40-Day Sugar Fast: An Honest Recap

The 40-Day Sugar Fast: Where Physical Detox Meets Spiritual Transformation:  Wendy Speake: 9780801094576: Amazon.com: Books

In the beginning of January, I knew I needed a health reset. On January 10th, 2022, I gave up sugar. I felt like an insane person. Could I really give up sugar for 40 straight days?? Was it even that important? And what was I actually choosing to give up? All sugar, in all forms? Or only some sugars? I struggled in the beginning with how to know what exactly to give up. Was it only things that tasted sweet? Or everything that contained any type of sweetener, even if the food itself didn’t taste sweet? What about refined flours? What about fruit?? Needless to say, my head was spinning.

At some point, however, I found my way. I had already decided to start journaling about my experience prior to the start of the fast, partially to keep myself accountable and partially so I could go back and see what God did during those 40 days. And I’m so thankful I wrote it all down, because He showed up in a big way…


  • Day -4: I’m a little nervous about this…why did I decide to tell somebody else they should do this with me?? Stupid accountability. I spent two hours googling about no-sugar diets today, though, and I feel pretty okay about it. It’ll be all right.
  • Day -2: Spending all week eating everything in my snack drawer at work and in the pantry probbbbably isn’t the best way to prep for next week. But at least I’m removing the temptation, right?


