Shared Tears

This post is late in coming, for lots of reasons, but it is important. Last weekend, The Man and I had the opportunity to speak to a group of NFP Teachers about infertility. We are also teachers, and we are working on being trained to teach teachers, but this was the first time this presentation had been given.

Oh, we also got to go to Texas and missed the latest round of snow - 13" was waiting for us when we arrived home.

This part (well, the Texas part, not so much the snow part) is important because as we got ready to go the day before, I could feel the tension starting. I was nervous and I could tell The Man was nervous. I tried my best to not snap at him and start a fight (as I'm soooooo good at doing), and we made it to Houston fight-free. Nothing short of miraculous there.

Just before our presentation we did very Rebecca and The Man type things - I rearranged my stuff and made sure that everything I might need was perfectly organized (like tissues and my notes) and The Man went out for a quiet walk alone. (Later I found out he found a statue of Mary and spent some time with her. I love this man.)

As we started, The Man read this quote from Pope Benedict XVI, that has come to mean so very much to me:
The Church pays much attention to the suffering of infertile couples, it cares for them and, because of this, encourages medical research. The science, nevertheless, is not always able to respond to the  desires of many couples. I would like again to remind the spouses who experience infertility that their vocation to marriage is not frustrated because of this. The husband and wife, because of their baptismal and matrimonial vocations themselves, are always called to work together with God in creating a new humanity. The vocation to love, in fact, is a vocation to the gift of self and this is a possibility that cannot be impeded by any organic condition. Therefore, where science cannot find an answer, the answer that brings light comes from Christ.

And then we just started to share about what infertility is like, really like. I honestly barely remember the words I said, they just came out, along with a lot of tears. Way more tears than I ever shed in public. I promised myself that I would honor Joe and Cinda's request to share authentically and not allow myself to be all "business".

But what I do remember is this: looking around a room and seeing a room full of others who will hopefully never a day in their life know the pain of infertility, 2 of them holding babies, sharing my tears. There were a couple of others present who have experienced infertility and I had to steer clear of their eye contact, I knew the tears that were streaming down my face would only give way to the "really ugly" cry if I locked eyes with someone who "gets it."

It wasn't only the tears though. It was that not a single person leaned away from us. Or acted visibly uncomfortable. No, they leaned in. They sought my eyes. They were willing to see the pain, willing to sit in it. Willing to love through it.

Infertility is so isolating. The invisibility of it only makes it worse in so many ways.

But so often, whether it's infertility or something else, what causes us pain causes others to be uncomfortable. We want to "fix" and to "cheer up" and to "make better", when what we most need is just someone to sit with us and be comfortable doing so. For just over an hour last Saturday, many people sat with us and were comfortable doing so, and in that we were comforted.

We were given positive feedback, and I'm hopeful that what we did say will somehow help another infertile couple.

But. I am quite confident that we received much more than we gave.

Joe and Cinda, I know you read here and to anyone else who was there last weekend who might be reading here, from the bottom of our hearts we say thank-you for all that you gave us, and for loving us. We are grateful.


  1. I am so glad to hear that you had such a wonderful audience! Thank you for being willing to do this.

  2. What a beautiful gift for you to be able to share and for others to be able to hear and understand at least to a certain extent what it feels like to experience infertility.

  3. Thank you for being willing to share your story Rebecca! God is working through you and The Man so much!

  4. What a beautiful encounter with the body of Christ, love how they leaned in loving y'all!

  5. I love this! God loves the vulnerable. Thank you for sharing!

  6. IF is painful and so real for you and your dh. I think the tears you shed showed how vulnerable and honest you are. You have helped others...in ways you may never get to know. When we first realized we couldn't have children...knowing others were in the same boat made me sad in some ways but I also felt like I wasn't alone on this journey.

  7. How wonderful!! You and the Man are so brave, Rebecca, and your openness is going to bless so many people through those NFP teachers - I have no doubt at all about that. And what a beautiful description of the "shared tears." Gave me chills.

  8. Rebecca, you and your husband continue to amaze me. Even knowing how difficult this was going to be, you allowed God to use you to show others how to carry the cross- by clinging to your faith and the One who has allowed you to carry it. Hugs and much love, friend.

  9. I didn't realize you were in Houston! My husband and I lived there for 3 years. Hope you enjoyed the warm weather and avoided the crazy traffic. :)

    Sounds like it went so well! You did a beautiful thing here. And you represented us well. Thank you for being brave enough to share your heart with this group of strangers. I'm so happy to hear they were so receptive.

    Also, that is a fantastic quote!!

  10. My coworker has a friend struggling with infertility and I forwarded your blog along. God is using you to bring His light to humanity and those suffering the cross of IF. Thank you for always being real and honest and raw in your writing. Carrying your intentions in my heart.

  11. I'm so glad you were able to be really real with the group. I think when we open up, and are open and honest about the pain of IF, others can meet us there in a new way, and see things from our eyes. Hopefully those teachers will go back to their clients/ministries with a new understanding. Sure sounds like it.

  12. Tears here, reading your post. I am so thankful you felt (and truly were) comforted through others sharing your pain. Pope Benedict XVI's quote you shared is truly beautiful. I'd not read that before.

  13. It's in the sharing that the pain is bearable. I admire your courage so much!!!!