As Father’s Day approaches, Project Pomegranate invites you to walk beside those who grieve infertility, miscarriages, and infant loss – and to tend to the ways in which your congregation can provide support. Thank you to our guest bloggers who offer insight and wisdom from the depths of their own experiences. We also invite you to share our book of devotions, Though the Darkness Gather Round: Devotions about Infertility, Miscarriage, and Infant Loss! This book is an excellent resource.
In a week such as this one when our world has been gripped by the terrible atrocity in Orlando, it almost seems odd to reflect upon anything else.
And yet in remembering our family’s experience with infertility and reproductive loss, I know that this is not quite how it works. Because for my wife and I, these things were all-consuming.
For a season of our marriage our inability to conceive was all we talked about, all we thought about, all we prayed about. It didn’t matter what was going on in the world, our community, our church, our friends—we felt alone in our struggle, our disappointment, our anger, our jealousy. Most of the time we at least felt alone together, but there were also many times when these things separated us even from each other.
Our self-awareness about this isolation did little to bring us out of it. If anything, it added a measure of guilt to the pain. Why can’t I celebrate the good news of a friend? Why am I comparing my pain with the pain of others? Why don’t I feel anything at all?
When we learned of our miscarriage, we learned a new depth to our pain, and I remember fearing that with it would come a new level of isolation.
Praise God that’s not what happened.
We had kept our struggle to conceive from all but just a few family members and close friends, yet when my wife went to the hospital for a DNC we were forced to reach out to others and let them know what was going on what had led to this point.
We braced ourselves for awkward silences and well-meaning but ultimately hurtful condolences, but instead were overwhelmed with the number of friends and even family members who shared their own stories of similar pain. Infertility, miscarriage, stillbirth. The sheer number of people even within our close circle who had stories to tell was staggering. We had no idea.
I know that for many, hearing stories of the reproductive loss of others is not helpful, and can add to the pain and feelings of isolation. I completely understand this.
But in our experience, it was this community that emerged around us that got us through our own still excruciating season, and in many ways pulled us from our pit of loneliness and despair.
In discovering this community we were able to again feel for others when for so long we had only been able to feel for ourselves. What we felt was still pain—and sorrow, anger, and all the rest of it. But to feel these things for and with others was life-giving in a way that I’d not experienced before, and have only experienced a handful of times since.
Not that we needed one, but this week has been a brutal reminder that we live in a world of brokenness, where many are hurting, often in silence. We’ve learned of the pain that feelings of isolation can bring. And yet I hope it proves also to be a reminder that we need not suffer alone. That if brokenness is the one thing we all truly share, then it also can be the one thing to truly bring us closer, the one thing that can truly make us whole.