Tag Archives: support

The Gift of Perspective

Before he died, my father was a cancer specialist.  I grew up hearing stories about patients who had become like extended family to him.  Many of them battled terrible forms of the disease with courage and grace – which inspired him, and burdened his heart.  He did everything he could to heal their bodies.  He also took seriously the call to minister to their spirits.

One Christmas, I cross-stitched these words for him, “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” [Psalm 118:24].  To my surprise, he hung the framed verse in his chemotherapy room.  I wondered, wouldn’t that rub salt in patients’ wounds?  Who could possibly come for chemo and feel glad for the day?

As it turned out, that little message was a powerful witness.  It reminded patients that every day is a gift full of purpose.  Those who chose to trust God’s purposefulness could truly rejoice and be glad – even when their circumstances commanded otherwise – because they could see past the moment and lean into its greater purpose.

Patients began telling my father that the chair across from that cross-stitched verse was “the best seat in the house.”  Many told him they would rather wait for that particular chair to be available than go through chemo without the power of those inspirational words.  Patients reported feeling blessed by the time spent staring at the psalmist’s verse, even as their IV drips summoned nausea.

Some made the words a prayer, some a whispered mantra, some a silent meditation.  All took them to heart and found strength and hope in them.

And then, what happened?  Was everyone miraculously healed?

No.

Every journey took its own course – just as every infertility journey does.

Then, what really changed?  Here’s what… That little handmade message invited God into an awful place and transformed it into a sanctuary of hope.  The experience of receiving chemo became an uplifting spiritual one, rather than just a taxing physical one.  In many cases, that difference transformed the journey.

Is there any place in your life that needs transforming?  A physical place that represents your suffering and sadness?  Or a psychological place that harbors fears, worries, anxieties and dread?  If so, I urge you to give yourself the gift of gratitude this Thanksgiving.

Claim God’s promises to be with you always, to make all things work together for good, to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you hope and a future.  And then, put the words of the psalmist before your eyes:

“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

See God’s goodness with eyes of faith.  Trust His purposefulness.  And realize that there is so much to be thankful for, even as you make the difficult journey of infertility.

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

Need more reasons to be thankful?  More hope for the journey?  If so, visit PregnantWithHope.com or read Pregnant With Hope: Good News for Infertile Couples

1 Comment

Filed under Peace, Perspective

Turns Out, You Are Not Alone

You’re not alone.

I discovered that truth in a whole new way when I went to Sitemeter yesterday.  Sitemeter tells me where blog readers come from.  Not who they are (don’t worry, your privacy’s completely protected), but where in the world they are.  And guess what?

There are infertile couples all around you.

Yesterday, readers came to this site from all over the U.S.  They also came from Canada, Australia, Germany, Singapore, India, England, and countries throughout South America.

Why does that matter?  Because infertility can be so profoundly isolating, it’s easy to believe you’ve been singled-out for suffering and no else has.  Or, that there are a small number of couples going to your particular clinic for help, but few others anywhere else.

That’s a lie.  It’s one of many that will fill your mind with doubt about God’s goodness as you struggle to maintain some equilibrium during infertility.

What can you do in response?

Raise Your Hand – Speak up.  Self-identify.  You won’t face the judgment you fear.  You may face some  ignorance, or insensitivity – but you’re also much more likely to find comfort, support, and company.  Of course, you should choose wisely when deciding whom to tell.  But trust me, it’s definitely a risk worth taking.

Find Community – Once you’ve shared your secret, find some community.  Not because misery loves company, but because “where two or more are gathered, I will be in the midst of them.”  Experiencing the presence of God is the first step toward experiencing the peace that comes with knowing and trusting Him.  Find (or create) a community of people who know what you’re facing, and you will have found a powerful source of strength.

Claim God’s Promises – The Bible is full of words of hope and inspiration.  They’re not outdated or theoretical, but powerful and real.  They can and will speak to your experience, if you ask God to bring His word alive in your story.  Set doubts aside long enough to discover God’s promises, invite Him to make them central to your journey, and watch how that changes everything.

