Recently while scrolling through social media, I came across an interesting question—Is primary infertility more difficult than secondary infertility? The question had sparked a lot of debate, with some arguing yes and others stating no. As I tried to decide how I felt, being a childless not by choice woman due to primary infertility, I started thinking… Is my childless journey harder?
Is my childless journey harder?
Is infertility more painful for someone who has no children rather than someone who cannot have a second child (or third or fourth)?
Does the woman who got pregnant and miscarried walk a more difficult childless journey than the woman who was never able to get pregnant at all?
Do the married childless have an easier childless journey than the single childless?
What about the widowed childless? Is the pain of her childless journey greater?
There is no room for comparison.
All these scenarios helped me come to this conclusion–there is no room for comparison on this journey.
It does no good to tell the woman suffering from secondary infertility, “Well, at least you have one child.” The woman crying in her husband’s arms over the fact that they cannot get pregnant takes no solace in the words, “Well, at least you are married.” And the childless mother who miscarried does not want to hear, “It is simply nature’s way.” These comments are about as helpful as the fertile asking, “Why don’t you just adopt?”
Love one another.
So, rather than trying to decide whose infertility or childless journey is worse, why don’t we simply love each other? I don’t mean a flippant love or a casual “Luv ya.” The love I’m talking about isn’t a mushy sentiment with no action behind it. No, I mean an actionable love. A love with true meaning and purpose. A love that shows we empathize with one another and care about each other’s struggles. When I say we need to LOVE each other, I mean we should:
L is for Listen
So, when a fellow infertility warrior or childless friend needs to talk, we listen. And we listen actively to understand, not to hear and respond. We listen openly and without judgment. We listen without comparing her struggle to our own. We listen because we know what it’s like to feel that no one understands, that no one cares, that no one gets it…
O is for Overlook Imperfections
And we offer grace as we listen. Perhaps she laments about how sad it is that her little will never have a sibling. Rather than reminding her that she is lucky to have one child because not all of us could, we simply listen. We overlook that she has forgotten that we are childless, realizing that she is in the midst of her own grief at the moment. And we hope that she will do the same for us when we have a weak moment and need to cry to her.
V is for Value
Perhaps most importantly, we value each other because we know that the infertile and/or childless often do not feel worthy. So, rather than fall into comparing and judging, we offer support, realizing how valuable these friendships with fellow warriors are…
E is for Encourage
And finally, we encourage one another. We remind our friends that this will get easier, but also that it’s okay for them to be sad right now. We send them hugs, we lift them in prayer, we tell them we are so sorry that they are struggling…
In a nutshell, we LOVE them–no matter their infertility or childless journey.
Fabulous ones, I love you all. And when I say this, I hope you now know what I mean. I try to listen, to overlook imperfections, to value, and to encourage. And I know that you all love too because you do the same things. What an amazing community we are building together!
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