Church and Infertility Triggers

church and infertility

I’ve always loved going to church, but it’s become a huge struggle since we realized we were having trouble conceiving.

Our church has announcements up on a big screen before the service starts, and last week they added a new one to let us know about the new “quiet room” for mothers with babies.  The slide features a picture of a baby and says, “DO YOU HAVE A CRYING BABY?”

Why, no, I don’t.  Thanks for reminding me.

It runs on a timed-loop, so we saw the slide about 10 times before the service started.  Despite my husband’s noble attempts to make jokes about it, I felt a knife in my heart each time.

We choose our seats based on where babies are (or aren’t).

We’ve changed seats in the middle of worship because someone holding a baby came and sat in front of us.

I’ve bawled while a baby screamed bloody murder during the sermon.

I’ve boiled with anger when I heard that non-parents weren’t allowed upstairs in the “Kids Church” section.  (I understand it’s for security, but it just made me feel even more excluded).

If you’re a church-goer, how do you deal with the reminders and triggers?  Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.   

  • Lisa- I really understand the frustration. Right now, I’m struggling with REAL ANGER at my church and the leaders, which is odd because I work for them. We live in Athens, aka HUGE college town, so there are tons of college-aged students. Our church is young, and vibrant so it attracts a lot of college students, which I’m find with. The thing that I’m FURIOUS over is the request that anyone who is single or doesn’t have children should attend the service that was previously intended for college students. I get that they’re trying to free up space in the other services, BUT I’m far closer in age and life to other 30 year olds even if they have kids… I don’t want to be lumped in with 18 year olds just because my ovaries suck. It’s just frustrating. I’m trying to rise above it, but yes, I do feel that frustration from time to time. And now is one of those times.

    So sorry you’re struggling with all of this, but you are not alone.

  • Lara

    No real advice or strategies. The hardest part for us was trying to find a Bible study group because “young married” often means “young families”.

    Also, now that I do have a little one, I try to be really sensitive to anyone who even *might* be struggling with infertility.

  • Obviously Mothers day is always an ordeal but they have added and Mothers and babies room to our church as well as just having to walk past the nursery every Sunday can be a struggle. BUT I just try to either not focus on it or just think to myself that one day I will get to use those facilities 🙂 What’s a tad harder was seeing a new mother at church with her baby last Sunday who had her baby 2 weeks before ours would have been due. That one is getting me a bit but I still try to remind myself it’s not her fault in any way that we are struggling to conceive so I shouldn’t have that jealousy towards her. I know it’s sometimes easier said than done but every single person deals with a struggle of some type whether we know it or not so I just try to be thankful for the blessings I already have.

  • I finally found a church that isn’t too triggering for me. I finally just had to admit to myself and Chad and God I suppose that for me to full walk into my faith I needed a church with amazing music, sermons that are actually applied to today’s life (bonus that he usually pulls in psychological research too) and tons a people (because the more people the higher the likelihood that there will be other couples going through IF and even childfree like me). J

    • Lisa Newton

      I’m so glad that you have found a church that you can go to. That’s such a good point that a larger church is more likely to have other people going through infertility. I’d never really thought about that.

  • Aside from Mother’s Day, I don’t have too many triggers that get to me. I can only hope that my time is coming and soon I will be a joyful mother of children. I am praying for you and hope that attending church isn’t such a place where the triggers bother you. Sending you hugs! xo

  • Our pastors wife had struggled with infertility in the past so she is extremely sensitive, but there are still days where the people may set something off. I’ve actually avoided going to a Mother’s Day service for the past couple of years.

    I find that sometimes it’s just better not to go for a week than go and be angry/jealous. I just get more angry that something that could be joyful isn’t.

