I met Brent & Cathi the first time they came to the infertility Bible study group. At that point, Cathi was so exhausted by the emotional toll of infertility, it took enormous effort to hold herself together. Tears were very close to the surface. Several times they spilled over and poured down her cheeks. Brent was doing his best to be stoic-yet-supportive. It was clear they were struggling mightily.
A year later, when I interviewed the two of them for Pregnant with Hope, they spoke candidly about the challenge of being surrounded by countless fertile friends, all of whom seemed to conceive effortlessly. They acknowledged having wrestled many times with feelings of anger, resentment, jealousy, self-pity, confusion, heartache and more as they struggled. They also spoke of the deep desire to join the ranks of the “alumni” (couples who’d completed the infertility course and gone on to become parents), and the fear that made that seem impossible whenever bad news overwhelmed them.
So, it was with great joy that I read the article, “Couple Realize Dream of Being Parents” in the newspaper a few days ago. Take a minute to enjoy the story, and then remind yourself that the Bible says, “No one who trusts God like this — heart and soul — will ever regret it. It’s exactly the same no matter what a person’s religious background may be: the same God for all of us, acting in the same incredibly generous way to everyone who calls out for help. Everyone who calls, ‘Help, God!’ gets help” [Romans 10:12, the Message].
Here’s the story as it appeared 3/28/10….
“When it came to having children, Cathi Hilpert never thought she’d have a problem. The freelance writer married her husband, Brent, in 2000 and wasn’t in any hurry to start a family. ‘We were married for some time before we started trying,’ she said. ‘I always thought I’d pop one out right away, so we took our time.’ But, it wasn’t long before Hilpert realized that having a baby was not going to be as easy as she’d assumed. After consulting doctors and specialists, she began a rigorous treatment that included test, drugs and needles. ‘It was pretty intense,’ she recalled.
She and her husband soon found that being infertile absorbed their private lives and spilled into their social circle. It became increasingly difficult to be around children or to discuss their feelings with friends. ‘When you’re going through it, you often don’t have friends who understand,’ she said. ‘It was even hard to go to church — a very hard place to be infertile. You’re surrounded by children, and there’s a lot of talk about children being blessings. You start to wonder, ‘Have I done something wrong that I’m not blessed?’
After a year of dealing with the anguish on their own, the couple discovered a class led by author Susan Radulovacki and based on her book, Pregnant with Hope. In the fall of 2008, Hilpert and her husband began attending regular sessions for infertile couples. ‘We really wanted to meet other people going through it,’ Hilpert said. ‘This class was a safe place to share our feelings. That’s probably the biggest challenge of infertility: as much as friends and family empathize, it’s really difficult for them to understand.’
Brent Hilpert, a 34-year-old chemistry teacher, described the couple’s two-year struggle as ‘isolating.’ He said, ‘My wife and I looked for any resource we could find and there was very little out there. The class was especially helpful because it gave me a place to talk about all of these issues with other men.’
Last November, after nine months of an uncomplicated pregnancy resulting from IVF, Cathi Hilpert, 32, fulfilled her dream of becoming a mother when her daughter Molly was born. But, she and her husband still attend the class to share their story with other couples. ‘There are so many people who go through hell to build a family,’ she said. ‘We want to be supportive of others as they go through the process.’
Hilpert said she knows ‘the whole experience made us different parents than if we hadn’t gone through the infertility journey. I have a little more patience than I may have had. I love being a mom and can’t imagine my life any other way than with kids.'”
The same faithful God who brought Brent and Cathi to the moment they longed for, and placed Molly safely in their arms, has a plan that will lead your life to intersect with the life of a particular child who needs you. That is why He placed the seed of hope in your heart. That is why He has nurtured and protected it, even as you have suffered through loss after grief after heartache. He will execute His plan perfectly (if you do not willfully alter its course), as soon as all the pieces are in place.
Until then, trust Him… and visualize that reporter calling you to say, “So, how did your story begin?”
For more resources and cause for hope, visit PregnantWithHope.com