A Fertile Heart, by Carolyn Majoran

My Story


  • Jul30Wed

    Sympathy vs Empathy

    July 30, 2014

    “You’re trying to have a baby?! That’s so exciting!”

    “Oh, you haven’t been able to get pregnant yet? It’s been almost a year? I’m sorry. That’s so terrible for you!”

    These words, or words very similar, were spoken to me many times by some well-meaning people that I considered friends. In and of themselves, the words are not terrible. They are not hurtful. These people cared for me and wanted me to experience the joys of motherhood just like they all were doing. And so, the words were most definitely heart-felt but seemingly pity-filled.

    I can’t pinpoint the time during my struggle with infertility that I started to close into myself and not go to my friends for support but it slowly happened. It seemed that none of them could truly understand my pain and I was looking for empathy, not sympathy. I went looking for help in books and online where I could remain anonymous. Even in some online forums I participated in I would get ‘encouragement’ like, “Just relax and it’ll happen”, or “Pray harder” as if I hadn’t already mastered 1 Thessalonians 5:17 -  “Pray continually”. Advice like that coming from strangers was worse than the occasional unintentional insensitive quip from a friend!

    My circle of friends grew smaller and smaller as I continued to internalize my pain. It was simply easier to wear a mask and pretend like being infertile was not overtaking my identity. And, indeed, I had slowly let the enemy whisper his lies into my heart, letting them overshadow my identity in Christ. The Bible tells us in 1 John 4:10 that we are loved by God. I was feeling completely unloved by God as He was ignoring my pleas for a child. 1 Peter 1:3-5 tells us that through Christ we are secure in God. The last thing I was feeling was secure as the foundations of my faith were being shaken like never before!

    During a time in my life when I needed to lean on my faith, I found myself putting all the blame on God. It certainly was difficult that my wonderfully loving friends who were so supportive of me were all having babies while I couldn’t. I simply shut down.

    Friends, I pray that you will be stronger against the enemy’s attacks than I was! I pray that you will keep your eyes focused on Christ – your Helper, your Protector, your Saviour. I truly believe that my infertility journey was lengthened by my inner battle with God as I was fighting the lessons He was trying to teach me. Of course, this was no surprise to Him as He knew that this stubborn child would need extra time of teaching to truly appreciate the plans He had in store for me.

    I am eternally grateful for the friends that stuck by my side even when I wanted to shut the world away and sit in self-pity for the rest of my days. I am even more grateful for my friendship with Christ as He took my sins, my pain, and my heartbreak upon Himself and suffered with me. Dear ones, you are not alone. Do not suffer in silence as it is so easy to do. Confide in those close to you. Confide in the One who loves you enough that He died for you.

    “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” – John 15:13