Tag Archive | The Infertility Journey

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

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

 

 

Dust Bunnies be Gone!

01-dust-bunny

Photo courtesy of Bing Images

I have waged an all out war on dust bunnies!!!

At first I let them just you know hang around the furniture legs.  They looked so cute, so fuzzy so warm. so I let them move in under the furniture. No problem. After all who looks under the furniture? I made friends with them and we lived in peace for a good long while.

Well no one told me that those little critters multiply!!! Before long I had families of dust bunnies under dressers, in corners of closets,under couches and then boldly living in corners of all my rooms in clear view!

So….. friends no longer….. I grabbed a broom, vacuum, mops and sponges and rid my home of the little critters forever.

So beware my friends and family…. they may start out cute and cuddly, but it doesn’t take long for them to totally take over.

Ask yourself: Have you dusted today?

Our thoughts can be like this.  We can be thinking peaceful thoughts in one moment and then we allow a little thought of anxiety or fear push its way in.  It’s just a small one so you can let it sit for a bit, it won’t really hurt you will it?  Possibly you were thinking something innocent, like, “what will I do with all the baby furnishings, if I never can conceive.”  It is too much to think about so you just push it into a corner.  No time to deal with it now.  Later while you are folding laundry, another thought hits your brain, “You know you may never have baby clothes to wash and fold.”  Where did that thought come from?  You push that one aside as well.  Then you are watching television and you see a commercial on diapers and it has gripped you right in the throat.  You change the channel. On and on it goes and before you know it these thought ‘dust bunnies’ have invited friends for a sleepover.

Then it happens, your husband mentions that money is a little tight this month and he doesn’t know how he can continue to pay for all the organic food and supplements!  You are thrown into a rage and the thoughts of the days and possibly weeks come pouring out on your poor unsuspecting husband.  He has no idea that you have been allowing these thought bunnies to take over your mind.

Wait!  Rewind the scene before the big explosion.  Before it all goes downhill, take a moment.  Let’s do some housecleaning!  You need a mental break!

Take a moment right now!  Yes, right now.  Go and get a pencil and paper.  It’s okay, I’ll wait.

th (3)

Photo courtesy of Bing Images

Now I want you to write down every thought that is troubling you right now.  Make a list and after you are sure you have gotten it all written down, stop.  Now take your paper and wad it up so it fits in your fist.

Throw it away… just give it a good heave-ho (Now not at your husband, he is not the enemy!).

I wanted you to have this very mental and physical picture of what it is like to cast away your anxieties.

1 Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your care on Him (Jesus) for He cares for you.”  Collecting the negative thoughts, cleaning out your mental dust bunny closet is healthy and calming to your soul, (your mind, will and emotions).  A little salt water tear or two might help the cleansing process along with some deep breaths.  It’s okay, God loves you and many others do too.

Replace those thoughts with words that bring brightness back in.  “I’m doing my best and I’ll be fine”  “I know I can do this, God gives me strength.”  “I’m taking one step at a time”   Just take moments like this to bring hope back in your heart.  If you haven’t had the opportunity, ask Jesus to be the Lord of your broken heart and heal it and lead you in your journey.  He wants to.

I have found that there are moments where I need to stop, take stock, and rid myself of emotional dust bunnies from time to time.  To allow myself the pleasure of dusting the negative away and enjoying the entrance of peace.  Don’t we all long for that?  This process is “casting your care.”  Do it today.

So grab your brooms.  Let’s unite for a dust bunny-free life, both mentally, and emotionally!

I See You Everywhere

sad woman

Photo Courtesy of Bing Images

Her eyes lifted, momentarily from the Parenthood magazine she encased her emotions behind.  At this moment in the quiet waiting room, we barely noticed one another.  All that is heard is the soft buzz of activity at the nursing station and the calls answered by a rushed receptionist attempting to book yet another patient.  Hasty physicians walked briskly from room to room giving pause to a quickly opened file, sighed and walked into each room to those waiting a verdict.

She was young, possibly twenty-five years on this earth.  The ring on her finger showed she would have to face the verdict alone.  Would the news of whatever her fate be faced with courage or tears that simply wouldn’t wait?  All was kept secret, behind a pretty face by Mabeline, and soft auburn hair combed down.   She clutched a silver and black Coach purse, as tightly as she clung to a tense nervous composure.  Her eyes reflected the only question she was poised ready to ask:  Why?

Our small company of two grew to four as a Mother and her small cradled newborn entered the room.  The Mother was completely oblivious to the two women who regarded her bundle.  She peeled back a bright pink cotton blanket to reveal another pink and white tiny sleeper encasing a resting child.  The little face relaxed in perfect peace.  Long lashes, a tiny nose and perfect pink lips  reflection the perfect creation she was.  The Mother held this darling close to her heart and she closed her eyes for a moment.

I glanced at the woman and thought I heard the small, cool intake of breath.  I saw in her eyes the longing, mixed with a painful mist that clouded her blue eyes turning a watery shade of grey.  I knew that look.  I knew the constricting of the heart as pain seared emotions that hadn’t been adequately shared with someone, anyone who understood.  In these moments any small bit of joy is smothered in the reality of unanswered dreams and unanswered questions.

Instinctively, I wanted to reach over, grab her hand, place an arm around those burdened shoulder and whisper that I understood.  I yearned to reach to the depth of her hurting heart and soothe the ache that is there and tell her it really would be okay, that there is a resolution to be found and comfort to come.  However, I had not been given that privilege to enter her world.  Hurts this deep can only be shared with deep trust in the listener who listens without giving insensitive advise.

Only a moment later, her name was called and she rose to accept the news of the reasons infertility kept her isolated from the ‘Mother Club’.  I smiled as our eyes met and then she was gone.

For the one who knows this pain, who understands this journey of infertility, from the deep places in me I grieve for you.  I see you everywhere I go and I see the pain that is so familiar. God sees it too and Jesus longs to take your hand, put His arms around your hurting heart and release the burden that is uniquely yours.  He longs for you to know that it really will be okay and that He has a resolution for you, when you are ready for it to come into your life.  “Hold on to hope”, He says.  He won’t give you insensitive advice. He longs to bring comfort if only you would give Him the privilege to enter your world.  He has many here on this planet who would understand.

 

 

Living Child-free with No Regrets

How can I really feel fulfilled in my life? How do I fill my life with what I really love and enjoy?

This you tube workshop with Fertility Planit discusses child free living and the process of embracing this decision that is for some… touched a chord in me. Enjoy.