- 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.
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
I had the honour of writing a guest post for the Premier Christianity Magazine blog about infertility in the Church, which was really good for highlighting the fact that 1in 6 couples struggle to conceive a baby.
It astounds me how little we talk about it in Church, and yet statistically, if one in six couples struggle to conceive, how many couples a suffering in silence in our own friendship circles or Churches?
Isn't it time to talk about it??
Read the article I wrote here.
Saturday, November 14, 2015
Monday, November 9, 2015
I have found THE most incredibly simple, but highly effective thing EVER to be created for women who suffer the monthly embarrassment of endometriosis!
If you're of a nervous disposition, get squeamish, or feel awkward about discussing a woman's monthly cycle..... Or you know me..... You might want to just click on the link below and then never, ever return to read the rest of this post!! Hahah!
So here is the link: DiaryDoll waterproof pants.
I have written in a previous blog post about special Snowball Undies for the men; so it's nice to know there is finally something specifically for the ladies.
Anyway, I meant what I said before the link...... This is your final warning to stop reading!
Ok... So that might sound a bit weird. But the DiaryDoll waterproof pants were designed by women who have suffered the shame and embarrassment of heavy periods, for women who suffer the shame and embarrassment of heavy periods.
Endometriosis is the bane of all heavy and painful periods suffered since I was a teenager!
And NOW.... Someone has created the perfect way for women like me to protect clothing, bedding, chairs.... In fact... I comepletely understand why God set the "rules" for menstruation back in Leviticus, because of the way I soon learned the most awful lesson, that neither the heaviest tampon, nor longest pad COMBINED could ever compete with the endo-period. Oh my days, so undignified! The "quick check" whenever you stand up, carried out like a professionally-trained, stealth-ninja, whenever you're in public. If you have Endo, you will understand exactly what I mean.
The DiaryDoll pants have a waterproof layer right through the middle section, all the way round from the front to the back. This layer works with our normal protection (it's not THAT kind of a miracle that we'd never have to wear sanitary products ever again, let's not get silly!), and simply creates a barrier designed to not allow leakage to burst through.
I'm curious to know how successful they will really be, so have just ordered a pair, and will let you know what they are like, probably a little while after Aunt Flo's next visit (Not sure I'm ready to actually share when she arrives.....there is such a thing as over-sharing, you know!).
Friday, November 6, 2015
Thursday, November 5, 2015
Wednesday, November 4, 2015
It crept up on me.
I didn't even recognise it for what it was, I just kept plodding through life as best I could, till suddenly I couldn't plod any further.
The understanding of depression, which is caused by our circumstances (as opposed to people who have a chemical imbalance which impacts every aspect of their life) is best described by the writer of Proverbs as:
"Hope deferred makes the heart sick" (13:12)Depression which is as a result of infertility is most definitely the result of hope deferred. The hope for a baby. The hope for a family. The hope for a future family life. All those dreams of watching your children play, your daughter trying to walk in your shoes, the paintings on the fridge, the home-made cards and letters, and the joy you can share in days out, complete with the frustrations of the car journey.
The dream which is so long in happening.
The dream which looks as though it will never happen.
The dream which has gripped your heart for so long, it's long bony fingers squeezing ever tighter, squeezing out hope, squeezing out the dream and slowly replacing it with the stone, cold dread that it will never be so.
And so the heart becomes sick.
Sickness of the heart.
Sickness of the mind.
Leading to a sense of disconnect with the life that is happening around you as you wrestle with the desire which should have been so easy, so natural, but which has become so elusive.
And so the grief of infertility swamps you.
Grief overwhelms you.
Depression takes hold of you.
Till life takes on a different hue - a different tone.
The vibrancy you once knew now has a subtle grey, dark overtone.
The worst part is that there is no end in sight.
No light at the end of the tunnel.
No sense of knowing when the "desire fulfilled" will become my "tree of life"
But holding on... believing... hoping... one day...
Father God, I praise You for upholding me on the darkest days, and holding my head up when I just want to hide away. I thank You for Your love and strength, and the promise You gave to never leave my side. I thank You because even though my heart grieves for what has not yet arrived, that I can trust You for my future life.
Tuesday, November 3, 2015
Saturday night I went to a farewell "do" for a couple who are making Aaliyah (they're Jewish and are finally making the move to live in Israel.....in their 60s!). On the way, I realised I needed to put fuel in the car, or I'd be spending my night sitting on the A38!
