By: Jennifer Murray

Extending Grace…

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My husband called into a Christian radio broadcast last week that was discussing infertility treatments.  It’s a hot topic in most every circle.  And while most of their discussion was accurate, some of the callers and their opinions were misinformed and offensive.

It’s so easy to do: To make judgments, form opinions, talk at great lengths about topics that haven’t stared you in the face.   Making calls on hypothetical topics is so much simpler, isn’t it?

But sometimes those hypothetical ponderings become raw realities. Unexpectedly, the rubber meets the road.  You must do something – even doing nothing is a direct response. Behind every difficult situation lies an untold story and most likely a series of agonizing decisions. 

Millions of women are prescribed medications to treat infertility every year, yet very few of them result in a multiple gestation. For many of them, their struggle remains private, even after a successful pregnancy. No one is peppered with questions of how they got pregnant in a singleton pregnancy.  It would be completely inappropriate to ask such questions. However in our circumstance, what we believed to be “conservative” efforts resulted in a rare blessing of quadruplets, which means that the infertility label is permanently tattooed on our foreheads for all to see.

As a result, our private lives have become a topic of conversation with strangers with inquiries like,

“Did you put in 8 eggs like that Octomom?”  “I guess you weren’t so infertile after all, huh?” “Guess that teaches you what to pray for…” “They aren’t natural, are they?”  “Did you do that In-vee-ter-row?” 

And while it’s often difficult to smile and nod, and attempt to be gracious to those who have never felt the deep pains of infertility as they cast judgments upon your past decisions, it becomes even more painful when these darts are thrown at you by fellow believers.  Ephesians 4:29-32 is forsaken.

It’s disappointing, discouraging, and sometimes defeating.

There is a duty to stand for truth and to voice convictions on Biblical mandates. Lying, stealing, murder, adultery, honoring parents, coveting – these are areas where we must not compromise. However, there are times that I think we forget to extend grace, especially when facing interpretive issues and personal convictions.  Often we get so entirely consumed with our position, that we fail to see the lives behind the decision.

Regardless of our past decisions, the crux of the matter is we now have four lives that are a blessing, not a curse.  We celebrate life, and we live in thankfulness for the gifts of life we have been given.  Our joy cannot be smothered.

And as a result, we are reminded to extend grace to others walking a difficult road…

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61 Responses to “Extending Grace…”

  1. Danielle
    March 1, 2011 at 8:42 am #

    Well said! I haven’t struggled with fertility, I have miscarried, have had very complicated pregnancies, have had NICU stays. And at the end of the day, all that matters is following Him and His will for our lives. I pray that the hurtful words of others don’t hurt you and that you are constantly reminded that God CHOSE to bless you with FOUR beautiful lives, and that regardless of how they got here, they were conceived by Him first. He CHOSE You for these precious beauties and you bless others with your gracefulness and compassion for God and for your family

    • QuatroMama
      March 1, 2011 at 3:08 pm #

      Danielle, your words are spot on. Thank you for your encouragement and for sharing this today!

  2. jenny b
    March 1, 2011 at 8:52 am #

    My dear sweet friend. I’m sorry others have been so icky—we’ve been there too. it’s hard.
    I love this post. You are so right and it is hard to always extend grace to those that after a million inappropriate questions still are judging.
    I love you. Thanks for the reminder. I will not let them steal my joy and I am praying to be more gracious to all around me (we talked about this at church Sunday).

    xoxo
    Jenny B

    • QuatroMama
      March 1, 2011 at 3:06 pm #

      Grace. Joy. Peace. Patience.
      Gotta eat me more of those fruits of the spirit! =)
      Love you, Jenny B!

  3. Sandy snyder
    March 1, 2011 at 9:07 am #

    amen! I only have twins and the nosy questions are endless! Remember that God chose you to be the parents of quads!

    • QuatroMama
      March 1, 2011 at 3:05 pm #

      Sandy, I knew you would “get me” in this post. Thanks for your encouragement!

