018 Infertility and Grief: Does the Pain Ever Go Away?


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Dear Sheridan,

I have just finished reading Resurrection Year and loved it, although at times it was a difficult read. Like you, my husband and I haven’t been able to have children, and we’ve tried almost everything to do so. The hardest thing I find is the pain and the longing that never seems to go away. I resonate with what Proverbs 30 says: the barren womb is never satisfied. You and Merryn have been able to move on with your lives. What I want to know is, does the pain and longing ever go away, or just lesson over time?

Yours sincerely,
Becky

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Dear Becky,

Merryn and I share your sadness. The longing that Proverbs 30 points to is so real. If you ultimately don’t have children, it will probably always hurt a little. But we’ve found that the ‘time between the tears’ gets longer as time goes on. The pain does lessen. However, for this to happen, you need to grieve well. And to grieve well, you have to properly farewell the dream.

Unlike other losses, which are by definition so definite, the issue of infertility just hangs there, dangling forever over you, the idea of a child always a ‘possibility’ in your mind and heart. Merryn and I could only move forward, and see everything I’ve written in Resurrection Year happen, when we drew a line, stopped the search, and declared the dream over. Without this we wouldn’t have been able to get to where we are now.

Remember that bit in chapter 3 of Resurrection Year where Merryn packs the baby stuff we’ve collected over the years into our sister-in-law’s car and she drives it all away? That was the moment we truly bid ‘farewell’ to the dream and felt free. I heard of a woman who was only able to move on once she redecorated the nursery she’d kept for years into a regular room. Then the broken dream no longer held her captive.

God may not be calling you to bring your dream to an end yet, but if He is, please know this:

There is life without children.

Your life won’t be over.

But it will hurt for a bit, and then it will get better.

And then you may find God using your pain in surprising ways, as he has with ours. He works most powerfully through weakness, recycling our pain into comfort for others. The empty womb may never be satisfied, but God has always brought good things out of nothing.

So, yes, the pain does lessen. The ‘time between the tears’ gets longer as time goes on. And for this to happen, we need to grieve well. I’ll be praying that God clarifies the next step for you to take.

With love,
Sheridan

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Question: How did you get over the loss of something precious? Tell me now
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Comments:

  • August 21, 2013
    Anonymous

    Beautifully written Sheridan.

    reply
  • September 23, 2013
    Pauline Bellingham

    Thank you both so much for this book. It speaks so closely to our experience of infertility and our on-going search for meaning. Thank you for sharing your example, perspective and encouragement.

    reply
    • September 27, 2013

      I’m so glad the book was helpful, Pauline. Thanks so much for reading it, and God bless you in the weeks and months ahead.

      reply
  • October 24, 2013
    Anonymous

    Hello, Sheridan and Merryn.

    I am just now learning of your story for the first time. (I found your interview on the Centre for Public Christianity site literally about an hour ago!)

    I will begin listening to the podcasts and reading, until I can buy and read the book.

    My broken dream is finding work – ANY work. It’s been six years. I won’t go into much detail here. God’s provided, and I work very, very part time from home.

    I’m understanding you to say that sometimes dreams have to die. I’m also single, so my dream of marriage/family is one that dies daily as well.

    My terror is that… what if I NEVER find proper work again? Actually that thought did not occur to me until I was listening to you speaking. I always assumed this MUST end at some point, because we know it’s God’s will that those who are able to work must do so! The bible is clear on that. So I assumed a job would eventually come through.

    But wow, hearing this… maybe it never will. And that thought just made my blood run cold.

    Anyway, I look forward to listening, reading here and reading the book someday.

    Thank you for sharing your difficult story and choosing to minister to others who are also suffering.

    reply
    • October 29, 2013

      Be assured that not all dreams have to die! You were made to contribute to society, in whatever capacity you can, so don’t let the dream of working again go. Just serve in whatever way you can in the meantime. I do look forward to hearing how your life turns out!

      reply
  • November 21, 2013
    Anonymous

    Hey Sheridan, this was a beautiful vid/podcast… thankyou so much. I can attest that the pain of broken dreams does get less over time and your smile comes back 🙂 Thanks for this message a million times over on behalf of the countless people who are gaining so much from hearing your story and wisdom. So many people who came to your ” Loungeroom Chat ” at Upper colo have said to me later how much they loved and were encouraged by the book. I think one of the most powerful things about this message is that, people are being Heard. They are validated as their pain , their twisted fairytale, their dark chapter, is able to come to light, be seen, be heard, be acknowledged, as real. That is so powerful. I think that’s what Jesus did, he came, listened, heard, connected with the human experience and its pain. And i think it’s true that when the things that are in the dark come into the light, the power of them is broken. The power of those things to hold us down, crush us and disempower and disable us, is weakened and broken , and we find new strength to walk a new path and a new chapter.
    That’s what happened for me and obviously for you guys too and I pray that Becky, ‘Mo86’ and others will experience this through God’s grace and love too.
    Clare

    reply
    • November 25, 2013

      Ah, thanks Clare. That aspect of being heard is so crucial. Thanks so much for arranging that evening. It was a blessing to me too!

      reply

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