- Bubba's Hopeful Mumma
- 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.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
So, after a later than anticipated start, we made the three hour car journey south and took Hubby's son on his first ever underground tube ride. He was fascinated when we went underground, and was literally trying to take everything in, but also a little anxious with the newness of the adventure.
Now there is no denying who My gorgeous stepson belongs to. He is definitely his father's son, and as we experienced the day trip in London with him, there were many things I wanted to linger over, like the Harrods Christmas window displays, which neither Hubby nor his son were interested in. And there were many things they were easily excited by, which I'd have happily done without, like eating in McDonalds, and looking at snow globes! Of course, I completely understood why they would want to get to Hamleys toy shop as soon as they could!
I really tried to get into the Christmas mood, playing Christmas songs on the way down (which neither males wanted to join in with), and stopping for eggnog coffee (which both Hubby and I have become addicted to!), but as always, at this time of the year, little things start to creep in to remind you that although Christmas is a time for children and family, there was a huge aspect of this missing in my life.
Actually, it was while I was studying the miniature displays Harrods had created, and observing parents with their children, lifting them up to view the displays, while pointing different aspects out to them, that it hit me hardest. Especially as Hubby and Gorgeous Stepson had, by now, become bored and were sitting out of the way on some railings to wait for me. For a split-second, I imagined lifting my own child to look at the miniature mice in various Christmas poses, and both of us exclaiming in total awe and admiration, "Oh wow! Look at that!"
Children are miniature versions of their parents, and I can't help but wonder whether my own Bubba will reflect any of the excitement, joy and wonder I usually (or used to) feel around Christmas? In the past, I have loved it when my parents used to get me and my brothers a bag of chips and we would drive or walk around looking at the different light displays in town high streets, in the front gardens and walls of private home, as well as a special trip to London Town! Hubby and his son are both underwhelmed by this aspect of Christmas tradition, as much as I was enamoured by it all.
I know Christmas is about more than that - it's actually about Jesus and the act of love He demonstrated when He gave up His throne in heaven and became like one of us.
But looking at it from an infertile perspective it's about what I haven't had yet.... A pregnancy. A birth. A baby.
Father God, I pray that You would help me, and anyone like me, to focus on the love you demonstrated in such a powerful way. This is what should be important to me. Even though it's a bit of a struggle. Even though I am still childless another Christmas. Even though I don't have the opportunity to create family traditions, or carry on family traditions, or create family memories. Even though it will be just the two of us on Christmas Day, please Lord, help me to enjoy the day... with You as well as with Hubby. I pray You would ease the tension and pressure many childless couples feel at this time, especially those who know you. May this actually be a time of true Shalom during our own Journey for Bubba. And Lord, may You grant some of us the gift we so desperately desire - so that next Christmas, we might enjoy a different kind of day altogether.
Monday, December 8, 2014
Last week she had the joy of sharing her success with those who follow her, that after the fourth round, she finally had that BFP she and her hubby wanted. So if you are currently walking the IVF path, I hope this story gives you hope as you go through the cycle and face the physical battle each day.
Father God, I pray for Bobbie and her husband Michael, that you would be close to them at this time while the baby develops. Lord God I pray Your protection over mother and child and that no harm would come to either. Lord, I don't know what You actually feel about IVF, but I do know that YOU are the author of life, and I pray that You would give life to this couple who are watching their baby develop. Lord, I thank You for this gift of new life You are developing.
And Father, I pray for all those who are going through IVF currently, that You would give them strength in their battle, to stand firm when they need You. Lord, I can only imagine what it must be like, but You are right there with them, with each injection, each medication, each hopeful thought or fearful moment. Please put Your arms around each of Your women who are walking this path, and bring them encouragement throughout the cycle. In Jesus' name I ask.
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Today he spoke on nothing being impossible for God, and he used the example of Abraham and Sarah. When he was 99, Abraham had a visit from God to say, "Hey, Abraham, you're going to be a dad, even though Sara is 90 and you've not been able to have kids yet." Now as someone who has been TTC for a while, this is one of those "fall back" stories I like to go to... that if God can make it possible for Sarah in her 90's to have a baby, then it's not impossible for Him to create life in my 30-something body! Like seriously, I have 60 years on her!
But I know there are times in our journey when it doesn't seem like nothing is impossible, and I'm sure Sarah would have prayed and prayed and pleaded over those 90 years, to have reached the point where she thought, "This is just too difficult, even for God to do."
John said something like, "God always hears our prayers" and my internal dialogue replied to him, "Except when He doesn't" because let's be real there are times when anyone of us can feel that not quite everything is possible for God. It seems like we have flummoxed God with what we are asking Him for.... or maybe that our voice has become lost in the bigger problems of the world we live in. I can understand why Sarah laughed when she heard she was going to have a baby. Especially if she had gone through menopause and had forgotten about wanting to be a mother after all those years.... How long did women remain fertile for back in the day??? Especially as women married much younger then than we do today.
