Monthly Archives: February 2010

Panic or Peace During Infertility

Information is power.  That’s the presumption that drives the incessant desire to gather facts and statistics when couples discover they’ve entered the realm of infertility.  But what happens when the data is conflicting and the messages contradictory?

This week, one group of experts announced IVF babies are no more likely than naturally-conceived babies to suffer chronic health problems later in life.  The same day, another study declared women’s fertility drops off at a much faster rate than previously imagined, as does egg quality [By age 30, 88% of a woman’s eggs are gone; by age 40, only 3% remain – and are likely to contain a higher proportion of abnormal eggs].

So is the news good, or bad?   Should we be encouraged, or disheartened?

This is a particularly difficult question for Type A women.  The same vigilant monitoring of relevant information that makes us a success at work, causes tremendous stress during infertility.  Each bit of news forces us to adjust our perception of reality, so we can factor the newest variable into our calculations.  It’s tiring, but we keep pushing because we tell ourselves it’s critically important.

The problem is, the onslaught of good news-bad news-good news-bad news keeps coming.  And the clock keeps ticking.  Over time, the constant uncertainty about how this will end – and when – becomes increasingly destabilizing.  With each day, the emotional roller coaster seems more and more likely to careen out of control – taking us with it.  It’s crazy and exhausting… but what is the alternative?




“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.”  Jesus spoke these words as he promised the presence of the Holy Spirit to those who trust him.  “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” [John 14:27].  How can we possibly experience peace in the midst of infertility?  How can we hear statistics and read news reports and not be filled with fear that our dreams won’t be realized?

The apostle Paul provides the answer, “It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life” [Phillipians 4:7].  That new center enables us to focus on whom we trust, rather than what we fear.  And from that center, “peace that passes understanding” can radiate in all directions.  Faith can gain the upper hand on fear, if we choose this new focal point.

So, what will you choose to think about today, and what will it bring you:  panic, or on peace?


Find resources and more cause for hope at

[tweetmeme source=”pregnantwhope” only_single=false]

Leave a comment

Filed under Control, Peace

A Dream Alters the Course of Infertility

What does it mean when something more-than-coincidental happens?   Two nights ago, a friend had a dream that altered the trajectory of her infertility story.

Nancy dreamed that her reproductive endocrinologist was out of town, so another physician from the practice performed the retrieval.  He put her eggs in a glass container, added water, then dumped sperm into the glass.  When she discovered what had happened, she was hysterical and had to be moved to a different room where nurses tried to console her.

It would be easy enough to write this off — an infertile woman, stressing prior to her last IVF cycle, continues to worry during sleep – except that the next day, the dream proved prophetic.

Nancy went to her appointment.  Sure enough, her physician was out of town.  A colleague would see her.  It was the man from her dream.  Laughing, she told him, “I had a dream about you last night.”  She shared the whole story, and he decided to pull her chart.  The chart said IVF, but no mention of ICSI.  Just as her dream had shown her, sperm and egg would be combined, but not using the right protocol.

Was God in that?  It’s easy to stand outside the story and say, yes, of course.  But it’s harder to be in the middle of the story – in the midst of infertility – and believe that God is actively participating in how it unfolds.  Why is that?  Maybe because our expectations can limit God.  We’re not sure He shares our dream of parenting, or we’re not sure He cares enough to get involved in our story, or we don’t believe He actually talks to anyone any more.  Whatever the reason, our lack of faith limits our ability to perceive His presence.

The Bible says, “…God does speak—now one way, now another—though men may not perceive it.  In a dream… he may speak in their ears…” [Job 33:15].  Nancy did not initially perceive her dream as a warning, but still, she shared it.  Her substitute doctor did not initially sense a problem, but still, he checked on it.  By responding to the message of the dream – and the possibility that it held meaning – they invited God to alter the trajectory of the story.  That led to another discussion which opened the door to another blessing.  The doctor told her about a new, experimental protocol that could further increase the odds of success.  Nancy qualified; was she interested?

Would she have told her regular doctor about the dream?  Would that doctor have double-checked the chart?  Would the mistake have been caught in time?  Would anyone have noticed if it hadn’t?  Would the experimental protocol have been mentioned?  Would all of this (or any of it) have happened without the dream?

Nancy doesn’t know… and she’s still waiting to see what the outcome of this IVF cycle will be.  Maybe there will be a baby, and it will be clear in hindsight that God willed this series of events into being.  Or, maybe there won’t be, and she will have peace that everything scientifically possible was done correctly on her last IVF cycle.  Then, she and her husband will turn confidently to adoption.  Either way, she knows she is moving in the direction of God’s best, and she’s confident that He is part of her story.