  • Day 1: DAY ONE. I’ve totally got this. I’ve only thought about the snacks I forgot to take out of my work drawer like four times, and it’s…*looks at watch*…8:37 am…oops.
  • Day 2: Physically, I feel pretty good, other than a slight headache yesterday. I’m surprised by this – I expected to feel like crap today. Maybe it’s because I’m more physically active now than I have been when I’ve fasted in the past…? I’m loving the book so far! I’m also surprised at how quickly I feel convicted about other things I need to fast from in the future. Giving up one thing and asking God to fill that empty space seems to magnify other addictions, like social media and TV show binges.
  • Day 3: Ugh…I caved. I ate 15 Cheez-Its. I feel so guilty, and I also feel like I shouldn’t feel guilty. It’s not like crackers are a sweet treat, right? So why do I feel bad? What does that say about the state of my heart? It feels like I’ve been doing this forever, and not because of how much I miss sugar but because of how much I’ve already learned. Sugar really was just a doorway to so much more that God wanted to show me. My dreams, my plans, and my prayers are all so small. I’m a little bit scared of how long I’ve been standing with my finger in the hole of the dam, stubbornly holding everything back, because now that I’ve stepped away, the floodgates are starting to open and the Lord is sweeping me up into what He has wanted for me all along.
  • Day 4: I’m really feeling it today. Not physically, but emotionally and mentally. Today was a really stressful day at work, and I felt like I had to re-center with the Lord at least once every half hour. And OF COURSE on this particular day, somebody walked into a meeting with my latest favorite snack – Dots seasoned pretzels. By the end of the day, I had looked at my verse-of-the-day card so many times that I felt like I was craving it, just like a snack: “This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s'” (2 Chronicles 20:15).
  • Day 9: It’s become hard for me to discern what’s okay to eat and what’s not. I can’t figure out if I’m staying within the technical guidelines or if I’m cheating. I haven’t eaten anything that OBVIOUSLY has sugar in it this whole time, besides fruit…but is fruit cheating?? And I’ve felt guilty about eating things that aren’t sweet but that have refined flours or aren’t exactly healthy, like tortillas or corn chips. Is anything that doesn’t taste sweet okay? Am I supposed to be so legalistic that I don’t even eat fruit? Is eating dairy, potatoes, and rice ruining everything?? I just don’t know what to do. I wish the rules were more clearly defined. I need somebody to tell me what I’m allowed to eat. I’m bored with everything I know I’m allowed to eat, but I don’t want to use that as an excuse to eat something I shouldn’t. Why do I feel convicted about eating things that aren’t candy or dessert? Am I just completely missing the point? I’m only a quarter of the way through this thing and I’m feeling discouraged.
  • Day 13: Holy wow, I think my taste buds have recaliberated or something. I ate an apple today and it tasted SO SWEET! I wasn’t expecting that. It’s crazy how desensitized we are to sweet things when we eat them all the time. I wonder what actual candy will taste like when this is over?
  • Day 16: I think I’m over the initial ‘hump.’ I still find myself craving sweet things, but it’s easier to push away. I’m still struggling a little with what’s okay to eat and what’s not, but I think more than anything, I’ve identified other things that I run to, that I need to consider isolating and giving up in the future. Still loving the book and loving the daily verses! I propped up the verse cards on my desk at work, and every time I notice I’m hungry or wish I could eat something I can’t eat, I immediately look at the card, read the verse, and ask the Lord to fill me with His Spirit and/or acknowledge that He is enough to satisfy me.
  • Day 23: I felt convicted by Wendy’s words in the book today: “Don’t be afraid to get hungry; be afraid of a life that never hungers for God.” I think I have gotten too comfortable in this fast. Sure, I still miss desserts, but I’ve already filled that void with other snacks I’m allowed to have. The point was never to simply get used to a sugar-free lifestyle, even if only temporarily. If those hunger pangs are missing altogether, I’m missing out on consistent chances to hear God speak to me. Wendy challenged us to ask God to tell us other things we need to surrender to Him in order to make the most of the second half of our fast. As I was reading, I felt convicted to take the fast a step further and give up one of my favorite things – potatoes. I knew that’s what I needed to give up, because the second that food popped in my head, my knee-jerk reaction was rationalization: HA. What?? Nah, I don’t need to give up potatoes. I’m ALLOWED to eat them right now. Maybe I’m overreacting. Am I being too legalistic? That’s silly. Why would I give those up? …….*sigh*…..I LOVE potatoes….*pouty face* . And the Lord ever so softly said, “I know. And that’s why I want them.”
  • Day 26: Lord God, WHY DID YOU SEND ME THREE SNOW DAYS IN THE MIDDLE OF MY SUGAR FAST?? All I want is a vat of soup and a giant loaf of bread and the smell of cookies in my oven. Daniel hates soup and I can’t eat baked goods and HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME.
  • Day 30: I felt really loved by the Lord today. I got to celebrate most of my 5-year work anniversary with jury selection that lasted almost 6 hours (and I didn’t get picked – sad face), but I came back to work to find congratulatory love notes from my coworkers in the form of emails and sticky notes all over my computer screen. My words-of-affirmation love tank is FULL! Who needs sugar when you have sweetness like that??
  • Day 33: Something I’ve realized over the last week or so is that I’m way more aware of God perfectly orchestrating events together. For example – this week, I had a conversation about God’s sovereignty with a close friend. The very next day, the chapter I read in my sugar fast book talked about that exact topic, and I sent her pictures of those pages as encouragement. I also had the opportunity to serve a friend of a friend in a tangible way after her house burned down. I had JUST cleaned out my closet a few days before, and when I heard about her need for clothing, I understood why God nudged me to reorganize that week instead of waiting until spring. I’m seeing the way life is playing out with fresher eyes, and it makes me wonder if this is how it’s always been and I was just too distracted to notice until now.
  • Day 36: I just need to acknowledge my own self control and write this down for future generations to marvel at….we hosted a monthly divisional birthday/anniversary celebration combined with Valentine’s Day at work today, and the donuts were still warm and there were piggies in fluffy blankies and the smell was intoxicating and I STILL WALKED AWAY. Four more days.
  • Day 38: To be honest, I’m a little scared to end this thing. I’m not 100% sure what my plan is when I’m not fasting anymore, and I’m really scared that I’m just going to go off the deep end again. I don’t want to do that, and I don’t want to give up all sugar forever, but I don’t know what to do instead. God, give me wisdom!
  • Day 40: I. FREAKING. DID IT. I finished it!!! I can’t believe I did it!! I am so proud of myself, and so happy that God gave me the ability to do it. I’m also thankful that the author offered some practical advice for how to move forward in the bonus ‘Day 41’ chapter. I feel much more equipped to step out of this fast without going absolutely crazy. This was such a good experience!

I went into this fast expecting three things: (1) weight loss, (2) better sleep, and (3) spiritual growth. The third one I got in spades, praise God! But I didn’t really experience the first two, and that was frustrating for a few weeks. However, there were other results I wasn’t expecting but got anyway, including: (1) shockingly great mental clarity, (2) more energy, (3) feeling way better digestively, (4) more emotional stability, and (5) more self-control as far as wanting sweet things but building up the habit of saying ‘no’ to them over and over. The lesson that ‘Just because you want something doesn’t mean you should have it’ is a hard one but a necessary one.