  4. Theresa Bruno
    March 1, 2011 at 9:18 am #

    Jenny,

    I’m sorry for the ignorant and mean-spirited questions you face. Your children are a blessing and God has already used them and your family to promote his love. Your courage, patience and fortitude are a model for us all.

    @Sandy, I’m a twin (my mother conceived us naturally) and I think its funny that people now associate twins with infertility treatments. Twins, triplets and even quadruplets can happen naturally, so I just don’t understand why anyone would assume anything. Especially when there are cute little checks to pinch.

    • QuatroMama
      March 1, 2011 at 3:04 pm #

      Theresa – thanks for your encouragement today and for seeing children as a blessing along with us! =)

  5. Mary @ A Simple Twist of Faith
    March 1, 2011 at 9:23 am #

    My husband and I also struggled with infertility during our now 13 year marriage. We chose a different way to become parents, international adoption for our oldest daughter, and an unexpected relative adoption for our youngest daughter. I do get strange looks when I am out and around with my girls, who despite their 28 month age difference, are the same size and strikingly different in appearance. Most comments are friendly, however some are ignorant and others are downright insulting. I just smile knowing this is the famiy I was destined to have by God in His Providence. Enjoy your sons, children are truly gifts from God.

  6. Kelly from Kelly's Lucky You
    March 1, 2011 at 9:42 am #

    Ah, grace. Such a beautiful word, feeling, description, aspiration.

    As a mom-by-adoption, I’ve heard some uncomfortable comments and questions, as well.

    On the speaking end…. People say the wrong thing. I’m a person,too, and I’ve also said the wrong thing. I’ve “tasted my toes” so to speak, because my foot is wedged firmly in my mouth. I feel so badly, but there it is, out of ignorance, I’ve said something wrong. All I can do is apologize from my heart.

    On the hearing end…. When I hear an inappropriate question or comment about my daughter’s adoption, or intrusions into our family’s personal situation, I try to consider where it’s coming from. Is it from ignorance or malice? 99% of the time, it’s not malice. So I try to understand, forgive and yes, extend grace. I don’t always succeed but I try.

    Thank you for another wonderful and thought-provoking post!!!

    Sometimes I try to see the humor also – Once a nurse and fellow mom asked me how old my daughter was when we adopted her from Guatemala. I said, “8 months old”. She followed up with, “oh, did she speak Spanish?”. A nurse. C’mon, really?

    • QuatroMama
      March 1, 2011 at 3:03 pm #

      Kelly, I truly appreciate your perspective. Yes, humor is a requirement! =)
      We try to take it all in stride, and learn a lesson in graciousness with others.

  7. Crystal
    March 1, 2011 at 10:53 am #

    So true! Thanks for the timely reminder.

  8. Beth
    March 1, 2011 at 11:28 am #

    Wonderful post! I used fairly conservative fertility medications to conceive my older boy in 2004. We wanted him to have a sibling, so in 2008, we repeated the exact same course of treatment. This time we conceived quadruplets. I have never had a single person ask how my big boy was conceived, but nearly everyone questions the quads. For someone who has been quite content to just blend in, this has been a struggle for me. Leaving the house with my crew we always attract attention and often this attention is focused on the most private aspect of our marriage.
    The attention is difficult, but yes, what hurts me is when others judge the decisions we made to create our family. One man (who claimed himself Christian) even had the audacity to say to us, “Children should be conceived through love, not science.” Believe me- these children were conceived through love.

    • QuatroMama
      March 1, 2011 at 3:02 pm #

      Wow, Beth, that was a stinger for sure! Thankful for your blessings and the gift of life in your family! Glad we aren’t alone!

  9. KS Dallas
    March 1, 2011 at 11:40 am #

    It really amazes me how insensitive people can be. It scares me that those same people vote!