But, as I reflect on this, and it ties in significantly with the Woman to Woman conference I attended last weekend (read more here), I have to find peace in the conclusion, that in spite of how I feel about not having a Baby yet, in spite of how things look, in spite of how many times I pray, God is the only One I can really trust with my life and the road He has me on. I'm not dead yet, which means He still has a plan for my life. And although I feel as though He has forgotten about me, or isn't listening to me, or I have suddenly created this impossible scenario (for God?? Really?? Do I think I am THAT grandiose??? To create an impossibility for the Creator of the world, and of my little life???), that somewhere in it all, I can find peace that God is working things out around me.
I love to ask questions, and one of the "silly" questions which often gets put "out there" is, "What superpower would you most like to have. I would love to travel through time. I would love to go back in time to the newly-wed Sarah who was watching her friends and sisters having children, and wrestling with why she wasn't having the baby she should be able to conceive, and reassure her, "Hey, Sarah, it's OK.... when you're 90, you're going to be a mum." But it probably wouldn't have been much comfort to the young 20 year old girl. She might have laughed then.... a woman in her nineties becoming a mother..... That's a tabloid headline!! In the same way, I'd also like to travel forward in my own life and find out what happens five years from now, ten years from now. Do I have children? Does God have something else planned?? Does it get any easier to handle???
But I can't travel through time, so I have to keep focussed on the One Who is above and beyond time, and know that whatever happens, He is right with me, reassuring me, and speaking His words of life into my heart. So maybe.... nothing is impossible for God, even changing my heart to line up with His plan for me.
Father God, I'm sorry for when I doubt You, or doubt what You say in Your Word. It's hard to believe when I sometimes expect You to answer my prayers in my way at my time. I don't mean to try to lead You, I need to allow You to lead me. Help me when I start to try to walk in front of You, but Lord.... help me when I am afraid to lean on You and know You are by my side, even if things don't seem to be going my way. In Jesus' name.
Friday, November 21, 2014
But the situation I read about this week shows that this does happen. A woman and her husband had been trying to conceive for seven years. He died, and the day before the funeral, his widow, Kirsty, found out that she was pregnant! You can read her story here.
It is a heartbreaking story, that the one thing they had longed for together, was a baby. Conceived in love and at a time in their lives when they could enjoy being parents, together. Now, she has the hope of new life growing within her, and although she has friends and family around her to share the joy, her husband won't see his beautiful child growing up. A child will never know their father.
The flip side of this is another article in today's paper, where a woman sued anti-abortionist protesters in Belfast because they added to her distress at an already difficult day... the day she went to the clinic to abort her unborn baby. Hmmm.... The world really is NOT fair!
Father God, I thank You for the gift of new life You have granted to this woman and her husband, even though her husband was taken from them. Lord, it is hard to comprehend, but You were well aware of the situation before it even happened. I pray You would bring hope and strength to Kirsty as the baby grows within her, and may You give her wisdom and encouragement every day of their lives, that the child would grow and come to know You - the one who has given him or her an unique start in life. I pray that if Kirsty doesn't know You, that Your comfort and love would shine through the darkness, so she would find You, that she would learn to lean on You and be all she can be in You. In Jesus name.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
I'm not going to try and condense what he says into my own version of his talk, I would recommend you have a listen for yourself, because God may give you something different to focus on. Click here for the link on the CRE podcast site. But here are a couple of things Sheridan says which really struck me:
"If life carries on as normal, I don't think I can handle it... something has to change. [Sheridan's wife] Merryn had had one dream for her life, to become a mother, and after 10 years of going through a broken dream, that dream was over."
I have also wondered how I can cope with life, if nothing was to ever change. How can I reassess where my life is going, if I never become a mum?
"Who are you if you don't become a mum? If you take away all those secondary identities, when all the dreams are gone... who are you?" What's left is you are a child of God... when you go through the wilderness, you discover who you really are."
I am learning this. When God literally strips away your whole support network, so you have no choice but to trust Him, rely on Him, and lean on Him. This is not an easy place to be - but it's made a LITTLE BIT easier when I realise I am not the only one God is challenging in this way.
Monday, November 17, 2014
At one point during the weekend, someone asked me, "How do you handle not being able to handle a baby? Is it a bit like, you know when you're single and you're longing to be married, and you're crying out to God to bring you a husband... that kind of thing?"
I loved this question! It meant my friends were genuinely trying to understand what it is like to live with infertility.
And so it opened up an opportunity to share with them the reality of what it's like.
