Help with an Unbearable Burden
We watched the momma bear search high and low for her young cub. She paced several blocks of a neighborhood for hours.
All. Day. Long.
Two friends and I heard a rumor that Parks & Wildlife rescued the injured cub early in the day and whisked it away for rehabilitation, but no one explained this to the mother.
The first glimpse we had of the wandering momma bear inspired excitement. I mean, how often do we get the chance to watch bears outside a zoo?
The second sighting created another stir as well as a twinge of concern–not only for the surrounding community but also for momma bear.
By her third pass down the street the visual lost its charm and excitement turned to anguish for her situation.
Her fourth lap reduced me to tears.
You see, I took pictures to capture her beauty but a view through the lens showed features of fear and worry. My eyes welled up as I struggled against the salty tide washing over me.
An anxious mother seeking her young, determined to have her child no matter what. She moved at a frantic pace until dusk. After that I just imagined her out in the dark on a never ending search.
Her actions jolted me back to the mind–numbing maze of infertility I stumbled through several years ago.
When a baby or the dream of a baby is taken from you, you wander frantically, looking for a solution.
For those in the midst of infertility, life becomes an excruciating search for explanations, answers, and fruitfulness.
As the day progressed I remarked that I hurt so badly for the bear I couldn’t bear to watch her any longer. I felt helpless not being able to explain things. I couldn’t hold her paw and reassure her or offer my presence and friendship.
“I don’t want to see her anymore, it is just too painful.”
One of my friends replied, “That reminds me of some responses to infertility. The pain of loss is hard to watch and many turn away from it, ignore it, or make inappropriate statements.” Her recognition of this truth and comparison to the infertility journey took my breath away.
Watching anyone stumble through a fog of suffering is unbearable.
I witnessed momma bear driven by the intangible nurture that bubbles up even in wild animals. Driven by an invisible force to mother, she drove herself to exhaustion.
We do the same in our quest for motherhood.
It is our call to reach out to those who are lost. So, how do we offer support to friends and loved ones spinning in infertility?
- We express our care.
- We provide a safe place for communication.
- We listen with no thought for response other than expressions of love and support.
- We edit our expectations.
- We give the present of our quiet presence.
I am unable to act in love towards momma bear. Her suffering hurts my heart and I must admit I did say several prayers for her comfort. Her struggle provides inspiration for the support systems of those in the midst of infertility.
So when you see someone seeking to have a child…
power through your discomfort and uncertainty.
Reach out to them in a kind and supportive way.
We can’t put momma bear’s mind at ease, but we can offer compassion to hurting humans within our reach by sharing the load of their unbearable burden.
October is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness month. Please reach out with compassion to support your friend or neighbor and please share your ideas below. Thank you for your care!