Find Hope – Not sure where or how to find God’s promises in scripture?  Not sure whether to find a group or protect your privacy?  Whatever you decide, make it your goal to find hope for the journey.   Pregnant With Hope: Good News for Infertile Couples can help you discover hope in ways that are meaningful and relevant to you and your partner as you make your way.

There are millions of couples around the world making the same journey you are.  Some of them are crossing (virtual) paths with you when you come to this site; like you, they come seeking words of inspiration and hope.  Millions more have already made the journey; some of them – like me – want to share the good news that the journey won’t last forever, and God is good.

So, remember:  No matter how it feels, you are not alone.

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

Find more words of encouragement and hope at PregnantWithHope.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Hope, Perspective, Speaking Up

The Unexpected Gift

“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” [I Peter 4:10]

When I was going through infertility, nothing about it felt like a gift.  It was more like a curse that had sought and found me for reasons I couldn’t explain.  If someone had asked me, “How might this experience be a gift to you?” I would have felt patronized, defensive and angry.  No one was helping me find wisdom or insight, and I didn’t think I had the time.  I was busy trying to rush a heartbeat into an empty womb.

But, several years after our infertility journey ended, I was ready to ask some questions.  Why had we had to suffer so much to bring our children into the world?  Why had so many other forms of suffering been piled on during that same season?  What had been the purpose of all that pain and grief?  Why had it happened?

I wasn’t asking in anger (as I might have been years before).  I wasn’t picking a fight with God.  I just wondered if there had ever been a reason.  Truthfully, I didn’t expect to get an answer.

But I did.

“This happened so you would know you were never alone.”

I didn’t hear a voice.  It was more like I suddenly knew the answer with certainty, down deep in my spirit.

I wondered, ‘What am I supposed to do with that information?’

Again, there was no sound.  But my spirit received the answer very clearly: “Find those who feel lost and tell them they are not alone.”

In that moment, God showed me there had been a purpose for all we’d been through.  Throughout our infertility journey, He’d demonstrated His faithfulness – over and over – in unforgettable, life-changing ways.  He’d done it, in part, so that I could tell others with absolute certainty that He would do the same for them, too.

That moment signaled the end of one journey, and the beginning of another.

I never set out to create or lead a Bible study for infertile couples.  Or to write a book.  Or to help churches and hospitals launch groups.  Or to spend hours every week writing blog posts.  But that’s what God had planned all along.

He wanted me to tell infertile couples, “you are not alone” every way possible.  He wanted me to tell you that He has promised to be with you always, and He will be.  That He walks every step of this journey beside you – to comfort, to strengthen, to guide you.  That He has a plan and purpose, and that He intends to bless you beyond what you can ask or imagine.

I hope this blog gives you insight I never had on my journey.  I hope it gives you peace when you’re anxious, comfort when you’re grieving, and inspiration that urges you to look past each day’s struggle to the joy that awaits you.

That joy includes a child God has always intended for you.  If you’re willing, it also includes the joy of paying forward God’s goodness and faithfulness by using whatever gift you receive through this experience to serve others, “faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”

May it be so.

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

For more inspiration and cause for hope, read Pregnant With Hope: Good News for Infertile Couples or visit PregnantWithHope.com

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Blessings, Trust

Getting Help, Finding Hope

I’ve been hearing about the importance of good self-care all my life.   Because there is more to me than just my physical self, it requires me to be attuned to my emotional, intellectual, psychological and spiritual needs.  That became very difficult when we were going through infertility.

It’s a common problem, and one that can snowball rapidly.

Poor self-care can quickly undermine a relationship as our list of unmet needs grows – along with our frustration, resentment, hurt and anger.  We can’t control infertility, but a truly committed partner would sense our needs and meet them.  Right?  That unvoiced expectation puts tremendous pressure on a relationship already stressed by the challenges of infertility.

What’s the alternative if this is the best self-care we can muster?  Who else can help us?  Christ, in community:  “For where two or more are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”  That’s the foundational assumption on which we built the infertility Bible study group.

People who are struggling through infertility need help and hope.  We need to surround ourselves with people who truly understand the struggle, and care deeply about it.  We need to immerse ourselves in the powerful promises of God – who is bigger than the problem we’re facing.  And, we need to experience the caring presence of Christ through community.