It's not really like the "singleness issue", because when you're trying for a baby and not able to have one, your body is not behaving in the way it naturally should be as a woman, that it creates a huge empty ache within your heart which matches the emptiness of the arms which so want to hold a baby of your own. It's something which underpins every aspect of your life, challenging your very faith in God and in the plans He has for your life. Whenever you see a pregnant woman, a newborn, a family, even if they are close friends or family you love, it smacks you in the face with the reminder of what you don't have. Hanging out with friends can be incredibly lonely, especially if you are the only one who doesn't have children, because it is so natural for women to discuss their families and challenges of being a mother. No matter how much you try to not think about what your body is failing to do, every single month you are reminded of what you're failing at, because you are so aware of your body's cycle, you know when you might have caught it in any given month, and a quiet hope slowly builds within you each and every month that happens, thinking, hoping, praying, believing, trusting that THIS MONTH might be the one you have conceived... and as the day of your period draws closer, you become more stressed, more anxious, more watchful for any sign you might be pregnant, and when your period starts, your hope comes crashing to the floor, and you literally don't feel as though you can face that day, don't feel that you can face the next cycle, don't feel that you will ever have your own baby, that you begin to question whether God really does have a plan for your life, or if He has forgotten where you live - because it seems that even that girl down the road who isn't married and doesn't have a partner can manage to get pregnant. And yet, the cycle has already started again, and takes you on another roller-coaster journey, whether you are ready for the ride or not.
Then there are the emotions... The guilt that you can't give your husband what you both want, the guilt that you maybe don't have enough faith, the guilt that you're doubting God even cares about you or your future, the fear of the future, the fear of never having your own child, the fear that you'll die a lonely old woman without family, the anxiety, the stress, the heartache, the isolation, the emptiness, the frustration, the anger, the torment, the hurting, the longing, the deep overwhelming sadness, the grief at another egg wasted - another potential life that could have been a beautiful son or daughter, and with it the hope for the future... and soooo much more!
And the spiritual impact as a Christian woman who has been in the Church since the day I was born... how much this has affected my relationship with God, and the foundation I had built upon Him: About how you can read passages from the Bible and it hits you about what you are missing, that if God blesses people through children, why is He not blessing me, why does He bless someone who is preparing to abort their baby, but withholding the blessing from people like me who desperately want our own child, that maybe I have done something wrong, and this is His punishment, that if God blesses to the generations beyond... does that mean His plans and blessings for my family stops with me because there will be no generations to come??
And then there's the stuff people say!!! Oh those wonderful, well-meaning Christians who glibly proclaim to have all the answers... Just relax it'll happen, God will bring you a huuuuge family in one go when the time is right, God is building your character, you could adopt, at least you have your nephews close-by, at least you are a step-mum, you could get a pet, go on holiday together and let God make it happen in His timing...! And sooooo much more!!
So yes, I really did appreciate these friends actually stepping into my world, in an attempt to understand what it is like. And I hope that God opens the dialogue more and more for those of us walking the infertility journey, that more people will take the time to step onto the path with us, because there are times when it is so overwhelming, to know someone is silently walking beside you, supporting you, without pretending they have the answers, without being so super-spiritual they miss your pain, is a comfort.
Father God, Your word says, "When one part suffers, we all suffer" as well as "when one part rejoices, we all rejoice". I pray that we would take the time to really step into each others worlds, so that when someone you have placed in our life is suffering, we can walk alongside them, as well as allow others to walk alongside us. I pray that somehow, we would learn to be more authentic, and take the time to really understand what people are going through, instead of glibly giving them our understanding of their problem. In Jesus name.
Sunday, November 16, 2014
One of the main points which I received from the day was the fact that we are all going through STUFF! I think the reason the event was fully booked is because every one of us is desperate to see God move in our lives, and to really see #allthingsarepossible! We all face situations which are not easy, and when we struggle to see God in the middle of it all, and I know this from my own Journey for Bubba (as well as other stuff that's been going on recently) it can be difficult to actually see God at work in our lives. One of the speakers, Danielle Strickland, had a bit of catchphrase in her talk, in relation to "All things are possible"... "What? In real life, God?" When you are struggling to deal with life on a daily basis, it can be hard to believe, "ALL THINGS" are possible.
As those of us walking through our own Journey of infertility are all too aware!
An important revelation moment came through the personal story of Katharine Welby-Roberts (daughter of the current Archbishop of Canterbury), who spoke about her very real, very present, very difficult journey with God and the depression she suffers from (you can read what she said here). The impact her testimony had was so powerful she received a spontaneous standing ovation when she finished. It wasn't so much about what she said (although she gave us some brilliant pearls of wisdom in her honesty about her journey!) as much as it was about her vulnerability and openness: The reality that actually, life is flipping difficult, it isn't fair, and it does cause us to question God and our faith in Him, "how do we reconcile belief with the world in which we live?". It's the sense that in spite of living with the types of illnesses the Church finds difficult to deal with, God accepts us and loves us - the Bible is filled with accounts of people who struggled with depression, even down to those who had suicidal thoughts! So that is why Katharine can say firmly, "When I am in my blackest and darkest place, I can find a sense of peace... God is sitting in the darkness with me."
I know there are people in the Church who struggle with the same thing I do, and yes.... there are times when we do feel depressed because of the infertility. Too many of us in the Church are fixing a mask each week, and pretending we're OK, when actually there are times we feel so distant from what is happening around us, it's like we're trapped in a huge, lonely void of isolation, hopelessness and despair...pushing our faith in God, and our experience of His love, to the very limit!
