Edel – The Message for Me

It’s now more than a week since I’ve been home from the Edel Conference. I’ve read many of the blog posts written by other ladies who were there, and I have found it interesting that each of us, though we attended the same event, came away with slightly different messages, that spoke to each of us individually with just what we needed.

Here’s my take-home:

On Friday after the cocktail party, Super Friend and I had a wonderful chat, late into the night. At one point in our conversation, she shared with me her love of the Divine Mercy devotion, and the prayer that is associated with the Divine Mercy image — “Jesus, I trust in you.” I got so excited that she had brought this up, and shared with her that that simple prayer has been my mantra during all of my struggles with secondary infertility and miscarriage. Every month, during the waiting phase, when I start to get anxious and/or hopeful and/or discouraged, I say that prayer. Every time I get a negative on the pregnancy test, I say that prayer. Every time I start to feel despair that I will never have another baby, I say that prayer.

Divine Mercy and “Jesus I trust in you” have been my secret weapons against the anxiety and desolation that come with repeatedly trying and failing to get and stay pregnant.

Later in this same conversation, Super Friend made reference to a Bible passage that was meaningful to her. She couldn’t remember quite how it went right away, but the way she described it made me think of one that I know.

I got all excited and exclaimed, “Oh! Oh! Isn’t that from Corinthians, or maybe it’s Galations. . . Oh, I don’t know where it’s from, but do you mean the story about when Paul gets a thorn in his side and he asks God to remove it and God tells him something like, ‘My grace is sufficient for you. My power is perfect in weakness’?  I don’t remember exactly how it goes, but it’s something like that, right? That is one of my favorite verses!

She said that yes, that was what she meant, and I then proceeded to tell her that I had first heard the verse (it’s actually 2 Corinthians 12: 7-10) when listening to a Lighthouse Catholic Media talk several months ago, and that it has become very meaningful to me since then. It seems like I keep hearing it and reading it all over the place, and every time I do, it hits me so hard that it’s just what I need. It was even the Sunday Mass reading for the weekend before Edel! I shared with Super Friend that the verse (in addition to the Divine Mercy prayer) has been really special to me as a way of helping me to deal with my fertility struggles.

As we sat there and continued to talk, I was feeling absolutely amazed that Super Friend brought up the two big messages that I have kept in my heart for months. It felt like the Holy Spirit was speaking right to me through my friend. It was a conversation I will never forget.


But wait. It gets even better.

The next day, it got to be the time for the late afternoon speaker, so we were in the big conference room, and Kelly Mantoan was giving her talk. She was talking about the struggles of being a mom, and trying to find joy in our vocations, and I honestly don’t remember the exact context of the moment in her talk, but at one point she said, “Jesus, I trust in You.” I couldn’t believe it. I shot a quick glance at Super Friend and almost burst into tears.

“That’s my prayer!” I thought. “God keeps sending it to me.”

And THEN, Saturday night the keynote speaker during dinner was Audrey Assad. Guess what she opened her talk with? Mm-hmm.

The above-referenced 2 Corinthians passage! 

I heard her start reading the part about the thorn in Paul’s side, and I think my jaw just dropped, or maybe my eyes got teary, or maybe (probably) both of these things happened. Again, I felt the presence of God, speaking straight to my heart, through the lovely women of the Edel Conference.

There were so many wonderful take-home messages from the Edel Gathering. Each conversation and each speaker added a little something that I will hold in my heart.

But these moments that I’m writing about here, they were so powerful.

Jesus I trust in You.

My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.

I came home knowing that these two things that I have been holding on to for months are exactly what I need to keep holding on to. God was telling me that I need to trust Him. That my struggles are what are bringing me closer to Him. That His grace is enough to carry me through anything. That whether or not I ever have another baby, it will be okay.


I got exactly what I needed out of the Edel Gathering. What was your take-home message?

When Your Friend is Infertile – The Dos and Don’ts

Once upon a time, I got pregnant easily. Three times. I had three babies in just over three years, and it. was. awesome. I never dreamed that getting pregnant, and then staying pregnant, would be at all hard for me since I got pregnant with my three girls, each on the first try. I even got pregnant again on the first try after having Sis, and I might have privately been a little smug about it.


You probably know how that turned out.

You also probably know that, after my fourth pregnancy I tried for a year and a half to get pregnant again, with no success. Until I had success, and then heartache all over again.

I’m giving a super-short-version-recap here to illustrate this point: I have been on both sides of the fertility spectrum. I have been super fertile. And I have been (am) infertile/subfertile.

When I was super fertile, I had friends struggling with infertility and pregnancy loss. I remember feeling guilty about my ease of getting pregnant. And getting pregnant again. And again. I remember feeling uncertain about what to say. What to do. What not to do.


I have at least seven friends who are pregnant right now, and a few more whom I suspect might be (though I would never ask; never, NEVER ask!!). I can think of at least eight more friends who have gotten pregnant and/or had their babies during the time that we have been trying to have another. No one ever said or did anything hurtful to me, but there have been moments when I have suspected those friends felt awkward about telling me their joyful news or talking about it, knowing my struggles.