Listen, and He will speak to you in yours.


Find more resources and cause for hope at

[tweetmeme source=”pregnantwhope” only_single=false]

Leave a comment

Filed under Blessings, Trust

To Everyone Who Doesn’t Understand Infertility…

On September 27th, a baby boy was born to a Catholic couple in Ohio.  Why was that news?  Not because their baby boy was conceived using IVF, but because the implanted embryo wasn’t theirs.  It belonged to another infertile couple whose fertilized eggs were mistakenly implanted.

With all its inherent controversy, this story – which received national coverage — invited readers to stare in disbelief at the terrible collision of two families’ dreams, just as we often do at a horrific highway accident.  Look at that tragedy, we were prompted to think.  How devastating for the families.  How heartbreaking.  And then, having seen all there was to see, we were expected to accelerate past the suffering and get on with our lives.

Why not?  Was there a more appropriate response?

Actually, yes.  Unlike gapers who block roads for no greater purpose than to satisfy morbid curiosity, when we slow down to look carefully at this story, we learn important things about the challenge of infertility and the powerful witness of those who face it.

Infertile couples are all around us.  One in every six couples of childbearing age is currently struggling with it.  Because of the perceived social stigma, and society’s tabloid fascination with other people’s suffering, most of the struggle goes on silently and secretly.  Infertile couples crave community to fight off isolation and compassion to offset grief, but rarely do they find it.  Even at church.  So, they cling to their spouses and hope that God hasn’t abandoned them.

When the Catholic couple discovered they were pregnant with another couple’s child, they faced a terrible choice:  abort, or carry a stranger’s baby to term.  An impossible, gut-wrenching decision no longing-to-be parent should ever have to make.  What did they decide?   “At the end of the day, there’s a life coming,” said Sean Savage, the surrogate-father-to-be.  “Even though it’s in an unusual way, it’s still a gift.”

Despite their deep desire to have a baby, they chose to trust God’s purpose over their need.  They decided to live into their faith in God’s goodness in the midst of their nightmare.

On the surface, that’s a shocking response to a head-on collision between the dream of parenting and the reality of a fertility clinic error.  “Why me?!” seems much more likely.  But, the struggle with infertility can be a blessing-in-disguise when it tests – and strengthens — our faith, and when it gives us an opportunity to live what we believe.

The Savages faced an impossibly difficult situation and chose to rely on grace, one day at a time, for nine painful months.  According to the news coverage, they made it.

Other infertile couples can, too.

How can you help them?

First, remember that childlessness can be – but isn’t always – a choice.   Even those with children sometimes struggle to conceive again.  And, infertility stories are painful.  So, as with a multi-car accident, get involved only if you plan to offer help.  If you have nothing to offer, keep moving.

Second, encourage your local church and community leaders to provide support for infertile couples.  It’s possible to educate, extend compassion and build community at virtually no expense – and with great results.  Be a part of bringing blessings into the lives of those who long for them.

Third, if you know a couple struggling with infertility, remind them that they are not alone.  Encourage them to talk with friends, family, counselors or other congregants.  Do whatever you can to give them hope and help them heal.

That’s a much better response than just driving by.


Find more resources and cause for hope at

[tweetmeme source=”pregnantwhope” only_single=false]

Leave a comment

Filed under Bystanders, Perspective

Do All Things Work Together for Good with Infertility?

Periodically, someone asks me if there is a single Bible verse that gives hope when nothing else can.  For me, there is.  I clung to it through what seemed like something out of the book of Job.

In the span of a few years, my parents died tragically.  I miscarried twins – one at a time.  Our baby had a hole in the heart.   There was another miscarriage.  A cross-country move.  A demanding residency.  A fragile pregnancy.  Five months of bedrest.   A premature birth.  A cancer diagnosis.  Chemo with a newborn….  And so much more.

It was relentless.

Wave after wave engulfed us.  We were constantly in survival mode.  Crisis was our “normal.”  Surely, no one would’ve chosen to live our story.  And yet… our marriage grew stronger.  Our daughter survived open heart surgery.  Our premature baby thrived.  The cancer was misdiagnosed.

Every time we felt our heads going under water, we found our feet under us.   Whenever we felt we couldn’t go on any longer, we’d get a moment of unexpected rest.  God was keeping his promise, “Don’t be afraid, because I am with you. Don’t be intimidated; I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will support you with my victorious right hand” [Isaiah 41:10].

