From An Awakened Eye

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Infertility Awareness Week

The Nightmare of Infertility

Written by Rebecca Ingram Powell
This article is courtesy of ParentLife.

The dreams of most women begin as little girls, imagining their own homes, husbands, and happy families. For one out of six women, however, those dreams become a living nightmare of pain and heartbreak when infertility is diagnosed.
Dreams of a Family

Cara dreamed of having children. Instead, she experienced numerous trips to the obstetrician’s office, multiple exams, and harsh drug therapy. “The worst part was being around pregnant women,” she said. When you want a baby more than anything in the world, life itself reminds you of your inability to conceive.

Cara admits: “You get to the point where you are willing to do anything. When my doctor began prescribing fertility drugs, I was all for it. No threat of side effects was going to sway me from doing whatever was necessary to fill my womb.”

Barb and Brandon had been struggling with infertility for seven years. Barb confided, “When our friends had babies, and they knew we couldn’t, they began to feel awkward around us.”

She explains that there is a fine line between wanting to rejoice with a friend who is announcing her pregnancy and wishing desperately that you could share the same news about yourself. “I didn’t care how many babies they had. I just wanted one of my own.”

Part of every mom’s life includes ministering to friends struggling with infertility. It can be uncomfortable, inconvenient, and, at times, intrude on your joy. Yet you are to bear each other’s burdens. You can minister a soothing balm to your inconsolable friend.

Wondering Why
The cry of the childless woman’s heart is a resounding, “Why?” There are many causes of infertility, including endometriosis, ovulatory problems, and cervical factors. Sexually transmitted diseases and drug use also can lead to infertility. Some women experience a combination of reasons, while others are suffering from unexplained infertility.

Many women endure feelings of guilt and shame when their infertility is diagnosed. Some wonder why their devotion to God seems to have gone unnoticed. “I have served God my whole life,” says Jennifer. “I don’t understand why there are many unwed mothers when my Christian husband and I can’t conceive.”

Encourage your friends to ask God these hard questions. God has shoulders big enough to take on the questions, tears, and heartbreak of a childless woman.

5 Things You Must Know about Women Facing Infertility 

Written by Kerry Anthony

Infertility - a crisis in the life of many women - often receives very little attention. It is an unspoken grief that afflicts at least one in every six women. This represents a lot of hurting women. How can we minister to them? Before we can help someone deal with infertility, we must first have some background knowledge about what infertility is.

What Is Infertility?

The National Infertility Association, RESOLVE, defines infertility as "a disease or condition of the reproductive system often diagnosed after a couple has had one year of unprotected, well-timed intercourse, or if the woman has been unable to carry a pregnancy that results in a live birth."

This definition includes women that have not been able to achieve pregnancy, those who have had miscarriages, and also those who are trying to have additional children.

Five Things You Must Know about Women Facing Infertility

1.She may not be childless by choice. Society tends to assume that if a couple does not have children, they have chosen not to do so. The couple may not have options available to them to try medical treatments or go through the adoption process. Trying to have children through medical procedures and/or adoption is both very expensive and emotionally exhausting. Also, many ethical decisions have to be made regarding medical treatments.

2.Infertility is often a silent grief. A lady in your women's ministry may suddenly begin to withdraw from the group. Debby Peoples states, "Infertility changes you. It is a time when you find yourself disconnecting from those you love the most, your family and friends. A time when you pull back from the world and focus inward because isolating yourself can actually feel better than remaining a part of the fertile world."

3.Infertility is all-consuming. Infertility encompasses every aspect of the infertile woman's life. It works its way into her being. Left unchecked, it can overtake who she is. An obsession with infertility can develop which leaves the woman incapable of being able to identify with other women. The infertile woman sees other women only as "fertile beings."

4.Church can be a very painful place. Many events at our churches are family oriented. While it is important for the church to value families, you do not want to cause people without children to feel unwelcome. Celebrate motherhood but be willing to grieve with those who are not mothers. Mother's Day services are often avoided and not attended by couples dealing with infertility because of the painful reminders. Recognizing "spiritual mothers" is a wonderful way to include all women.

5.Infertility is a physical problem. Infertility is a disease with medical complications. The church has a tendency to blame infertility on a lack of faith or unconfessed sin. Learn to minister effectively, not offensively, to the woman who is experiencing infertility.

Four Ways to Minister to Women Facing Infertility
Written by Kerry Anthony

Here are four key ways you can reach out to ladies struggling with infertility:

1. Commit to pray for her. You may not know what to do or say, but prayer will be exactly what she needs. James 5:16b says, "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." Remember not to just tell her that you will pray for her but actually pray with her! Words of comfort can be hard to choose but prayer will offer supernatural strength from God. The Lord, our Comforter, is able.

2. Be sensitive with conversation. Try to keep conversations from always being about children. Encourage the ladies involved in your women's ministry to refrain from complaining about their kids as this can discourage one who is longing for motherhood.

3. Be willing to listen. Just having someone with whom to share the emotions of the stress of infertility can make a huge difference in the stability of the woman walking through the crisis. Allow your women's ministry to be a place of grace and healing.

4. Find a place for her to serve. Offer a place in your church where she can use the gifts and talents that come easily for her. By serving in this type of capacity, she will feel needed but not overwhelmed.

Do not assume that she will want to help with the children because of her desire to have them. Working with children may only serve as a reminder of what she does not have.

Take these simple steps to be sensitive to the needs of women facing infertility, and see what God will do in and through you, the women you minister to, and your women's ministry on the whole

From Jenny H:

Thanks for taking the time to read the post. Share with whom ever you would like. I encourage friends and family members to embrace those who you know are going through infertility, misscarriages and the loss of a child.  I also suggest reading Hannah's Hope  and becoming a Burden Bearer. In the book Jennifer Saake has written at the end of each chapter a section for those who have never walked this road, but are walking along side of loved ones that are. I strongly encourage you to read through the book to know how to pray for her. Trust me you will have a better understanding on how the be sensitive in conversation and not feel like you will say something wrong. Trust me... she wants you by her side now more than ever! It will be with your help that she makes it through this journey.   She is in a crisis and needs you there. So please reach out to her so that she knows she is not alone. Put forth an effort to be her "legs" when she can not stand on her own. We are the body of Christ and when one part of the body hurts we all hurt. So be there for her. Send her a short email or text with the word "Praying". It will mean the world to her in that moment! You never know what she has been faced with that day or will be faced with. The timing of peoples' emails, text and phone calls have came for me at a time when I couldn't hold up my head and didn't want to take another step.
 Thank you to all of my Burden Bearers who have embraced me and supported me in your prayers and kind words of encouragement. We will give God all of the Glory!

"Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ."
Galatians 6:2

Jenny H
Abundance is... shopping therapy,  sports bras on not so happy ta-ta days(but praise God for the ta-ta's!), Friends pouring the Word of God into me, a weekend with my Baby J!

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