Archive | May 2016

Dear Card Company**

** Well known Card companies now carry real life need cards like cancer diagnosis, child-loss, infertility, and suicide:  When words are not enough…  Here is a letter i wished I could have written to express what distress Mother’s day advertising did to my heart.

cassia

Photo Courtesy of Bing Images

Dear Card Company,

Okay.  So yesterday was Mother’s Day!  I found that this was the year that I found such peace in celebrating the newly found Mother-hood I have as a Caregiver for the children in my work.  It has been a process and I wanted to let you know that although you were not completely responsible for my distress, your pretty cards, gifts and mementos on display at the shopping centre did make tiny incisions in my heart each time I walked past, during the years I experienced the most pain in my infertility journey.

I understand that you, the company began making Mother’s Day cards in the 1920’s. This is where the tradition  began in North America for the 2nd Sunday in May to celebrate the Mothers all around us.  I get it.  It’s good to say thank you Mom for all the things that she has done in raising all of us.  I bet you didn’t know though that that simple gesture of creating those cards would start a holiday that would have everyone celebrating with gifts, cards, dinners out, tributes, commercials on TV, special ads on the internet, inspire poetry, photos, blog posts, tweets on twitter and numerous reminders for those of us trying our hardest to conceive.

Since it would devastate sales at this time of year to ask you to remove said holiday cards, I believe we would could come up with a compromise.  Since in some ways infertility can cause individuals to suffer in silence, let’s give these men (on Father’s Day) and women a voice in creating cards that reflect the difficulty at this time of year.

For example:

I know Mother’s day can hurt.  Please know I care…

Wishing you all that you desire on Mother’s day…one day, your very own!  Take comfort from a caring friend.

Hoping and praying with you for all the dreams you long for.  Let your broken heart heal with the love that surrounds you today.

This would acknowledge and give hope to many individuals suffering from infertility and assist with breaking the silence.

Thank you!

Your Friend

 

 

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Infertility: Coping and Support

coping and support

Originally published in the Word Alive Press Blog post for March, 2016. 

I read your book today and loved going with you on your journey from determination to surrender.  Thank you for writing with such vulnerability, opening the deepest places of your pain, making of them a gift that can minister healing to others.  That is such an example of God’s goodness and grace.  May all of your tears be a fragrance that blesses many and your wisdom be a guiding light for others on this journey.”  Belinda Burston, Writer’s Nest

With these words, my friend Belinda penned the expressions that motivated me to write EMPTY HANDS TO OPEN ARMS:  From Infertility to Possibility. The decision to open once again the deep place of pain, lies in the compassion for those who shed the tears in the loss of a child they may never get to meet.  This turmoil requires a resolution of rest.

Agony of Infertility

The heart of the infertile individual is craving rest.  From those first thoughts that something is not quite right through inquiries and testing, to the soul-wrenching diagnosis, the heart takes in many blows and bruises.  In a moment, this one thing hoped for – a child, so easy for many to conceive, now becomes an impossibility.  The results of trying-to-conceive month after month with only a negative pregnancy tester to show for it is exhausting.

According to Infertility Awareness Association of Canada (IAAC), one in six couples will be struggling with infertility issues.  Although my story may be quite different from others who have gone through so many medical procedures, I understand the hopeless and helpless feelings of an infertility diagnosis.  I know the craving to have little arms around your neck.  I fathom the drive to want to do something, anything to make the agony and pain of that empty place go away.

My Story

Diagnosed at the age of nineteen and a single girl, I dreamed of being a mother since I was a little child.  I discovered my infertility and processed this news with a sadness that I didn’t know how to express.  For many years I was unable to fully prepare to resolve infertility in my life, as I was not married.  Waiting is the characteristic of infertility and for twenty years I desired a husband with whom I could begin to work on my infertility.  When my husband and I finally did marry, we realized the impossibility of our situation.  I looked to God to meet our need.  We exhausted ourselves in trying so hard and the painful decision to not proceed with any medical intervention was made for us.  Turning our attention to the adoption process and all the requirements, I burst with hope.  Finally we would have our hearts’ desire.  After many years, and much paper work and hoops to jump through and waiting, we were still childless.

Faced with our continual empty nest, the strain became too much for me.  At the peak of our patience and in total frustration of the unfairness of what life had dealt us, I learned that we would have to face more delays and paperwork.  I explode into tears and released years of pent-up distress and panic of a dream unmet.  This was the catalyst for full surrender to God and my relinquishment of control I thought I had over my situation.  In just a few days, I discovered that God had already provided a perfect-fit resolution for me.

Coping and Support

Recently I had the privilege of presenting EMPTY HANDS TO OPEN ARMS to a group of women at a ladies’ conference.  I enjoyed the 3-minute speaking opportunity and throughout the day I met with many precious women who shared their personal story or with whom had a relative or a friend struggling with infertility.   A few shared the tragedy of spontaneous abortions and how their dream was torn from their hearts and their wombs.  I wept with them.  Others spoke of their feelings of helplessness in wanting so much to ease the hurt and pain of a loved one, or friend.  I prayed for them.  EMPTY HANDS TO OPEN ARMS is the type of book I needed in the years I faced my greatest distress.  This is the reason I wrote my story.

