We want kids.
I’ve written about it a few times, about the club we unexpectedly found ourselves in as more and more friends became “un-childless.” My moods have ranged from anxious to depressed to hopeful to patient, but never angry or jealous of people with kids of their own.
Navigating toward parenthood is a stormy sea when nature just doesn’t want to take it’s course. For many of you, this may one of those situations that it seems dang near impossible to come up with the right words to say to friends who are struggling, grieving or even a little bit secretly jealous of your kids.
While I probably can’t tell you the perfect words to say in any situation, I can definitely help steer you clear of a few common encouragements that actually discourage your childless friends. Take my advice, especially for the sake of your friends who are more sensitive than I am.
“God Has a Plan”
Maybe that’s true. But when any of us are in the middle of a trial, time stretches out and it can be incredibly difficult to believe that it will come to an end. Throw in a few crisis moments and it just doesn’t seem to ring true that any of this is “part of the plan.” Such a sweet sentiment makes God out to be a cruel, or at the least, absent deity (not to mention, God doesn’t look especially “pro-life.”)
“Just Adopt and You’ll Get Pregnant”
It’s incredibly challenging to navigate the minefield that is the fertility field. There are incredible amounts of information to absorb and research to do. Add to all this information, the fact that most of it is not just neutral information, but rife with ethical implications for the couple. Saturate all of the information and moral quandaries with high levels of emotions, stress, hormones, and the fact that fertility treatment is about the least romantic way to make a baby in the world, and you begin to understand that navigating the massive challenge of pursuing adoption while pursuing pregnancy is just about impossible.
“You Need to Pray / Have Faith / Etc.”
Don’t think we aren’t.
People who are struggling to have kids already know there’s something wrong with them. They don’t need to be told there’s something wrong with their faith too.
This one is a catch-22. If you believe God has a plan, then it should not matter how righteously I pray. God’s plan will happen. But if you believe that I do need to pray or get holier, then God’s plan depends on my righteousness and faith.
I worship a God who works outside of what I believe He will do.
Better to avoid that one.
Quoting Any Bible Verse
If you are using virtually any Bible verse to encourage a childless couple, then you are probably using it wrong.
Take any Old Testament verse about children. Any one of them. All of those verses are directed toward a nation, a nation that existed thousands of years ago, a nation that was under the covenant with God. Any discussion about children was God promising that Israel would never run out of people. Abraham would never run out of descendants. But there were still plenty of individual women who never got to have kids, despite what God said.
Those verses just have nothing to do with suburban couples secretly building a nursery in their home.
“You Can Have Our Kids”
I get it. Kids are a pain. When you have them, you get tired.
But joking about giving away your kids is so flippant. It’s flippant to people who know kids are a pain, but want to wipe butts and fight over bedtimes and step on Legos in their bare feet anyway.
It’s flippant to all the life that is wasted in the world – given up, or not even given a chance. I know you don’t mean it that way. But just don’t say it.
Besides, you never know if the next wannabe parent you say that to will actually take you up on your offer!
Do you have any to add? Has a friend ever tried to encourage you, but just made you feel worse?