Friday, August 21, 2009

Fears of Infertility

After so many years of "IF" (infertility), my heart will never be far from the journey nor from those still walking this heartache. Recently a member of the Hannah's Prayer Community Forums posted her thoughts and fears in the early steps of realizing she was no longer just trying to conceive, but now living the realities of infertility. I will not comment further, but rather let her post speak for itself...

Since introducing myself and lurking around here a while, I've finally come to the point that I can identify what I'm feeling, and right now it's fear. I KNOW that we are to be anxious about nothing, but all of this seems so new and terrible to me that I don't really know how not to be afraid of it without ignoring what I'm fearful of, and I know that's not the answer either. I'm hoping some of you wise women will have some wisdom to share, although to be honest I'm hoping I'll magically end up with a BFP ["Big Fat Positive" pregnancy test] this month and not have to worry about it anymore. But here goes.

I'm afraid I'll be "sick." - I've always been healthy and I'm afraid of finding out that I'm really afflicted with something and spend the rest of my life seeing doctors, trying different meds, and having surgeries. I'm a nurse- I've seen this life, I've never wanted it. I'm afraid that this not-conceiving thing is just a symptom of whatever is medically wrong with me.

I'm afraid of losing my ability to love children. - All my life all I've done is work with kids. In church, at my job, in social gatherings. I gravitate towards them naturally. I'm afraid of not being able to enjoy them any more, and of losing that part of my identity, the one that's "good with kids."

I'm afraid of financial strain. - I know that we'd like to adopt, but I'd also like to start that process as soon as possible instead of using all of our resources on fertility treatments first and then having nothing left over to adopt with. This isn't really high on my list of fears, but I find myself researching adoption options already when we haven't even been to see the doctor yet. DH won't even discuss a "what if" until we've tried for "a while longer" (how long is 'a while' again?)

I'm afraid of depression. - Self-explanatory. Both my parents struggled with depression, and the pain is so overwhelming sometimes that I wonder if I'm not slipping towards it too. I really don't think so right now, but can I take years of this?

I'm afraid of being outcast. - Having to explain my status to every new person I meet. Right now it's not too hard, we've "only" been married for 2 years, after all, and I look several years younger than I am. But this can't last much longer. I'm a pretty private person (read: pronounced introvert), and I hate being known by my 'status.' It can be hard enough for me to make friends sometimes anyway. I don't want a stigma over my head too.

I'm afraid of no babies. - Obviously! But really, I always wanted 6 kids at least. Can I really handle none?

I'm afraid of a spiritual reason for IF. - Sometimes, I know God doesn't allow "good things" because of something else we'll deal with in our lives. What if I can't have kids because I'm going to die of cancer next year and God didn't want to leave my husband alone and with an orphan? I know that's far fetched, but maybe you'll understand. If I can't have kids because of something coming that would be terrible for children, I don't know if I want to go through that either.

*sigh.* That might be it. We have an appointment with my gyn soon. Hopefully we can get most of my blood work paid for by using the "irregular cycles" and "painful menstruation" card since IF labs aren't covered. Anybody know how much a SA runs?

But, to be positive too:

I'm grateful for my DH [Dear Husband] - He is kind, understanding, and (almost) totally on the same page as I am. He holds me when I'm sad and tells me we're just going to take it 1 step at a time. And he's not scared of "putting sperm in a cup" as he calls it!

I'm grateful that I've been through pain in the past - Because I have some idea how to handle rough emotions. Not the same, but helpful nonetheless

I'm grateful that we had 1 year of of marriage footloose and fancy-free before baby-making started to hang over our heads. I'd hate to have started my marriage with months of disappointment.

I'm grateful, of course, for God's grace - And try to remember to pray for the sons he wants to bring into His kingdom when I feel the pain of not having any in my life yet. I'm grateful His heart for the world hurts just as much (more, actually) than mine at the thought of the children He wants for himself. Our God knows the spirit of ALL our infirmities, and I am so grateful to know that.

Thanks ladies, for listening, and for any strength you might be able to add to my journey. It helps a lot to know that I am not alone in this battle, and to be reminded that my worth isn't based on the outcome of a child.

Kristina, thank you for your courage to put into words what so many of us have to process in our hearts and for graciously letting me share these fears with my readers.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Join me for Virtual Spa Weekend!

This weekend about 40 beautiful ladies from Hannah's Prayer are gathered in Ohio for a retreat that will bless and encourage them in the midst of their infertility and/or loss journies. But since only these few ladies could gather, I wanted to provide an alternative for everyone else. Thus was born Virtual Spa Weekend on my InnerBeautyGirlz blog. So come on over and join the fun for a weekend of beauty tips, video clips to make you laugh and cry, and a ton of great give-aways including chocolate, books, jewelry and beauty supplies.