It’s too much to expect good self-care to do all that.  In the midst of infertility, it can’t and it won’t.  Neither will the world’s best partner.

If you are one of the “we” going through infertility, stop expecting the impossible from yourself – or your spouse.  You need a community to surround you and lift you up.  You need to find comfort in the knowledge that you are not alone – and to experience that comfort, first-hand.

When you seek and find it, you will also find affirmation, belonging, support, hope, encouragement, inspiration, compassion, spiritual sustenance, and much more.  And, you will (re)discover the joy of giving all these things to others who – like you – are so hungry for them.

How do you find such an amazing community?  A growing number of hospitals and churches are starting infertility groups, using Pregnant with Hope: Good News for Infertile Couples as the basis for discussion.  If you find there is no such group, equip yourself with a copy of the book and print-outs of a few blogs that have been particularly meaningful, and point out the need.

The risk you may feel you are taking – “what will people think?!” – is well worth the incredible support you will find God providing in response to your call for help.  Remember, “Everyone who calls, ‘help, God!’ gets help” [Romans 10:12].  So, don’t be afraid.  Think of it as very good self-care.

And if, for some reason, you don’t get the response you want, contact me directly (susan@pregnantwithhope.com).  I’ll work with you to start a group in your area.  There’s also lots of information on the website, PregnantWithHope.com, about how to get the ball rolling.  Find one other couple hungry for support, and you’ll be ready to begin.

The help and hope you need are closer than they feel.  Please, take a step toward them.  It will completely change the way you experience the infertility journey.

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

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Hope, Speaking Up

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

A Gift of Perspective

Before he died, my father was a cancer specialist.  I grew up hearing stories about patients who had become like extended family to him.  Many of them battled terrible forms of the disease with courage and grace – which inspired him, and burdened his heart.  He did everything he could to heal their bodies.  He also took seriously the call to minister to their spirits.

One Christmas, I cross-stitched these words for him, “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” [Psalm 118:24].  To my surprise, he hung the framed verse in his chemotherapy room.  I wondered, wouldn’t that rub salt in patients’ wounds?  Who could possibly come for chemo and feel glad for the day?

As it turned out, that little message was a powerful witness.  It reminded patients that every day is a gift full of purpose.  Those who chose to trust God’s purposefulness could truly rejoice and be glad – even when their circumstances commanded otherwise – because they could see past the moment and lean into its greater purpose.

Patients began telling my father that the chair across from that cross-stitched verse was “the best seat in the house.”  Many told him they would rather wait for that particular chair to be available than go through chemo without the power of those inspirational words.  Patients reported feeling blessed by the time spent staring at the psalmist’s verse, even as their IV drips summoned nausea.

Some made the words a prayer, some a whispered mantra, some a silent meditation.  All took them to heart and found strength and hope in them.

And then, what happened?  Was everyone miraculously healed?

No.

Every journey took its own course – just as every infertility journey does.

Then, what really changed?  Here’s what… That little handmade message invited God into an awful place and transformed it into a sanctuary of hope.  The experience of receiving chemo became an uplifting spiritual one, rather than just a taxing physical one.  In many cases, that difference transformed the journey.

Is there any place in your life that needs transforming?  A physical place that represents your suffering and sadness?  Or a psychological place that harbors fears, worries, anxieties and dread?  If so, I urge you to give yourself the gift of gratitude this Thanksgiving.

Claim God’s promises to be with you always, to make all things work together for good, to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you hope and a future.  And then, put the words of the psalmist before your eyes:

“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

See God’s goodness with eyes of faith.  Trust His purposefulness.  And realize that there is so much to be thankful for, even as you make the difficult journey of infertility.

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

Need more reasons to be thankful?  More hope for the journey?  If so, visit PregnantWithHope.com or read Pregnant With Hope: Good News for Infertile Couples

1 Comment

Filed under Peace, Perspective

Infertile? You Are Not Alone

You’re not alone.

I discovered that truth in a whole new way when I went to Sitemeter yesterday.  Sitemeter tells me where blog readers come from.  Not who they are (don’t worry, your privacy’s protected), but where in the world they are. And guess what?