Jesus Himself said, "I didn't come for those who are whole, but for the sick"... How come then, the Church is full of sick people walking around hiding their reality and pretending we are whole. When did the Church become so fixated on "being fixed" that we forgot to let God know we need His healing and restoration in our lives? When did we hold back from allowing God to fix us, in pretending everything is OK? When did we inadvertently start to condemn those who are struggling for not having enough faith?? What message are we giving the hurting around us, if we walk around like nothing is wrong - ever? Why is it that some of the big issues people are dealing with, like depression, like infertility, are stuff the Bible talks about... but Church shies away from?? Why do we accept the Bible "greats" like, Hannah, David, Sarah, Elijah, but seem to shun the people around us who are exactly like them, with the same issues?
In asking these questions, I'm also aware that I too add to this, by hiding from people who know me the deepest issues of my heart which affect my daily walk with God. There are many people I know, who have no idea about my struggle to conceive. I have never posted anything from this blog on my Facebook page... because it worries me how some people will respond, because I don't want some people to know "this" about me, because there's a sense of pride that I should be OK, that because I'm a child of God I shouldn't have any problems, that God will make a way where there seems to be no way so if I speak out against that I am doubting him, because there is a sense of being judged by others, because the Church is better at condemning than we are at demonstrating graciousness!
But in holding back, am I actually stopping God from using my story, and my very real struggle; to witness to another woman (or man) who is struggling to hold it all together in their own Journey through infertility? Sure... there has to be a level of wisdom... But in taking off the mask, and being real, open and vulnerable... would we make space for God to comfort us through others, and use us to comfort people in the same situations... The Bible says, when one part suffers, we all suffer.... But how can we walk alongside someone in their darkness, or allow someone to walk alongside us through ours, if we're all walking around hiding the deep scars, struggles, and soul-cries?!!?
The question then becomes, who's going to make the first move and how do they do it???
Father God, I believe You are trying to strip away our pride and cause us to lay our souls bare, so that we can be a clear witness about the work You are doing in our lives EACH DAY! I believe You want people to be more authentic in how we relate to You, and in how we relate to each other. I pray You would give me the courage to be real about what I'm going through when You need me to be, in the hope that You will provide someone the comfort they need through their own struggle - whatever they are walking with. And when I am vulnerable, I pray You would protect me from the harm. In Jesus name.
Friday, November 14, 2014
You know, I've actually had people telling me that if I speak out aloud the fear within me, that I negate the faith which could cause something to happen "this time". If my being real and honest about what I'm feeling inside can negate the faith on which I stand, in my God who can make possible what is seemingly impossible, then what does that actually say about faith?!!??!
I know my God is big enough to handle my fear. He is more than able to work through those times when I doubt... shock horror!!! A Christian who doubts!!! God doesn't need me to pretend to not be afraid, when He knows the very depths of my heart cry. So if I don't allow myself the freedom to drop the mask when it's just me and Him and say exactly what I'm feeling....then I think this is more dangerous than daring to speak out about the fears which rise up each month.
Faith is not about hiding what you feel. Faith is about acknowledging the fear, but choosing to stand firm that God is able, in spite of what doctors say, or in spite of the way the body seems to fight against what should be a natural process. Faith is the active hope of what we long for, and recognition of the wait we are journeying through. Faith keeps us standing each month, and champions over fear every time.
We are who we are. We can't hide that. Well....We think we can. We try to hide it. We try to hide it even from ourselves. It doesn't negate the faith God's Spirit has placed within you...and speaking out what you really feel will not negate the work of God in your body or in your life.
There is power in our words. And we can speak life into the journey for Bubba. We can speak life to our hope. We can speak life to our wombs. But honesty trumps negate every time! That's what I think. I don't believe I caused Aunt Flo's arrival by speaking out my fear. But I can keep my faith strong by speaking out the promises of God and His word.
Father God I thank You that You are above my fears and anxieties. I pray that Your Word will keep me strong in faith...Firstly in who You are. Secondly, in Your promises. Thirdly in Your plans for my life. In Jesus name.
Sunday, November 2, 2014
Three days till Aunt Flo is due, and I actually tried to communicate with Hubby what I'm thinking. Not sure he really quite gets it though, as his immediate response was, "You can't keep torturing yourself each month". But at least I put it out there in the verbal stratosphere between Hubby and I.
I guess there is an element of truth in what he said though. Torture. What we mentally put ourselves through each month. It's not like a targeted torture, where we intend to hurt ourselves to the point of giving up information we want....or in the Journey for Bubba, forcing our bodies to give us the end result we want. But nevertheless there is an element of torture in what we try to push out of our consciousness, or try to ignore, or we literally focus all our attention on what we know we want but don't have.
I wonder how long the torture will continue for?