So is that verse from Isaiah my favorite?  No, because God gave us more than just the strength to withstand.  He transformed our struggles into these valuable lessons:

1)      Take nothing for granted – Not life, not health, not prosperity or safety.  Not a baby’s heart beat, or a family’s support.  It’s all a gift.  We realized we are not entitled to joy, and it is never guaranteed.  So when those amazing moments come, we should pause and give God our thanks.

2)      Value each other’s contributions – Neither of us could have survived the onslaught of stress and grief alone.  We needed each other’s love, humor, grace, and tears.  Every trial strengthened our commitment to protecting our relationship at all costs.  That forged a solid foundation for our family.

3)      Learn to trust God’s plan and purpose – We would never have written our script; we would have made everything come easily.  But in hindsight, we see that the struggle made us stronger – our faith, our marriage, our passion for parenting, our sense of purpose.  Everything is more focused, concentrated, purposeful.  It has surprised us… but not God.

So, given all that, this is my favorite verse:  “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” [Romans 8:28].  Our journey gave us the proof.  We now know the power of this promise, and the peace that comes from claiming it in the midst of any circumstances.

Don’t be afraid of the hard road.  It leads you to God’s very best.


Find more resources and cause for hope at

[tweetmeme source=”pregnantwhope” only_single=false]

Leave a comment

Filed under Perspective, Trust

Exceedingly, abundantly… Despite Infertility

I met Kirsten and Mike when they were well into their infertility journey.  They’d had a spontaneous miscarriage at 18 weeks.  “When you go through a miscarriage that’s further along in a pregnancy,” Kirsten said, “a big, huge hole opens up in your life.  You feel like you’re completely isolated.  You know in your mind that other people have gone through this, but you never expect it to happen to you.”

When they felt ready to try again, they had four unsuccessful IUIs and an IVF cycle that resulted in no embryos.  Their doctor, a well-known infertility expert, told them they had infertility “of unknown origin” – and then dropped a bomb.  As Mike recalled, “The doctor actually said to us, ‘You will never have kids.’  It took every bit of emotional strength to try to get through it.  Kirsten was nuts.  She was hitting herself and saying, ‘I’m worthless!’  It was really tough.”

Their doctor pushed them toward egg donation.  Mike was willing to think seriously about international adoption.  But Kirsten felt a need to try IVF one last time.  “I needed a period at the end of the sentence that said, ‘It will not work.’”  They found a doctor at Cornell who was trying a new IVF protocol.

When Kirsten woke up from the retrieval, they’d recovered ten eggs.  “Now, there was hope,” Mike remembered.  A couple days later, there were five embryos.   After the transfer, they flew home and waited for test results.  The call came.  She was pregnant.   “I didn’t relax the entire pregnancy,” said Mike.  “It was horrible – I was so anxious something would happen.  I didn’t exhale until the babies came.”

Two of them.  A boy and a girl.

“God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! [Eph 3:20]”

Their dismal track record indicated no chance.  Their doctor said, not possible.  Their common sense told them, not realistic.  Their fear repeated, not happening.  But their faith affirmed, I still believe.  And God breathed life into their hope.

The story doesn’t end there.

They brought their twins by to visit me recently.  Laughing as they shared the news, they told me, “We’re pregnant again.”  This time, it’s completely natural.  Unplanned.  Definitely unexpected.  A total gift from God.

He can do anything.


Find more resources and cause for hope at

[tweetmeme source=”pregnantwhope” only_single=false]

Leave a comment

Filed under Battles, Blessings, Hope

Rabbits, Pickles and the Fight to Control Infertility

I just heard from a woman who adopted years ago, and is now watching close friends struggle with infertility.  She wrote:

“They are desperately trying to have a child…even eating tons of rabbit meat…someone told them rabbits are prolific so maybe eating them would help…not joking.”

Okay, what the heck?  Except… we tried all sorts of crazy things, too.  Someone told me I should eat lots of pickles, since that’s what pregnant women crave.  So, for weeks, I choked them down.  Never having been a fan before forced consumption, I learned to hate them in a whole new way when my next cycle started right on time.

It’s laughable now.  But it wasn’t then.  We were dead serious about getting what we wanted, and if pickles were the path to parenthood, so be it.

When we can’t have what we desperately want, our common impulse it seize control. That’s human nature.  The behavior can seem ridiculous – eating tons of rabbit meat, choking down jars of pickles.  Or, it can appear rational – buying ovulation predictors by the case, scheduling major life events around doctor’s appointments.  But bottom line, it’s all about the fight for control.