So after filling up my car, I went in to pay for my fuel, when the "nice, old lady" behind the counter decided to insult me AND break my heart, making sure I had the most awful Saturday night one could ever have wished for.... Highly ironic for "Halloween"!
"When are you due?"
"Your baby? When is it due?"
"Ermm it's not...I'm not...errr"
"Oh. Sorry. I just thought."
And then....THEN....I start making excuses in order to not cause her offence and to make her feel better!! Whaaat??!!?
"It's OK, it's the coat. There's a lot of space for winter jumpers."
"Ohh... Oh yeah. The coat."
I just wanted to pay for my fuel and enjoy an evening with friends before they leave the UK! I went to the dinner, but my mask had cracking and people noticed something wasn't right. I left early, after arriving late anyway, and sobbed all the way home, before collapsing on the stairs just inside my front door and wished life was very different. So so different.
Even watching Strictly when I'd calmed down didn't help.
People need to be aware of the high number of couple who struggle to conceive.
One of the things the organisers, Infertility Network are asking people who feel able to do it, is to take a selfie while holding something saying #1in6.
It's a brave step!
It's a vulnerable step!
It's a difficult step!
But I do see that it is an important step!
Sunday, October 11, 2015
Thursday, October 8, 2015
Monday, September 14, 2015
Friday, September 11, 2015
Anyway, it came as a huge surprise when I received an invitation to the dedication of the baby of one of the women who worked there (before she left to have her baby, that is). The invitation started, "We would like to invite close friends and family to join us in celebrating our baby girl..." For about three weeks, I wrestled this and wasn't sure they didn't mean to invite a different "Steph". And I usually try to avoid baby related stuff, if I can, because it's just another reminder of what I am missing in my own life.
The week before the dedication, I messaged my Starbucks friend, actually, I thought had the date wrong and believed it was the next day, but I was able to ask her, "Did you actually mean to invite me?" To which she replied, "Steph, your faith and your relationship with God is so evident and I really admire it. When I was thinking about who to invite, because I wanted my daughter to have a Christian dedication, it felt wrong to not invite you. I knew that I needed to have you with us."
So from chatting to her when she worked in my second office, from which she added me as a friend on Facebook, God has been using me in ways I had absolutely no idea about, to inspire and encourage her. We will never know how God uses us in the lives of people around us! She continued the conversation by asking about the Church I attend and ended up saying she wanted to come along one day. I really pray she does. Especially as since the dedication things have ended with the baby's father. She is an incredibly strong woman, (she told me a bit of her story during the conversation) and I pray she will find strength in God, and I pray she will know Jesus is there with her, supporting her and befriending her.
The dedication service was beautiful. Although I think only me and just other people knew the last song, "My Jesus My Saviour", which was funny, because everyone seemed to know, "Shine Jesus Shine"! I literally didn't know anyone else at the celebration, so my friend had arranged for her mum to look out for me. I ended up helping out in the kitchen and that was probably the safest option for me, that trying to talk to people I don't know about why I don't have any children!
I thank God that He is able to use me in this way, and to have been considered to be a necessary addition to the Baby Dedication celebration.
Father I pray that my Starbucks friend will find You for herself, and that she would find comfort and a hope in Your Son, Yeshua. I also pray that her baby daughter will also come to faith in You for herself, and that she will be a strong light for You in these dark days, may she inspire her two older brothers and may she draw many to You. In Jesus name.
Thursday, August 6, 2015
Sometimes it can feel like the current situation we face is all we will ever know, but God would say to you,
"Look, I am doing a new thing.
We are walking through a tunnel together, I am right by your side, and haven't just left you to find your own way. This tunnel is not your final destination, I AM taking you from where you were, to where I need you to be and this current situation is a necessary part of our journey.
I AM taking you from one degree of glory to another. But know this: This is NOT ALL I HAVE FOR YOU. THIS IS NOT YOUR FINAL DESTINATION.
You might not understand where we are right now, you might not even be able to see the light at the other end we are heading towards, but turn your eyes to look at me, I AM your light and I will shine directly on where I want you to place your feet.
Don't be afraid, child. I AM with you. Don't be afraid of the strength of darkness, for I have made you stronger. And when you step out into the new thing I have for you, you will know that it has all been for a purpose.
