horrible! So YOU have to make the first move, show her that you trust her.

Some time when you are holding one of your children and you need your hands free, just turn to your friend and say “here, take Sarah for me for a second”  You may feel like you are imposing on her, but your friend will more than likely feel she has been given a gift.  A lot of infertile women (myself included) secretly feel that maybe God didn’t think we would make good mommies. So just allowing her to hold your child might help her.  I know it would certainly help me.  And it’s not the kind of thing I can ASK for, ya know?

3.   Tell her about your frustrations as well as your joys as a mom.

She needs to know that being a mom is overwhelming, and that EVEN YOU can’t do it without God.   See sometimes those of us on the outside look at those of you who are immersed in the mommy experience as “experts” and we are flooded with feelings of panic “can I really do this Lord?” and the answer of course is ‘”no. None of us can parent without God”

4.  Also make sure to have good times that are not entirely mommy related.

If possible be her friend outside of the mommy/not-yet-mommy issue.  Invite her to share a hotel room with you at a women’s retreat.  Show her that she is a worthwhile person to you even without kids.  This is HUGE.  My mommy-friends who are willing to spend time on me help my heart so much! they show me daily that they value me as a person *even in my current state of childlessness*

5.  The best thing you can do for her is to let her in. Into your world, into your heart.

Talk to her. Tell her how unsure you are and ask her what you can do to help. If God has pointed her out to you (and I believe He has) there is a reason, so go to her. Tell her you have been praying for her and ask her how you can help.

6.  Wait, I take that back. The BEST thing you can do for her is to pray.

I’ll be praying for you both.

Deirdre
still waiting to be a mommy, but perfectly happy to be a friend

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5 thoughts on “reaching out

  1. Wow, kudos to this person for actually having empathy for her friend.
    Infertility is such an isolating thing, you often feel like no one else even is TRYING to understand or sympathize or care. I know that is not true, but it is how it often FEELS.

    The nicest thing a friend ever did for me was to drop me a note in the mail saying that she was praying for me, and that she was trusting God that I would have a child one day.

    I still have that note and it still makes me cry to read it. So, I would say that a note, sent snail mail, is such an awesome thing to get.

    And, whatever you do, don’t jokingly tell her ‘you can adopt one of my kids!’

    Just- “I’m praying for you” is enough.

    I know what you mean. I have a blog friend who constantly reminds me that God has a child for me. We don’t know who, or where, or how, or when. But he DOES have a child for me. She is a treasure who encourages me daily, even though she has four kids and you would think we would have “nothing in common” I just pray I can be used of God to encourage others in their area of need.

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  2. Nice entry-I know how difficult it is to be the one with the kids dealing with a friend who has infertility issues. When my first was born, she was there and we were like a threesome. Cindy, Alex(my baby at the time) and I would get together all the time and shop, go swimming, etc. She was trying to get pregnant and I was there for her and we talked and she saw the dark side of parenting with me and Alex. When I got pregnant again(without trying) I was afraid to tell her because I didn’t want her to feel bad and I felt bad because I didn’t want to hurt my best friend. She finally figured it out when I threw up one morning at her house. She was upset that I felt that I thought she couldn’t rejoice with me and be happy for me. I felt guilty that I could get pregnant so easily and she couldn’t. She said God does different things in different people’s lives to teach them what they needed to know.

    I wrote this so you could see that being friends can transcend fertility, kids, lack of both, etc. You and I are an example of that.

    Love ya D

    J

    Yes, we transcended all kinds of “stuff” didn’t we. love you too “Moe”
    Deirdre

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  3. What a helpful post you have written here. Thanks for sharing your heart and your thoughts.
    I do not have any friends who are currently dealing with this issue, but I appreciate hearing your perspective so I have a better idea of how I can be helpful when I do encounter the situation.
    *Thanks*

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  4. Great post! I remember knowing that my fertile friends felt awkward around me. I hated that! There are still times when a certain comment will rub me the wrong way, but I think time softens the blows.

    And kudos to the reader that wants to be a sensitive friend! We wish there were more of you out there!

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  5. Wow. I’ve never been answered so quickly before. Thank you so much for sharing your heart on this matter. Your thoughts have been very helpful. I do pray for her. And that is good advise. The rest of the post was very insightful and I am grateful for your candor. I’m mostly just a lurker 🙂 but I’ll be back.

    Like

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