Tag Archives: RESOLVE

Surviving a “Tsunami”

Sometimes, it’s hard for self-reliant women to admit their limitations — especially if they think they’re addressing them successfully. It can take a true tsunami event to knock them off their feet and force them to cry out for the help they need.

That’s what happened to Cindy.

Five and a half years ago, she and her husband began trying to conceive. The only sign of hope was a single chemical pregnancy. At 35, Cindy knew they couldn’t wait indefinitely. They needed to find a fertility specialist. So, they got a referral and met with their new doctor right away.

Meanwhile, Cindy realized she was going to need support. Her escalating stress level would not help their relationship or contribute to their success conceiving. She found three sources of support:  one clinical, one peer/social, and one spiritual.

Her clinical support came from a therapist recommended by her RE. In the therapist’s office, Cindy noticed a RESOLVE newsletter; a few months later, she sought out their local support group. And through RESOLVE, she heard about a prayer group for infertile women and began participating. She thought her proactive response to her circumstances would be more than enough to counter the ups and downs of the infertility journey.

But, she was wrong.

At lunch with a friend, hoping to confirm a pregnancy very soon, she suddenly began bleeding. “I wanted to crawl under the covers and cry all afternoon,” she recalls. She rushed home. Instead of finding quiet and privacy, she got more bad news from her husband, “Your cousin Casey just died from an overdose.”

That’s when the tsunami hit. It was a tidal wave of grief beyond anything she’d ever experienced. She lost it completely. Frightened by her reaction and unsure how to help, Scott called the therapist in a panic. What could he say to help her? What should he do?

As the therapist was advising Scott, Cindy had realized she couldn’t take any more. “That’s when I knew I had to give it to God. I told Him, ‘I can’t do this on my own. I need you to take over!”

Cindy looks back on that moment as a critical turning point.

Now the mother of a little girl and pregnant with twins, she says, “IVF worked for us, but I know it doesn’t work for everyone. The thing I’ve realized is that, even though it can last for years, infertility is ultimately a temporary situation. It’s not the final word. I know people who are using donor eggs, donor sperm, surrogates…. I know people who are adopting. There are so many ways to become a family.”

How did Cindy’s tsunami moment change her perspective? “My faith in God was renewed. I asked Him to take the wheel and be the pilot, and He did. I promised that, at some point, I’d help other people through the emotional aspects of this. I’ve kept that promise and led a peer group through RESOLVE for two years now. I preach to everybody. I tell them, “There is a light at the end of the tunnel. There will be a happy ending for you!’ And I believe it.”

What did infertility teach her about relating to other women struggling through infertility? “First of all, we have an instant bond because even though no two stories are alike, the struggle to become a parent is the same. Infertility has also taught me to hold my tongue when I can’t relate to someone else’s struggle. I just say, ‘I’m sorry you’re going through that.’ And, it’s helped me find a voice I didn’t know I had.  I’m not political by any means, but I was asked to speak about IVF rights at the state capitol. That’s an important legacy for my children. One day, I’ll tell them, “I fought for you twins to be born, and (to my oldest) for your right to be a big sister.”

Having survived her own “tsunami,” what advice does Cindy have to offer? “Remember that God is at the wheel and you are in good hands. And remember that you are not alone as long as you seek support from others going through the journey.”


For more information about RESOLVE and peer-led support groups, please visit www.resolve.org.

1 Comment

Filed under Loss, Perspective

The Walk of Hope

I participated in RESOLVE’s first Walk of Hope on Saturday.  Along with about 200 other people, I walked through a downtown park and around a peaceful lake on a gorgeous morning.  It was a great way to start the weekend.  And that’s what seemed so strange.

The whole thing seemed so “normal.”

At 9 a.m., the park was already busy with morning runners, Farmers’ Market vendors setting up tables, and well-tanned athletes preparing for a beach volleyball tournament.  Like all of them, we were in the park for a specific purpose… but there was no stigma attached to us.

No one stared at us when we gathered.  No one avoided eye contact with us while we walked.  No one pitied us, offered inane advice, or asked us painful questions.  We were normal people in a normal place on a normal day…  raising money and awareness for infertility.

Why can’t it be like this every day?