Hubby's other comment was, "You can't go on like this for the rest of your life"; but what if it never happens? What if Bubba never arrives... I will HAVE to "carry" this major failing of my body, for the rest of my life. And then, I guess, the torture takes on a different form? Doesn't it? As middle age gives way to old age, and dreams of motherhood die taking with them, dreams of grandmotherhood... then I will forever be tortured in the deepest solitude of my heart, perpetually reminded of what is missing.
No one ever told me about that when they (very rarely) told me about infertility.
Father God...You promised me a hope and a future. I can't see it right now. I can't see how it can happen if I never have Bubba. But I know You see the end and You know the plans you have for my life. When I feel afraid, when I feel tortured, please whisper to my heart how You see things, so even when I lose hope...I never lose faith. In Jesus name.
Thursday, October 30, 2014
The last month has been less about trying to make a baby at the right time, and more about just enjoying ourselves as husband and wife, which has been significantly missing over the last two years or so, as the Journey for Bubba became an all-consuming, rage-inducing race against time. The problem now, though, is that - as I am always aware of where I am in my cycle, I am fully aware of how "good" this month has been in the chances of conceiving. But I am also fully aware of the complications of the blocked tubes, and the high risk of the egg and sperm meeting in the wrong place. And so, I am scared.
I try not to allow expectations that this might be the month to build up in my mind... but it's always there, and I can't escape it - even when I am not thinking about it! I can feel the anxiety laying heavy at the bottom my stomach, and as the monthly (ridiculously) slowly ticks by, I can feel it getting heavier and rising higher, making it difficult to face food in case I don't keep it down. If only there was a real way to escape this, but like I said - I've not really been thinking about it, it just lurks there in the back of my consciousness!
Not even chocolate is going to help me get through this one!!
Oh Lord, if Aunt Flo is going to arrive, please don't let her play with my emotions, bring here early or on time, because I am not sure I can handle this for another week or so. I pray You would be with other women who, like me, are fearful of the future, and and feeling the anxiety of this waiting period... may Your peace somehow breakthrough, ease the burden and dissipate the heaviness which threatens to overwhelm life, and cloud the joy of life. Jesus... take away the fear.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Tonight there is an interesting article in the Daily Mail which ties in with my earlier post!
Is trying to conceive ruining our love lives? looks at the impact on the love lives of couples who are trying to conceive, and the pressure many people face.
Definitely worth a read.
I have heard countless tales, and read many a story of couples who had been trying to conceive cracking under the pressure, the disappointment, the frustration, the heartache, the guilt, the anxiety, the blaming... you get the picture. As a step-mum TTC our own child... I kinda "get this"!
It's more than all the list above... it's the knowledge that Hubby has received the one thing from another woman I am unable to give to him; the feeling of being "outside" in my own home when Hubby and my gorgeous Step-son are hanging out together - there is strong relationship and bond between them, which no matter what, will never include me; the sadness as - more often than not - Aunt Flo and the appearance of my Step-son inevitable arrive on the same weekend; the heartache of "playing" mum once a fortnight, without actually being mum; and the deep conscious awareness that Hubby just doesn't understand why I withdraw sometimes.
Add to this the normal pressures marriage brings with it, and the rhythm of life which can get in the way of the relationship, and we have a two to three month period of... nothing. Even feelings of, "if I'm never going to have a child with this man, what are we going to do?" That kind of fear that we can feel at the prospect of spending time with someone you're not getting on well with, for the rest of your life which coincide with the angry, "I don't want a child with him right now, and it's a good job we don't have a child based on how we are not getting on right now". These all add to the guilt, the fear, the failure and the huge cloud of loneliness which makes the Journey for Bubba sometimes incredibly difficult to handle.
Father God, I lift up to You those couples who are feeling the strain of their Journey to conceive, for whom it is so difficult they contemplate leaving each other and going their separate ways. Lord, I pray that somehow, You would be the glue which holds them together, that anger and bitterness will not take root in their relationship, but that You would cut them off and cause Your love and peace and understanding flood into the heart of every wife and every husband. Lord, at the time when they need You most, and when they need each other most, I ask that You would cause them to lean into you and to lean into each other. Remove any wall which has become a barrier in these marriages, that you would truly allow them to be fully, one in You. In Jesus name
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Having been in Israel for a holiday, I couldn't leave without visiting the Yad Vashem, which is the national Israel Holocaust Memorial Museum. As someone who lost family in the Holocaust, it's a very personal visit.
While I was in the Hall of the Eternal Flame, I was thinking about how important it is to keep the memory alive of the very real tragedy many families felt. So I started to think about my own future, while reflecting on the past.
I think it is important enough that I'd want to take my children, if I'm ever granted them, to visit the Yad Vashem and to know of our past heritage.
Keeping the flame of my family burning into the next generation!
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
I'm currently on holiday in Israel. It's such a beautiful country I couldn't pass up the chance to visit with some colleagues from work when it came up suddenly and for free!! :-)
On the second night, I met a friend who moved here a couple of years ago. And finally had the chance to meet his wife. She has often been mentioned, but I'd never had the chance to get to know her while they were living the UK. They have four children who she home schools, so she was often, for obvious reasons quite busy... fertile woman!