So, now that I’m on the other side of the fertility spectrum, I have some ideas about what to do and not to do when you have a friend who is infertile. And I’m going to share them with you here. I am absolutely aware that this is a hugely personal issue, but I have heard several other women struggling with infertility mention many of the same things. This isn’t a complete list. And it’s not the same for everyone. But I think it gives some good guidelines and starting points.

Infertile egg image

The following are my Dos and Don’ts for when you know someone who is infertile/subfertile/experiencing pregnancy loss/can’t have more children due to health concerns. Take it for what it’s worth.

DO – Listen. That’s all. Just listen and offer empathic responses. Women who are infertile can feel very isolated. It’s hard to share the struggles of infertility with someone who hasn’t experienced it. But it’s less hard if that other person just listens.


DON’T – Try to steer the conversation to infertility all the time, assuming that she always wants or needs to talk about it. The majority of the time she’d probably rather talk about other stuff (at least that’s how it is for me).

DON’T say – “You can always adopt.” Deciding to adopt or not is a very complicated and personal decision. Suggesting adoption as an easy solution to infertility is not helpful (the woman has likely already at least thought of the possibility) and it discounts the pain of infertility to suggest that it can all be “fixed” with adoption.

DON’T say – “If it’s meant to be, it will be.” This is obviously a well-meaning comment. It’s probably usually meant to gently remind someone that God’s will is perfect. But when you are in the trenches of trying to figure out how to pray for what you badly desire as well as trusting and following God’s will, this comment just doesn’t add anything helpful. And it gives the impression of trying to shut down the conversation.

DON’T say – “If you stop stressing/worrying/thinking about it, it will happen.” Because -A. This just isn’t necessarily true. and B. It is nearly impossible. Yes, it’s probably good to try to keep things in perspective, and stress probably does have a negative impact on fertility. But it is virtually impossible not to think about fertility issues when you’re infertile. And similar to the above, if you tell someone not to worry/think about it, you might as well be telling her to stop talking about it.

If you’re pregnant:

DO – Share your own joys/trials. If you have a close relationship with the woman who is infertile, be the one to tell her your news. Don’t let her hear of it through another friend or on your Facebook page.

DON’T – Avoid all discussion of your own pregnancy/children. While well-meaning, this will probably result in your friend feeling more isolated and distant from you.


DON’T – Go overboard in your discussion of every single detail of pregnancy, childbirth, and/or life with a gazillion kids. This may seem like an impossibly fine line to balance upon, but imagine:

Good – “I had my 20-week ultrasound today. It’s a girl!!! She looks perfectly healthy. I can’t believe we’re having a girl! Yay!”

Maybe not so good – All of the above plus, “I am so excited to go to Babies ‘R’ Us and register for all the things! Husband and I are going to paint the nursery this weekend and start buying some baby clothes! I just love little girl baby clothes! Oh my GOSH! Can’t you just picture her so teeny and sweet in all those cute pink ruffles? I can’t believe I’m halfway through my pregnancy! Don’t I look enormous? I have to register for our Lamaze class, and my breastfeeding class, and get a carseat, and wow! Having a baby requires so. much. stuff!!! Squeeeee!!!”

Think: sharing pregnancy joys/woes vs. gushing like a teenage girl.

2014-09-05 11.28.41

DON’T – Feel guilty. Although your friend may struggle with your news to some degree, she is happy for you. Truly.



DON’T – Be offended if she distances herself from you/your pregnancy a little bit. Let her take the lead on this as she needs to. There are some times that are more difficult than others. She might not “like” all of your belly bump photos on Facebook or your status updates about pregnancy cravings. Frankly, Facebook is a treacherous place for the infertile woman, with all its newborn photos and pregnancy announcements and ultrasound pics. She might just skim over a lot of that stuff for her own well-being. It’s not personal.


There have been moments when I have cried upon hearing of another friend’s new pregnancy. Even in my happiness for her, I have cried to learn that someone else was getting what I wanted.

I used to feel shame about this. About my sadness over another’s joy. But I have since reminded myself that emotions are more complicated than just happy or sad. Joyful or jealous. I realized that I have nothing to feel ashamed about, because I never once wished that my friend didn’t have her joy. I have always felt happy for that friend in her joy. It was simply that her joy reminded me, freshly, painfully, for a moment, of my lack of the same. And though I didn’t wallow in it, I did shed a few tears. And I think that’s okay.

Finally, I just want to say that I didn’t write this post to make anyone feel guilty. If you’ve done some of the DON’Ts and/or not done some of the DOs, don’t feel bad about it. I just wrote this to be a little help to those on both sides of the fertility spectrum, so there doesn’t need to be any sort of divide.

So, what do you think? Did I miss any DOs or DON’Ts? Did I miss the mark entirely?