Trust Me. Hold on to Me. As a car doesn't just stop in a tunnel, DON'T STOP. DON'T GIVE UP. Keep walking beside Me and I promise....this too shall pass."
1 Peter 1:6 "You rejoice in this greatly, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials.”
Monday, July 27, 2015
Thursday, July 23, 2015
So, the conversation went a bit like this:
Him: "You could call around 8:45am."
Me: "Hahahahaha!!! Seriously? No later slot??? #OffWork"
Him: "lightweight! I have 3 kids.... That's not early! 😅😅"
Me: " I don't have any excuses for losing out on a late start!!! Hahaha!!!"
Him: "So jealous!! ☺️"
I know he wouldn't change his situation just for the sake of a lie-in, he absolutely adores his kids, and even when he's doing stuff on stage, he will show off pictures and tell stories about them within his presentation.
I, on the other-hand, would give up all the lie-ins for the joy of having a family....and I am, genuinely, "so jealous!!"
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Her book, "The Virgin Monologues" is for women! Unashamedly so! And where most authors writing about the issues many women deal with can forget about those of us who can't have children, Carrie address it squarely among the rest of the "stuff" women deal with which can be thrown in our direction...allegedly to make us stronger!
Anyway, I want to share what she says with anyone and everyone!
"To the women who can't have children; to the women who've not yet met their Adam; to the women who 'had it all' and 'lost it all' too: please take your place in the world because we need you. There is something in you that no one else can do and you will be attacked by lies of inadequacy, lies of worthlessness to unremittingly ensure you don't go out and fight the good fight. Build up a fortress of love around yourself and towards others, stabbing the spirit of comparison as you walk upright.
Don't begrudge mothers of motherhood; and mothers, don't begrudge some who are destined for a purpose outside of children."
Carrie Lloyd, The Virgin Monologues; page 30-31
Needless to say that once the article had been printed and sent to me, I completely forgot about it, kinda assuming that only Salvationists would read it... And I didn't think I knew any.
In my paid job, one of the roles I have is to organise the annual international conference. This year's event just finished on Sunday. So I was completely taken aback when a couple stopped me in my tracks, enroute to sorting out some minor crises, and told me that they had accidentally bought a copy of that ONE issue of War Cry which contained my interview....and they knew me because they happened to support and pray for the organisation I work with.
They were really encouraging actually. She had married him late in life, after his first wife had died (they were in their 70s) and so she had never had children of her own. She could relate to an extent with what I had shared, and thought it was a brave thing to have done, but so necessary as there are too many people who are going through the stuff of infertility but it NEVER gets spoken about.
They left me with the assurance that they would be praying for me, and had been since reading the interview.
So yeah, you never know how God is going to use the most random of situations to impact, enourage or inspire any of us! :-)
Father God, I thank You and praise You because although I may never know how the interview was received, I know from the one conversations have had about it, that people who have read it are being challenged, encouraged and may gain some insight into the life of a friend or loved one who is struggling to conceive. Father, I pray that if it is Your will for me to speak out about this more, I would never shy away from the vulnerability of being so open, so You can comfort and help someone else. In Jesus name.
Thursday, June 25, 2015
Their first wise recommendation.... You would never have thought of this yourselves without the experts expertise and experience.... For couples trying for a baby, ditching contraception and spending more time between the sheets at key times during the month is the first step
Sunday, June 21, 2015
Her 19 week old child.
Friday, June 5, 2015
From my own experience I have noticed changes in all types of relationships in my own life... From choices I have felt I needed to make, to the choices others may have subconsciously made. For example, there was one friend I had, and we used to share stories over a pot of tea and cake on many an afternoon. The problem for me was that no matter what time of day I would meet her, whether during school hours or not, she would always have at least one of her children in tow, often with the excuse, "I know he should be in school but he sooooo wanted to see you." Often I would purposely arrange to meet her during school hours to avoid the trauma of having a child in tow....this was around the time I was undergoing all the tests known to medicine, as the experts tried to tell me why I was struggling to conceive. So, in time, I made arrangements to meet her less and less, and now we hardly see each other. Self-preservation?
