Planting the Seeds

I hope this post doesn’t come across as pompous or preening. I trust you guys will keep my ego in check 😉

An older woman I know read the Faces of ALI posts. She confided in me that she had had “many, many miscarriages” before her child was born. I have known her for years. And she has kept silent about it until now. She said she was proud of me for trying to combat the shame and silence around these issues. I’m sort of embarrassed to put that on the page.

I spoke with her about how I don’t think personal testimony about ALI seems to work. Whenever I tell my story to friends, I have to argue with them about it. They’ll say things like “It’s fate”, “Why didn’t you just adopt?” and all the other platitudes we know and hate. When I try to tell them the facts, like the costs associated with adoption or my own personal beliefs that I just don’t believe God means for us to suffer like this, they turn away.

This woman told me that though my friends didn’t know it, I had planted “seeds”. She compared my frustration to her own as a mother of a special needs child. She fought with many people about her child’s ADHD, most notably the child’s kindergarten teacher, who did not believe ADHD existed. Years later, this teacher sheepishly called her to tell her that her own son had been diagnosed with it and asked for advice.

“The seeds had been planted,” she said. “Maybe for you they will lay dormant for years, maybe they will never have the right conditions, or fertilizer. But you have tucked them into the soil, and maybe someday they will bloom.”

What do you think? Does personal testimony work for you? Do you think that if we talk about loss, infertility, miscarriage or adoption, eventually it will pay dividends?

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14 Comments

Filed under Adoption, Infertility, Miscarriage

14 responses to “Planting the Seeds

  1. I sure hope so!! There are some people with whom I share our struggles and they then share with me stories of other people they know who have struggled. On the other hand, I am a Christian and run in Christian circles and I am ASHAMED of the things that people say to infertiles or those that have suffered loss. I agree with you 100%, God does not want people to suffer through infertility… The people who think that are usually fertile and completely lacking of compassion for those who are not.

    But, like I said, I sure hope that by sharing my story I am planting seeds and helping other people gain much needed compassion.

  2. I’m not sure about seeds. I want to hope, I want to pray that they’re planted. But I have had far too many people not be capable of having conversation about infertility (including family) that it seems so much like a losing battle.

    We even have infertility in the news now, and it seems no one is capable of talking about it. I don’t know. The whole thing just makes me sad.

  3. Crys24

    I agree 100%! I haven’t had much experience with my infertility “seeds” blooming but I have had it happen with those I’ve planted regarding animal rights. To know an animal is having a better life because of something I said makes me feel pretty awesome. I truly believe God works through us sometimes.

  4. I’d like to think that seeds are planted…even if we never get to witness their blooming.

  5. I’m a weirdo in that I am pretty open about my losses and my path to motherhood (SMC) pretty much with everyone. And both of those topics bring on blank stares. I tend to forget not everyone gets it or can relate. Then I usually regret being that open – then I usually don’t. 🙂 See – weirdo!

    I like the idea of planting the seed though. I sure hope I am in some way.

  6. I don’t know…I think unless people are going/have gone through this there’s no way for them to really understand. I HAVE found some fertile friends to be extremely supportive and compassionate, but in general when I tell people (and I am fairly open) I don’t expect much…that way however they respond I’m not disappointed. A defense mechanism on my part, I guess.
    This is a little different, but I AM glad that after going through this I can be there for someone experiencing infertility and not be one of the people that offers the horrible platitudes…

  7. Mo

    I make a point to talk about my losses with everyone, even if sometimes I don’t like the reaction. The way I see it, if I reach one person out of 100 it’s a start. And I think what you’re doing is amazing.

  8. I definitely believe in planting seeds. I’m not totally sure I’ve ever seen it bear fruit (um, sorry for going overboard with the metaphor!), but you have to keep trying. I think of issues that I’ve changed my views about, and I know it started small, and I had to hear the same message several times.

  9. I believe in planting seeds, too. But I sow them selectively. Sometimes, I think, people aren’t ready to hear about my journey. You can scatter seeds on barren ground, but they won’t germinate. I’ve been more open since becoming successfully pregnant with our second child. But those dark years of loss were difficult … I had trouble believing what was happening yo myself, let alone sharing it with others.

    I, too, think that what you’re doing is amazing, though.

  10. Definitely yes. Hearing first- hand testimonies make you realize what stands behind… say, a diagnosis. Just how far reaching the consequences are. What it affects. Things like that. Because we don’t just yend to analyse things that far…

  11. Monica

    We often never listen to the first thing we hear….so I like sharing my story and hope that after people become more aware about infertility issues, the more likely they will be capable of understanding and offering support. We might not be the benefit of their understanding, but that is okay.

    I volunteer with my church’s youth group…and planting seeds is exactly how I feel – and hopefully someday those kids will act as they should and may never know why…but it *might* be because of something I taught them.

    Plus, sharing my story helps with me with my healing process.

  12. I do. Not all seeds will ever germinate. Many will lie dormant or die, but others may wait for years before something–a change in the weather perhaps, causes them to bloom and grow. They’re definitely worth planting. Keep it up!

  13. I think she is right. You need to plant the seed. You never know what the person you are talking to has gone or will go through. Hopefully it will eventually grow.

  14. I agree. I don’t think that all “seeds” will fall on fertile ground… or they may lie dormant for awhile before they sprout. You just never know, though, when or how your story is going to click with someone. And I certainly don’t think that staying silent is going to help things along.

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