Monthly Archives: May 2010

Infertility on Mother’s Day

It’s the worst:  sitting in the pew, watching as more and more women stand in response to the pastor’s annual question.  “How many of you are new mothers this year?  Please stand.  How many are mothers of two children?  Please stand.  How many mothers of three children?  Please stand – and all of you stay standing.  How many mothers of four children?  Of fiveOf sixMore than six?!  Oh my goodness gracious!”

That’s our pastor’s verbal salute to the mothers of the congregation.

In response, every year, the congregants give a round of applause.  Flowers are handed to the mother(s) with the most children, and then all the hundreds of mothers beam and look slightly embarrassed… but remain standing.  For what feels like five minutes.

I’ve noticed other women in our congregation also stand every year.  They’re the ones who do their best to slip out discreetly when they realize this is a nightmare.  Tears streaming, heads down, arms folded protectively across breaking hearts, they scoot up the side aisles – trying to escape the grief that will follow them out of the sanctuary and into the world.

It’s Mother’s Day.  And some women still aren’t mothers.

What do you say to the God who watches silently?  The God who has heard and answered the prayers of countless women – all of whom get a round of applause?  Did He hear the prayers of infertile women?  Yes?  Then why didn’t He answer?

That is the question no minister tackles on Mother’s Day:  Why, God?

No one’s willing to shatter the silence – to talk about one of the deepest, most painful secrets couples can share.  And so, the stigma that compounds suffering remains intact.  As does the unspoken consensus that infertility is a curse – or at least, the absence of a much-desired blessing.  But, why?  No one seems willing to say.

Pregnant with Hope: Good News for Infertile Couples was written to speak scripture-based, God-inspired hope into the deafening silence around infertility.  The kind of hope that has the power to transform circumstances and change lives.

Clergy have not been silent in response.  They have been unanimous in their praise:

“Beautifully written – full of excellent theology and pastoral compassion.  I wish this resource had been available for the past 30 years.”

“An incredible resource for those working to foster environments in which lives are transformed and hope is found.”

“It invites couples on a journey of hope and healing of the kind only God can give.  This is a book for struggling couples, and for those of us who love them and often don’t know what to say or do.  I’m so thankful for this resource.”

“Amazing and much-needed.”

“As a psychologist, and as a pastor for 30 years in the African-American community, I have long awaited a book like this.  It gives me a significant, practical, spiritual tool to serve couples who find themselves facing infertility.”

This Mother’s Day, give yourself the gift of answers to your most pressing questions.  Let Pregnant with Hope help you hear the voice of the God who has heard your prayers.  Once you see and understand what He is doing, in and through your infertility journey, you will find peace in the midst of uncertainty.

And one day, it will be your turn to stand when you hear, “How many of you are new mothers this year?”


P.S. Forward this blog to your pastor, or send me his/her email and I will do so on your behalf (  The only way to be heard is to speak up.  Happy Mother’s Day to all the future moms!  XO, Susan


Find more resources and cause for hope at

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Coaching Infertile Couples

What does a fertility coach do?  Who uses one, and why?  Even if you don’t have — or want one — can you learn anything valuable from one?

Meet Anya Sizer, a fertility coach for three years and, as of yesterday, the Fertility Support Coordinator for London Women’s Clinic.  Her role is “to help couples look for ways through The Maze,” and to help them maintain their equilibrium in the process.

If you were considering working with her, and were meeting her for the first time, she’d start by sharing her story.  “Infertility was one of the toughest battles of my life,” she says.  “I really struggled in every way.”  Now the mother of two children conceived through IVF, she is certain “God is the one who got me through my struggles — and now, He’s put me in the position of being able to help others.”

As an infertility “alumna” with life coach training, she brings both compassion and empowering wisdom to each unique relationship.  Because of her experience — both personal and professional — “I’m in a good position to support others,” she says.

The role she plays in each couple’s infertility journey is rooted in scripture:  “I believe we should comfort others with the comfort we received.”  That pay-it-forward mentality derives from II Corinthians 1: 3-4, but Anya doesn’t necessarily say so to her clients.  “My faith is completely essential to every area of my life, and my work is simply a part of that.”

Anya’s primary role is to help couples look at the big picture.  “Together, we look at what is needed, what will help, how to build a strong support team, and what unique resources they can bring to the situation.”

Ultimately, her goal is to equip couples to deal with infertility in healthy ways that respect the participants, their relationship, and the need for emotional and psychological balance throughout the journey.  Personal experience has taught her that’s easier said than done.

“One client decided some very negative things about herself and her body after failed IVF cycles.  She was thinking it was all over… that her body was faulty.  We looked at the truth, rather than the emotions.  Ultimately, she decided to carry on with treatment, but far more importantly, she stopped berating herself and her body for not doing better.”

