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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.

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Dark Side Of Infertility

My heart goes out to the Hubby and family of Nicola Starr - she wasn't anyone I knew, but I read of her story and can identify with her struggle. Nicola Starr was a 37 wife who had been trying to have a baby with her Hubby of 12 years, but was unsuccessful, suffering a miscarriage after IVF treatment. Read the report about Nicola Starr here.

As a result, she became depressed; and after fertility treatment was stopped in 2008, Nicola began to drink, attempting suicide on a number of occasions. She also lost her job, and had an accident which affected her health, adding to her pain and depression. Nicola died from an overdose, earlier this year. 

The sad fact is that infertility does have this type of affect on seemingly normal women... women who are strong, women in the Church who are strong in their faith, women who look like they have it all together. There are many of us who have suffered with depression on some level - and dare I say - some of us have even contemplated the purpose of life if we can't conceive, considering death - no doubt there will be women who read this who have actually attempted suicide. Yes - even in the Church.

Father God, I lift up the Husband and family of Nicola Starr, and pray that You would comfort them and lead them to a place where they will come to know Your presence as you carry them through the valley of death. I pray, Lord, that You will make Yourself known to all of them.

And Lord, I ask that You would draw close to any woman who is in such a dark place in her Journey through fertility, that You would be her light - that You would turn Your ace toward her, cause Your light to shine upon her, showing her mercy and grace and hope in her situation. I pray that for every whisper in her mind that death is a way out, You would combat the lie with the truth of Your life. Oh Lord, even now - let her know she is not alone. Through thought, through word, through deed - a knock on the door, a verbal message, a text, an email, phonecall, or any other electronic means... Lord bring hope and encouragement at this very moment for all those who feel as Nicola felt... for those who don't know You - may they come to know You and rely on You in this storm, and for those who do know You, may they draw closer to You, knowing You will never leave her nor forsake her. In Jesus name I pray.

The Silent Echoes Need to Be Heard

Over the last few months I have seen a number of articles from women from a variety of walks of life speaking out about fertility struggles. The latest one, this morning, is with presenter Kirstie Allsop who says in an interview with the Daily Telegraph (quoted in the Daily Mail), "‘Some of the greatest pain that I have seen among friends is the struggle to have a child...We should speak honestly and frankly about fertility."

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.