Part of the purpose of this infertility journey is to help us realize we are not in control.  We can’t be, no matter how desperately we want to be.  That unwelcome realization brings every couple to a fork in the road where a choice must be made:  resist the truth, or embrace it.

Resist it, and you doom yourself to a lot of heartache.  Control is an illusion.  A mirage.  An unattainable goal.  If you commit yourself to gaining control of this situation no matter what it costs, you will pay a very high price.  And you still may not have a child.

But, embrace the truth and you make room for God in your story.  You stop investing energy in pretending you know the answers, and recognize the wisdom, power and authority of the only one who truly does.  Instead of worshipping the illusion of control, you worship the one who has it – and you humbly acknowledge your need for his help.

It’s the only choice that makes sense.  And it’s the path that leads where you want to go.


Find more resources and cause for hope at

[tweetmeme source=”pregnantwhope” only_single=false]

1 Comment

Filed under Control, Humility

Infertility and the Price of Pride

A few days ago, I heard a woman in a radio commercial say:

“I can’t afford pride.  I’ve got bills to pay and obligations to meet….”

I started thinking, what price do we pay for pride?  And why do we do it?  As we’re going through infertility, what does it cost us – and is it worth it?

Every year, advertisers spend billions trying to convince us that if we don’t buy what they’re selling, we risk becoming social outcasts – judged by the world, and found lacking.  It’s easy enough to see through the strategy, but there are times when it’s difficult to resist the underlying message.  Essentially, that message is:  “you are the star in the only story that matters.  The one everyone is watching.  If you don’t meet or exceed expectations, instead of feeling proud of all the attention, you are going to feel shame.”

That’s a very toxic message, and one we receive hundreds of times a day.  Without realizing it, with enough exposure, we start to believe it’s the truth.  Our egos only serve to confirm it:  yes, I’m important.  It’s all about me.

So, to avoid public humiliation, we focus our attention on protecting the secret that, for some reason, we can’t have a baby.  This choice adds tremendous pressure to the already-stressful infertility experience.  It enables us to avoid the imaginary spotlight – but at the cost of separation, isolation, and the loss of support and encouragement we so desperately need.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

God says the opposite of pride isn’t shame; it’s humility.  It’s acknowledging that we aren’t the center of the universe, and life isn’t all about us.  Although that realization may be a slight bruise to the ego, it’s also a great relief.  It means we don’t have to be perfect; God already knows we’re flawed.  We don’t have to earn our blessings; God already intends to give them to us.  We don’t have to explain our childlessness; God has a plan and a purpose for this journey.  All we need to do is trust Him.

“To you, O Lord, I life up my soul; in you I trust, O my God.  No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame….” [Psalm 25:1-3].


Find more resources and cause for hope at

[tweetmeme source=”pregnantwhope” only_single=false]

Leave a comment

Filed under Control, Humility

Out-of-the-Box Thinking About Battling Infertility

What if instead of keeping your infertility a secret you actually told everyone?  I mean EVERYONE.  Before you say, “Never!” read this excerpt of a story from the San Francisco Chronicle:

Molly and Brian Walsh were in their mid-30’s when they married.  They wanted to start a family, but Brian has Marfan’s syndrome, a connective tissue disease, and they did not want to pass it on to their child.  They needed $25-30,000 for IVF with PGD (pre-implantation genetic diagnosis).  They saved $10,000.  Then, they did what is to many infertile couples unthinkable:  they went public.  In a big way.  The decision to go public was not easy, but ultimately, this was a race against the clock.  They used email, Facebook and Twitter to invite friends to a “Makin’ Whoopie” wine tasting party, at $35 a head.  Not only did 100 friends agree to attend, they also donated trips, tours, art and wine for a silent auction.  Many also offered up stories of their own struggles with fertility to encourage the Walshes in their pursuit of a healthy, successful pregnancy.

Funds raised:  $8000.  Hope renewed:  priceless.

