I’ve pretty much steered clear of going to a lot of baby showers over the past few years, but even more since diagnosis. I actually think that I’ve gone to ONE shower since I was diagnosed. I felt like I just was not prepared, mentally. I’ve learned that it is important to take care of yourself first. Nobody knows how you are feeling, (well I can relate) but only YOU know how you are mentally. There is absolutely nothing wrong with putting yourself first, if need be, and skipping a baby shower. Yes, you heard me. It’s okay to do it. It’s not worth the mental breakdown, if you just can’t handle it. Don’t think that you are a flakey friend, or that you are being dramatic. Nobody knows what it’s like to grieve a child that you’ve yet to conceive……
[How amazing is this beautiful layout found via Pinterest.com?]
However (and I say this in love) don’t use infertility as an crutch. You will need, yes need, to go to baby showers for the special people in your life. Even thought it maybe uncomfortable and tough. Remember that one day, you will want people to come together and celebrate your miracle baby! The people that you love and care about want to have memories with you too! I know, firsthand, how tough these events are; that’s why I wanted to share some tips to help you get through them! These are some that I’ve learned along the way!
Tip #1- Pray.
And I don’t mean just pray for five seconds before you walk in. I mean spend time in prayer, seeking God on how to walk through this test. I can not stress how important it is to press into God and all that he is for you during this time. Don’t take the Word lightly when it say, “I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me.” [Philippians 4:13] Baby showers are included in that ALL things. Pray and ask our Father to carry you through this event if needed. Ask Him to help you to be strong. Ask Him to help you have an attitude of gratefulness, thankfulness, and joy. Ask Him to help YOU be happy for your loved ones in the moment. Sis, I know its so hard to be happy for someone else when you are hurting inside. But, remember what the Word tells us about rejoicing with those who rejoice. Be careful not to allow your sadness turn into envy and jealously because your time hasn’t arrived yet. Reach out to your sisters in Christ, or email me if you need me to pray with you!
Tip #2- Cry.
Seriously, let it out. You are allowed to FEEL. We mess up when we think that we have to be strong every second of the day. Sis, What you are going through HURTS. It’s an unexplainable pain. You don’t have to hold that it. Let yourself feel those emotions, and let the tears fall where they may! If you need to excuse yourself quietly to take a bathroom break, or if you let them all out while you are getting dressed (this was me.) As long as you realize that crying is okay. No. You are not crazy.
Tip #3- Have A Person.
This is something that I did not do, but I wish that I had. I suggest choosing one person, who can pour in some words of encouragement while you are there. I actually would suggest having a code word, just between you and your person, that you can tell them if you feel yourself about to go bat-flipping-crazy. You know, like when someone asks “Do you have kids yet?” or says any other insensitive statement without thinking. This way, they can take a bathroom break with you, hug you, wipe your face, tell you how STRONG and beautiful you are for coming, and pray that God strengthen you to make it through! Of course, if they aren’t physically at the shower, they can call you and do just the same! Virtual hugs. Xoxo.
Tip #4- Serve.
This only works if you are attending a baby shower for a close friend or family member. If you REALLY want to be stretched in your faith, ask if there is anything that they need you to do/ help with. There is nothing like serving someone else in the middle of your own pain. It requires you to depend on God for every step, and also shows you how strong you can be in Him! Serving others (CHEERFULLY AND WITH LOVE) will also take your mind off of you. I’ll admit, I can easily be consumed with me-me- and more me.
“Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. “ Romans 12:10-12
Tip #5- Carry Grace.
This is the most important thing that I can tell you to do. I saved this for last, because this is the hardest out of the bunch. It’s not fun, and it can be tiring when you have to do it over and over AND OVER. But guess what? God does this very thing for us, as we fail Him over, and over, and over! Work those spiritual muscles, as infertility makes us more like Christ.
What I want you to do, actually what I need you to do, is to carry Grace in BOTH of your hands, so that you can easily extend it to EVERYONE there.
Sis, I know you feel like people should know what and what not to say. They don’t, grace them. I know it hurts you to see so many round bellies. Guess what? You don’t know every single story. We assume that they conceived easily, but what it they didn’t? Grace them. Grace the people that complain about morning sickness. They don’t know that you pray to puke your brains out one day. Grace the people that ask you if you have children. They don’t know your story. They don’t know that you have an angel baby. Grace the people that think they are saying the right thing by telling you that “you can always try again!” They don’t know that your last round of IVF cleared your bank account and it still didn’t work. Grace the people that hurt your weary heart. They don’t know that it’s taking all of your strength to be there. They don’t know that your heart has taken hit after hit. They don’t know the nights you cry out to God for help. Forgive them sis.
As hard as it is, forgive them. They honestly don’t really mean to hurt you.
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” Matthew 6:14
Honestly sis, when I finally prayed about this issue, I saw the REAL state of my heart. It wasn’t that I was super hurt, but I was convicted of this: bitterness, envy & anger. I was mad that “everybody” else was around me having babies & I wasn’t. I wanted a growing belly and to feel kicks inside. I was angry that God was doing “this” to me [infertility.] I felt like baby showers were just another reminder of the thorn in my flesh. I had to change my perspective. Isn’t it wonderful to be able to celebrate a new life coming into this world? Obviously, if you’ve been invited to the shower, someone loves you enough to want to share that moment with you! Isn’t it wonderful to be loved? Isn’t it a blessing to have friends & family? Isn’t it a blessing to see miracles be birthed on this Earth? Sis, I encourage you [gently] after reading this post, to check your own heart too. It’s okay to be sad, but don’t miss out on all the opportunities to rejoice with your loved ones when they are rejoicing! [Romans 12:15] Even though they may not say it out loud, they are hurting for you in this season too! Be confident in this Truth.
“He gives the childless woman a family, making her a happy mother.” Psalm 113:9
I love you so much!
Until next time,