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We’ve all been there, haven’t we?
If you’ve shared the story of your IVF journey or your frozen embryos, chances are you’ve received more than a few comments or opinions about what decisions to make moving forward.
Especially when it comes to having more kids.
Most people we share with truly want to understand how we feel and do their best to put themselves in our shoes. They quickly go through the scenarios in their own minds, realize how monumental the decision truly is, and just as quickly retreat out of their thoughts. They admit they have no idea what they would do if given the same situation. After a few minutes in our world, they offer us prayer for wisdom and discernment and return to the safe space of their own lives.
(Are you struggling with what to do with your leftover embryos? We would love to help. Check out our free 10-Step Guide at the bottom of this post.)
There are others who are simply wonderful – encouraging, supportive, inspiring, empowering – they’re behind you every step of the way. These are our lifelines, the people we gravitate to when our own fears and doubts threaten to overtake us. They pray big prayers for us, join us on the journey, and help meet our physical, spiritual, and emotional needs. These people truly know our hearts, understand our beliefs, and encourage us in our faith.
And still there are others who tell jokes, make random comments, or give unhelpful and useless opinions. They do this simply to ease their own discomfort with the topic. Although they don’t realize it, sometimes what they say can sting a little. But it’s fine. We’re tough and can let most, if not all of it, roll off our shoulders. We take these people with a grain of salt.
But what about the people who openly discourage you from using your embryos and having more kids?
Ah, yes. These folks are the toughest pills to swallow. Not just because of what they say but because they are usually those closest to us, the ones who have influence over our thoughts and actions with their words. By and large, this group is made up of family and friends. They feel comfortable giving you their opinions and telling you about their concerns. Heck, some of them may even feel they have the right to invade your space and grounds to make you to listen.
And we get it. Honestly, we do.
Most of the time when other people discourage you from having more kids it’s because they love you and they fear the needs of many children will complicate your lives beyond your abilities. They argue that it’s getting harder and harder to raise children – and that may be true. Parenting is tough. Times have changed, the world has changed, and it’s simply not common these days to have more than two or three kids. There is a perceived need to have it all and an unspoken pressure to do it all. The more kids you have, the harder this becomes, and the more you may feel pushed to conform to other’s expectations.
Our kids may have to go without the extras, we may feel stretched physically and emotionally, and we may have to pinch our pennies even more – but, for us, it’s worth every sacrifice to bring home our babies. For people on the outside, it’s easy to only see the difficulties that may lie ahead instead of the joys of the big picture.
Although the heart of their message is one of love they simply aren’t in your shoes and walking in your unique circumstances.
Yes, having more children certainly comes with sacrifice and increasing responsibility. Yes, it may not be what they would choose for themselves. And yes, your life may look and feel different from the norm. But that doesn’t mean you aren’t capable of raising a brood of wonderful souls, managing a large household well, growing and thriving as a family, and overall having a beautiful, fulfilling life.
All of that and more is possible, my friends.
Bottom line, people close to you are going to fill you with doubt, fear, and what ifs when it comes to expanding your family and having more children. If this is you, read on to learn what to do when other people discourage you and how to handle it with grace.
1) Be polite and take a step back.
Scott and I have had to do this quite a bit, even with family, and we don’t feel the least bit guilty about it. Deciding what to do with your leftover embryos is complicated, and if you’ve reached a decision with your spouse to have more children, by golly, you have to protect that decision and keep it sacred. Refuse to argue – it’s futile – they simply can’t understand your position. Rather, be polite, thank them for their concern, but don’t be afraid to take a step back and create some healthy distance if needed. When other people discourage you, you have to protect your heart, your beliefs, and your convictions. Your journey is hard and it’s yours alone. Discouragement will only lead you to doubt yourself, your choices, and your abilities.
2) Consider their perspective.
At the same time, sometimes your friends and family may have valid points. Is there anything about what they said that you should consider? If so, talk it through alone with your spouse and pray on it together. In the moment, be sure to tell them “Thank you. We will think about that”. This gracefully acknowledges and validates their concerns without compromising your stance and your beliefs surrounding your embryos. This has happened numerous times on our journey. If you have thoroughly considered all the outcomes of your decision, you’ve prayed and received confirmation and guidance from the Lord, and you both feel at peace with your choice, then you can move forward with confidence that you have a well-thought out plan of action.
3) Use discernment.
Ok, so what if you’ve taken a step back and politely considered their opinions, but their comments and discouragement are still shaking your resolve and causing you to doubt? What if you feel the inklings of panic bubbling up inside? This has happened to us several times along the way.
It’s time to stop, re-evaluate, and ask yourself some questions in order to discern what you are truly feeling.
Do their comments accurately reflect your wishes? Do they align with your feelings and beliefs about your embryos? Is this where God is leading you? Are these doubts shared by you and your husband? Or are these doubts being projected on to you from someone else?
When other people discourage you from using your embryos, get alone with your spouse and talk about the feedback you’re getting from these outside sources. Don’t allow someone else’s fears and doubts to cloud your decision making. More often than not, people project concerns and emotions about a situation that they would feel if they were you – but they aren’t! Discern if your doubts and anxiety are truly coming from within one or both of you or if it’s the result of talking with an outside source. Scott and I left many discussions with friends and family feeling less than stellar about our decision to expand our family. However, upon further inspection, we realized we were actually at peace with our choice, in line with God’s will for us, and it was our families who had the issue!!