What do you think?  Outrageous?  Inspired?  Unimaginable?  Whatever you may think about the idea, I think there’s a lot to learn from the story.  Here are some examples you could follow:

  1. Face the truth – For Molly & Brian, inheritable genetic defects indicated IVF with PGD.  And that required a big budget.  Money was tight and time was short.  The facts weren’t encouraging, but facing them squarely gave them a starting point.
  2. Set pride aside – The one variable they could control was their insistence on privacy.  Once they realized they needed assistance to reach their goal, the choice was clear:  forget pride, get help.  All that required was humility.
  3. Come out of hiding – The party invitation read:  “You can’t help us in the bedroom, but you can help us make a baby.”  Pretense was pointless, as was secrecy.  They sent invitations to hundreds of people – some of whom they hadn’t seen or talked to in years.
  4. Ask for help – Their request for help explained their situation and invited people who cared to be part of the solution.  The humility inherent in their appeal was irresistible to many of those they contacted.
  5. Invite openness – After publicly telling their story, the Walshes experienced an unexpected blessing:  “Our friends shared amazing stories with us on Facebook – successes, as well as struggles and challenges.”  The Walsh’s willingness to share their story opened the door for other couples to do the same.
  6. Build community –  Before this, Brian Walsh said, “we had felt like a private island in no-man’s land – surrounded by friends who have kids.”  Knowing about other couples’ struggles “made it easier.”  The Walshes formed new bonds with old friends whose success conceiving had seemed to create a wall of separation; now, they shared a common foe (infertility) and a common goal (parenthood).
  7. Encourage investment – The Walsh’s friends literally invested in the outcome of their infertility journey.  But even figurative investments translate into ongoing support & concern, instead of perceived judgment or unwelcome pity.
  8. Leave a legacyThe Walsh’s creative campaign not only raised funds, it also created a huge network of loving future godparents – each of whom is deeply invested in breathing life into the dream of a Walsh family.  What a legacy… for this newly-strengthened community of friends, and for the Walsh’s much-anticipated child.

I believe the example the Walshes set is relevant to every infertility journey.  Not the party, necessarily… but the logic behind it.  The Bible teaches that we are one body [I Cor 12:22-27].  We need each other.  We are intended to bear each other’s burdens, and share each other’s joys.  How can that happen if infertile couples refuse to share their secret, ask for help, build community, or invite others to become invested in their success?

Party or no party, I think the Walshes are onto something.

What do you think?


Find more resources and cause for hope at

[tweetmeme source=”pregnantwhope” only_single=false]

Leave a comment

Filed under Blessings, Bystanders, Control

Paying It Forward After Infertility

Here is a unique story with a great outcome.  I was able to use our experience to help Kendra’s mother get comfortable with the biological and ethical issues of the process….”

This is part of an email that landed in my inbox today.  It’s from a man who went through the infertility Bible study I taught for several years.  He and his wife shared their inspirational story in Pregnant with Hope, and they continue to “pay forward” the blessings of God by reaching out to other infertile couples.

He jokes that his wife can’t run an errand without meeting someone who happens to be going through infertility – “she’s like a magnet!”  She takes these encounters very seriously – believing God has pre-ordained them because of her own experience – and so she prays over each of these new friends.  As much as he teases her about it, he seems to be doing his part to pay it forward, too.

Here’s the story he played a small part in, excerpted from a recent newspaper article:

When Kendra Allen lay in a maternity ward at Baptist Hospital in Nashville two years ago, giving birth to a son whose heart had stopped beating, her friend Nita was there. Kendra’s doctors told her she would never be able to have another child. She had developed a serious condition requiring weeks of bed rest and intravenous fluids with her first pregnancy. This pregnancy was even worse, and doctors warned she might not survive a third one.

So, Kendra and her husband began thinking about finding a surrogate mother. Kendra asked Nita and other friends to pray for her.  Nita supported the idea but never thought of herself as a viable candidate. For one thing Nita was almost 49. She also had difficult pregnancies in the past, ruling out a normal delivery. When another surrogate candidate dropped out, though, Nita volunteered.

In January, the two friends were back in the maternity ward. This time, Nita was giving birth, as surrogate mother for the newborn son of Kendra and John. No money ever changed hands; this surrogacy was about faith and friendship.  Both couples believe they have experienced a miracle and are “reveling in the graciousness and generosity of God,” said Kendra. “God is dancing with us and celebrating the life of this child.”

It’s hard to see the blessings in our own seasons of suffering, and hard to imagine that our suffering can be redeemed.  Truth be told, if we were offered a choice between accruing blessings amidst suffering or sidestepping suffering altogether, we’d probably take the latter.

Give me what I want now, and I’ll forgo the blessings later.  That’s the selfish, me-centric perspective that is part of our human nature.

But sometimes, God has a plan that incorporates our current suffering into a miraculous larger story.  The challenge, of course, is that we aren’t told how – or when – the story will unfold.  So, we must trust the author of the story and the promise that “all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose” [Rom 8:28].