    • QuatroMama
      March 1, 2011 at 3:01 pm #

      Funny. I’m sure I’ve been guilty of saying some pretty stupid (and probably even hurtful) things myself. By experiencing this, I’ve learned to hopefully be more gracious to others, especially when I don’t know the story behind their outcome.

  10. Barbara Manatee
    March 1, 2011 at 12:55 pm #

    I know how often I am asked with twins…so I can only imagine how many comments you get with quads. For us, we did have some minor infertility issues and did one round of clomid. We conceived twins. Yes…the medicine likley helped us conceive but the twins could have been genetic also – there are twins on both sides of our family. I’m always relieved to be able to say “Yes, twins run in our family” so that no further questions are spit at us…It IS a personal thing and even though we were able to have a 3rd child on our own – that thought never really goes away.

    Well said Jen – your boys ARE a miracle and a blessing.

    • QuatroMama
      March 1, 2011 at 2:59 pm #

      Thanks for “getting it”, Barbara! Thankful for the blessings in our lives – sweet gifts from God!

  11. RobinS
    March 1, 2011 at 1:24 pm #

    While it’s probably no comfort to you, people also say amazingly stupid things to those of us who “chose” not to have children. (As if they could tell from their lofty vantage point whether it was a choice or not!) And they often invoke their favourite religious beliefs to back up their “facts.” Sadly, graciousness of spirit does not happen without careful thought. It’s too bad that the energy spent in judgement couldn’t be spent in nurturing each other instead.

    • QuatroMama
      March 1, 2011 at 2:58 pm #

      Sorry to hear that you’ve had to deal with this in the opposite of ways, Robin. Thanks for sharing you point of view, and opening our eyes to others in your situation. Grace to you!

  12. Kristen@Moms Sharpening Moms
    March 1, 2011 at 3:17 pm #

    This woman who at one time dealt with infertility but is now the Mama of twins and a singleton gives a hearty 3 cheers to you!

    And a standing ovation! 🙂

  13. Beth
    March 1, 2011 at 3:25 pm #

    I do not have your perspective, but I so understand the need for grace. We have a family of eight. And are judged quite rapidly for our “irresponsibility” and “ignorance” in bringing forth these gifts. People question my knowledge of biology, (You do know where babies come from, right?), my religious orientation,(As if Mormons and Catholics are the only people who have large families), and the best one, my patriotism (Are you enjoying living off my taxes?). The Bible is so clear that children are blessings from God. To think of them as anything else is blasphemous. While our hearts may sting at the words of strangers, or worse yet, sometimes family members, remember it is by God and His love we have these precious beings. Thank you for posting this, and reminding us to keep our hearts full of grace, not bitterness.

  14. Sarah Partain
    March 1, 2011 at 3:29 pm #

    Thanks for saying it. I don’t have four blessings but I do have a preemie and since he’s still small, everyone comments. Not the same thing but the comments do get old! I’m glad that Gid blessed you in this way and am sure they are no accident!

  15. Stephanie @All Things Faithful
    March 1, 2011 at 3:34 pm #

    Thank you for such a well-said post. You shared your words gracefully and with love … and yet, with conviction. I appreciated it so much. I have not struggle with infertility, in fact, I have 6 kids …in 10 years. We have to be careful to even *think* about eh-hem, relations. Anyway, the same fiery darts have flown at me … jokes, looks, under the breath judgement “don’t you know what birth control is”

    I just find peace in knowing that there has never been, nor never will there be, a life created that GOD did not first, plan and then knit together lovingly in the womb. He is the giver of life and we can rest in His supreme plan for each and every one of us and our littles!

    Have a blessed day!

  16. Cherie from the Queen of Free
    March 1, 2011 at 3:35 pm #

    I am always shocked with the questions people ask concerning fertility. In essence they’re asking, “May I please climb into bed with you?” and “Tell me about your sex life.” Having 5.5 yrs between the girls made people constantly ask, “So when are you going to have another?” on a regular basis. So glad that Brad called in to be a voice of reason and grace. I think it makes it doubly difficult to extend grace to those who claim to know and follow the voice of Jesus.

