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Help Me Wait

Help Me Wait

Dear family member, friend, or church leader,

Your relationship is important to me. I thank God for bringing you into my life and for the ways you’ve helped me grow. He created us for community, and I’m glad to belong to yours.

As you probably know, I’m walking through a hard season right now. Infertility, miscarriage, and waiting for a child affect every aspect of my life, including my relationship with you and other people. Because these are painful and complex experiences, it can be difficult for you to understand  what I’m going through. You want to show me love, but you might feel confused, hesitant, or helpless. So I want to help you help me wait. Please listen to my suggestions, recognizing that everyone’s journey is different. I promise to give you grace, and ask you to do the same for me.

Listen First

We often want to fill heavy silence with advice, a well-intentioned story, or even Scripture. But just be still. Wait. Listen. Let me fill the time and space when and how I’m able. I might want to vent about a difficult appointment, or simply have you hug me while I cry.

Be Sensitive

  • Acknowledge my grief and the range of emotions I might be feeling.
  • Resist the temptation to make assumptions. Don’t assume that my husband and I haven’t been trying to get pregnant “that long,” or that our situation is just like someone else’s you know, or that we’re not trusting God.
  • Ask me how you can best offer support. I welcome questions such as, “Should I wait for you to update me?”; “May I call and ask you how your appointment went?”; and “Would you want to be invited to the baby shower?”
  • Set a reminder to pray for me and my husband on a regular basis.

Watch Your Words

  • Don’t give unsolicited advice. Unless I ask you to share, keep your personal experience and suggestions about what to try to yourself.
  • Don’t placate with false hope or Christian cliches. Examples include, “God will give you a baby”; “You’d be great parents”; “Just adopt”; “Go on vacation”; “I know it will happen for you”; “God will work it all out”; and “When God closes a door, he opens a window.”
  • Use open-ended questions and simple statements to communicate your concern: “How are you doing?”; “Would you mind if I pray for you now?”; and “That’s so hard.”

Be Present

Your presence means more to me than anything you say. Small gestures like putting your hand on my shoulder when someone announces, “I’m pregnant!” give me comfort right when I need it. A member of our Waiting in Hope community shared, “My dear friend just texted that she would like

to come over to sit with me. Just sit. I responded when I was ready and she honored that time. We sat on the porch, she squeezed my hand, and we both wept. It was exactly what I needed.”

Love as a Church Family

The church is home for the family of believers. I’m sad to say I don’t always feel like I belong in my home. Christians tend to elevate motherhood as a woman’s greatest purpose. This brings an unintended consequence of making women like me feel overlooked, forgotten, and out of place.

As a church leader, you can point me to hope in Christ when you embrace me with the love of Christ. Take time to become educated about infertility, miscarriage, adoption, and other types of waiting for a child. Identify and acknowledge these struggles from the pulpit, especially on holidays including Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Consider hosting awareness events or special prayer gatherings specifically for couples facing infertility. Waiting in Hope can help you with this.

If someone in your congregation wants to start a Waiting in Hope support group, encourage her and offer to announce and/or publish the meeting in your bulletin. Think about devoting a time of prayer to lift up couples who are struggling to conceive and/or have lost babies through miscarriage. Your prayers make a difference and help me know that I’m seen and loved by my church family and thereby the Lord.

I Need You

Despite how complicated our relationship might be, I need you to bear this burden with me. God gave us one another to lean on for support. Thank you for sharing his comfort through your care.

Interested in learning more about finding true hope in God through infertility? This content was adapted from the book Waiting in Hope: 31 Reflections for Walking with God Through Infertility by Kelley Ramsey and Jenn Hesse.