This post is not for the barren but for those who love the barren.
Dear, dear friends:
Thank you for reading this blog.
Thank you for loving your barren friend, for praying for her, for listening to her, for taking care of her physical needs, for encouraging her to go to church, and for reminding her of God’s promises made to her in Holy Writ and kept for her by Christ on the cross. Outside of these tried-and-true methods of help, it can be hard to know exactly what else you can do to support your barren friend as she bears the cross of childlessness. You may be tempted on occasion (in love and with the best of intentions) to forward on one of our posts directly to your barren friend’s personal email account. You may think that what we have said on here is something she needs to hear.
But, consider this bit of correspondence I recently received from a barren woman.
“Today I was ambushed by several well-intentioned friends with ‘helpful’ articles meant to encourage me, but they did just the opposite. They reminded me of my hurt.”
Personally forwarded posts have an air of projected expectation about them. They often read like law, as if you are suggesting to your barren friend through the post exactly how she should be feeling, what she should be doing, and how she should be enduring her grief and pain. If your barren friend is currently in the denial, anger, or depression stages of her grief cycle, then she does not need instruction on how to handle her grief. She needs simply to endure it.
What your barren friend really wants during these stages of grief is for you to listen to her, to sit with her in the stinking pit of pain, and to tell her that you love her.
I am not saying that it is never appropriate to share HRTB posts with her directly. I am simply saying that patient endurance of your friend’s long-suffering is a way of supporting her that will feel less like you are instructing her in her grief and more like you are loving her.
Which, we know, you always are.
So, thank you for patiently bearing with us, with our heightened emotions, with our perpetual bouncing back and forth between the stages of grief, and with all that comes with crosses.
We need you.
A stellar spot for listening