Monthly Archives: June 2011

Infertility, Starring….

“I am the star in my own drama.”

Say it out loud, and it sounds self-absorbed.  Narcissistic.  Entitled.  And it is.

Truth be told, it’s also our default setting.

It is human nature to care about others’ impressions of us.  To imagine ourselves as interesting and worth noticing, even fascinating enough to be talked about frequently.  Marketers exploit this tendency to see ourselves reflected in the eyes of others.  They use it against us — and we fall for it, all because we think everyone’s looking.

How does this affect the infertility journey?

It fuels our “need” for secrecy.  It reinforces the irrational fear of exposure.  If infertility is evidence we are failures, then we’ve got to hide it.  If infertility means we are defective, unworthy, and destined for a future no one wants, then we’ve got to change this script — and live a life of denial in the meantime.  We’ve got to invest energy in pretense, so that the truth will never be known — until we reach Happily Ever After.

So, we lie:  “We’re not really trying.”

“We’re not sure we want a family.”

“We ‘re focused on our careers right now.”

“We don’t want to give up our freedom yet.”

We think the only way to end this awful charade is to have a baby.  To make our reality match what we want everyone else to see.  Our desperate urgency, at least in part, is rooted in our deep desire to be who and what (we believe) others think we are:  happy, fortunate, successful, blessed.

Consider this… That may not be God’s priority.  Before you become a parent, He may want you to learn that it’s not all about you.  You’re not the star in life’s most important drama.  He may want you to realize that most people are so fully absorbed in their own stories, they’re not paying much attention to yours.  If they are, it’s likely to be out of People magazine curiosity, rather than a deep desire to judge or reject you.

Maybe one of the reasons you are on this infertility journey is because God wants to show you a better way to live.  He wants to give you an opportunity – and an incentive – to set aside constant thoughts of Self, and replace them with more frequents thoughts of Him.  Why would you make that choice?  Because it’s the path to peace and hope, despite any circumstances.

Look at the other women waiting anxiously at the doctor’s office.  They’re all stars in their own drama.  Everyone’s hiding behind a magazine or an IPhone.  Everyone’s stressing.  Everyone would rather be anywhere but here.  No one wants to talk – except about how worried they are.  And no one wants to listen – unless your story is worse than theirs.

But look to God, and you won’t sense anxiety.  Or fear.  Or desperation.  You won’t feel competitive.  Or threatened.  Or jealous.  You’ll find someone who’s been waiting to listen.  Who hoped you would want to talk.  And who knows how to give comfort that reaches deeper and lasts longer than anything the world can offer.

I say this from experience, and with loving compassion:  putting yourself at the center of the story is the reason for your suffering.  Set your Self aside, put God at the center of the story, trust His purposefulness, and expect this blessing to be fulfilled in your life…

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” [Romans 15:13]

========================================================

For more inspiration and  cause for hope, read Pregnant With Hope: Good News for Infertile Couples

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Battles, Humility, Perspective

Fear: It’s All an Illusion

I learned something huge yesterday, and it has very real implications for your infertility journey.

Here’s the back story:  the host of a TV show came to my house to film an interview.  She wanted to get the story behind Pregnant With Hope.  Why did I write it?  Why do I write this blog?  And what keeps me going?

When she asked me to do the interview, I was honored and excited.  What a great way to reach more couples, and the people constellated around them.  In half an hour, I could deliver messages of help and hope that could alter the trajectory of countless infertility journeys!

I felt nothing but anticipation… until the middle of the night, when fear flooded my heart.

It came out of nowhere and gripped me so tightly I couldn’t sleep.

When the host arrived yesterday, I was a basketcase.  All I could think about was anxiety and failure.  The prayers I’d prayed seemed powerless in the face of such potent fear.  What was my problem?  The host urged me to relax, but my heart was racing.  My mind was already rehearsing thoughts of failure and defeat.

