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Infertility’s Isolation

The drapes are drawn, the sun shines brightly, but for now it’s glow and warmth is held at bay.  The TV mumbles something in the background droning on in its purpose at the moment to drown out the thoughts of helplessness and sorrow.

The pregnancy test still sits in silence, abandoned with a negative result on the bathroom counter where she left it.  She was so sure this time.  All the cues were there and she’d hoped so strongly that this was the moment.  She hasn’t told him yet.  She thinks to herself that she couldn’t bear that look in her husband’s eyes and hear the words, “I’m sorry Honey” once again.

She’s often imagined the scene where she in her private glee, waits for her husband to awake from sleep.  She planned to have the tiny knitted baby nightie and hat lay calmly on the pillow where she usually slept.  Upon waking, he’d see and know immediately that their heart’s longing had been answered.  They’d be parents!  They would embrace until one of them could not hold the squeal of joy one moment more. She imagined the little girl’s sweet sleepy pout at the early morning feedings.  The prophetic pictures of her two-year old wading in the puddles after a winter melt. A funny five-year-old princess that parades and twirls with royal elegance.  Images that now squeeze with a painful ache.  She feels she’s failed again.

Hands cover her eyes as she lets the pain take her again and sobs give release to tears that liberate the pressure in her heart.  She feels so alone.

…..

Isolation and pain seem to go hand in hand at times.

Some individuals can find places in their time alone as an occasion to recharge and find new strength.  This is a healthy practice for the introverts among us.

What is it about the raw emotion and real situations that cause us to retreat and hide from the ones that care about us the most?  Are we still afraid of being that vulnerable?

Where do we find the courage to let others in?  It requires trust and a feeling of being safe in our vulnerability.

Many moments in my life I have found that place of feeling so very alone when facing the infertility diagnosis I was thrust into and I felt no one could understand. I had to come to that place where i could let it go and release that pressure though the scene repeated time and again.  My full story can be found here:  http://www.emptyhandsopenarms.com/  Believe me it was easier to write the book than to live it.

On the other side of my resolution where God intervened and picked me up in my surrender I did finally find the courage to share my struggles and I have found peace. Don’t face infertility in its darkness alone.  Firstly there is Jesus who understands and the Bible says, “feels” the feelings of our pain.  He is praying for you as you agonize in those moments of pain.  Secondly, God has placed many who care and who have a hug and a shoulder to weep with  you, pray with you and are not ashamed of your hurt… many who are not put off by your tears.

Who is she in my mini story above?  She is me.

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Infertility’s Isolation

The drapes are drawn, the sun shines brightly, but for now it’s glow and warmth is held at bay.  The TV mumbles something in the background droning on in its purpose at the moment to drown out the thoughts of helplessness and sorrow.

The pregnancy test still sits in silence, abandoned with a negative result on the bathroom counter where she left it.  She was so sure this time.  All the cues were there and she’d hoped so strongly that this was the moment.  She hasn’t told him yet.  She thinks to herself that she couldn’t bear that look in her husband’s eyes and hear the words, “I’m sorry Honey” once again.

She’s often imagined the scene where she in her private glee, waits for her husband to awake from sleep.  She planned to have the tiny knitted baby nightie and hat lay calmly on the pillow where she usually slept.  Upon waking, he’d see and know immediately that their heart’s longing had been answered.  They’d be parents!  They would embrace until one of them could not hold the squeal of joy one moment more. She imagined the little girl’s sweet sleepy pout at the early morning feedings.  The prophetic pictures of her two-year old wading in the puddles after a winter melt. A funny five-year-old princess that parades and twirls with royal elegance.  Images that now squeeze with a painful ache.  She feels she’s failed again.

Hands cover her eyes as she lets the pain take her again and sobs give release to tears that liberate the pressure in her heart.  She feels so alone.

…..

Isolation and pain seem to go hand in hand at times.

Some individuals can find places in their time alone as an occasion to recharge and find new strength.  This is a healthy practice for the introverts among us.

What is it about the raw emotion and real situations that cause us to retreat and hide from the ones that care about us the most?  Are we still afraid of being that vulnerable?

Where do we find the courage to let others in?  It requires trust and a feeling of being safe in our vulnerability.

Many moments in my life I have found that place of feeling so very alone when facing the infertility diagnosis I was thrust into and I felt no one could understand. I had to come to that place where i could let it go and release that pressure though the scene repeated time and again.  My full story can be found here:  http://www.emptyhandsopenarms.com/  Believe me it was easier to write the book than to live it.

On the other side of my resolution where God intervened and picked me up in my surrender I did finally find the courage to share my struggles and I have found peace. Don’t face infertility in its darkness alone.  Firstly there is Jesus who understands and the Bible says, “feels” the feelings of our pain.  He is praying for you as you agonize in those moments of pain.  Secondly, God has placed many who care and who have a hug and a shoulder to weep with  you, pray with you and are not ashamed of your hurt… many who are not put off by your tears.

Who is she in my mini story above?  She is me.