There are infertile couples all around you.

Yesterday, readers came to this site from all over the U.S.  They also came from Canada, Australia, Germany, Singapore, India, England, and countries throughout South America.

Why does that matter?  Because infertility can be so profoundly isolating, it’s easy to believe you’ve been singled-out for suffering and no else has.  Or, that there are a small number of couples going to your particular clinic for help, but few others anywhere else.

That’s a lie.  It’s one of many that will fill your mind with doubt about God’s goodness as you struggle to maintain some equilibrium during infertility.

What can you do in response?

Raise Your Hand – Speak up.  Self-identify.  You won’t face the judgment you fear.  You may face some  ignorance, or insensitivity – but you’re also much more likely to find comfort, support, and company.  Of course, you should choose wisely when deciding whom to tell.  But trust me, it’s definitely a risk worth taking.

Find Community – Once you’ve shared your secret, find some community.  Not because misery loves company, but because “where two or more are gathered, I will be in the midst of them.”  Experiencing the presence of God is the first step toward experiencing the peace that comes with knowing and trusting Him.  Find (or create) a community of people who know what you’re facing, and you will have found a powerful source of strength.

Claim God’s Promises – The Bible is full of words of hope and inspiration.  They’re not outdated or theoretical, but powerful and real.  They can and will speak to your experience, if you ask God to bring His word alive in your story.  Set doubts aside long enough to discover God’s promises, invite Him to make them central to your journey, and watch how that changes everything.

Find Hope – Not sure where or how to find God’s promises in scripture?  Not sure whether to find a group or protect your privacy?  Whatever you decide, make it your goal to find hope for the journey.   Pregnant With Hope: Good News for Infertile Couples can help you discover hope in ways that are meaningful and relevant to you and your partner as you make your way.

There are millions of couples around the world making the same journey you are.  Some of them are crossing (virtual) paths with you when you come to this site; like you, they come seeking words of inspiration and hope.  Millions more have already made the journey; some of them – like me – want to share the good news that the journey won’t last forever, and God is good.

So, remember:  No matter how it feels, you are not alone.

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

Find more words of encouragement and hope in Pregnant With Hope: Good News for Infertile Couples and at PregnantWithHope.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Hope, Perspective, Speaking Up

Why This is Happening

“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” [I Peter 4:10]

When I was going through infertility, nothing about it felt like a gift.  It was more like a curse that had sought and found me for reasons I couldn’t explain.  If someone had asked me, “How might this experience be a gift to you?” I would have felt patronized, defensive and angry.  No one was helping me find wisdom or insight, and I didn’t think I had the time.  I was busy trying to rush a heartbeat into an empty womb.

But, several years after our infertility journey ended, I was ready to ask some questions.  Why had we had to suffer so much to bring our children into the world?  Why had so many other forms of suffering been piled on during that same season?  What had been the purpose of all that pain and grief?  Why had it happened?

I wasn’t asking in anger (as I might have been years before).  I wasn’t picking a fight with God.  I just wondered if there had ever been a reason.  Truthfully, I didn’t expect to get an answer.

But I did.

“This happened so you would know you were never alone.”

I didn’t hear a voice.  It was more like I suddenly knew the answer with certainty, down deep in my spirit.

I wondered, What am I supposed to do with that information?

Again, there was no sound.  But my spirit received the answer very clearly: “Find those who feel lost and tell them they are not alone.”

In that moment, God showed me there had been a purpose for all we’d been through.  Throughout our infertility journey, He’d demonstrated His faithfulness – over and over – in unforgettable, life-changing ways.  He’d done it, in part, so that I could tell others with absolute certainty that He would do the same for them, too.

That moment signaled the end of one journey, and the beginning of another.

I never set out to create or lead a Bible study for infertile couples.  Or to write a book.  Or to help churches and hospitals launch groups.  Or to spend hours every week writing blog posts.  But that’s what God had planned all along.

He wanted me to tell infertile couples, “you are not alone” every way possible.  He wanted me to tell you that He has promised to be with you always, and He will be.  That He walks every step of this journey beside you – to comfort, to strengthen, to guide you.  That He has a plan and purpose, and that He intends to bless you beyond what you can ask or imagine.