If you don't get to read this post until sometime after May 3, it will still be worth your while to come check out the Virtual Spa threads! Even after the contests are closed, the other encouraging posts will still remain. :) So let's kick off our Weekend with this YouTube message I recorded from my bathroom just last week. This video was created specifically for the ladies of Hannah's Prayer Ministries who are gathered in Ohio, but I pray the message of the video will give you a reason to smile, maybe even make you laugh as you see me with no makeup, unbrushed hair and sitting on the side of my tub in a bathrobe, or be an encouragement to you in whatever season of life you find yourself tonight.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Registration deadline is April 10, 2009!

The Hannah's Prayer Retreat registration deadline is the end of this week. If you are looking for a wonderful weekend of support and encouragement, you won't want to miss this May 1-3 event in Cincinnati, Ohio! Head to and register now. :)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Consumed By Love

Last night (evening before Valentine's Day) I had the pleasure of sharing a little bit at a women’s event. There was quite a mixture of women there: married, divorced, singles, moms, those without children, those who had lost children...

I attended wearing a red turtleneck sweater. Over the sweater I wore a beautiful, large crystal-cut heart necklace. Under my sweater, unseen by anyone, I wore a second heart necklace, one of solid metal and inscribed with the words of John 15:13, "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."

We started by talking about thoughts that came to mind when hearing the words “consume” or “consumed". Answers varied from eating and drinking to living in a “consumer-driven” society where we practices "consumerism" of material goods. I then asked for input about what kinds of things we can be consumed by or that consumes us. The first answer was “fire,” followed by more of an understanding of what I was getting at: all-consuming goals, passions, ideas, anger, fear, etc.

I then pointed to my crystal necklace and talked about the ways we can strive to look beautiful on the outside and reflect a good image to the world around us, just like the facets on this necklace reflect beautiful colors and light. To look at most of us you might think that we “have it all together.” But if I take off my necklace (as I did while saying these words) and hold it off by itself, we can see that all that beauty is just outward and that inside there is nothing there but plain glass. Sometime what we portray to the world is simply a disguise for the fragile emptiness we are feeling inside.

We all have different heartaches. Yours may be longing for someone to love or be loved by. It may be seeking fulfillment in an unfulfilling job. It might be trying to make your body look differently than it does in order to fill that void in you heart. For me it was a combination of infertility and losses, along with chronic health issues, that lead me to the point of desperation and even contemplating suicide. No one could see that lonely emptiness inside, but I knew it was there. I was consumed by the pursuit of motherhood and my feelings of failure as a woman because I couldn't get there. The heartache and grief consumed me every day and I felt abandoned by God because it seemed that He didn't even care.

But thankfully how I may "feel" about God doesn't dictate reality. Lamentations chapter 3 is a long book of heartache about all the things this author suffered. But hidden right in the midst of his complaints, he dramatically shifts gears for a few verses and boldly proclaims, "Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail." While I was busy feeling overlooked by Him, He had already been going out of His way to prove the opposite to me.

What is the value of something? It really is NOT the cost of an item as much as it is what someone is really willing to pay. There are many things I don't buy because the price tag is higher than I feel the value to be. But God placed the ultimate value on me when He choose to pay the price of His son's life to prove His love for me! Many of us know the verse John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." God made this verse very personal to me in the midst of infertility when I realized that "God so long to call me His daughter that He allowed the death of His only biological son to pay the price of my adoption."

If you are feeling empty and fragile and wondering about God's love for you, He has proved it better than any knight in shining armor ever could. John 15:13 is engraved on this necklace (as I pull the second necklace out of its hiding place and let it rest outside my sweater) and states that "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." Just like this necklace is strong and solid and full of meaning, when I put my hope in God and trust Him at His word even when I don't "feel" Him there, He fills that empty place in my heart with hope.

” Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness…
For men are not cast off
by the Lord forever.
Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,
so great is his unfailing love.“

-Lamentations3:21-23, 3:31-32 (NIV)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Hannah's Prayer Retreat Information

Event: Hannah's Prayer Retreat
Date: Fri, May 01, 2009 - Sun, May 03, 2009
Place: Cincinnati, OH
Details: This retreat is for married women who have experienced infertility, pregnancy loss, or infant death. Join other sisters in Christ who know the pain these experiences bring, and be encouraged together to look to Christ for hope and healing.

Location: Sheraton Cincinnati Airport Hotel, 2826 Terminal Drive, Hebron, KY 41048

Cost: $200 per person for event, hotel, and all meals. $65 per person local option for event and Friday dinner only.

Speaker: Ginger Garrett, author of several books, including Moments for Couples Who Long for Children and Beauty Secrets of the Bible.

The theme is "Beautiful in His Sight." Through worship, prayer, encouraging messages, various workshops, and fun & fellowship, we hope to strengthen our relationship with Christ and one another and be reminded that even though our bodies don't work the way they're "supposed to" and our lives are not turning out as we'd planned, we are precious and beautiful and loved by the Lord, and He has a great plan for our lives, whether He sends us children or not.

God brings beauty from the ashes in our journey!

For more information or to register, please visit Hannah's Prayer Ministries at