She is an absolutely gorgeous woman of God inside and out and when the dreaded question of my own family came up, I could sense her empathy rather than pity when I told her I was waiting on God to conceive. Which makes a nice change. Until....
After the initial awkwardness of what to say, she started to tall about how much better off I am without them, that although she loves her kids her life has completely changed and no longer belongs to her. This was interspersed with her hubby's comments about how amazing their kids are, and how awesome a mother she is, as clearly he had no idea how the conversation had started or why his wife was saying what she was saying!
Far from being embarrassed, I found the exchange quite hilarious actually!!!!
Makes me more determined than ever to find a way to open up dialogue between the uber fertile women and those of us who are waiting patiently in order to avoid these kinds of conversations!!!!
Father God, I thank you for women like Adele who are doing a great job at parenting and raising children who will be strong in You and Your purposes for them. I pray you would help all women to find a way to encourage each other without feeling they need to be apologetic for who they are or what they have. May Your love flow between those of us who are childless and waiting and those women who are blessed with children. May there be no fear. No intimidation. No awkwardness. No feelings of inferiority or insecurity. Lord, You are Lord of all and know the path You sey each of us on and why. May we each be strengthened on our jounrey's. In Jesus name.
Thursday, August 21, 2014
I can hear you muttering, "that's not very blog-worthy", but bear with me, I just wanted to set the scene for you.
Having been brought up in the Church, the daughter of a Baptist Minister, I thought that when it came to the Bible, there wasn't much I've not read. But God is clearly sooo much bigger than I am, because in a recent reading from the Bible reading plan, I heard about Elisha's first miracle after he had watched Elijah being taken into heaven. And I know I must have read it before, but this time, I actually HEARD it, if that makes sense.
2 Kings 2: 19-22 (NLT): One day the leaders of the town of Jericho visited Elisha. “We have a problem, my lord,” they told him. “This town is located in pleasant surroundings, as you can see. But the water is bad, and the land is unproductive.”
When Elisha throws salt into the spring which supplies the town's water, he tells them,
As soon as I could, I wanted to check how the Hebrew Scriptures puts it, whether it meant infertility of women or whether it was talking about the unfruitfulness of the land itself.
The Orthodox Jewish Bible says,
And he went forth unto the motza hamayim (spring of water), and cast the melach (salt) in there, and said, Thus saith Hashem, I have healed these mayim (waters); there shall not be from there any more mavet or meshakkalet (unfruitfulness, barrenness)
While The Complete Jewish Bible writes it as,
He went out to the source of the water, threw salt into it and said, “This is what says: ‘I have healed this water; it will no longer cause death or miscarrying.’”
The Complete Jewish Bible certainly offers the strong suggestion that somehow the waters were not only bad for the land, but for the people who drank from the Spring too. There are instances in Scripture where God causes women to be infertile as a result of sin, such as when Abraham tells Sarah to lie about who she is, and God caused the women of Egypt to be infertile while she lived with Pharaoh (Genesis 20:18). She was a woman of the promise! But I don't think there is an actual situation like this where the water supply is causing a problem with infertility.
I have explored the influence of food on the body (see for example, Taking Control or Removing the Yeast) in past blogs, and will probably continue to do so, because I do think there is a correlation between what we put into our bodies and the affect it has on our health - and fertility is a health issue!
But this story has made me think, "Maybe I need to go and live in Jordan"!!! OK, perhaps it hasn't, but I wonder if there is anything I need to understand about the basics of things like the chemicals which are pumped into our water supplies and how this is affecting me. Do I need to get some special salt and put it in each glass before I drink it??!!
OK - I'm being overly-flippant here, I know I am... But what if...
I'm now about to leave my spot in Starbucks and pay a visit to Holland & Barrett!!
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
So I asked God, "Lord, where are the story of women who would have wanted to become mothers, in the Bible, but who didn't?"
There are three women who came to mind, and I have decided to study their stories for this blog.
Part of what I do in my "real life" is to teach from the Scriptures, so it would be only right to allow this aspect of my character and passion to flow through to what I am doing here in this blog, in order to remain true to myself. The purpose of this blog is to offer encouragement to anyone who is on a similar Journey for Bubba to mine. Although, at the end of the day our stories will all be different, and this may not actually interest you. But I needed to know if there really are women in the Bible who anyone can relate to - and I believe this is what God is showing through the lives of the three women He is highlighting.
As I read through each woman's story, I hope to be able to share my study with you.
But for now, here are the three women:
Tamar (1 Samuel 13)
"So Tamar remained desolate in her brother Absalom’s house."
Jephthah's daughter (Judges 11)
"And it was so at the end of two months that she returned to her father, and he carried out his vow with her which he had vowed. She knew no man."
Anna (Luke 2)
Hubby is currently away, spending time with his son, and it's giving me time to think and wonder what it would be like to spend time with my own child. It doesn't help when Hubby handed the phone to my Step-Son who thought it was his mum and so called me "mum".