  17. Alicia @ Alicia's Homemaking
    March 1, 2011 at 3:38 pm #

    Well put, sweet friend. 🙂

  18. Lori
    March 1, 2011 at 3:41 pm #

    I must be the most clueless person in the world. Even though I follow your blog sporadically (when a link on your Facebook page sparks my interest) I assumed you just happened to have quads! Why in the world would people ask or say such insensitive things. I happen to be in a male-dominated profession (architecture) and people would ask me if my dad was an architect. I would look them straight in the eye and say, “No, my mom was. My dad is a nurse.” Both lies, but it shut them up!

  19. Sarah
    March 1, 2011 at 4:25 pm #

    The older I get, and the closer I get to the Lord, the more I feel that I don’t know. I agree with you that there are some things Christians should never compromise on. The others I think are ones we should always err on the side of grace. I am so sorry you have heard inappropriate things regarding your children’s conception. I have always found it so interesting and amazing that pregnant women (or the topic) makes people say things they sleighs probably never have the nerve or the interest to talk about at any other time!

  20. Jamie
    March 1, 2011 at 4:49 pm #

    So glad you posted this. People really need to think before they speak.
    Since I got Sully through the foster care system, I’ve had people make all kinds of comments. One lady, (at church) looked me up and down a few times then said “well, I guess that’s one way to do it”. I was stunned. Since his recent death, I’ve even had someone say well I’m glad you didn’t get to the adoption phase yet. As if that would have somehow made it harder. People have asked me if I got attached then added “hope not”. Well, let me tell you I was attached while I was in the car driving to get him at 2 days old! Sometimes mouth filters would be nice. I am thankful and awestruck that God chose me to be his mom, even for 3 1/2 months!

    • Devin
      March 1, 2011 at 6:50 pm #

      Ugh, Jamie….I had no idea you were dealing with that kind of stuff, on top of everything else. I am so sorry to hear it.

      I was going to go on a tangent….but I’ll do that below. Love you. Still praying. Will continue to.

      (Sorry to take up your blog with that, Jen!)

  21. KS Dallas
    March 1, 2011 at 5:09 pm #

    One day I went to buy a new car and started talking to this other customer at the dealership about some of the new color choices. I pointed out this green car next to me and rambled on about how ugly it was. Well, you guess it – that was the car she was buying. We have all said stupid things, unknowingly. I learned my lesson that day. Hopefully the people that say those hurtful things, learn from it and can, too, be more considerate the next time they talk to somone.

    • KS Dallas
      March 1, 2011 at 5:11 pm #

      Sorry – that was a reply to your reply, but it ended up as a new comment. Krista

  22. moosh in indy.
    March 1, 2011 at 6:42 pm #

    I still remember the first time meeting you and trying to find a way to talk to you about your miracle babies without crossing that weird line of assuming I knew what you had gone through.
    Truth be told I remember you thanking me for not making assumptions, I remember you answering but I don’t really remember details, all I remember is that I liked you. A lot.
    You’re my friend with four babies who happened to come all at once. How they got here doesn’t matter, it simply matters that they did.
    Four babies can happen naturally, it’s not THAT shocking, but the assumptions, sadly those happen naturally too, and a lot of them are shocking (and really really lame)