Finding a place to share your story is such an important step.  Many couples choose to suffer alone and support one another.  While this is helpful for the moment, at times seeing your husband or wife hurting with the burden of barrenness is too much to bear alone.

Once couples decide to invest in medical intervention, the first task is to choose the right Doctor.  It is important to investigate the physician who has had experiential skill in treating infertility.  Many in the medical field have only had introduction to infertility treatment as part of their medical training.  A referral from your family Doctor to a reproductive endocrinologist can benefit immensely.  He or she could be your greatest supporter in suggesting ways to cope.

While reading materials can be a source of great support, a supportive heart-to-heart conversation with a trusted friend can bring warm comfort.  Choose this friend wisely.  It is important to find someone who can resist the urge to offer useless advice.  Let your friend know that you are not looking for expertise in how to get pregnant.  No amount of relaxing, or trying this procedure or that is really what you are wanting to hear right now.  If your friend’s cousin Lucy got pregnant on her first In Vitro Fertilization attempt, that’s fine, however, you may not want to know about it.

Give yourself the protection you need from emotionally hurtful situations.  I.e. baby showers, and Mother’s day celebrations may best be left for another season in your life.  Be good to yourself.  Rest.  Consider professional counselling if need be.  Focus on the Family offers a one-time counselling opportunity and referrals for additional support. http://www.focushelps.ca/counselling-service Visit online support forums such as:

Hannah’s Prayer Ministry:  www.hannah.org, Stepping Stones:  http://stepforums.bethany.org

Always remember that Father God is waiting to embrace you in your pain.  He is waiting to give you the resolution that is a perfect fit. Talk with Him, release the hurt and the frustration.  Run into His open arms.

EMPTY HANDS TO OPEN ARMS:  From Infertility to Possibility is available at Christian bookstores across Canada as well as:

www.emptyhandsopenarms.com

Word Alive Press

Amazon.com

Chapters/indigo

Kindle, Kobo, and Apple

You may reach Paula at www.emptyhandsopenarms.com, and https://www.facebook.com/InfertilityPossibility/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

Writer’s Block

blank page

Sigh!  The blank page before me waits silently and pauses for impressive greatness from my mind to be collected and imprinted.

They are only words, yet they possess a power to comfort, anger, encourage, to bore or to entertain.

It is these words that my fingers reach for in a mind contented at the moment to be in quiet peaceful calm.  Therefore, silently the blank page before me waits.

Let us all go enjoy the day!

 

http://www.emptyhandsopenarms.com  and available through Word Alive Press and wherever fine Christian books are sold.  It is also available through Amazon.com, Chapters/Indigo, and Ebook, Kobo and Kindle.

Hopelessness and loss are common companions of infertility.  Paula describes the loss of a child she conceived only in her imagination.  She illuminates her struggle in persuading God to grant her greatest wish.  ISBN:  978-1-4866-1156-0

 

 

Letting it go

letting go

When I say, “Let it go”  I don’t mean to completely give up on conceiving a child.  Letting it go means more about the pain in the heart.  This can mean many things to many people.  It can mean letting go of fear that one might be childless forever.  It may mean that you can emotionally process this journey without the self-depreciation or loathing.  For many it may mean letting go of the bitterness harbored toward people who don’t “get it”.  What is it in our hearts that can hold heavy weights of hurt without any resolution.

Faith occurs when we cease trying to do something by our own efforts and trust Someone bigger to help us through it all.  It is trusting that God will bring a resolution that fits just you as well as the strength to accept that for your life.

Isaiah 54:1  “Sing, O barren, you who have not borne.  break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who have not labored with child.  For more are the children of t he desolate than the children of the married woman, says the Lord.”

Singing the sacrificial song, when everything screams, “No fair’ somehow breaks through the pain in the heart and for a time there is peace.

That is my wish for all who experience the pain of infertility – peace.

Sing your song, let it go.

 

empty hand to open arms ebook (1) for Facebook, etc   http://www.emptyhandsopenarms.com  and available through Word Alive Press and wherever fine Christian books are sold.  It is also available through Amazon.com, Chapters/Indigo, and Ebook, Kobo and Kindle.

Hopelessness and loss are common companions of infertility.  Paula describes the loss of a child she conceived only in her imagination.  She illuminates her struggle in persuading God to grant her greatest wish.  ISBN:  978-1-4866-1156-0

Receiving the Revealed Dream

Read it and watch it all!

Ever Upward™

Every message I get, every review posted, every thank you received has been tucked away into the depths of my soul.

They are the reminders of how I mother, of how I honor my babies and they are the reminders I desperately need along this journey of breaking the silence of infertility and getting people to hear the healthy messages of Ever Upward.

This past Saturday, the closing day of National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW), in the exhaustion of working three jobs without an assistant, I was gifted magic.

Despite my weary heart from the hard work of my #MoreThan1in8 project, God knew my NIAW wasn’t finished when He presented me with my first big speaking engagement. With only a few days notice I was asked to tell my story at the Gateway to Parenthood conference put on by the Missouri Center for Reproductive Medicine.