I also learned what my biggest triggers were in terms of eating and craving things I couldn’t have. The biggest one was boredom. I had no clue how much I snacked just because I wanted to fill the time. The second trigger was stress, particularly at work. I also became aware of my typical eating patterns throughout the day, like eating something sweet after a meal, and how eating was almost always paired with something else, like watching TV or reading. One big encouragement to me, though, is knowing that those unhealthy patterns be reversed. Healthy action begets another healthy action! I think it was easier for me to choose to do a 40-day sugar fast because I’ve already been building other healthy habits over the last few years. If I tried to do EVERYTHING at once, it would be overwhelming. But because of my years-long journey of slowly, slowly, slowly making changes, it didn’t seem completely crazy to try this out. (Small caveat for people who are interested in this process but struggle with disordered eating – be really careful with fasting. Giving something up completely can be a big trigger for fixation, anxiety, and legalism. Listen to God and He will give you specific wisdom and direction for your situation.)

One other thing I want to share that I forgot to journal about was a day that I broke my fast intentionally. Exactly one week before my fast was scheduled to end, my family had a big celebration for all of the recent birthdays and anniversaries, and I allowed myself a piece of a waffle and two tiny slivers of birthday cake. “BUT WHY, LAURA?” ….*sigh*…Here’s why. Because I only have so many chances to enjoy homemade birthday cake and waffles with my grandparents. Time is short, and although you shouldn’t always use that as an excuse to eat whatever you want, in this instance, I didn’t want to be ~sO lEgAliStIc~ that I missed an opportunity to enjoy precious (and rare) family time and savor the special treats made specifically for me. I didn’t hear the Lord say ‘No,’ so I allowed myself that one break. But you want to know the cool thing? I had the tiniest portions of those foods I’ve ever had in my life, and I was satisfied. I was happy with what I had, and I didn’t feel the need for more. And that felt really good.

Wendy Speake, the author of the book I read, has a really beautiful quote about the whole intent of this fast: “[Giving up] sugar is the doorway through which we invite God to come back into our lives, to sit on the throne, to be at the core of what we need most. But He comes into our lives, and he looks around and says, ‘Thanks for the sugar…but I want it ALL. I don’t want a sugar sacrifice, I want a LIVING sacrifice.’ So what else are you running to, to get you through each day?” And she’s 100% right. Sugar is only one of many distractions I need to continually surrender to God in order to hear His voice more clearly. I thought this was just going to be about sugar in the beginning. But it ended up being about so much more. ♥

Wendy also put together a book for a social media sabbatical, and I’ve accepted the challenge! I’m signing off of all social platforms for 40 days, starting tomorrow, and you should join in too. See you soon!

A 40-Day Sugar Fast

The 40-Day Sugar Fast: Where Physical Detox Meets Spiritual Transformation:  Wendy Speake: 9780801094576: Amazon.com: Books

Guess what my idea of a fun way to start 2022 was? Yep, you guessed it – completing a 40-day fast from sugar. (I plead temporary insanity.) My friend Ashley went through this book with her community group last year and gave it a glowing review. I knew I would need something strict to kick my butt back in gear after all the holiday celebrations, so I decided to give it a try, and I invited a coworker to do it with me for some accountability.

It’s been 11 days, y’all, and I’m still trying to figure out how to survive the next 29. I haven’t given up ALL sugars completely. For example, I’m still allowing myself to eat fruit and foods with minimal amounts of naturally-occurring sugar, like cheese. But I’ve given up bread, most packaged snacks, candy, desserts, sweet drinks, etc., and it’s been both easier AND harder than I thought it would be.

Even though it’s barely been a week and half, I’m shocked at how much God has already taught me. I’m planning to share a full recap of the experience when it’s over, and I don’t want to give too much away. But here’s a sneak peak at a few of my ‘journal entries’ from the first week:

DAY -4: I’m a little nervous about this…why did I decide to tell somebody else they should do this with me?? Stupid accountability. I spent two hours googling about no-sugar diets today, though, and I feel pretty okay about it. It’ll be all right.
DAY -2: Spending all week eating everything in my snack drawer at work and in the pantry probbbbably isn’t the best way to prep for next week. But at least I’m removing the temptation, right?
DAY 1: DAY ONE. I’ve totally got this. I’ve only thought about the snacks I forgot to take out of my work drawer like four times, and it’s…*looks at watch*…8:37 am…oops.
DAY 2: Physically, I feel pretty good, other than a slight headache yesterday. I’m surprised by this – I expected to feel like crap today. Maybe it’s because I’m more physically active now than I have been when I’ve fasted in the past…? I’m loving the book so far! I’m also surprised at how quickly I feel convicted about other things I need to fast from in the future. Giving up one thing and asking God to fill that empty space seems to magnify other addictions, like social media and TV show binges.