Brian, the email’s author, would never have chosen to struggle through infertility.  But, his experience of God’s very real presence in and through it equipped him to talk with Kendra Allen’s mother.  To testify to God’s faithfulness, and to explain what Kendra was contemplating through the perspective of his own journey.  That helped her to be supportive – which was one piece of the larger puzzle that came together to create the picture of a new family.

Why does this matter to you?  It means that nothing you are experiencing is pointless.  It is part of the story that is unfolding in, through, and around you.  A story that is not just about you – but also about God’s faithfulness, purposefulness, and desire to work all things together for good.  He wants to work a miracle in your story, and then, to give you a role to play in other couple’s journeys.

One day, you, too, will have a chance to pay it forward.


Find more resources and cause for hope at

[tweetmeme source=”pregnantwhope” only_single=false]

Leave a comment

Filed under Blessings, Bystanders, Speaking Up

They’re Clueless About Infertility

For infertile couples, part of the frustration – and a major source of heartache – is other people’s cluelessness.  It may be rooted in ignorance, inexperience, a lack of social skills, or pure self-absorption.  Whatever the reason, the words of others can cause deep, lasting pain to hearts that are already fragile.

Just after I miscarried twins, we called my husband’s brother to share our heartbreaking news.  We had no idea that he and his wife were also planning to start a family.  His reaction?  “That’s too bad… but now we’ll have the first grandchild!!”

I was speechless.  It took everything I had to get to the end of the phone call.

Thankfully, it’s not always that bad.  But people can be incredibly insensitive.  Has that been your experience?  People you think of as loving family or supportive friends suddenly seem incapable of saying anything helpful?  Instead, their words slice right through your spirit and take your breath away?

It’s a common problem for couples going through infertility.

People you trust and care about will be thoughtless enough to ask, “why haven’t you two started a family?”  Or, they’ll hand out gratuitous, unsolicited advice like, “just adopt – you’ll get pregnant right away” or, “go on vacation – that’s how we got pregnant” or, “stop worrying about it – it’ll happen sooner or later” – as if tossing these tidbits is all it takes to help you.

Surely, they don’t mean to be heartless.  Or patronizing.  Or dismissive of the challenge you face.  But, all too often, they pour salt in your wound.  When the tears threaten to pour down your cheeks, you may wonder, am I being oversensitive?  Too defensive?

I don’t think so.

It is hard to explain this journey to someone who hasn’t made it – the stress… the fear… the tension… the uncertainty… the worry… the anger… the grief… the sense of being far removed from everyone and everything “normal”… the inability to get on with your life because you’ve put everything on hold.

How do you say all of that in the middle of a phone call?  Or a church hallway?  Or a restaurant?

You can’t.

But, here’s what you can do:

Set some boundaries – Recognize that you know better than anyone else what helps you now – and what doesn’t.  Set firm, healthy boundaries that will protect your vulnerable heart.  Make choices that fill your spirit with hope and surround you with people who truly understand how to help.  Say “no” to people and events that leave you empty, discouraged, or afraid.  Remember, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power….” [II Tim 1:7].  Use that power to enforce good boundaries.

Give some grace – It’s hard to imagine trying to muster compassion for someone whose remark has just reduced you to tears.  The temptation is to focus on the pain they’ve caused.  Don’t do it.  Release it, reclaim your hope, and let God heal your wound.  As Jesus prayed, “…forgive them, they know not what they do” [Luke 23:34].

Find some community – You may be looking to the wrong community for encouragement and hope.  If family and friends have failed to offer meaningful support, seek out other couples who understand this journey.  Meet with a counselor or clergy member who is not afraid to confront your feelings.  And claim this promise, “…hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us” [Romans 5:5].  When no one else stands with you, God delivers His hope to you through the Holy Spirit.

Make some progress – There is no greater satisfaction in this journey than sensing forward progress.  Instead of measuring it just by test results or egg harvests, learn to measure progress this way:  “… let us throw off everything that hinders us… and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” [Heb 12:1-2].  Hurtful remarks hinder us.  So does dwelling on them.  If we are to run with perseverance, then this isn’t likely to be a sprint.  We must pace ourselves – and applaud every bit of progress we make.

The Finish Line is waiting.  Don’t be distracted by the voices of the crowd.


Find more resources and cause for hope at

[tweetmeme source=”pregnantwhope” only_single=false]

Leave a comment

Filed under Bystanders, Speaking Up