I want to tell you how excited I am to be studying Matthew this year. (SO excited!)
Our BSF group is comprised of just over 200 women. This large group is together for welcome at the beginning and lecture at the end of the night. In between, we break into 15 or so smaller circles, called discussion groups, to talk about last week's lesson, share our answers, and grow in relationship with one another through study of God's word together. You are assigned to these groups, a new one each year. Each group has a trained leader who facilitates and directs the conversation to make sure you don't go off topic.
SO! Last night was our first meeting of the year, which meant that we didn't have a previous lesson to review. Instead, we broke into our smaller groups, the discussion leader reiterated the guidelines for discussion groups, and then we went around the room introducing ourselves. We were asked to share our name, a little about ourselves, how long we have been attending BSF/how we found out about BSF, and a place we would like to visit.
I had been praying prior to our discussion group on whether or not to talk about our experience with infertility. I was the second woman in the room to share and decided to go for it. My exact words:
"...my seven year old daughter has been attending BSF with me for the past two years but is doing Awana this year instead. After a three year journey with infertility, I am currently pregnant with our second child."
Of course, there were lots of enthusiastic "congratulations!" from around the room. After this, we went around the room for the remaining women to share about themselves. The next woman to share talked about adopting two children after failed infertility treatments. The next about dropping out of BSF halfway through last year due to depression regarding her infertility. And another woman (in her 50's or so) about never having children "though not from lack of trying" and being diagnosed with uterine cancer over the summer break and having a hysterectomy.
The whole time, I was thanking God for giving me the opportunity to share so early about our experience and that our story encouraged others to share about how infertility effected their lives.
The remaining women (we are a group of 13) talked about how many children they have and whether or not they homeschool. All in all, it was a very caring and compassionate atmosphere. No judgement, lots of sympathy. I really felt like it is a safe place for the women in our group who have/are experiencing infertility to open up.
Oh my goodness, the very last woman in the group. The one sitting right next to me. I won't even paraphrase. Here are her exact words:
"We are a childless household and hope to keep it that way. So all of you (motions to those of us who talked about infertility) send your infertility vibes my way."
OH. MY. GOSH!!!
I have no words. I was completely shocked. How could someone say something so thoughtless and selfish and downright hurtful? I wasn't hurt for me because I know our IF story is very different and out of what is considered normal in this community. Instead, I hurt for the other women in the room who have been hurt and scarred by their infertility
I understand that she may have been feeling defensive being in a group of women who are or want to be mothers.
BUT STILL. No one would ever say to a cancer survivor "Send your cancer my way!" Why?! Why would she think it is okay to say this?
EDITED: This one may be better. No one would say to someone recovering from divorce, "I never want to get married, so send your newly single vibes my way."
I'm proud to say that I kept a smile on my face and didn't confront her after class. I've been praying about how to help her, whether that is the Lord using this study to change her or a gentle word/conversation from me or our discussion leader would be helpful. I'm sure that, if a word/discussion is the path, that He will provide the opportunity. I've also been praying for the other three women in our group to not be afraid to share during the discussion time or ashamed about IF being a part of their story.
Wow. Just, wow.