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

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

Perfect Love

emptiness                                                                                                  (Photo courtesy of Bing Images)

With empty hands of infertility comes a certain determination of wanting to do things with absolute perfection.  In longing for a child I found such determination in searching out possible solutions.  I however could never reach that point of doing everything absolutely right.  In many ways I perceived I had failed when my attempts to conceive or to adopt because I could not accomplish once simple task of becoming a mother in the physical sense.

This sense of failure brought out in me such a longing to be released from that fear of  childless future, to find a place of peace and a sense of being loved.

Some days in pain, some days in quiet thoughts, I would approach God.  I’d bow my knee and connect once again with the One who knew me so very well.  Here at my Heavenly Father’s feet I poured out my heart.

February 3

Lord, life hurts!  I know you have a plan for me and for all this but I don’t understand.  Can you understand how my heart breaks, how my heart cannot mend.  I want a child so very badly.  I feel so very alone.  Perfect Love is who You are Lord Jesus.  It is the greatest description of You God.  You are Love and when I come in close to You I pray you would envelop me in that love and displace the fear, displace this pain.I want that peace to walk in, simply to trust You and let You love me with that perfect love. My desire is to be made perfect in love.”

“My dear one, It is true that there cannot be fear and love together.  They are opposite.  Fear is the confident expectation of bad, or dread and it’s presence seeks to drive out My love.  You cannot walk in both simultaneously, one always casts out the other.  Fear and love cannot coexist together.Fear is tormenting and your prayer to be made perfect in love is a good prayer.  One that I am working in you to perfect.  Perfect love and perfect peace go hand in hand.  I am perfect and you too are perfect in Me.  You are and have everything complete in you.”

There is no fear in love for perfect love casts out fear because fear involves torment.  but he who fears has not been made perfect in love.  1 John 4;18

Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us, that we should be called the Sons of God. 1 John 3:1

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.

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

God’s love sings!

“The Lord your God in your midst, the Mighty One will save.  he will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with his love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”  Zephaniah 3:17

heart love

On those days when I didn’t think I could manage anymore.  When it felt that my heart’s hope would never come.  When all I could do was cry and pray.

Journal excerpt:  January 25

“Heavenly Father, You are my hero who helps me.  You are so powerful, even when I am so weak, I don’t think I can carry on.  Your strong arm delivers me from this distress. From my fears of never holding a little one, from the the fear that I will never be content without a child to care for.  That I will be alone.  You have come to bring me life where I am abundantly satisfied.  You rejoice when you see me.  You are glad to be around me.  You are so happy, You sing.  Wrap your arms around my grieving heart.  I’m celebrating Your great love for me.”

“My precious one.  I think of you and it makes My heart glad when you spend time with Me.  I’m happy to overflow My love for you in a tangible way.  My Spirit kisses you with gentle peace, warmth of heart and love and then I sing.  I sing sweet songs of love and deliverance to restore your soul, give you rest and embrace My love.  I can do it all in a moment.  Never doubt My deep love for you My child, My daughter.  It is with loving hands that I formed you and watched you grow.  I have always had a plan for you in mind.  I sent My Son, Jesus so I could draw you to Him.  Then you gave your life to Me.”

These were the moments when I found God’s comfort that would speak to me.  I would sit for an hour or more and write my frustrations and fears.  Music formed the background of what God’s word would say to me and I’d find rest there.  I’d cease the tears and my heart and emotions would calm.  Thank you Lord.

 

empty hand to open arms ebook (1) for Facebook, etc   www.emptyhandsopenarms.com  and available through Word Alive Press and wherever fine Christian books are sold.

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

 

 

Getting a ‘Yoke’ exchange

“Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your soul.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”  Jesus (Matthew 11:28-30)

butterfly

Living with the burden of infertility over the years I had to come to learn how to set that burden down.  It wasn’t easy.  This conversation of letting go became a re-occurring theme in my times of prayer.

January 22

“Lord I’ve been walking in a mentality of works.  I’ve been trying to make things happen in finding the resolution to so desperately wanting a child.  It has only brought me to a place of labour, frustration and grief.  It is a heavy burden Lord and yet how wonderful it is to cast all of that off and have an exchange of the heavy yoke I’ve been carrying and take on Yours.  You are leading me Lord and you have lead me and are walking at my pace.  I’m not a disappointment to You.  Your burden is light because I’m already pleasing to You Lord.  I cannot move ahead or fall behind.  In Your eyes I’m in perfect step with You.”

Legalistic works, do’s, don’ts and attempts to clean up my act or ‘do it perfectly’ is cheating myself of being abundantly satisfied. I am learning that in Him, not outside of Him in my own efforts to please, thinking that it is pleasing to Him, I am already was pleasing to God.

“My daughter in Me there is peace.  I’ve given you the peace I have.  I want you to live out of that place of rest in the fellowship of knowing Me and My presence in  your life. When I said to seek first My kingdom and My righteousness and all things will be added to you, I included all of those desires you’ve been seeking for too.  My yoke is easy, not hard, or stress filled.  You qualified when you accepted me as Lord and Savior.” God.

empty hand to open arms ebook (1) for Facebook, etc   www.emptyhandsopenarms.com  and available through Word Alive Press and wherever fine Christian books are sold.

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