Somehow, I survived the interview.  But all afternoon I was burdened with a feeling of deep despair.  I had wanted so much to trust God and honor Him with this story.  How could I have failed so completely?

I emailed my husband defeatedly, “It’s over.”  He emailed back, “You were obedient.”  I clung to those words as I tried to console myself.  But when we got in bed last night, I couldn’t sleep.  I tossed and turned for hours before finally begging God to lift the burden of failure off me so I could rest.

And that’s when I learned something huge:  it was all an illusion.

God answered my prayer by revealing the enemy’s tactic.  My mind had been filled with lies!  There was nothing to fear.  I spoke my heart and my words honored God.  The interview was great, and when it airs, it will speak hope to those who see it.  It wasn’t a disaster – it was a victory!

Here’s what I’m trying to say….  God cannot be defeated.  When we trust and honor Him, when we are obedient to His call on our lives, there is no power that can stop us.  The only obstacle we must overcome is ourselves and our tendency toward fearfulness.

God’s will for our lives — His perfect plan — can never be overpowered when we say an unconditional “yes.”  So, the only weapon in Satan’s arsenal yesterday was to get me focused on (negative) feelings, rather than the fact that something awesome was underway.

The same holds true for your infertility journey.  God already knows the outcome.  The victory is already written in the Book of Life.  It is done!  But there is a spiritual battle underway over you.

Will you focus on who God is and the seed of hope He has planted in your heart?  Will you trust Him no matter what you see or hear from those who do not know Him?  Or, will you trust feelings of fear and thoughts of failure planted in your heart by God’s enemy?  Will you anticipate defeat, lean into that expectation, and invite it to be so?

Learn from my experience.  Your feelings are not the whole story.  In fact, they’re nothing more than a distraction.  An illusion.  A mirage.  They are confusing and distressing and anxiety-provoking – but they are not the Truth.

Ask God to show you the Truth – to tell you the Truth – and watch your fears fall around you like a house of cards.  It will amaze you!  And it will change the way you see everything.

=====================================================

To see the video that was filmed that day, click this link.  And, for more inspiration, visit PregnantWithHope.com.

Leave a comment

Filed under Battles

Moving on After an Unbearable Loss

There is a low point that some couples reach during the infertility journey.  It is a place of despair so deep and dark they wonder if they can survive it.

What they assumed at the time would be the worst of the journey is already behind them, rapidly receding in a past that pales in comparison to the deeply painful present.  Disappointment, discouragement, bad results… it seemed so challenging at the time.  Now, it would be a gift to return to difficulties no worse than what was faced back then.

This is a valley of darkness.

“Kirsten was 18 weeks pregnant and she started having a lot of bleeding,” Mike remembers.  “The trip to the hospital is a blur.  I remember the nurse tried to find a heartbeat in utero, and she couldn’t find one.  We both thought, ‘She doesn’t know what she’s doing’ because we were in such denial.  We thought, ‘The doctor will get here and it’ll be okay.’  He got there and it wasn’t okay.

“He left the room and a minute later, the baby came.  I had to run out of the room to get him.  He ran in and four nurses ran in after him.  I remember just standing out there in the hallway and feeling very dizzy.  One of the nurses got a chair for me and said, ‘It’s okay.  Just sit here.’”

The baby was coming too soon.  His first day outside the womb would be his last.

Where is God when our dreams are dying?  When the joy we’ve longed for and struggled for is slipping from our grasp?  Where is He when our hearts cry out for help?  For comfort?  For hope?

Where is God in such darkness?

He is with us.

“I didn’t think I was going to recover,” Mike remembers.  “When a nurse grabs you and puts you in a chair, it’s because she doesn’t think you can stand.  I don’t think I was capable of doing what I needed to do for Kirsten.  But I was only sitting for about five seconds, and then somehow, a feeling of calm came over me and I heard a voice in my head saying, ‘Go to Kirsten.’  Somehow I went from not being able to stand up to being able to be with her.