What would it be really like to be called "mum", like for real?
By my own child?
To actually belong to someone in that way???
There's only so long I can stay strong for, before the hurt begins to overwhelm me... and today is one of those days. A day of unmet longings. A day of wondering. A day of sadness. A day of heaviness. A day of recognising the loneliness, rather than trying to run from it, or hide from it.
To admit - I want a baby.
And though it has been thrown at me, "You're too desperate" is that such a bad thing??
I am desperate.
Desperate to have a child of my own.
Desperate to be a mum.
God is our strength, and draws closest to us when we feel furthest away from His embrace.
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
In between reviewing Christian music for an article, I suddenly hear the family discussing the names they will call the baby. This outing was one for the parents to inform their children that they will be joined by a little Jessica or Henry.
It was really cute, actually, listening to the family discussing the future, and to hear the excitement of the soon to be older siblings of a new-born. It made me wonder what it would be like. If / when we get the pleasure of speaking to my gorgeous Step Son about a future brother or sister we would add as a family unit to his life. Although he's at the age where he relishes having his Dad all to himself! Who knows how he will take the news!
But for now, I'll just eavesdrop on the happy news of this family, and dream one day of my own family as we sit together in my second office, jiggling along to the jazzy music with joy at what the future holds.
Father God, I pray for the family, and all other families who are expecting a new arrival this year. Lord I pray Your hand of protection over the mother as she carries her developing baby, and I pray - for this family next to me in particular, that if they don't know You, they will come to know You, that the new baby will accomplish great things for You and Your Kingdom, become a world-changer for Your glory! In Jesus name, I pray - knowing that although I will never see this prayer answered, You will watch over the baby and his or her family.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Wednesday, July 9, 2014
When Hubby and I looked into taking the route down the IVF road, we visited one of the CARE Clinics' open evenings to try to get a picture of who they are and what they offer. I'd had a severe allergic reaction to Clomid (like not being able to breathe-type-of severe!) and was advised by the Consultant - who knew our case - to not take ANY kind of fertility drugs as they would cause the same type of reaction (read more about the Clomid route here).
During the Q&A session, when I was asking about natural IVF, the woman leading the presentation seemed to be more concerned with getting me go through full IVF, rather than the reduced price, ergo less-income for-them, natural IVF. At the time, Hubby also had the impression that they played on women's emotions in this type of circumstance, in order to make money.
It is really frustrating that "Baby-Making" has become such a big money spinner for those who are prepared to cash-in on our problems. There are people
in suits who know that we will literally try anything and everything to get the reward of our own baby in our arms, and they are unscrupulous enough to make money on our pain and anguish. And I'm not just talking about the IVF / IUI etc routes. We consume pills and potions and eat organic / gluten-free / sugar-free anything in order to feel like we can have control over our bodies and the situation surrounding our fertility! It's big business!
Women have for centuries, been successfully having babies. I pray the Lord will give us wisdom in our walk with Him to know when to buy and when to refrain from buying. Why should our desperation for a baby line the pockets of someone who really doesn't care if we successfully have a baby or not. Even if you are at this moment being told you need to do some test you have already undergone, I pray the Lord will lead you to actually know whether it is right - or just a way for money to be made. May you know the steps He has for you to take on your path for your own Bubba.
Father God, wanting a baby, and not being able to have one is so incredibly painful. The longing to have the void in my womb filled, and for my arms to hold the precious gift of my own baby remains unfulfilled and is a burden weighing me down daily. But Father, I know that You genuinely care about the outcome of my Journey for Bubba, just as you do for every woman reading this. I pray you would help us to not become so blinded by the promises of the world of what might work, but that Your voice would speak to me clearly about what I need to do or not do. protect us from the schemes of men to make money out of our heartache. In Jesus name I pray.
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Having recently recovered from tonsillitis, I have realised why starting with a new doctor, is like starting the whole fertility journey from the beginning. Had he been aware that Hubby and I are TTC, I wouldn't have been prescribed the antibiotics which clearly states on the information leaflet "do not take if you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or trying to conceive". Had I not been rendered incapable by the tonsillitis, I might have thought to say something when asked, "are you allergic to anything" like, "No, but I am TTC".
So here's to a wasted month... Who knows what could have been - though probably wouldn't have been!
This Journey of Bubba involves a complete change of life-style, and a deepened awareness of so many things, which most people who "fall" pregnant so quickly have no idea about. It's not a temporary thing either - it's an on-going decision, at every stage, in every situation to make choices, and often be open about what we are trying to achieve in our marriage. For an indefinite length of time. Sharing with complete randoms the private and personal life of our marriage.
That's not easy.
Father God, I pray You would give us strength for the long-haul of this Journey for Bubba, because without You sustaining us, we could so easily become overwhelmed by it all. In Jesus name.