What messages does Anya hope every infertile couple will internalize?  “That God loves you and hasn’t forgotten you.  That it’s okay to feel angry, sad, frustrated, and everything in between.  That God is big enough to deal with that.  That you can keep going.  That you’ve got to get support, and that you are NOT alone.”

How does she communicate those messages?   By embodying compassion, modeling grace, and encouraging forgiveness (of partners, and of selves).  She guides couples through the infertility journey in God-honoring ways, whether she mentions God or not.  “Ninety percent of my clients aren’t Christians,” she explains, “but I know God still cares and loves them.”

What’s the most satisfying part of her work?  “I worked with one client for about two years,” she recalls.  “She faced such a huge battle… and yet she fought on, and now she has a beautiful little girl.  After her daughter was born, she invited me to meet this little miracle.”

How was that moment?



For more resources and cause for hope, visit

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Infertility’s Greatest Hits

I just bought an IPod Shuffle.  I can load any songs I choose, and it will play them randomly — over, and over, and over — until an ISomething that’s newer and better comes along.  I can’t control which song plays, but it’s always something I’ve made part of my personal collection.

It got me thinking about infertility and how we play the same words over and over in our minds.  We choose the playlist, but assume we have no control over what we’re hearing.

When test results come back and they’re nothing like what we wanted, it’s as if someone pushes Play and one of our sad songs starts up:  “I’ll Never Have What I Want, Gotta Learn to Love What I Have,” or “It’s That Same Old Song, and It’s Playing Again for Me,” or “She’s Got A Baby, Ain’t Nothin’ Fair About It.”  It’s deeply discouraging.  And, it’s easy to tell ourselves we have no choice but to listen.

That’s a lie.

You know who told us that lie?  It wasn’t the voice of Truth.  All through scripture, God tells us not to be afraid, not to worry, not to doubt.  Over and over, He tells us, “Trust me.  I have a plan and a purpose.”  Jesus reaffirms these promises throughout the New Testament.  So, why isn’t that the voice we hear?  Because we’re busy listening to something else.

“Fear is the false expectation appearing real.”

I saw those words on the sign outside a tiny church not far from my home.  I got thinking… “The false expectation” is the thought that our infertility journey will have a negative outcome.  That when we reach the end of this, it will have been for nothing and there will be no baby for us.  When that thought appears real — when it’s another failed cycle and another round of heartache — we feel fear.  What if it never happens?

When we give in to that fear, we open the door to a cascade of negative thoughts that flood our minds with despair and doubt — leaving little room for God’s truth.  It’s a terrible choice.  It’s one most of us make unconsciously, as if we can’t control the thoughts we think, or the words our minds speak to our hearts.

But we can.

Here’s what we need to do: take these negative thoughts captive, and replace them with hope.  How?  By rejecting the false expectation that our stories will end tragically, and instead, building our hope on a foundation of faith.

How do we do that?  By claiming the promises of scripture as our own.  After all, they are God’s promises to us.  As Joel Osteen’s congregation says every week, “This is my Bible.  I am what it says I am.  I have what it says I have.  I can do what it says I can do.”  By loading these promises onto our mental Shuffle and pushing Play whenever we need to hear the words of our faithful, promise-keeping God, we affirm their truth and power in our lives.

What are the promises of scripture that speak most meaningfully to infertile couples?  Here are my nominees for “Greatest Hits” and I recommend you add every one of them to your mental playlist:

1.  “I have not given you a spirit of fear” [II Timothy 1:7]

2.  “Cast all your cares on me, because I care for you” [I Peter 5:7]

3.  “Count on me to give you wisdom through Christ” [I Corinthians 1:30]

4.  “What is impossible with men is possible with God” [Luke 18:27]

5.  “I will direct your steps” [Proverbs 3:5,6]

6.  “I will give you rest” [Matthew 11:28]

7.  “I will never abandon you” [Hebrews 13:5]

8.  “I will meet all your needs” [Philippians 4:19]

9.  “All things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose” [Romans 8:28]

10.  “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” [Mark 11:24]

When the moment looks hopeless and you’re tempted to call up a collection of self-absorbed, self-pitying songs, choose these verses instead.  Keep them in your mind and heart.  Put them on your fridge, your dashboard, your bedside table and your screen saver.  Write them in your Daytimer, your journal, your emails and your blog.  Ask God to breathe power into them, to infuse you with hope when you speak them aloud, and to fill you with peace when you remember them silently.

Fill your thoughts with the words of the only One who can do anything.  It will change everything.


Got a favorite verse?  Share it with other infertile couples by leaving a comment.

Find more resources and cause for hope at


Filed under Control, Hope, Peace