Today I have the privilege of hosting Elizabeth Maddrey on A Bed of Roses…Thorns Included. Help me make her feel welcome.
Elizabeth Maddrey began writing stories as soon as she could form the letters properly and has never looked back. Though her practical nature and love of math and organization steered her into computer science for college and graduate school, she has always had one or more stories in progress to occupy her free time. When she isn’t writing, Elizabeth is a voracious consumer of books and has mastered the art of reading while undertaking just about any other activity. She loves to write about Christians who struggle through their lives, dealing with sin and receiving God’s grace.
Elizabeth lives in the suburbs of Washington D.C. with her husband and their two incredibly active little boys. She invites you to interact with her at her website www.ElizabethMaddrey.com or on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ElizabethMaddrey
Things Not to Say
by Elizabeth Maddrey
When my husband and I had been married three years, we decided it was time to think about starting a family. Things didn’t go as planned. So instead of digging into the fun of diapers, teething, and baby-proofing, we got a thirteen-year journey through the trenches of infertility. Over the course of those years there were a lot of tears. But it made us stronger—both individually and as a couple. One of the aspects of infertility that haunted me the longest were the well-meaning comments from friends, family, and random strangers on the street. (I kid you not. Random people in chance encounters who clearly didn’t understand the idea of nosy!) And so, I thought I’d offer to you a small array of things that you might consider not saying to someone who doesn’t have children.
“When are you going to have kids?”
We didn’t announce to the world that we wanted to start a family. And when we hit problems, we didn’t proclaim that from here to there either. It’s entirely possible that the childless couple you just addressed is mired in doctor visits, medicine, and continual disappointment month after month. And if they wanted you to know about it, they would have said something. Instead, consider “Do you think you’d like to have a family someday?” This gives the person an easier out that doesn’t involve spilling all the gory details of their infertility treatment if they don’t want to. They can honestly say, “Yes. We’d really like that.” Just be sure you keep your tone light and casual…and then move to another topic.
If you happen to already know that they’re struggling with conceiving, please, if you love them at all, do not say, “Just relax and it’ll happen.”
This is one that the movies, in particular, are great at promoting. How many movies and books are out there where, when the couple finally ditches all their efforts and takes a vacation, bam! Pregnant. Too many to count. And while yes, that can happen in real life, it’s in no way helpful or encouraging to the woman who is going for pelvic ultrasounds every other day hoping against hope that this time her ovaries will be responding to the medication.
Another one to avoid is: “If you want to borrow my kids, I’ll loan ‘em to you!” (Or any variation on the theme of “My kids drive me nuts, you’re lucky you don’t have any.”)
I know (now), and you know that you’re joking and that you love your children and aren’t actually trying to get rid of them. And yes, it’s absolutely legitimate for a mom or dad to need a break from their kids. But, when you’re yearning for children—and all the headache and exhaustion that comes with them—hearing this…is just not amusing.
For either of the above, just offer your ear, or your shoulder, and if you must say something, say, “I’m praying for you. Let me know how I can help.”
Despite those years of struggle, infertility was never on my radar to write about. I write contemporary romance. It’s what I love and where I wanted to stay. But God had other plans and He kept nudging me until, finally, I gave in and began to write. That became Faith Departed – the beginning of twin sisters June and July’s struggles to start a family. This month, Hope Deferred releases and continues their story. In December, Love Defined, will wrap things up. It’s my prayer that these books will help people understand the hearts and minds of the infertile just a little better and give solace to those who have walked these same paths as they realize they’re not alone.
Can pursuit of a blessing become a curse?
June and July and their husbands have spent the last year trying to start a family and now they’re desperate for answers. As one couple works with specialists to see how medicine can help them conceive, the other must fight to save their marriage.
Will their deferred hope leave them heart sick, or start them on the path to the fulfillment of their dreams?
Where you can find Elizabeth:
Hope Deferred is available at Amazon and other fine retailers.
If you have dealt with infertility, or are dealing with it now, I would love to pray with you. I don’t know the right words to say since I’ve never had to deal with this, but I know now what NOT to say (thanks, Elizabeth). Since this is a sensitive subject, I encourage you to use my contact form. Your information will remain private. I will share it with no one, unless you give me permission to share with Elizabeth. I’m certain she’d be happy to pray for you as well.