Monday, June 2, 2014
The basis of what she said has come from watching friends of her generation being coerced into fighting for that perfect life - the degree, the career, the fabulous home and lifestyle AND THEN settle into marriage and becoming a mother. Kirstie is convinced that the women she knows who are fighting a massive battle against infertility, weren't given a fair chance by society. She considers herself a feminist, and feels that the pressure on women to have it all has brought too many of our generation into a place of deep regret and longing for their own baby.
Although, and in the interview Kirstie acknowledges this, not all women tried to live up to the pressure she describes, for some women life dealt them an unfair hand - they didn't meet their husband early enough, or they have conditions like PCOS or Endometriosis which have affected them from an early age. But she makes a very important point, which I also firmly believe... We need to speak up about fertility!
There are many reasons why we don't speak out... embarrassment, pity, the stupid things people say, fear of what people will think of us, breakdown in relationships when others don't know how to respond, oh, and the biggie - the stigma STILL associated with infertility... These are very real reasons, often - unfortunately for many of us - based on the reactions we have already received from those we have dared to share our situations with.
The Church should set the precedent for society, but the Church is as silent as the world on the whole issue of infertility. So where we silently suffer on this road, surrounded by our Church family, inside our screams are so loud they are literally echoing around God'd throne room. Which is why I believe there is a stirring of something within many areas of the Church - from a course which HTB ran a couple of years ago in London, to the women's conference I attended earlier this year where one of speakers encouraged women struggling with infertility for about 10 minutes. It's a start.
I think the more women in the media speak out about infertility, the more the Church will begin to hear the silent echoes of the women amongst us, as they reverberate back to earth. And when this happens, whether in my generation or not, I really believe we will know how to fully carry, support and stand alongside couples in our Church family who are literally staggering under the weight of their burden.
Father God, may that day soon come.
And where I can be more vocal - here I am, use me. In Jesus name.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Now, I'll be honest, I was still in that frame of mind which had affected my weekend, where I still trying to find God in this leg of the journey, nevermind having the faith to pray anything coherent!
But, God literally worked through my brokenness and the Holy Spirit prayed through my mouth for my friend. She looked at me, with tears on her cheeks and said, "Wow! That's God!" and I was like, "It must have been, I've literally got nothing!!" That's when you know God IS walking by your side, when you somehow find the words to join your faith with someone else and pray.
One of the things I prayed for them, was about God being with them to the point where they can literally hear His voice telling them the right time, the right moment, for the seed to be fertilised. This has lead me to wonder, "Just how much does God actually care about our daily lives?" Obviously He knows our bodies intimately, and He knows how the development of Bubba will occur but can He, through His Holy Spirit, lead us to the when? The when for a Hubby and wife to make love and release the seed which is needed?
If He can... then I pray that our ears will be tuned into His voice so that we will know that one moment needed for that one egg to be fertilised. I pray that every Hubby and wife who knows the Lord, and can hear His voice, will learn to recognise His voice, even in that one moment. And may He fill our empty arms with the much longed-for Bubba. In Jesus name.
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
When I had been feeling like I'm alone in this struggle for Bubba, the sermon delivered that night was "You'll never walk alone". This was exactly what I needed to be reminded of, because when we're in the midst of the battle, sometimes we don't hear the simplest of God's promises to those who put their trust in Him.
Deuteronomy 31:6 (NLT) So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”There are many times the Lord reminds us that we are not alone, and it is this still, small voice which is whispering right into the depths of my heart, right into my brokenness, right into the midst of my loneliness and isolation - I AM with you. Where no one else can see - God is there, and He hears the silent screams which others aren't aware of, even those closest to me.
It's not just words. It's truth. It's reassurance. It's hope. It's what I really needed to hear, that I am not alone, even though it feels like it. That God hasn't given up on His plan for my life, even though it seems like this Journey for Bubba caught Him off-guard like it caught me off-guard. That no tear is released without God knowing the reason behind it - even when I have no idea what triggered the tears this time. God knows. God cares. God is there. He will not leave me. He will not forsake me. He is there. He is here.
Father God, it is so hard to walk this Journey, when it seems that there is not end to it, as months roll into years, and life continues marching forward as it always has done, and when it seems that everyone else has forgotten what we are facing each month. Father, thank You that You are true to Your word, that when You promised You wouldn't leave my side, or forsake me to walk alone, that You are right there with me, with Hubby, and with us together in our heartache. Father, thank You for reminding me of this. I pray that every husband or wife who needs to know You are there with them, at this moment - whether this moment is in the reading of this prayer, or in the moment of my writing, I pray Your would comfort them to the point where they know You truly are there and You haven't left them alone. I pray, Father, that everyone one of us walking our own Journey for Bubba would know for sure that we do not walk alone. In Jesus name.
Sunday, May 25, 2014
As our grief progresses, we are likely to experience damage to our significant relationships, our sense of self, our relationship with our heavenly Father, and even to our thought processes.
Expect a struggle within yourself.... Satan would love to see your struggle with infertility create a permanent separation between you and others. He is at war to accomplish that.