DAY 3: Ugh…I caved. I ate 15 Cheez-Its. I feel guilty, and I also feel like I shouldn’t feel guilty. It’s not like crackers are a sweet treat, right? So why do I feel bad? What does that say about the state of my heart? It feels like I’ve been doing this forever, and not because of how much I miss sugar but because of how much I’ve already learned. Sugar really was just a doorway to so much more that God wanted to show me. My dreams, my plans, and my prayers are all so small. I’m a little bit scared of how long I stood with my finger in the hole of the dam, stubbornly holding everything back, because now that I’ve stepped away, the floodgates are starting to open and the Lord is sweeping me up into what He has wanted for me all along.

This might sound weird, but despite the difficulty, I already know I want to do this again. This fast has been different than others I’ve done in the past. Rather than simply going without something, I’ve been intentionally replacing what I gave up with a stronger, more intentional focus on the sweetness of God and His Word. I already feel a new tenderness from and closeness to Him, and I don’t want to only feel that way for 40 days. I’m so thankful I found out about this book!

The author of The 40-Day Sugar Fast, Wendy Speake, also put together a book for a social media sabbatical, and I think that would be a good experience too! Anybody want to do it with me sometime this year??

20 Questions for 2020

What was the best thing that happened this year?
A lot of good things happened this year, actually! But what absolutely takes the cake was my 30th birthday. Daniel outdid himself (I don’t know if he can ever top it, honestly) and planned a surprise 4-day trip to New York City with eight of our closest friends. For as long as I live, I will never forget coming around the corner to our gate at the airport and seeing my people standing there in matching t-shirts and holding signs and cheering with way more enthusiasm than anyone should have at 3:45 in the morning. BEST. BIRTHDAY. EVER. ♥♥♥

What was the most challenging thing that happened this year?
2020 has been a doozy. It’s hard to narrow down what was the hardest, although I would probably have to say my ER visit in May and recovery after emergency surgery. I feel like we all went through a lot of crap this year, though – some people had it a whole lot worse than I did.

Who were your most valuable friendships with?
My Lakepoint people. It was true last year, and it’s true again this year. I can’t imagine going a week without seeing them.

What are some new skills that you learned?
Working out consistently. Completely monumental thing for me. I’ve also gotten better at conflict resolution with Daniel, I stopped being scared of making French croissants and just did it (and they were so good!!), and I learned how to be more minimalistic, intentional, and picky when shopping for clothes.

Pick three words to describe this year.
Exhausting. Disciplined. Resilient.

What was your biggest personal change from January to December?
I think for the first time, I truly like myself. I work out because I love my body, not because I hate it. I have felt betrayed by my body several times this year, but it has also taken such good care of me. And I want to take care of it in return.

What was the best book you read this year?
VERY hard to choose one, so I have to go with three: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (kicking myself for not reading this sooner), The Gospel Comes With a Housekey by Rosaria Butterfield, and What Grieving People Wish You Knew about What Really Helps (and What Really Hurts) by Nancy Guthrie.

What did you do to serve others this year?
Delivered lots of meals to parents with new babies, facilitated and spoke at the Lakepoint marriage retreat, and supported friends who experienced losses.

Name a couple of positive memory-making experiences from 2020.
Hosted a BALLER 20’s-themed NYE party at our house, completed with a hidden speakeasy. Attended the local IF:Gathering. Fancied up for the Crystal Ball with the Wesberrys. Saw Anastasia on the stage with my mom and sister. Went to Colorado with the Simmas and celebrated my brother getting engaged. Planned my second wedding for pay. Celebrated Les’s 29th at the lake. Visited California for the first time for David Reagan’s wedding. Dressed up as Cruella de Vil for Halloween. FINALLY closed on our 15 acres. Took a friendscation to Nashville (House of Cards and Listening Room Café were the best!!). Made a complete Thanksgiving dinner by myself, turkey and all.

What 2020 accomplishments are you most proud of?
Finding a good groove at work, finally getting into a genuine routine of exercise and more deliberate eating habits, and shopping small a lot more often because of the COVID pandemic’s effects on small businesses. Oh, and MAKING FRENCH CROISSANTS FROM SCRATCH.

What are some things you’ve learned to accept this year?
I am the healthiest and most in shape I’ve been in probably a decade. And guess what? I still have hip dips, my stomach is squishy, and I will probably never have a thigh gap. But I think I finally just love myself, regardless of those things.

