About Me

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Hi. Welcome to my "taboo" blog. My name is Steph, and when I first started this, I was still in my thirties. In 2017, I switch decades! I am a Christian, so underlying everything I do and say is the Word of God, and the foundational truths I have learnt over the years. This doesn't mean I'm perfect - I am human. It just means I recognise I need God's help to live this life and try to live out His way, as best I can. So that's me in a nutshell. Thanks for taking the time to read through my blog, I hope you draw strength, hope or encouragement from what you read.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Blessed Are Those Who Mourn

My car CD player has been broken for a couple of weeks. It only needed a new fuse, but as I am useless at that kind of thing, I had to wait for the time when Hubby was free to do change it. It's funny how much you miss having the freedom to play music when it is taken away from you!!

So when Hubby finally remembered to change the fuse, I found that when I started to play the CD, I listened more intently to what was playing. As I did, one line from one of the songs on the Desperation Band album "Centre of it All" really struck me.
"Your comfort is for all the hurting"
This one line is so profound in its simplicity, for we can only receive the comfort of God when we are hurting, We can't know this aspect of God's nature when we aren't in pain, for we would not have need to be comforted. As Jesus said,
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." (Matthew 5:4)
Many times, in this journey, I have known what it is to mourn. Someone said to me over the weekend, "You can't grieve what you don't know you're missing." But I can promise I really do know what I am missing, I have spent enough time with my gorgeous Nephews and Stepson to have a very clear understanding of what I am missing, and battle daily with the emptiness of my barren womb, my arms which long to hold Bubba, my hand which longs to take the tiny hand of my child and lead them, safely, through life. My grief may not be as visible as the parent who has lost a child, but I know I have experienced the comfort of God in my hurting... in my mourning. 

Wherever you are in your journey, know that Father God fully understands what we are fighting against, and how we are feeling, even if others don't get it. He is with you, walking through each day, and pouring out the balm of His comfort within your moment of grief and mourning. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Faith Won't Allow You to Hide.

My Church is just coming to the end of a two month sermon focus on "faith". It's really helpful to know that everyone has their own faith journey. But it's also really good to be reminded that God is with us through the toughest refining of our faith.

I seem to have this reoccurring thought...not always in relation to anything in particular, but often when I'm around others. It's the thought of melting under whatever chair I'm sitting on. It's like I literally melt and hide under the chair. And that's the key to this imagery - the idea of hiding away.

It would be so easy when the days are hard, when Aunt Flo arrives, when faced with our body's faults, when challenged by babies, children or pregnant women, to just hide ourselves away from having to deal with the pain. Or from dealing with our grief. Or from dealing with our empty womb and empty arms. But faith causes us to get up, get out, and get on.

Faith says, I want to hide away, but I know today, God can use me in spite of my pain. Faith says, I have no idea what is around the corner, but I know God does, and He will be with me each step of the way. Faith says, the world can be a confusing place but I know God sees all, He knows all, and He will comfort me in His Shalom. Faith takes us beyond our feelings of wanting to hide away, and allows the Spirit of God to lift our heads, to cause our face to shine with the peace which surpasses all understanding.

Let faith lead you. Don't hide yourself away. It may be hard, but I know, because I experience it, that God will help you get through this day. Just like He is with you every other day. Don't let your grief cover you over in darkness, Jesus will be your light. It's not easy. I so understand. And as Christmas approaches, and thoughts turn to 'family', hold your head up high, God will carry us through.

Friday, November 15, 2013

TV Debate About What Age Women Should Stop Trying to Conceive

The other day, I had a moment to actually sit down, longer than five minutes, so I thought I'd stick the TV on for a bit, and ended up watching "The Alan Titchmarsh Show". The only reason I ended up watching this, was because of the promise of debate between two women arguing for and against an age limit on women becoming pregnant. 

So when the time came for the debate, I was interested in hearing what would be said. The two women arguing were Samantha Brick, who is currently undergoing IVF at the "ripe old age" of 42, and a young twenty-something who has already had her two-point four children. 

Samantha shared what she had experienced and how she'd ended up walking the road to IVF. She voiced many of the thoughts and longings women who struggle to conceive express. She gave lots of factual information, including the fact that many women haven't purposely left it late to conceive, it's just the direction life has taken for them. She also shared stories of what it takes to have a desire to be a mum, and yet have that desire unmet.

Then the floor was opened to her challenger. Her basis for condemning women over 35 from being a mother is because she was born to older parents, and had to grow up without grandparents. Seriously! She was more bothered about not having grandparents, than the fact that her parents had struggled to conceive her, and so she decided that any woman over 35 is being selfish by having a baby, because they would deprive their child of grandparents.