  23. Amanda
    March 1, 2011 at 6:49 pm #

    I am convinced that people don’t screen what they say, don’t take the time to consider all the possibilities because they think they don’t need to. Their initial assumption is the only thing that exists in their minds. During the two weeks I spent visiting family in the States last year, I experienced in reverse what many parents who were blessed to welcome international children into their families through adoption deal with every day. People I didn’t know from Adam would ask “When did you get your [Asian-looking] kids?” At first I thought “That’s a funny way to ask!” but since I had been speaking so much Japanese in the past six years I thought I must be the strange one. “She’s three and he’s one,” I’d answer. Then I stood in line at the coffee shop with someone long enough that they could ask the follow-up, “So, did you get them from China at the same time?” I gave birth to them, actually! In this day and age, are biracial children still such a rarity? (Granted, I am from rural Indiana.) My husband, who had stayed behind because of work obligations, is Japanese. I don’t understand why people can’t just see families and think, “There’s a story there, but I don’t know them well enough to ask what it is.” In Japan we take our shoes off before we go into other peoples’ homes and the proverb exhorts us to “take off our shoes” before entering other peoples’ lives. It’s a lack of sensitivity and evidence of poor conversation skills that strangers feel the right to comment on our lives because we don’t fit their expectations of “family.” It’s their shame, not yours! But, unfortunately, you are stuck listening to them and more importantly, your boys are hearing them and the judgment in their voices. That is categorically unfair! But your boys are so lucky to see you actively correcting and informing people with grace and God’s kindness (and, I assume, like me, biting back the words you’d like to actually say, the ones that come to you after the fact and are not exactly biblical). I pray that they will learn to do the same and never for a moment listen to the people who would accuse their parents of some wrong action in bringing them into the world.

  24. Angela Mackey
    March 1, 2011 at 6:56 pm #

    AMEN and AMEN! After losing the ability to conceive (my tubes were ruined by tubal pregnancies that ruptured), my husband and I used IVF to expand our family. I am writing a book about infertility, because there is just not much out there to support and encourage those dealing with infertility.

    Thank you for speaking about grace and the freedom in Christ we have as believers. Also thank you for helping others to think before they speak. Once before I had these issues when I was a wise teenager I didn’t think fertility treatments were right because so many needed to be adopted. Then God makes me eat my words, teaches me grace and humility. I am thankful for the lesson. I needed it. 😉

  25. Devin
    March 1, 2011 at 7:03 pm #

    Jamie’s comment sparked something in me that I also would like to address: the subject of insensitivity when dealing with miscarriage.

    Similar to the comments in Jamie’s situation, when you lose a baby before you actually get to see him/her, people assume you were not attached. So, the miscarriage, in turn, is “no big deal”. And, like Jamie–I loved my child the moment the stick turned pink. When he died, a piece of my heart died, too. I know that God does everything for a reason–and three years later, I am able to look at our circumstances and actually PRAISE God for the way He worked everything out to our good–but I couldn’t do that the day after I found out.

    I heard things like:
    “God just needed another angel.”
    “There must have been something wrong. The body has a way of knowing these things.”
    “Better now than at birth.”/”At least you weren’t very far along.” (I was 13 weeks.)
    “At least you have other kids.”
    “You can still have more.”
    And at least a hundred other insulting things.

    I couldn’t agree with an above commenter more, however–I do believe that 99 percent of these people were looking to make me feel better, and not looking to be hurtful. I would say, Jen, that in your situation, many people are just curious. I don’t believe that makes it RIGHT, what they say, but it is good to always keep in mind.

    But, man–going through that whole experience sure has taught me a GREAT deal of how to be more sensitive to others!

    Thanks for this post–it was a GREAT one.

  26. Laurel Beard
    March 1, 2011 at 7:05 pm #

    I was forwarded your post by a dear friend (Lynnette)… I so appreciate this post, more than you know. I am having some fertility struggles myself and am consulting a fertility specialist. You know the saying, WALK THE WALK! That is what people need to do. Until they walk the walk and deal with the situation themselves, they need to keep the TALK to a minimum….. Thank you, so much, for this post.

  27. DesignHER Momma
    March 1, 2011 at 7:56 pm #

    “are they natural”. Um, do they look fake?

    I’m so sorry you have to deal with this, but you do do it with grace.

    You guys are awesome.

    ~emily

  28. Jess
    March 1, 2011 at 8:04 pm #

    Thank you for you well written post. You are an amazing mother and an even more amazing Christian example of how to keep from becoming angry and other’s misspoken comments.

