Does Everything Happen For a Reason?

Published January 27, 2014 by Jennie

While everyone handles infertility differently, my approach is probably more open than average.  My friends (like it or not) all know about what I am going through.  It does not dominate every discussion but it is not hidden.  As a share my experiences with people, I am ‘comforted’ by several statements.  One of these statements is that everything happens for a reason.  Is this really true?  I began to struggle with this question eight years ago when I unexpectedly lost my brother at the age of 19.  During this time, people also told me that everything happens for a reason.  They would also tell me that he was in a better place.  I had a lot of trouble accepting these ideas.  In my opinion, he is not in a better place.  A better place is here with me and the people that love him.  During his funeral, I remember our pastor saying that his death was not part of a plan but a result of the brokenness in the world.  He also said it is ok to not be ok which is something I will never forget.  I know that people would say things to me to try to make me feel better but that was not what I always wanted.  I wanted someone to tell me that it is ok to not be ok.

Fast forward to my four year fertility struggle.  To date, I have had every test, procedure, surgery etc to figure out my infertility cause.  According to every test medical science can provide, I am the picture of health.  My husband is as well.  As a result, people often tell me the following things

* I don’t understand why you do not just adopt.  You do know that there are lots of kids out there that need a home.

* Think of all the benefits of not having kids.

* You must be trying to hard.  If you relax, it will happen

* You are still really young and do not need to worry about this yet.

*Why are you in a doctoral program if you just want to have kids?  Without kids you can focus on your career.

* I know someone that got pregnant as soon as they stopped trying (I must have heard this a 1000 times)

* When you are ready, it will happen (also presented as God will only bless you with a baby when you are ready)

*All of this is happening for a reason

While all of these statements make me feel like crap (even though I know they are well intended), the last two bother me the most.  I fail to see a correlation between people’s readiness to parent and their ability to get pregnant.  I also do not think all of this happens for a reason.  To me it sucks and I am getting to the point where I feel ok saying that.  Even though I do not think all of this happens for a reason, I do think that there  are sometimes opportunities to make good out of these bad situations.  In my situation, I am not sure if/what that is.

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13 comments on “Does Everything Happen For a Reason?

  • I do not like the phrase “Everything happens for a reason” either. My pastor once said during a sermon that he didn’t like it as well, but he believed there is some truth to the phrase…he went on to say that sometimes that reason is because the devil is out to kill, steal, and destroy. Or maybe the reason for something happening is because of a negative consequence from something we did (i.e. someone dying in a crash because they were texting)…but God does not put sickness, infertility and the like on us for a “reason”. I believe that what the devil does, He can turn around for His good, but He did not do it for a “reason”. So i totally agree with you 😉 I believe LOTS of things happen in this world that God would have liked to not happen but because of sin, it does. 😦

    My other quote that i don’t like is “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.” HATE THIS ONE. I wrote about it my blog here…

    http://waitingforbabybird.com/2014/01/26/its-a-sunny-day/

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  • Before I started this blog, I had no idea how closely I relate to people going through all of this. While I am always thankful for the love and support I get from friends and family, I really don’t think anyone can truly understand this until they have experienced it. Thanks for sharing your link (I am going to read it now!).

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  • I’ve heard all the same lines and feel the same way! One friend has often said something that has comforted me the most – You don’t deserve all this pain. Although I don’t think anyone “deserves” the pain they experience in life, I still find it comforting that she’s just acknowledging how unfair life can seem at times. I wish more people would think like that. Thanks for sharing.

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  • People can be so judgmental, even if they are trying to make you feel better! I’m pursuing a master’s degree and I want to have children soon, but I don’t think having children means you can’t have a career and shouldn’t continue your education. I’ve told people that I would love to be a stay-at-home mom, even though it’s not feasible, and then they ask me why I’m getting a master’s degree if I’m not going to use it.

    Anyway, I came across your blog because I’m friends with Sarah Melton on Facebook.

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  • For years my husband and I hid our infertility from our friends and family, and it’s only just in the past six months (since we started medical intervention) that we have started to talk about it. Every time we tell someone I feel like I am coming out of the closet – like I have a shameful secret. And then – more often than not – they give me one of the platitudes that you list in your post. If I had a quarter for every time that someone told me to “just relax”… But as you say, the most empowering thing that anyone has every told me is, “It’s ok to NOT be ok ” – and I’m finally realizing how true that is.

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  • I feel the need to comment here, as I’ve heard these lines all SO. MANY. TIMES. I mean, obviously, considering the name of my blog, right? 😉

    My best friend was the worst… she was always looking for some platitude to throw my way for the first, oh, FOUR YEARS. Finally, last year, I had to tell her that a.) I so appreciate her taking the time to think of pitiful old me while she has her own family to deal with, b.) I certainly appreciate that she still has hope for me after all this time, and especially during times when I feel positively hopeLESS, but c.) those proverbs, inspirational Pinterest quotes, and old wives’ tales just make me feel even more inadequate than I already do, so really, I could do without in the future. Then I hugged her, and told her that that’s all I ever really need. 🙂

    I realize that you can’t hug every coworker, internet acquaintance, or friend’s mom’s cousin out there that throws these things your way, but I think the risk of saying something to protect yourself and your sanity may help you in the long run, and may even help others that cross those folks’ paths in the future!

    Thanks for this post, and I look forward to following your journey, which seems to be so like my own! 😀

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  • If God only Blessed people with babies when they’re ready for them, there wouldn’t be so many children out there to adopt or that are placed in foster care. If haven’t heard that one yet, but I think that would be my answer if somebody ever said that to me! I so understand your frustration!

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  • LOL, I get that feeling! My SIL has been the worst…she goes around telling people we barely know that we’re having problems and she’s even told people in the past that we asked her to carry a baby for us. Now she tries to tell me that she knows how we feel because she m/c at one point. She also has 2 children so although a m/c is an absolutely awful thing to go through, she does not know how we feel. I also hear the relax, it’ll happen thing and I always think, if it was that easy, we would’ve gotten pregnant in the first 6 months when we were relaxed! I’m lucky though that like you, I have a great group of friends that are very supportive even though they don’t know what it’s like.

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