Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Infertility as a Christian- Dealing with Christian Shaming of a Childless Marriage
It is a commonly believed thing that the most important thing you can do as a Christian woman marry a christian man and then raise many children to be children of God together. It is a deeply rooted idea that is knitted into the church, in articles written by christian publications like Upworthy, and in the minds of many Christians.
The fact that there is a very deep and very accepted silent shaming of childrenless marriages among the Christian community is something I hadn't even realized until I read this article on infertility written by a pastor.
There is disgrace in being a Christian woman who is not able to have children. What is God punishing her for? It is silent, but oh so loud. Nobody will ever say it outright, but the moment you marry you start hearing things like "So when are you going to have children?" "Don't you know children are a blessing from God?"
I've heard those things. I've read those things. The biggest shame is self-inflicted. There is a shame you feel when you're unable to live out 'God's highest calling' for you. A shame you place on yourself when you've been given this idea your whole life that a good Christian marries and has children and you are unable to conceive. There is a shame that you feel others, often silently place on you as well.
I know this shame. It is a shame I lived with and lost my faith because of. It is a shame that I have learned to overcome when I learned to love who I am, infertility and all. And I want to tell you that this shame, the shame of infertility, is cruel and unkind and very unchristian-like. It is a shame you should not feel and don't have to feel. It is a shame other Christians don't have to feel towards a childless Christian marriage and a shame they shouldn't feel.
Regardless of everything I've heard and read that say children are God's most important work and the highest calling a Christian woman can fulfill, I know something else to be true.
I know it to be true that God is good. I know it to be true that God has a plan for everybody and not everybody's plan looks the same. I know it to be true that his grace is overflowing and his love endures forever. I know it to be true that my infertility, is part of why he loves me. Because my infertility is a part of who I am, a part of who He made me. And I know it to be true that God feels no shame for my infertility, there is only love and grace.
Once we start accepting and practicing this same love and grace towards ourselves, we will find it to be true that infertility is nothing to feel shame over. There is no shame in not having children. There is no shame in not being able to have children. There is no shame in not wanting to have children. There is beauty in every person and in every story. God sees that beauty, we should as well.