In what ways did you grow spiritually?
Holy smokes…I feel like a completely different person. I barely recognize the girl from January. I have learned to trust God at an even greater depth, and I don’t feel as ruffled by things as I used to. I also don’t idolize parenthood anymore. It is a glorious gift, and if I get to experience it, I will be eternally thankful, but it is not something God owes me. He (God) is all I want now, and everything else – marriage, family, friends – it’s just frosting. God’s faithfulness has been on display BIG this year.

What did you gain in 2020? What did you lose?
Gained = way more self confidence, and peace that God knows what He’s doing.
Lost = hope, briefly, but it’s returned. ♥

Name a difficult situation you overcame.
Daniel and I experienced some pretty devastating losses this year. But each one strengthened our relationships with each other and with others, and I’m really grateful for that.

What is something you want to do better in 2021?
I want to get off of my phone more often. I want to stop eating out all the time and making frozen pizza (lol) and actually cook more real meals. I also want to get better at using my time to invest in others – I’ve kind of fallen out of that toward the end of this year.

What was the best thing you did with your time this year?
We got to travel A LOT this year, and most of our favorite memories of 2020 are from those trips!

What was the single biggest time-waster in your life this year?
TV, without a doubt.

What are you most grateful for in 2020?
Daniel. In the middle of the storm, in the chaos of what we’ve both called the most bizarre year of our lives, he radiated strength for me, and he told me that he thinks I’m strong. I’ll never forget that.

What do you want to leave behind in 2020?
Ummmmm…..lol. Everything?

Who do you want to be in 2021?
A Proverbs 31 woman – brave, committed, hardworking, and respected.

Maybe 2020 was an amazing year and all your dreams came true! (And if so, you’re delusional and probably need therapy because this was undeniably a weird year for all of us.) Or maybe this year completely sucked in every possible way, and you’re having a hard time remembering anything good that happened. Either way, we can’t successfully walk into the future without making peace with our past, whether it was good or bad. I can’t think of a better way to close the book (or slam the door?) on 2020. Feel free to join in and answer them for yourself, and let this be your final emotional exhale as we toast to a new beginning again.

When Your Breakthrough Doesn’t Come

2020 has been a weird year, can I get an amen?? Literally every piece of our lives – socializing, celebrating, working, shopping, traveling, exercising, worshiping – has irrevocably changed. I have had to continually remind myself that good things happened this year, like the epic surprise trip to NYC for my 30th birthday before COVID hit, that time I learned how to make homemade chicken pot pie, and the fact that I found a workout that I truly enjoy and have made exercise part of my normal routine for the first time in my entire life. But overall, to me, 2020 has felt like ordering my all-time favorite meal and getting served a big bowl of rejection with a side of failure instead.

I didn’t get accepted into Lysa Terkeurst’s writing bootcamp.

Forced to miss multiple weddings, birthday parties, and other large gatherings.

A cancelled vacation.

No closure for the final school year before retiring for two of the most influential people in my life: my dad and my college mentor.

Receiving feedback at work that was needed but hard to hear.

No baby, for the 7th year in a row, and one less Fallopian tube.

I feel like I’ve had one door after another slammed in my face this year, guys! And I know I’m not alone – I bet you could add your own list of disappointments, huh? I don’t think anyone could have anticipated what 2020 would bring. We’re all at the end of our rope. We’ve spent about 75% of our year scared, angry, disoriented, or just exhausted, waiting for things to “get back to normal,” knowing that they probably won’t, and trying to reconcile our ruined plans with God’s promises about giving us hope for the future (Jeremiah 29:11) and working everything out for our good (Romans 8:28).

It’s a lot.

I wish I could know for sure whether or not I’ll have a biological kid someday, or if I’ll ever actually publish a book in the traditional sense. I wish I could know how it’s all going to work out. I have a master’s degree in convincing myself that if I could just know that things are going to happen at some point, then I could let go of when that moment will be. But that’s a lie. Even if I could have that assurance, I would probably become fixated on how to make whatever it was happen faster and complain “You’re taking too long, Lord! Hurry up!!”

So what do we do in the meantime? What do you do when your breakthrough doesn’t come? How do you respond when you’ve prayed, and cried, and fasted, and asked for good advice, and prayed some more, and you’ve done everything you can think of but you still feel stuck and you don’t know what’s next?

I’m not gonna lie to you…I don’t know.

I’m in a season of waiting for ALL OF THE THINGS TO HAPPEN and there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight.