  29. The Diaper Diaries
    March 1, 2011 at 10:09 pm #

    I am sure I have said totally insensitive and stupid things in my life, but like someone mentioned above it was never out of malice. It saddens me there are people who would stand in judgement of other people’s choices with no basis to do so.

    I know you handle everyone with grace, many of whom probably don’t deserve your kindness. You continue to amaze me with how you live your life. I am so blessed to know you.

  30. Becky B.
    March 1, 2011 at 10:18 pm #

    The Lord is weaving this theme in the life of our church right now. Our women’s retreat was this last weekend and the entire thing was “bound together in love.” We are trying to learn to be gracious with one another and how to love one another. I think as Christian women we hold each other to such a high standard and it turns out most of them are just preferences, not Scriptural mandates. Married or single, career or homemaker, natural family planning or birth control, c-section/epidural or natural birth, breast or bottle, homeschool or public school, vaccinate or non-vaccing, and on and on it goes. May we learn to show the world how to truly love one another and walk with each other in an understanding way. Thanks for your words.

  31. christa
    March 1, 2011 at 10:25 pm #

    beautiful post! due to “second infertility”, and 2 miscarriages; we get a lot of horrific comments also. just days after losing our 2 miscarriage, ppl would come up and conversate “your daughter is getting so big…when r u going to have another?” i nearly burst into tears even thinking of pregnancy or baby anything. having a miscarriage and trying for so long just to miscarriage again, completely devastated me and it was hard to even look at a baby or pregnant woman. “you don’t want to wait until she’s 5!” (as if we are being selfish and don’t want anymore). a lady in line at a store today (as my daughter was playing with some toys at the check out line – keeping herself entertained), “if you had a few more kids she wouldn’t need those toys to keep herself entertained.” SERIOUSLY?!? I nearly cried…if only she knew how hard it has been and how we would LOVE to have more at this moment.

    The comments we’ve gotten re the miscarriages is just as the lady posted above…like just b/c you didn’t meet them and were early pregnancy that it didnt matter. I was devastated…for several reasons. I cannot describe the joy I had when I saw “pink” on the stick after all those long months and to lose it all within a few weeks is still more than I can bear at times.

    My daughter is also bircial, and as another posted that can be strange also…I’ve had more than one ask if my daughter is mine or adopted. Funny thing…I think she looks quite a bit like me.

    I think it’s amazing that you have 4…I have a friends with triplets and another due with quads. After our journey, I’m have to admit I’m a little on the jealous side! In a good way 🙂 If I ever meet you in real life…I’ll probably stand in amazement, fawn over them and exclaim and so hope I don’t say something hurtful or offensive!

  32. Moni
    March 1, 2011 at 11:15 pm #

    AMEN! I always TRY to give people the benefit of the doubt and assume they’re only IGNORANT as opposed to MALICIOUS ASSHOLES. Great post, Mur!

    Love ya,
    Moni

    • RobinS
      March 2, 2011 at 10:51 am #

      Ha! This is hilarious! I could learn a lot from you.

  33. Sandra
    March 2, 2011 at 7:21 am #

    Jen,
    You’re words are so spot on! We’ve been blessed with twins through IVF after multiple ectopic pregnancies. My best friend was blessed with a singleton through IVF, we were due 5 days apart. How I envied no one asking her how she got pregnant and invading her privacy.
    Even with my boys being older now, I’m still asked how we had twins. My response is “God’s grace”. For years I’ve struggled with why people ask these questions. Are they nosey? Are they looking for hope? I’m content responding with “God’s grace” because I feel it is a gentle response, kind enough to silence the nosey and encouraging enough to provide hope.
    May God continue to bless you and your family.

  34. Saidah@AProverbsWife.com
    March 2, 2011 at 10:58 am #

    Those statements/question you posted are just terrible. I know it would be hard for me to exercise restraint with someone asking such personal questions about fertility in such a casual/sarcastic manner.