I hope this blog gives you insight I never had on my journey.  I hope it gives you peace when you’re anxious, comfort when you’re grieving, and inspiration that urges you to look past each day’s struggle to the joy that awaits you.

That joy includes a child God has always intended for you.  If you’re willing, it also includes the joy of paying forward God’s goodness and faithfulness by using whatever gift you receive through this experience to serve others, “faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”

May it be so.

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

For more inspiration and cause for hope, read Pregnant With Hope: Good News for Infertile Couples or visit PregnantWithHope.com

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Blessings, Trust

“Infertility is not Wasted Time”

London-based fertility coach Anya Sizer read Pregnant with Hope: Good News for Infertile Couples recently and wrote this review (reprinted with permission):

“In her book, Pregnant with Hope, Susan Radulovacki has created a unique and truly inspiring read.  It is one the church desperately needs as it seeks to comfort and encourage the 1 in 6 couples currently facing infertility.

It is also a wonderful book for any Christian in terms of the invaluable lessons about God that we find within its pages.  As I read it, a mother of two IVF children, I found myself in tears several times realizing again something of this amazing God we serve.  Of his Love for us in the big and the small areas of our life.  And that surely is a lesson for all believers

The book is written with an easy style.  Sections are given to case studies, as well as personal reflections on what we are learning. It is not a passive book we are to read and go away from, but rather a challenge and a journey to undertake.

The starting premise of the book is that, as people facing infertility, we are holding on tight to an illusion of control and a fear that if we really let God into the darkness, we will somehow lose this control.  But…

‘Infertility shows you the limits of your faith in a way that is inescapable. You discover that letting go completely feels impossible because you don’t trust God.. at the same time, infertility reveals the limits of your own power.’

We are left, then, with a choice.  And as Radulovacki says, it is a choice which takes tremendous courage.  Do we carry on with the illusion?  Or, do we step out in faith and let God deal with it?

Throughout the book, there are many biblical examples of men and women of faith who were tested and challenged by God.  Job, for example.  Here was a man whose life was tested to the limits of what he could endure.  EVERY area of his life was affected.  And yet, through the process (rather than overnight), he learned to shift that source of peace away from himself to a loving and faithful God.

We cannot do it on our own, nor are we meant to.  God will find a way to get us through all the many highs and lows if we will let him in. So often, when we hear sermons or read books about this concept, we are left with only half of the equation. We know we need to be letting God take control, to be trusting him and not ourselves or our circumstances, but HOW?!

Pregnant with Hope has some hugely useful ways forward:

1. Actively choose to put Christ at the center of your life, to displace worry.  This is ongoing and a daily decision, but one that God will more than honor.

2. Actively choose to see life and your relationship with God as holistic and all-encompassing.  Move away from compartmentalizing life into areas of the secular and the spiritual.

3. Begin the process of “renewing your mind,” taking captive all the unhelpful and negative thoughts that can so easily take over, and replace them with God’s truth.  This was so incredibly helpful, it resulted in me having a bit of a cry on a bus into work one day!

4. Remember that “I can do all things (injections, scans, the highs and lows of treatment, etc) through Christ who gives me strength.”

5. See these months as Wilderness months.  Reframe this as a journey through something.  The Wilderness teaches us many things, not least of which is perseverance, compassion for others, and the ability to rely on God for our daily bread.

I also found Radulovacki’s concept of “active waiting“ to be very helpful.  As Christians, we do not live for the future only, but rather, we work with God in our present circumstances – whatever they may be.

The journey of infertility will test a person and their faith in God more than they could ever think.  And yet, God’s faithfulness is always so much more than we could imagine.  It will be sufficient.  My own six-year struggle is testimony to this, and my children were worth every step of the battle.

Infertility is not wasted time.

“Are you willing to trust that if it’s a different story [than you planned], God’s plan will be better?”

This book most certainly reassures us that, with God’s help, we can walk through this season with him to lead, guide and strengthen us.  What good news.

This is a wonderful and much-needed book.”

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

For more inspiration, resources and cause for hope, click this link….

Leave a comment

Filed under Hope, 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