Normally, I would take a step back and ask myself, “Okay…Lord, where am I being disobedient? What have you asked me to do that I’m not currently doing?” Almost every time I start to feel stressed, directionless, or confused about something, I can trace it back to my own lack of discipline and obedience to God in the most basic of areas: prayer, Scripture, and community. God cannot and will not bless other areas of my life if I am living in apathy or defiance toward Him. Why would He allow me to start something new if I’m not devoted to doing the things I already know I’m supposed to do?

This has been my answer in the past. But not now. Other than my day-to-day imperfections and failures (all of which God is continually refining and sanctifying), I genuinely believe that I am walking faithfully in the things God has called me to do. So here’s what I’ve decided:

  1. I’m going to live my freaking life. I’m done imagining a future state that may or may not ever materialize. I’m not saying it’s bad to have goals or plans, but I’m obsessing so much about “What if’s” that I’m missing things that are happening right now. I want to be where my feet are and love the life that I have, instead of lamenting the life that I don’t have.
  2. I’m going to pray for YOUR breakthrough. What are you waiting for? What are you asking God for? Please, please share your heart’s deepest prayer request with me via a comment, email, private message, text, carrier pigeon, etc., because I want to go to the throne room on your behalf and watch as God does infinitely more than we could ever ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

I’m serious. Send me your prayer request. Yes, that one – the one that you’re contemplating in the back of your mind right now. Ignore those dumb lies from Satan like “It’s not even that big of a deal” or “I hardly ever remember to pray about this myself, how could I ask someone else to?” or “We aren’t even in each other’s lives…why would she pray for a total stranger or someone she lost touch with?” Just do it. ♥

What to Say to a Friend Dealing With Infertility


Infertility is a messy business. So many more people than you realize are struggling to grow their families right now, and it’s hard to know what to say to a friend who is dealing with some form of infertility. But at times, certain sympathetic words can actually be more hurtful than comforting. Trying to make a tiny human and hitting roadblock after roadblock is stressful enough without other people (especially total strangers) offering you unwanted advice.

I want to make sure you guys know up front that this post was not written out of bitterness, not even a little bit. It’s hard to communicate tone sometimes in text form, but I promise I am not venting. Some of you know that infertility has been part of our story for the majority of our marriage, and I have already navigated the rest of the stages of grief many times (denial, anger, bargaining, depression). I am currently very comfortably planted in acceptance, praise God. ❤️ But consider yourself forewarned – this post is not angry, but it is candid. Every single one of these things has been said to me at least once, and I just don’t think people realize what they are actually saying sometimes. I am NOT claiming to be perfect at coming up with the right words to comfort people, and I also realize that some of you might write me off as too sensitive. But I would bet almost any amount of money that most women, and even men, who have walked an infertility path would agree with what I’m going to share.

Here’s my hope for this post:

  1. That my friends who are struggling with infertility right now would be encouraged and reminded that they are not alone (and maybe that they roll their eyes in solidarity and laugh while reading along); and
  2. That my friends who have NOT struggled with infertility would have a better idea of what it’s like and be mindful of how they talk to their friends who don’t have kids yet.

With that being said, here’s a few things NOT to say…

“Your time is coming.” // “It’ll happen.”
I know that you’re trying to be nice, and it’s really sweet……but literally every time someone says this to me, the first thought that pops in my head is “But what if it doesn’t??” I promise I’m not trying to be negative; I just wanna be real with you guys about where my brain goes. I know these phrases are meant to be comforting, but the truth is that you don’t know if whatever ‘it’ is – adoption, conceiving naturally, successful IVF cycle – will actually happen. For a lot of couples, one of the biggest steps forward in their infertility journey is learning to accept that pregnancy and childbirth may not or will not happen. Unless you can say with complete confidence that God through the Holy Spirit has given you a specific word for a specific couple, saying something like this is not helpful.
••• Instead, say: “I’m here for you, no matter where this journey takes you.”

“Just stop trying so hard and have fun!”
Hmmm….okay yeah, let me just NOT try to have a baby, that’ll help me get pregnant. *facepalm* Again, I know the intent is good, but not trying is not how this works. The trying is the most important part. Sure, for some people it might just happen, but for couples dealing with various kinds of infertility, there are extra lifestyle changes, doctors, diets, supplements, prayer, and medical intervention ON TOP of all that trying. Saying that someone should ‘stop trying’ can communicate that all the hard work they have been doing either hasn’t been enough or is even KEEPING them from getting pregnant.
••• Instead, say: “You can do this. Don’t give up.”