“I tell you, that’ll make you believe in divine grace.  I don’t think there’s a psychological ability of the brain to reboot during a crisis – you’re more likely to shut down – but this was truly instantaneous.  It went from one second, ‘I’m nauseous and I can’t feel my legs’ to ‘It all went away.’  I’m very grateful for that.”

Despite feeling completely overwhelmed by heartache, as we struggle through the very worst of infertility, we are not alone.  When our spirits cry out, God hears us.  And He responds.  “I am with you always.”

There are moments… days… seemingly endless stretches of time when we feel no hope.  When it seems as if our greatest fear will be realized: we will never have a child.  Never have another chance at joy.  But scripture says that “the Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him….”

Mike and Kirsten withstood numerous failed IVFs and the gloomy predictions of doctors, clinging to their belief that God had planted a seed of hope in their hearts because He intended for them to become parents.

With the help of a new IVF protocol they finally conceived again.  Their twins arrived safely.  And two years later, a younger sibling – conceived naturally and unexpectedly – arrived safely, too.

If you are struggling mightily to find cause for hope in the darkness, cling to these words from the author of Lamentations:  “I remember my afflictions… and my soul is downcast within me.  Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:  because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.”

========================================================

If you are grieving the loss of a pregnancy, click this link for support and resources.  If you are looking for help, hope and inspiration,  please visit PregnantWithHope.com.

Leave a comment

Filed under Loss, Perspective

The Story Most People Never Share

Have you ever lost a pregnancy?  How did you ever recover?  Did you ever feel hope again?”

Sadly, despite the frequency of miscarriages, there is virtually no public discussion about them.  When you lose a baby, there is so much you want to know… but who can you ask?  Who is willing to be that open and honest?  That patient with deeply painful questions?  And who cares enough about you to see past the fact of your loss to all the fears and feelings behind it – and your need for help and hope?

Meet Amy & Trey.  They tell the story of their infertility journey in Pregnant With Hope: Good News for Infertile Couples.  Here, they answer a few of the questions a miscarriage makes you wish you could ask:

Q:  Have you ever lost a pregnancy?

Amy:  “I had three miscarriages and two failed IVF cycles before conceiving triplets. Then, I started bleeding and we found out I’d lost two of the three.  But we still had “Baby B” holding on tightly.  It was a very rough pregnancy with lots of scares and bleeding along the way.  At 19½ weeks, my water broke and we were forced to deliver the baby, knowing that it would not survive.  We went to the hospital and delivered a little baby boy.”

Q:  How did you ever recover?

Amy:  “We didn’t have any friends who had gone through anything like this, but the [Pregnant With Hope] class introduced us to people going through similar circumstances.  You want to compare stories and almost – as bad as it sounds – sometimes misery loves company, you know?  Instead of being at a baby shower with all my friends who were experiencing blissful happiness while I had a fake smile, I could talk to people who understood what I was going through.  It was a room full of unconditional love and support.”

Trey:  “When we went to the first class, we went around the room and everyone told their story.  Amy and I were craving other people’s stories.  I didn’t have any friends who’d ever opened up about infertility, so I didn’t have anyone to talk to.  It was so refreshing to be led by someone who had been through it.  We immediately knew that this was genuine.  And it was encouraging to talk to someone who had gotten to the other side of it.”

Q:  Did you ever feel hope again?

Amy:  “We did, but it would have been a lot easier if God had told me, ‘Hold on tight for three years, because the baby’s coming!’  It was the not knowing that was crushing – the starting over with no idea when it would happen.  I needed to know that God had a plan and that a baby was supposed to be ours.  To be able to hold on to that hope, we needed to focus on God’s faithfulness and on scripture.  That’s where the messages of the class really helped.”

T:  “It was helpful to talk about ‘Where is God?  Why is this happening?’  I didn’t understand.  Were we doing it wrong?  Was it not God’s will?  We were at a complete loss.  One thing that resonated with me was hearing, ‘You are pregnant with hope.’  That really helped me.”