A feature in the most recent issue of Conceive magazine gave me the answer.  The article talked about celebrities’ unwillingness to acknowledge battles with infertility.  With rare exceptions, it said, most celebrities prefer to give the impression that they conceived without any outside intervention – no matter how unlikely that may be.

These seemingly-harmless deceptions actually reinforce the stigma of infertility.  They set an artificial standard that implies  anything less than effortless conception is failure, and cause for shame.

When we buy into this twisted thinking and apply the same standard to ourselves, we pave the way for heartache.  We  reinforce the experience of infertility as a curse.  We also reinforce the desire to struggle in secret, forfeiting community and support in order to maintain the illusion of effortless conception.

Why follow the example of people who invest their energy in promoting false perceptions?  Why not value authenticity over deception?  Otherwise, when another month goes by without a pregnancy, we find ourselves painted into a psychological corner.  They pulled off their illusion… why can’t we?  Our failure reinforces our secrecy… again… and again… and again.

We feel so alone.  And we’ve brought it on ourselves.

The Walk of Hope was a great reminder that many other couples are also struggling.  We can be here for each other!  Shattering the silence and ending the secrecy is a huge step forward.

For a few hours on a spectacular, sunny morning, we showed our faces to each other and to the community-at-large.  There were numerous photographers present, but no one hid.  The loudspeakers blasted words like “infertility” and “struggle” across the park, but no slinked away or looked ashamed.  Why?  Because infertility is so common, it IS normal.

Somehow, in coming together, we found the strength to say, “It’s true.  Infertility has affected me, and I’m here to do something about it.”  What an empowering step to take!  We stood together in public and showed infertility’s many faces.  We hugged our friends, smiled at sympathetic strangers, and joined new acquaintances for The Walk and conversation.

It was wonderful because it was all so “normal.”

This is what every day of infertility should be like.  For everyone.

Join us on next year’s walk.


For more inspiration, resources and cause for hope in the midst of infertility, click this link...

Leave a comment

Filed under Speaking Up

Infertility & Hope for All

Think of this as “a word from our sponsor”….

Periodically, people ask me how or why I wrote Pregnant with Hope. What made me decide to invest so much time and effort in getting these messages to couples struggling with infertility?  The best answer I can give is that it was never my plan; it was always God’s.

Pregnant with Hope: Good News for Infertile Couples came into being in response to an invitation I received to lead an infertility Bible study.  I’d thought I was dropping in on a group of infertile couples to offer an encouraging word…once… and then leave.  But God had other plans.

When I was asked to lead their class, I prayed about it.  Did I have anything to offer?  Anything meaningful to say that would deliver genuine help and hope?  The spirit of God answered me with a hailstorm of ideas – more in a few hours than I could have generated in months!  Those ideas sorted themselves into ten compelling messages which became the basis for the class — and later, the book.

The couples who came to that class were hanging onto hope by the slimmest of threads.  They were desperate for anything that could convince them that God wasn’t punishing them but was, in fact, drawing near to them and fulfilling His plan for their lives — and the lives of their yet-to-be-born children.  I showed up, and God did the rest.

[Fast forward several years….]

Those couples are now “alumni.”  They’ve all conceived or adopted (100% of them!), and they lead other couples through the same journey, using Pregnant with Hope as their guide.  The wonderful thing is that there was never anything special about me leading the group.  It was our decision to proceed in God-honoring ways that delighted God and — I believe — led Him to choose to bless every couple with a child.

God keeps nudging me forward, to spread words of hope to more people.  That’s how this blog was “born,” and the website, too.  Now, new groups are forming — locally, and around the country.  Hospitals have also embraced the book as a way to give comfort and renew hope for couples who’ve experienced a loss.

I hope the messages God’s led me to deliver are helpful to you.  If you ever want to suggest a blog topic, share your story, or learn more about the ministry behind Pregnant with Hope, please email me:  susan@pregnantwithhope.com.

Remember… God is so near to you.  If you invite Him into your story, and let Him show you His incredible love, I promise it will alter the course of your infertility journey — and your life.

blessings always,


p.s.  April 24-May 1 is National Infertility Awareness Week.  If you know someone who would benefit from reading this blog (your doctor, a family member, your minister, a friend…) or visiting the website, please consider telling them about it or sending them a link.  Part of how God works is through you.


Filed under Bystanders, Speaking Up