  • Kris

    I skipped church a lot when I was struggling with IF, not so much because of the church but because of my own issues…I had to remember that what they were doing was ministering and just because they were advising people with children didn’t mean I couldn’t be a part because I didn’t have one. I also made a lot of assumptions…I never joined the young women’s Bible study group because child care was offered and I assumed it was all moms…maybe it wasn’t, I don’t know, I never tried. Even now I’m still working through it but it is positive triggers now. The first time I carried my son up the aisle to take communion I cried because it was such a happy moment and I was so thankful to have him and to be there…but positive triggers still bring tears and still require coping. Just don’t do what I did…isolating myself did not help.

    • Lisa Newton

      Thanks for sharing a bit of your story, Kris. I’m working on not isolating myself. It’s a process for me!

  • Annie

    Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are both hard. We stay away from church those days. Other than that we attend church at a time with the least amount of babies. Recently my church started a group called St. Gianna Mom’s group. That stung. I understand why they have the group but to my already sensitive infertile mind, it is as if they were formally having a meeting for a club I am already excluded from. I am considering writing my pastor a letter because of the pain this has caused me and the only acknowledgment to infertility at my church is a pamphlet.

  • jess

    I just don’t go anymore. I stream online. In my experience -Churches isolate women with miscarriages and infertility. I’d rather keep the little bit of sanity I have

  • Melody

    I love my church. Im really thankful that I know and am friends with multiple couples that have had this issue, some of whom have adopted and/or done IVF, and a few others who were adopted themselves so its nice to know there are people who have gone through what we’re going through. But prior to this church we’re currently at we did attend a church in a different suburb area and my husband and I were the only young married couple, AND the only couple without kids then the only couple not having kids. Turns out there was ONE other couple that struggled through multiple miscarriages but we never heard about them til we left and I am saddened I had never been told about them.
    For me it IS hard being around children. I do have a desperate unending grief in my heart with not having them. However that said, my closest friends have children and I enjoy spending time with them and their kids. Im certainly not going to have my friends feel guilty and uncomfortable around me for having kids, thats just stupid. One of my closest friends has two beautiful young daughters. That said, it took my friend NINE years to conceive the first one and she’s still constantly dealing with thyroid/hormone issues affecting her health. So yeah, my church and my friends and my sister in law and her two gorgeous boys “trigger” me all the time. But they know what Im dealing with and they don’t give me annoying patronizing or hyper spiritualised remarks, theyre just there with me in my hurt, listening to me, and Im thankful for that. Isolating myself would only serve to make me a member of my own bitter pity party. If I feel the grief overwhelming me, I go for a hike and cry it out with God and/or cry it out with my husband.

  • Jessi @

    I’m so grateful for my church family. If I am weak, they are my strength, and will cry with me, hug me, encourage me, etc. I will say that it used to be difficult as the Children’s Ministry Director of my church to love on everyone else’s children when I couldn’t have my own. But honestly, I learned SO MUCH through teaching the children during that time… I learned how I wanted to parent, how I wanted to teach my own future children about the Lord, etc. I also found that by being very public about my struggle, many other women came to me at church who have been there… I am so grateful for the community formed through this awful chapter of life. The more public we are, the better the church can serve those of us who struggle with infertility. Raising awareness is key.

  • Tricia Schnoor

    I used to attend a (smallish) church where they seriously put a sonogram pic on the screen and played “guess who is pregnant in the congregation”….TWICE! Some people even shouted out our names as their guess. The staff was fully aware of our struggle. The pastor used to say “don’t come to our church if you don’t want to get pregnant. There’s something in the water here and everyone is having babies”… we were the only married couple without kids and sat in front row every week and he still continued to say that and lament over his “4th oopsie” and ask for prayer for their “real struggle”. The false prophesy was our final straw. I’m so grateful for our new church and their joyful support and sensitivity to us. They even allowed and encouraged me to start an infertility bible study this semester. It’s a night and day difference.

    • Oh. my. goodness. I am sooo sorry you had to deal with that at your previous church. That is SUPER insensitive, especially since people were aware of your struggle. I’m so glad you found a church is walking with you through your infertility and supporting your study group. Hugs.