“I know how you feel, we tried for 5 months before I finally got pregnant.”
This one is actually almost a good thing to say! It’s the mention of how long it took that shoots this comment in the foot. Everybody’s road to parenthood is different, and there are too many variables to try to compare situations. Some couples get pregnant on their honeymoon, and some couples try for 10+ years and never see a single positive test, and every story is frustrating and gut-wrenching in its own way. You can relate to someone’s pain without needing to be so specific about how long it’s been for you or how many babies you’ve lost. There may be a time and place to share that information, but it usually just ends up alienating one or both people. This isn’t about who’s suffered more. Waiting and loss are hard on everyone, and it’s great to share your own experience because it helps your friend not feel so alone! Just consider leaving the comparison out of it.
••• Instead, say: “Ugh, I know how you feel – every month that I got a negative test, I cried and felt like a failure.” 

“You’re lucky you don’t have kids!”
Look, we’ve all seen the kids throwing tantrums in the middle of Walmart (and on planes, and at church, and..). And yes, we the childless people get to go on vacations and sleep late and watch normal TV shows and go out to eat without it being a major production. But I would give just about anything to have my adult sleep schedule ruined by a new baby. We are painfully aware of what we’re missing out on, and it drains us of joy and hope for the future when all a parent does is complain about the exact thing we’ve spent all this time waiting for. Don’t get me wrong – kids are the worst sometimes, and you definitely need an outlet to unload about it. But 9 times out of 10, it’s probably going to be with other parents who understand what you’re going through.
••• Instead, say: “Your patience to wait for a child is so inspiring to me.”

“You need to relax, stress will make it worse.”
This goes hand in hand with “Just stop trying so hard.” First of all, it makes it sound like infertility is my fault, which is incredibly insulting. Second of all, WE KNOW STRESS IS BAD. We are trying desperately to have babies and we can’t. We are already stressed about stressing over stress that doesn’t need to be stressed about. We are doing the best we can to maintain a calm, emotionally stable outlook about this huge, life-changing thing that is completely out of our control. Telling someone to relax is about as helpful as telling an angry person to calm down – it usually has the exact opposite effect.
••• Instead, say: “You’re doing a freaking amazing job handling this.” 

“Have you tried _____?”
Guys, if I had a dollar for every recommendation I’ve gotten…I could probably go ahead and retire. I’ve been told I need to try everything from various diets, to essential oils, to medical procedures, to vitamins, teas, herbs, superfoods, ovulation tracking devices, chiropractics, acupuncture, putting a red ribbon under my pillow during a full moon, doing the hokey pokey with a pillow shoved under my shirt…kidding on the last two, but seriously, the list goes on and on. I am NOT saying it’s bad to share things that have genuinely helped someone get pregnant, especially if the person who used them was YOU. But there are a lot of factors involved with someone’s fertility, and just because your cousin took these supplements for a month and happened to get pregnant the next month doesn’t mean that those supplements are what caused her to get pregnant. It’s okay to share ideas, but please don’t claim that you’ve found THE CURE for infertility.
••• Instead, say: “If you feel like sharing, what have you guys tried so far? No pressure if that’s too personal though.” 

“God’s timing is perfect.”
Can I just tell you something? We know. WE. KNOW. We are reminded of this every single month that the answer to our prayers is ‘No.’ I know that God is control of my life and that His plans are good. I really do. But a constant string of ‘No’s’ starts to hurt after a little while. And for someone who is not a Christian, this phrase can paint God as Someone cruel who enjoys our pain and deliberately withholds joy from us, rather than Someone who loves us, cares for us, and meets us in our sorrow. I don’t know why, but hearing “It’s all part of God’s plan” just is not comforting to someone who is struggling with a loss.
••• Instead, say: “It is so hard to wait without getting frustrated. I can’t imagine how it feels to wait for this long and not know what’s next.”

“You’re young, you have plenty of time!”
Youth doesn’t necessarily equal health. Age does matter when it comes to having kids, but common conditions like endometriosis and PCOS can affect fertility in devastating ways, no matter how old you are. Saying something like this also minimizes a couple’s desire to start a family, and almost makes it sound like there are so many other *better* things they should be doing with their young married years. Another thing to consider is that by the time many couples are diagnosed with some form of infertility, they have already been actively trying to get pregnant for at least a year. Being told you have plenty of time after you’ve already been worried about how long it’s taken can be interpreted as, “It’s stupid for you to worry about that.” Truth be told: (1) It’s none of your business if and when anybody decides they want to have children, and (2) A lot of us DON’T have plenty of time and DO have valid reasons to worry.
••• Instead, say: “I’m so sorry for the stress this has put on you. Please let me know if you ever need anything.”

