the awkward silence

While in the midst of infertility, there are a few questions you dread someone asking. Conversations start normally and innocently enough, and then they always end the same.

"So how long have you been married?"
Five years of bliss.

"Oh wow! Do you have any children?"
Not yet. Yes, but he/she is in heaven.

"What do you do?"
I am a math tutor for high school students at Bright and Beautiful Learning Center.

"Why don't you work full time?"
God has put it on mine and my husband's heart for me to work part time right now. Why don't you mind your own and stop giving me that judgmental look?

Awkward silence. Subject change.

It may seem like the worst question for infertile me is the one about children. It's not. I know that one is coming, and even though I feel a strong desire to answer yes to that question sometimes, I know the path of least resistance is a simple "not yet." I'm not technically lying, since I know that in their mind they are really asking the question "Do you have any living children?" even if they don't realize it. No one asks the question expecting me to tell them of my heaven-born baby. So I give them an out before they even know they need it.

No, the hard question is the last one. It's the one I don't often expect coupled with a look of "why would this childless woman only work part time?" As if the only two categories for married women are full time work or full time stay at home mom. My inbetweenness throws them off.

I feel the need to answer the mental questions I can see them asking me in that awkward silence.

Yes, originally I stopped working full time with every intention of becoming a mother. No, two years after quitting my teaching job that still hasn't happened. Also, no, I don't feel like we heard wrongly from God. I fully believe that what I have been doing for the past two years has been exactly God's plan for my life. I could list all the ways my husband and I have been blessed by it. I could list all the opportunities I have had because of my part time status. Just as easily, I could list all the ways people have tried to take advantage of it, or scorned it.

The point is, my identity has nothing to do with people. It has nothing to do with my job, full time or not. It has nothing to do with whether I have seven children or none. My identity is in Christ Jesus. My self-worth comes from the love and forgiveness I have received from Him. My purpose in life is to glorify God in all I do (or don't do, if that is the case.)

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.- 1 Corinthians 10:31

It's so easy to judge someone you have just met. It's even easy to judge someone you have been acquainted with for years, but haven't known. It's not easy to judge when you learn the heart of a person. I'm not saying I have this concept down, I don't. But in the many (painful) lessons the Lord has taught me on this infertility journey, this is one I will cherish most.

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” - 1 Samuel 16:7


  1. This would be good for Held! Oh, my friend. Let's have coffee soon. I miss you.

  2. I know just how you feel. Since I graduated college in 2008, I have only worked full-time for about 5 months. Before that and now, I only work part-time, and I feel judged at times as well. It's sad, because what is right for one couple may not be right for others--who are they to judge us?

    I love being able to be the main homemaker, and then also explore my passion part-time as well. I feel like I am there for my husband when he needs me and I am so much less stressed out because of our circumstances. Family is what is important.

    Great message!

  3. First question... if everyone worked a full time job then WHO IN THE WORLD WOULD WORK THE PART TIME JOBS???? Ughhhhhh! People are so stupid. That wasn't nice of me to say.... sorry....

    Don't let anyone make you feel like you are not in God's will. You and Eric have prayed and prayed. You have listened and listened. You are two of the most faithful people I know and I never wonder if a decision you make has been prayed about. God has you EXACTLY where He wants you.

    I can't say "I know how you feel" about the first part of your post, you know that. I will tell you that eventually you may find yourself telling people about your sweet heaven born baby. I never brought up Taylor to people... then one day I did. When people asked about how many kids I had, I included Taylor. Taylor was a turning point in my life with my faith. That heaven born baby is part of my testimony. If I never bring Taylor up, how will I reach somebody that may need to hear it? Ya know? Anyhoo, don't fret. Your heart knows that you have a child. Avoid as many awkward moments you can. Keep your chin up! Great post!

  4. Amen amen amen to everything! I am cutting back my job to part-time very soon and no one seems to understand it. It can be so frustrating!

  5. It's hard for my sis too... but I think it helps when people acknowledge that she has three girls, and one she will meet again someday. It's completely up to you how you want to share as God leads.

    There are so many crazy social things to figure out with not having kids on "our" schedule, right? No one understood the big giant house we bought that sat childless for 7 years (and then was sold before Itty Bit came along, ha!)

    His timing... still is perfect.


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