    I hope that any family that has or will experience those comments would be able to extend grace, but also correction and rebuke if the situation calls for it.

    Another great post.

  35. punkinmama
    March 2, 2011 at 2:35 pm #

    It always amazes me the things people will say or the questions they ask. It is no one’s business how the quads got here. Just like it’s no one’s business if a pregnant woman is planning to breastfeed (I mean, really??). Or if my husband and I are trying to have another child (do they want an invitation into our bedroom?).

  36. Stacey McCastlain
    March 2, 2011 at 4:02 pm #

    Thank you so much for posting this Jen. I am learning how to be more graceful when we receive similar comments and questions. It’s not easy. Take care.

  37. Shannon Morgan
    March 3, 2011 at 5:36 am #

    Thanks for always being such a blessing! We are hoping to see you this weekend!

  38. Marissa
    March 3, 2011 at 9:32 am #

    What a well worded post! You are blessed with 4 miracles and it’s amazing what comes out of people’s mouths. As I am nearing the point where I can actually say I’m struggling with infertility, I have so many emotions going through my head. I am now much more conscientious and sensitive with what I say to others. Thanks for the post.

  39. Julie
    March 3, 2011 at 6:54 pm #

    I think you guys are just very blessed and it doesn’t matter how or why your four blessings came along, God decided to bless you with these four. It was His decision to make and who are we or anyone else for that matter to question it?
    I think with some people you can never “win” and they will always find something to criticize or they will ask stupid questions.
    I remember before I was blessed with my son, I was asked why I didn’t have any children and they always asked me, “Why? Don’t you like (or want) children?”
    That was so very hurtful to me that they assumed that.
    Though many ignorant ones failed to extend grace your way, many other people are and just use these good people to lift you up and above the negativity of others.

  40. Liz Stewart
    March 4, 2011 at 9:23 am #

    Hi Jenny,
    I needed to read this post today. I never even thought about how we would be judged until recently when I heard it coming from members of our own family. It was very hurtful knowing that they are aware of all that we have had to go through to have a family. I agree totally with your post, and can’t wait for our four little blessings to arrive (we are having 3 boys and a girl)!
    Thanks again for sharing.
    Liz Stewart

  41. christa sanders
    March 4, 2011 at 10:25 am #

    Sandra: i think you are on to something. for me when i ask – after our very long journey with “2nd infertility” and 2 miscarriages, i ask with hope in mind…curious a bit and a tad on the jealous side. wish we could get one at all, but multiples would be amazing. having lost babies (the last one, last month), i know how cruel ppl can be; SO insensitive. asking “when r u going to have another? you know your daughter really needs a sibling” (as if i don’t think of that often enough, or that my daughter doesn’t remind me enough), “you don’t want to wait until she’s 5!”. sometimes i seriously want to cry. often i just tell them, “yes, we would desperately love to have another and we have – but we’ve lost them both to miscarriage” that often stops them in thier tracks.

    throw in on top of that married to an african american and some wonder if my daughter is mine. yeah..we all need to have a little more grace!

  42. Jennifer Williams
    March 4, 2011 at 5:21 pm #

    I loved your post! And although this is not a topic I am personally familiar with, I totally agree with what you are saying. I think people just have to say something, no matter what the issue, and they form opinions that they feel just have to be shared. We have six children and no matter where we go we hear everyone’s opinion and thoughts about it. There are some people that think it is great, but more often than not, we are met with comments like, “these can’t all be yours”, “are you finished?”, “I hope you are finished”, “you have your hands full”, etc. As you said, it is hard to smile and be friendly when you are met by complete strangers offering advice about your life and family…especially right in front of your children! So even though it’s not about the same issue, I understand what you are saying. I am constantly frustrated with the ugliness that I deal with almost every time we go out in public! I am so very happy for you and thankful the Lord blessed you with four precious boys! I hope you feel better soon. =)