Amy and Trey went on to conceive and deliver a healthy baby boy.  A year later, he had a brother.  Now, they lead a Pregnant with Hope group – welcoming infertile couples into a community of support, sharing their inspiring story, and delivering messages of hope rooted in God’s truth.

The Bible says that God walks with us through difficulties – and then, He brings us alongside people facing similar challenges so that we can be there for them, just as He was there for us.  That is the ministry of Pregnant With Hope.

If you have lost a baby and need the kind of love and support Amy & Trey sought — and found, read the inspiring stories in Pregnant With Hope, visit the website, and keep reading this blog.  You will find the help and hope you need.

======================================================

Want to hear more inspiring stories from formerly infertile couples, all of whom are now parents?  Click this link….

Leave a comment

Filed under Humility, Loss, Speaking Up

What Needs Fixing?

I hadn’t picked up God Calling in several months, but last night, I felt a nudge.  So, I opened to a random page and read…

“It is not circumstances that need altering first, but yourselves, and then the conditions will naturally alter.  Spare no effort to become all I would have you be.  Endeavor to put from you every thought of trouble.  Take each day, and with no backward look, face the day’s problem with Me, and seek My help and guidance as to what you can do.”

There it all is, in one compact paragraph:  God’s advice on how to think about infertility, and how to get through it.

Did it rock your world?  No?  Then look again.  All the answers are in there.

It is not circumstances that need altering first, but yourselves.”  When infertility is diagnosed, it is common for couples to respond with surprise, fear and anger.  We want to know:  Why us?  Why this?  Why now?  Why?  Why?!

It doesn’t occur to us that God might have orchestrated these circumstances for a purpose.  All we can think is, “Fix this, God!”  But God is fixing what is most urgently in need of repair:  Us.

This infertility predicament, and all the associated circumstances, actually creates the perfect medium in which to mold and shape us.  Uncertainty has made us malleable, and our deep desire to conceive has enabled God to get our attention in a whole new way.  We “need altering first,” and this process is designed to effect that change.

“… and then the conditions will naturally alter.”  Instead of constantly pushing, pulling, and pressuring — doing whatever we can to end this suffering! — we need to recognize that infertility is not punishment, and a child is not a reward.  Despite how it feels, we are being blessed in the midst of this journey.

How so?

God is maturing and “ripening” us, patiently awaiting the change(s) that will make us more like the stewards He intends for the children who are coming — more faithful, more trusting, more intentional, more grateful, more selfless… more reliant on Him.

When the process results in the transformation He desires, “… then the conditions will naturally alter.”  In other words, something will shift and the pieces will miraculously fall into place.  In the meantime, God is at work preparing every one of the pieces for that miracle moment, so that our story will unfold in the best possible way.  

So, what do we do now?  How do we work with God to bring about this change so that “… and then…” can draw nearer?  The answers are right there in that power-packed paragraph:

1)      “Spare no effort to become all I would have you be.” – Lean into the process of change.  Instead of resenting your circumstances, recognize that they are a critical part of your transformation.  Be an active participant in it!  Put everything you have into understanding what God wants from you – who He is calling you to be – and then do all you can to become that person.

2)      “Endeavor to put from you every thought of trouble.” – Rest in the knowledge of God’s goodness and purposefulness.  Try not to waste energy on fear or worry.  Do your best to reject every thought that is inconsistent with God’s promise to do “more than you can ask or imagine.”

3)      “Take each day, and with no backward look, face the day’s problem with Me….” – Take one day at a time.  Focus on the future that is awaiting you, and the child who is part of it, rather than the difficulties that are already behind you.  Remember that God walks with you daily, and He confronts every problem alongside you.  You are never alone, never forgotten, and never ignored.

4)      “… and seek My help and guidance as to what you can do.” – Recognize that both power and wisdom (about what you can and cannot do) are always available from God — but you must ask for them, believe you will receive them, and trust them.  Choosing not to is tantamount to going it alone, and that is not the path to the future you want.