“Have you been praying about it?” // “Just pray about it.”
I’m iffy about this one. I know that everyone who has asked this or said this has only had the best of intentions, and bringing up prayer is totally appropriate when it comes to conversations about fertility. Prayer has been my most powerful weapon against doubt and anxiety. But instead of wording it this way, it might be better to ask how you can pray for them – and then do it, right then and there. Asking “Have you been praying about it?”, although well-intended, can be interpreted as “You’re not praying enough or you’d be pregnant already.” Trust me, I have already heaped plenty of guilt on myself over this exact thing, and I don’t need anyone else telling me that I’m not spending enough time asking the Lord for a baby. But asking me how YOU can pray for me or actually praying for me in that moment will cheer me up faster than anything else.
••• Instead, say: “How can I pray for you about this?” And then do it!!

“It could be worse.” / “At least (it’s not ___, it isn’t ___)”
I mean….you’re not wrong….but how exactly do you expect me to feel after saying this?? My feelings are totally invalidated. Of course it could always be worse. But who exactly is the final authority on what ‘worse’ is, anyway? Is ovarian cancer worse? Is a stillbirth worse? Is a total hysterectomy at 22 worse? Is an ectopic pregnancy worse? Like I said earlier, this is not the time to try to one-up people with who has the sadder story. Whether we are sad, angry, discouraged, or numb, our feelings are real, and we are allowed to feel them.
••• Instead, say: “I wish I knew what to say to fix this. You are so strong.” 

“Why don’t you just foster or adopt?”
Okay, first. JUST??? When did fostering and adopting become *JUST* fostering and adopting?? It is a sacrificial, heart-consuming, lifelong process. Those children are more than “just” a consolation prize for people who can’t have kids on their own. Fostering and adoption are AMAZING, and I have the utmost respect for people who pursue them. But they are also not an immediate fix-all solution for anyone who is dealing with infertility. Having the option of fostering/adoption doesn’t mean your desire to be pregnant and give birth goes away. And for some couples, fostering and/or adopting doesn’t feel like another option. It feels like another risk. Hoping for the chance of getting pregnant and carrying a healthy baby to term is scary enough, but imagining taking someone else’s child, and raising thousands of dollars to do it is completely terrifying. Pregnancy is scary because of the risk of miscarriage, and fostering/adopting is scary because of how many stories you hear about the endless waits, financial stress, and the risk of it all falling through. After awhile, you start to feel like there is no such thing as a secure option.
••• Instead, say: “Families come in all shapes and sizes, and any future kids you guys have will be so lucky to get you as parents.”

“You’re being disobedient by not having kids right now. Don’t you want to ‘fill your quiver’ and glorify God? Aren’t you ready to start your family in whatever way possible?”
First…technically, we already have! We are a family of two right now, and it’s really, really great. We’ve gotten to spend almost a decade together, just us, and sure, I thought we’d have kids by now, but I wouldn’t wish a single one of those days away. Second, you better have a really good relationship with someone before you try to assume the role of Holy Spirit and rebuke them for not having kids. And finally, having kids isn’t what validates our marriage. I have wanted to be a mom all my life, but guess what comes first? Being a wife. And I chose him. No matter how many kids we have or how they come to us, someday, they will all leave the house and it will be just Daniel and I again. If waiting for a baby means I have more time to fall in love with my husband and nurture a strong marriage, I think I’m okay with that.
••• Instead, say: “I am praying for God to give you peace in the waiting and direction for what to do next.”

Whew! Kudos to you if you’ve made it this far. ❤️

I really hope this was helpful to someone! Again – I mean this 100% out of love, not bitterness. Also, I am not claiming to be perfect at comforting people, and I’ve even said some of those things to other women myself. Sometimes we don’t know what to say, but we want to be helpful and comforting, so we grasp for whatever words we can find at the time. I feel like I should also point out that there are exceptions to almost every rule, and one of the biggest exceptions for most of those phrases is how close you are to the person you’re saying them to. For me personally, it’s completely different to hear “It’ll happen” from one of my best friends, compared to hearing it from a total stranger who doesn’t know my story. The bottom line is just be sensitive. “Think before you speak” is good advice in any situation, not just this one. Consider how your words could come across to the person who’s hearing them, and know that it’s okay to not know what to say.

For my buddies who are dealing with infertility: even though those phrases are probably not your favorite things to hear right now, remember that almost every time, they are being said out of love. Become someone who is easily encouraged. I am praying for you, and know that I care about you even if I don’t always know what to say to make you feel better.

Thanks for reading!