(Feeling a little overwhelmed? Our 10-Step Guide helps you process your thoughts and feelings around your embryos while slowly and gently helping you come to decision that will bring peace to your hearts. The guide is available in our free resource library – get the password at the bottom of this post).
4) Share on a Need-to-Know basis.
Friends, it’s perfectly reasonable and okay to only share your plans on a need-to-know basis. This is your personal life and no one else’s business. Limited sharing is a very effective way to shut out all the unwanted opinions and comments, allowing the brain fog to lift, and giving you the ability to hear God’s voice clearly and follow His lead. Choose a few people around you that can pray with you, support you, cheer you on, and maybe even help you with childcare while you’re at appointments, if needed. Then leave it at that. Now, I’m certainly not advocating that you be dishonest with the people in your lives – be truthful if they approach you – but if no one is asking direct questions, there is no pressure to discuss your private affairs if you don’t want to.
Scott and I actually kept our last FET cycle completely to ourselves except with regard to our bible study groups, very close, supportive friends, and our couples’ small group at church. We needed to do this for ourselves – and it was wonderful. We did not feel discouraged nor did we experience doubt. Rather, we experienced peace, clarity, and renewed strength, empowered and invigorated by the leading of God and the small, supportive circle around us. We told our families and the rest of our friends that we were expecting at the end of our first trimester.
Now, with this blog, the cat is certainly out of the bag as it relates to future pregnancies! But, for our first venture into FET, knowing we were purposely and intentionally growing larger than our families thought we should, we felt strongly we needed to stay true to ourselves and to God and the only way to do that was to keep it to ourselves.
5) Stay connected to God.
This one is pretty straightforward. When other people discourage you from using your embryos, take your doubts and fears back to God. Pray often. Give Him that tough conversation with your mom or that hurtful comment from your friend. Ask Him to replace it with discernment, guidance, wisdom, clarity, and peace.
He is the rock we stand on and our firm foundation.
It’s extremely important to be in prayer consistently during the decision making process so you are 1) crystal clear on what God is leading you to do with your embryos, 2) you experience holy courage and strength to move forward in His will and 3) you sense His peace that surpasses understanding. All the what-ifs and worries that we brought to God from any outside discussions were quickly swept away as we postured ourselves toward Him and listened to His still, small voice speaking directly to our hearts. We trusted that He alone would lead us in the right direction. The outside voices faded away and we could sense, without a doubt, that God was guiding us to expand our family and was equipping us for the road ahead.
6) Surround yourself with people who support your decision and encourage you.
This is an incredibly important point, right behind staying in tune with God. Friends, it is so hard to walk this road alone, especially when you’re experiencing discouragement from those that are close to you. Without support, you can become your own worst enemy, letting fear and doubt from outside influences invade every thought until it brings you to a standstill. You need to surround yourself with a small group of people who share your spiritual beliefs, validate your feelings, respect your circumstances, and honor and support your decisions. When other people discourage you from using your embryos, you need trusted friends who will build you up and spur you on towards your dreams.
Choose people that you feel comfortable being vulnerable with, who will maintain confidentiality, and that you can trust with your raw emotions. These people will understand that you have been through all the considerations in your head and do not feel a need to complicate your thoughts with their own opinions. Rather, they consider it an honor to be trusted with the intimate details of your lives and their humility is apparent. They are quietly supportive, encouraging, and provide you with a safe place where you can let it all out without reservation.
Friends, we know this can be one of the toughest obstacles to overcome when you’re deciding what to do with your embryos. We’ve encountered this in our own journey, and actually, we’re still experiencing it to some degree. We expect it will continue as we expand our family further.
The opinions, concerns, and thoughts of well-meaning friends and family can be overwhelming and can easily cloud your thinking, leading to doubt, fear, and discouragement. In order to move forward with your decision to have more children, you will have to tune into God and yourselves and tune out the rest. In fact, Scott and I have consistently put all these points to practice in our own lives, allowing us to proceed forward with confidence. If you need more support and encouragement as you walk out your life with your embryos, we warmly invite you to join our email list and become part of our private FB community so you can interact with other parents just like you.
Remember, when other people discourage you from using your embryos and having more kids, don’t be afraid to step back. Then, thoughtfully consider all outcomes, re-evaluate, limit your sharing, pray, and surround yourself with a small circle of people who will support you as you grow your family.
Praying peace and holy courage over you.
Are You Struggling With What To Do With Your Leftover Embryos? We would love to help.
Get our free 10-Step Guide to help you take the next steps on your journey with your leftover frozen embryos and begin to live with peace in your hearts. We’ve personally followed each step in this guide on our own journey – and over time we’ve received discernment, clear direction, and hope.
Kindly fill out the form below to get the password for our Resource Library so you can access the guide. We hope you find it helpful, encouraging, thought-provoking, and full of inspiration for your journey.
P.S. If you need additional support or guidance as you consider your choices with your embryos, please join our private FB community, Leftover Frozen Embryos Support Group. Here, we talk in real time with other parents about the difficulties of living life with leftover frozen embryos and the options we have moving forward. You can also join our email list to receive support, encouragement, and updates on new content and our personal journey.