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.

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Find more resources and cause for hope at PregnantWithHope.com

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