As the show is pre-recorded for the Friday afternoon show, there was no opportunity to have a viewers contribution to the debate, which is a huge shame. I would loved to have added my "two-pennies worth" into the mix!

The fact is that, sadly, none of us are guaranteed of long life... A young couple in their twenties could have lost both their parents, while a couple in their forties could still have both of theirs living and active. Age is not a determiner of whether grandparents are around or not. So to decide that women over 35 are more at risk of damaging their children because they won't have the opportunity to forge a relationship with grandparents, is a crazy way of judging the suitability of a couple to become parents. 

The most shocking thing, at the end of the debate the studio audience were asked to raise a coloured paddle to show which side they agreed with. Thinking that Samantha had been less subjective and more structured in her argument, I was convinced that she would win over the votes of the audience, who were mainly older women. But alas, I was wrong. The audience seemed to agree with the young woman and condemned women over 35 as being selfish for wanting to have a baby! It seems that all those grandmothers in the audience couldn't bear the idea of not being a grandparent - which I understand, to an extent.

But, I'm so relieved there is no law against Hubby and I trying for our Bubba. As if it wasn't hard enough knowing I am disappointing my parents, as well as Hubby, as well as myself in this struggling to conceive, there are people out there who are prepared to condemn my desires, and stick a nail in the lid of the coffin, to stop us from having a Bubba! Wow! Where's God's grace in all this!!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Infertility And Depression

Why on earth am I struggling to contain my tears whilst sitting in Starbucks, enjoying one of ther "Festive Favourites"??? Oh yeah... it's because I started a new cycle, and there's a mum on the next table breastfeeding her Bubba... reminding me what I am not. Maybe I should leave... but why should I... I was here first, and I was perfectly OK sourcing some images for an article I had worked on. 

It is so maddening to suddenly have to contain my emotions, these crazy emotions which seem to have a life of their own, and usually let me know they exist when I'm out in public... why couldn't they just keep in check until it's dark and I'm alone!


The fact is, that according to a charity poll conducted recently, 91% of people suffering with fertility problems suffer from depression at some point in their struggles. Perhaps, one of the most difficult emotional consequences of infertility is the loss of control over one’s life (Domar AD, Seibel MM. Emotional aspects of infertility. In Seibel MM (ed). Infertility: a comprehensive text. Stamford: Appleton and Lange; 1997.p.29-44). A loss of control creates a huge sense of hopelessness when thinking about the future.

In my experience, there seems to be offers of support for those who go down the route of using one of the treatments available, like IVF, IUI etc... but what of those of us who can't use them for financial or health reasons, what about those who want to but are not eligible for help from the NHS, or what about those who had a number of attempts, which weren't successful and now the courses, and all options, have come to an end - what support? What counselling? What help?

Depression is the silent enemy of women who desire to be a Mumma, and who are fighting infertility. It can take a grip at any moment. As Christian's this can lead to the added pressure of feeling incredibly guilty - after all, aren't we supposed to trust God! Doesn't depression mean we have stopped trusting God??? How can we be a "good Christian" if we are depressed?? Not only does the Christian woman have to suffer the heartbreaking stigma of being infertile, but there's the added anxiety of having to appear to "hold it all together" and yet all you may want to do is hide in a dark corner, eat chocolate and never face the world again. The feeling of depression may even take you to the edge of suicide as the prospect of never being a Mumma is too much to bear.

Don't suffer alone. You're walking a lonely road anyway, but you don't have to be alone in it. Let your Hubby in to your heartache. Even if he doesn't understand what you are going through completely, he loves you and wants to be there to just hold you in your pain - remember he is fighting a similar battle with you.

Don't hold back your emotions... OK there may be occasions when you will need to run to the nearest toilet, but you need to be honest with yourself. You need to allow yourself to grieve without pressuring yourself to "get over it".

Be honest with God. I know, I know... talking to God may seem like the hardest thing to d right now, especially if you blame him for your fight against infertility. But we need to "forgive God" for ourselves, because He is the only One who can truly uphold you through the darkest days. It might feel like He has abandoned you, or is withholding good things from you, but He knows the plans He has for you, plans to prosper you, not to harm you. We may not understand His ways, but we can trust them.

And if you need to, seek out a counsellor. The Infertility Network offer a support helpline (click the link to access information and the number) for those who need to speak to someone who really understands the struggles associated with infertility.

Find a Journey Buddy, preferably another woman who is going through a similar experience, or who has been through it and come out the other side (however that may look). Ain't no one gonna understand like someone who has worn similar shoes on a similar path.

Oh honey, I really wish I could make things better for you, but I pray that you will see the light of Jesus shining in your dark place. 

May you find rest in Yeshua's Shalom