After two years of…

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Perfect Love Applied

Every single time I felt overwhelmed by my own childlessness I had to remember that I was never alone.  Though through this process of longing and waiting to adopt a child I knew that God was always with me.  Once again I’d find myself pleading with God to move in our situation and unknown to me God was showing me how to trust Him.  This is another actual journal account of that conversation with the Lord.

prayer 1                                                        (photo courtesy of Bing images)

“Love has be perfected among us in this that we may have boldness in the day of judgement because as He is, so are we in this world.  There is no fear in love but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment.  But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.”  1 John 4: 17, 18

February 27

Heavenly Father,

“I have longed for You.  My heart is breaking and I need you.  I have wondered how You could bring any good out of my situation.  Why have things been so hindered.  We have been waiting so long for an adopted child to come.  We have jumped through every hoop.  Yet in the middle of all my fear, You still love me and in that I have trust.  I trust you Lord.  I need to trust You God, to pray in faith, to cast my care and build myself up.  I am so connected with you Lord.  I pray that you will keep me in that perfect peace and that perfect love.”

“My Daughter, You are precious.  Your faith is equally precious and you are brought into maturity by use of it.  Keep growing, learning and trusting.  Find your way through applied love in what I have said in My Word as if it is true, because indeed it is true.  The power of My Father is in the Word to bring about the answer to every situation.  I have promised to heal, give freedom to those who are bound and comfort for those who are in distress.   You have been freely given to, freely give.  Do all that you do out of love that I have poured in you.  I never promised that difficulty would not come to you but that calamity is a part of this world.  So Be strong, be courageous.  I am and I always will be here for you.  Receive.”

 

empty hand to open arms ebook (1) for Facebook, etc   http://www.emptyhandsopenarms.com  and available through Word Alive Press and wherever fine Christian books are sold.  It is also available through Amazon.com, Chapters/Indigo, and Ebook, Kobo and Kindle.

Hopelessness and loss are common companions of infertility.  Paula describes the loss of a child she conceived only in her imagination.  She illuminates her struggle in persuading God to grant her greatest wish.  ISBN:  978-1-4866-1156-0

I’m the Other Mother

This a re-blog of an earlier post, and content from my book, EMPTY HANDS TO OPEN ARMS:  From infertility to possibility.    I wanted to bring attention to the message that the definition of a MOTHER has many facets.  Read the post, watch the video “I am a Mother” by Missy Lanning

I am a Mom

I am the “Other Mother”.  Each day I put everything I am into nurturing one little boy. I am a Nanny that has a special little relationship with a not quite two-year old.  I am happy that over the years I have had special little relationships with many children in my life as a Nursery, Sunday School and Educational Assistant.  In fact  in June  2014, I celebrated 25 years as an Early Childhood Educator.  The children I have taught over the years have become ‘my children’.  People used to be shocked when I’d reply that I had eleven children depending on the number I had in my class each year.

It is through one of these special relationships that I received one of the best gifts ever.  Ironically, it was a Mother’s Day present.  It was a simple poem written by a grateful Mom on a colorful card cut out of her five-year old son’s hand shape.   Accompanying this card was a clay hand print of her other one year old daughter.

The card read:  You’re our “Other Mother”,  you’ve been there from the start.  We didn’t grow in your tummy, we grew right in your heart.

I have kept that simple honest, heartfelt gesture of love for years now and I never get tired of reading and re-reading it.  These “heart grown” children will always stay, no matter how old they get.  With each new year comes new additions of  these special children and cause my heart to expand.

I suppose that if I were to describe ‘Motherhood’, I’d like to find a way to describe the nurturing love that “Other Mother’s” have though they may have or may not have ever given birth.

Who are these “Other Mother’s” ?   They are your friends who offer a weeknight to watch your children, while you enjoy a well deserved “date night”.  They are your children’s Nursery, Kindergarten, Sunday School Teachers that dry tears and soothe owies while you are at work or church. They are the elderly lady who never married, lives next door and always puts extra treats in your children’s bag at Halloween.  They are women who never had children, but love yours. These “Other Mother’s are all around. How will you show them your love and appreciation this Mother’s Day?

I found this video on a very precious lady’s blog  who is doing all she can to bring this message into this world and so in mutual admiration of Missy Lanning’s message it is presented here.

No matter if you’ve suffered a miscarriage or still birth, have been TTC for months or years, adopted your children, became a step-mom, lost your perfect baby, or have a bright and cheerful bundle of joy–you are a mother, and today is your day. A very special Happy Mother’s day to EVERY type of mother! ~Missy Lanning

 

 

empty hand to open arms ebook (1) for Facebook, etc   http://www.emptyhandsopenarms.com  and available through Word Alive Press and wherever fine Christian books are sold.  It is also available through Amazon.com, Chapters/Indigo, and Ebook, Kobo and Kindle.

Hopelessness and loss are common companions of infertility.  Paula describes the loss of a child she conceived only in her imagination.  She illuminates her struggle in persuading God to grant her greatest wish.  ISBN:  978-1-4866-1156-0