  43. Susan
    March 6, 2011 at 5:29 pm #

    I think people in general just love to judge others. I am a surrogate and though I have no personal experience with infertility, many of my friends do have experience with it. I have watched their struggles and their strength as they waited for their miracle. I have watched their graciousness and joy as others became pregnant. I have been a surrogate three times and have gotten judged for that also. Comments from those that I thought were friends that cut to the bone. Comments such as, “You need a new roof on your house….must be about time to do another surrogacy.” I spent years trying to take the high road and trying to educate others about surrogacy. Now I tend to hide in plain sight and not reveal myself. I admire that you are so open and willing to answer the questions of others.

  44. Jeanette Nielson
    March 7, 2011 at 12:47 am #

    Hi Jen,

    Remember me, from Thailand? I haven’t commented for a long time, but I still keep up on your blog/life from time to time. I just read this post & wanted to tell you what an amazing person you are!! You & your husband continue to inspire me. Thank you for your testimony.

    Blessings always,
    <3 Jeanette

    • QuatroMama
      March 7, 2011 at 12:31 pm #

      What an encouragement, Jeanette! Of course I remember you! Thank you so much for being a blessing and a faithful supporter of our family!

  45. Kim M
    March 7, 2011 at 6:33 pm #

    Thank you so much for this post! I was shocked when we got pregnant with the twins (through IVF – after a year of unsuccessful treatments include 2 previous IVF’s) how many people and strangers felt completely free to ask if they were natural and then offer their commentary (almost always negative) on infertility treatments. Only 1 person, a coworker, said (after someone else asked the question and I answered), “Wow. You worked hard for these babies. You definitely deserve 2.” I almost hugged him.

    We are currently considering adoption, and I’ve been surprised, once again, at the insensitive comments I’ve received before we’ve even started the process. I have to remind myself to extend them the grace that I wish they would extend me, to consider the perspective they are coming from (almost always they had no trouble getting pregnant, no miscarriages, and easy pregnancies), and to pray that my words in response might help educate and soften them for future conversations. You very sweetly stated what I so often want to say.

  46. Monica
    March 9, 2011 at 2:23 pm #

    the questions that come from a place of genuine concern or ignorant curiosity are easier to swallow than they used to be. the intrusive questions about how my kids were conceived have sometimes come from women who are also going through infertility and they feel some unspoken kinship with me when they see what they perceive as evidence of my own infertility fight. and i feel almost obligated to take the time to encourage them somehow…even if that includes an awkward convo in the check-out line at target. it’s the “oh my gosh…i’d kill myself if i were you!” or “thank god it’s you and not me!” comments that NEVER stop offending me. the assumption that my kids are horribly difficult to raise simply because the three of them were born at the same time is ridiculous. and my three are old enough to understand the implications of these comments. i NEVER want them to feel like burdens. i ALWAYS want them to know that they are not freakish products of science…but rather beautiful gifts from god born from a love that was willing to go the distance.

    and you are absolutely right. it’s about grace. just as we made controversial choices based on where god was leading our family, others are also in positions i can’t presume to understand or judge. thank you for the reminder. gosh…i sure did ramble on and on. sorry…

  47. Amy
    March 18, 2011 at 9:28 pm #

    And I also get comments for having the three kids under four. Like the lady at the park yesterday who said “Are these all yours?” People just are so insensitive to each other and don’t get the gift children are anymore.

  48. Geralyn
    May 7, 2011 at 10:14 am #

    I just want to tell you that your writing really moves me. I have a daughter, now 11, conceived through infertility treatments. We agonized over ‘what’s your maximum number’? you know? the number you can live with, because the doctors will tell you all about “selective reduction”, which is their word to make themselves not feel like they are asking you if you would be willing to “get rid of” babies that you so desparately wanted, in the name of having a safer pregnancy.
    I want to say, I’m sorry for the people that fail to extend grace to you, but I also want to say that you seem to be doing an amazing job of extending that grace to others! God bless you!

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