Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Infertility Poem by Shanda Springfield

One of my readers, Shanda Springfield, recently emailed me this beautiful poem written from the depths of the heart of a mother waiting for her arms to be filled. Shanda, thank you for putting so many of our feelings to words. I pray this peom will bless all of you as it did me:

My heart cries out in anguish
For the child I haven't conceived
Why do I feel such sorrow,
How can I be so grieved?
Like a part of me is missing
Yet it was never even here,
I always thought it was time
To hold my child so dear.
I lie awake most nights
Pondering how it should be,
"By my age," I always said,
"I'll have two or three."
Life never seems to turn out
The way I want it to
But I know God's plan is perfect,
And his love forever true.
There are still those who criticize
And tell me all I'm doing wrong,
I'm learning to ignore them,
They will not steal my song.
I have faith in God
I believe his will is best,
But still I am human
And go through many tests.
With all this said, I pray today,
"Not my will, but thine,
I am only a branch,
But, Lord, you are the vine."

by: Shanda Springfield
May 25, 2005

Shanda hopes to start up an infertility support group in Monroe, Louisiana in October, 2005. For more information, email Shanda at springer1222@bellsouth.net.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Memorial ideas for your baby in Heaven

I don't know the personal background of each website and what they all stand for (so I can't promise that there might not be some New Age kind of information, etc. on a few), but some of
the products are pretty special on each site. If you need a special memorial keepsake for your baby, I pray that you will find just the right thing to comfort your heart.

Preciouas Feet company

A Place to Remember

Quiet Refuge

BestToYou - try different searches such as "tear," "heart," or "comfort." Also see the general
jewelry links.






Another idea would be those "kid" necklace charms for a mother's necklace. Rick bought me one last year for Christmas and I have charms for my two living kids as well as charms for each of our three miscarried babies. Mine are all regular "kid" charms, but when we did a grandmother necklace for my mom, I actually found "angel" charms to represent my miscarried
babies (not that I think they are angels because I know they are still people, but simply to represent that they are in Heaven rather than on earth). Mervyn's carries theses and J.C.Penneys used to. I believe other stores do as well.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Celebrating 13 years of marriage (and miscarriage resources for husbands)

We are headed out of town for our 13 wedding anniversary this weekend. What a long-short time it has been! Rick's been part of my life for nearly half of my lifetime now (will be exactly half in another 3 years) and it's hard to remember life without him. So much has happened over the years that it doesn't seem possible it has only been 13 since we said our vows. And yet, I can go back to the memories of our wedding day in a heartbeat, and it seems just as impossible that we have actually been married for so long!

Thinking of my wonderful husband today, I wanted to share some resources for men who are trying to cope with miscarriage. There is a short little booklet, not specifically Christian based but one I found pretty good, called Miscarriage: A Man's Book. There is also a list of books For the Father Whose Wife Had a Miscarriage on Amazon - I don't know about every book on the list, but some are definitely Christian titles. You might want to read through the reviews and see if there are any that seem of interest.

The site was down when I just tried to access it, so I don't know if they are still around or not, but there used to be a group (again, not specifically Christian, but still a good place for support) called StillFathers for men who were the fathers of stillborn and miscarried babies. You might give this link a few tries in the coming days and see if they are still around.

Hannah's Prayer also offers a small email group for Christian men coping with infertility. If you are the husband of a woman involved in the HP Community Forums message boards, feel free to join HP Husbands.

I know this isn't much by way of support, but unfortunately there isn't a lot out there. Please, if you know of other helpful resources for men, share them in the Comments section below!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Resources for Support Groups

Sorry to have missed another week's blog. We had out of town company and I just let it slide while enjoying my sister-in-law and nephews. :) While we are now all passing a nasty little tummy bug around the family, I finally have a chance to get back online a bit.

I received an email a couple weeks ago asking a pretty common question. "How do I start a local support group?" After composing an answer for this woman, I decided that this might be good information to post here for anyone else who is looking. If you know of other helpful resources, please don't hesitate to add them to the comments section! For anyone considering allowing God to take your heartache and use you to His glory in reaching out to others, I praise God for giving you this heart's desire. A basic article on starting/running infertility support groups is here.

At Laura's adoption blog you will find a lot of great information compiled by a woman who has successfully led an adoption/infertility ministry. As it is very adoption-focused, it may not all apply to your situation, but you can probably glean a lot of great ideas. Scroll down a bit, just below all the category links to where you find "Laura's picks" then a blurb on my book...keep reading from there and you will find so much!

If you call Stepping Stones at 1-800-613-3188 and request back newsletter number SS.957.NL(Finding Support) there is very helpful basic information here. As you get started, be sure to also register your group with Stepping Stones so they can add you to their contact list.

As always, I highly recommend the book The Ache for a Child by Debra Bridwell. While it is now out of print, it is still available through sites like Amazon.com. (I've also created a list of my favorite infertility and loss books on Amazon if you are interested in this resource.) Debra helped start a very successful infertility support group out in California years ago and there are many references to this group in her book.

If your group is going to be church-based, I encourage you to start by looking at the biggest "pain trigger" issues within your own church then brainstorming with a few other couples about the best way to balance these needs. For example, if your church does monthly baby dedications but also offers Sunday School classes running in conjunction with service times, might baby dedication Sundays be good days to offer special support group meeting days? One church that seems to have a really neat infertility ministry is Watermark Community - I've not talked to the leaders directly, but their website is impressive.

Another great model for grief support is the GriefShare organization.

And while dealing with a whole different topic (chronic pain and health issues), many of the methods used by the Rest Ministries Hope Keepers groups can be very helpful in planning and organizing your group as well.

I look forward to seeing what God does with your willing hearts! If you are starting (or already running) a group in your area, I would love to know about it. Please add details about your group to the "comments" below so that other blog visitors can connect with you. Also, be sure to stop by the Hannah's Prayer Community Forums and join us in the support group forum under the "leadership" section of the message boards.