Alex and Susan skipped the morning session of the couples' retreat and huddled close in another room, sharing a secret grief. They were childless, but not by choice-one of approximately ten million couples in the United States who struggle with infertility. Away from the distractions of daily life, their sorrow had engulfed them. The standard opening question of practically every conversation at the couples' retreat had been, "How many children do you have?"
When that question arises, particularly in Christian circles, the infertile-an estimated one in six couples-have several choices, as my husband and I have learned over the last seven years. They may honestly admit their difficulty and risk receiving unsolicited advice. "Just relax" and "Adopt, and then you'll get pregnant" are two bromides frequently offered. The infertile, on the other hand, may cold-shoulder the questioner out of pure self-defense, leaving a mistaken impression that they are unfeeling, selfish, or uninterested in ...1