I promise:  God never intended to deceive you about this journey.  It has always been about the transformation He intends… en route to the dream you desire.

Trust Him.  It’s His dream, too.

===================================================

For more inspiration, click here to visit  PregnantWithHope.com

1 Comment

Filed under Peace, Perspective

When the Statistics are Sobering…

“Fewer than eight percent of all tries at making a baby in a lab dish will succeed,” U.S. researchers reported on Monday.

On the surface, that looks like a devastatingly small chance at becoming a parent.  If you are someone whose hope is rooted in statistics and whose confidence rests on probabilities, you might be deeply discouraged.  Especially if you’ve already tried IVF and failed.

Thank goodness that’s not the whole story.

Think about this…

The truth is, that for any given couple, the chances of IVF succeeding in a given cycle are either 100% or zero.  Those are the only two possibilities.  Either it will work for you, or it won’t.  The number eight doesn’t matter.  It’s not an option.  It is an average across thousands of strangers’ comprehensive IVF experiences.  Nothing more.

That number doesn’t predict your future, or control it.

It.

Doesn’t.

Matter.

Why?  Because, no matter what the outcome in a given cycle, every couple has a chance to progress on their journey toward parenthood.  That’s what matters because this journey is, in some ways, as important as the destination itself.

It is preparing you to be the committed parent God intends for you to be.  It is teaching you resilience, persistence, faith despite trial by fire, vital relationship skills, important self-care priorities, and so much more!  God is not wasting your time.  He is working on you, your relationship and your spiritual life – all while you make this journey.

Will the outcome be worth all the effort?

Yes, if you stop fighting God and start allowing Him to work in and through your story.  Stop doubting His presence and start trusting His timing.  Stop wondering how zero can ever lead to 100%, and realize that it very often does.

Still worried about that eight percent statistic?  Consider this…

One hundred percent of the couples who’ve studied the messages of Pregnant With Hope with me have become parents — all within a year.  One hundred percent of them had experienced zero success before that.

What made the difference?

Consistently, what changed was the depth of their faith in God’s control over the outcome, and their ability to find peace in the midst of uncertainty.   That was the spiritual destination God intended for them to reach before they became parents.

The next time you hear a statistic that rattles you, remind yourself:  God is in control 100% of the time, and that is the only statistic that really matters.

======================================================

For more inspiration and cause for hope, visit PregnantWithHope.com

1 Comment

Filed under Control, Hope

God Is Still Faithful

“If we are faithless, He will remain faithful, for He cannot disown Himself.”

If we have anything to be grateful for in the midst of infertility, it is this:  even if we are faithless, God will remain faithful.  He cannot be otherwise.  We can reject His faithfulness.  We can deny it.  We can insist it is not real because we are not getting what we want when we want it.  But, that does not change the nature of God.

He can only be who and what He is.  Faithful.  Always.

And so, we can exhale.

We don’t have to understand this suffering.  We don’t have to feign gratitude when what we feel most are hurt and anger.  We don’t have to earn God’s favor or the blessing we desperately desire.

In fact, we can’t.

All we can do is wrap our arms around the gift of grace and whisper, “Thank you.”  We are loved despite our imperfections.  We are going to be blessed, despite our many failures.  We are pregnant with hope, and God intends to grow that seed into the reality of a family — in His perfect timing.

Even if we are faithless – which we so often are when tests come back negative, numbers are discouraging, bleeding starts and hope is dying – even then, God is faithful.  He walks with us to comfort, strengthen and guide.  He sends encouragers to speak His truth into our hearts.  And He continues to nurture the seed of hope that He planted in our hearts for a reason.

So, whatever you do, or don’t, believe…. believe this:  He will remain faithful, for He cannot be otherwise.

Thank God.

=======================================================

For more inspiration and cause for hope, please click this link…!

1 Comment

Filed under Peace, Trust