Triggers: And I Don’t Mean HCG Shots

This morning we went to a different church in order to support a friend on staff there.

The pastor came onstage after the worship music ended. He started talking about how children are a special part of the church family. He asked the congregation to stand as the children were dismissed to Sunday School and to read aloud special blessing for them. The blessing emphasized that children are welcome in the church, their specialness, and the church is happy they are there.

My husband leaned over and whispered to me, “Can you imagine how painful this would’ve been for us 3 years ago?

Before I even realized what was happening, my eyes filled with tears. I’m pretty sure I swore under my breath (which I rarely do— especially in church!!!) and pushed my husband out of the way as I practically ran outside. A kind lady tried to stop me and ask if I was okay, but all I could do was say, “I’m fine, thanks,” and keep running.

I ended up walking around the block 3 times to calm down.

Most of you know that I had a daughter after my 3rd round of IVF. Her birth healed me of so much of the pain and sadness that I struggled with when it came to church and kids. I knew I was still a little sensitive to it, but until today I didn’t realize how much it still affects me.

Here’s the thing: There’s nothing wrong with welcoming children in church and saying a blessing for them. In fact, it’s a beautiful and good thing. After all, Jesus Himself talked about the importance of welcoming and caring for children and even gave them a special blessing, too.

“People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them”. – Mark 10:13-16

I definitely think the church needs to be more aware and sensitive to infertility in their congregation. Some churches have a tendency to glorify family and parenthood and exclude people without children. But, I don’t think it’s appropriate to expect or ask the church to stop acknowledging or celebrating children. The Bible reminds us to weep with those who weep AND celebrate with those who celebrate (Romans 12:15).

So how should we respond when we find ourselves in a triggering situation like the one I was in this morning? I honestly don’t know. Maybe it depends on where each of us are in our walk with the Lord and where we are in our infertility story. Sometimes I might need to remove myself from the situation and compose myself, like I did this morning. But sometimes I might need to take a deep breath, maybe say a prayer for strength, and put on my big girl panties.

How do you all handle triggering situations like this? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Looking for more encouragement during infertility?  Check out my book, 31 Days of Prayer During Infertility. 

  • Brianna

    I found out that a girl I grew up with, who was 35 weeks pregnant announced on Facebook that she would be inducing delivery because her baby had a genetic abnormality. My mom thought it was a good idea to text me at work so I would know and could pray. The woman was essentially inducing to abort. Instead of giving her baby the best chance possible, instead of praying for healing for her baby (she’s not a Christian, but was raised as one), she decided to induce. She even put in the post that she likely wouldn’t be bringing the baby home.
    I thought that after 4 1/2 years of infertility, that I would handle a situation like this better. I thought that I would be able to stop and pray for her, and then move on. Boy was I wrong. I immediately got angry. I knew in my head that I should be praying for her, but I was too made. I stewed about it for another half hour until I left work. I texted a friend who encouraged me to speak to the woman. That certainly wasn’t going to happen in my angry state. I then called my (amazing and supportive) husband and burst into tears. I told him how angry I was at the girl, how hurt I was that she wouldn’t give her baby every fighting chance, and how angry I was with myself for not handling the whole situation in a more mature way. It broke open something inside of me that I thought had a thicker layer. I know God is using the situation to remind me to keep relying on Him, even when I think I’ve grown stronger. He is showing me that triggers can come at anytime, and I need to rest in His strength to be prepared to handle them. This lesson really sucks. This was 2 weeks ago and it still hurts to think about.
    The woman gave birth to her baby. The baby is 12 days old today. She didn’t die, the doctors had the diagnosis wrong. Had she gone a few more weeks the baby would be in better shape right now.
    This should comfort me. Instead it makes me angrier.
    I have to remember….I am a work in progress. God is still molding and shaping me, and that usually doesn’t feel very good.

    • That is such a hard situation, and I think your mix of emotion was a natural and understandable reaction. You are right that some of the biggest lessons we learn are the hardest and most painful. I pray that you would feel God’s comfort after this painful lesson and that He would continue to strengthen and grow you and that you would receive your miracle soon. Hugs to you.