With my parents, I love them to bits, but as we live at opposite ends of the country it is difficult to have heart-to-heart conversations about stuff....especially as they have three other children, including two sons who are very attention-grabbing. As the sensible older child, it is assumed (as has been admitted to me by my mum) that I will always be ok because I am not so demanding of them. So the guilt I feel at not producing the longed-for grandchild (apparently it's different when a daughter gives birth than when the daughter-in-law does, or so I have been reliably informed!) is never spoken about, and the pain of my empty arms is noticed at family gatherings, but never mentioned.
There is also a strain on the relationship with my stepson. The pain of seeing a child who is the image of my hubby but has no part of me. The depth of the bond between father and son I can never share in, the secret jokes and conversations which don't involve me can be painful to watch, and a constant reminder of what I am missing. Yes, we women who long to be mothers know exactly what we are missing when we don't have our own child. Which adds to the grief of our broken dream. And so in order to help me cope, I distance myself. I want to see the relationship between hubby and his son develop and be strengthened, and wouldn't ever try to stick a wedge in, but for my own sanity and peace of mind, I have to sometimes not be part of their adventures, usually around the time Aunty Flo pays a visit.
And finally, there is the impact on the relationship with hubby himself. As I have mentioned previously, he has admitted he can't always understand my struggle and the pain; he can't always cope with the emotions I have as part of my journey...he has his child, it would be great to have another one, but it's not the same fear or frustration as it is for me. What should be a shared battle for most husbands and wives to support and encourage one another, can often be a lonely isolation for women like me who are stepmothers to another woman's child. Sure, we know you had a child before we married you, but we didn't know we would struggle to have our own. It was never supposed to be problematic. It was supposed to just happen when we were both ready.
I've been thinking a lot about relationships and friendships recently. And I don't want anyone's pity.... The purpose of writing this was to explore the real impact of infertility on relationships. It will be different for everyone walking on the Journey of infertility, and within each journey there will be moments when relationships are strong, and times when they appear to have broken.
But I thank God for the consistency of His relationship. If I've said it once, I've said it soooo many times, I don't know how I could walk this walk without Him. He is my comfort, my support, my shoulder to cry on, my encouraging word, my inspirational thought. Whatever your own experiences of infertility on your relationships, I pray you know the depth of the love God has for you, and a full understanding that no matter what, He won't leave you to work it out alone.....if you feel as though you are alone! He loves you enough to stand with you in the bad times as well as the good, and He will never throw your failings in your face, but will love you through your darkest days.
Father God, thank You for Your unfailing friendship which will never leave me just because I can't have children. You won't feel weird about what to say to me. You won't belittle me. You won't leave me. You will love and carry me through. I pray for all those women currently experiencing difficulties in thier relationships, especially with their husband, whether real or perceived.
Monday, June 1, 2015
If we look back, in order to look forward, personally, I think Jewish women of old knew. And so I think we are being unfair by holding back the most basic of information due to some misguided notion that if we warn against the age restriction of fertility in women, we will somehow hold them back...... Motherhood, for those who desire it, will only propel our women and girls forward. There's nothing worse than reaching your late 30s and realising that the dream of raising your own children may never become a reality.
Father God, I pray you would grant us wisdom.... Especially when speaking to the younger generations. May we somehow be open and real with those younger than us, not to scare them into living out what we would have wanted, but so they can follow closely, the plans You have for their lives. In Jesus name I pray.
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
If you are dealing with the struggle of IVF - the injections, the loss of dignity, the sickness it to mention the worry, read Julia's story here, and know that God is able to walk with you through every step.
Father, I pray you would be with every one of Your women who are currently engaged in the IVF process. I pray You would stay with them through every procedure, every injection, every pill.... Lord uphold and strengthen them for the heartaches as well as for the hope. Lord, You are ultimately the Creator of life, and I pray that if You choose to bring life through IVF that You would be honoured and glorified by those who put their faith in You for this procedure. Oh Lord, draw close to every couple who is walking this difficult road. In Jesus name I pray.
Thank You Lord for using my story to bless, encourage and inspire others. In spite of the hard times, I pray Your light will shine. In Jesus.
Monday, May 25, 2015
Have you seen the C4 Citroën advert..? The one where the bloke bumps into the girl on a street corner and they produce an instantly perfect family?? Apparently the car tag line is about how the car can help you start your family.... guess what my new car is going to be?! Not a Citroën C4!
Sunday, May 17, 2015
Children are a heritage from the Lord. That's the message today at Church.
I know they are, and I know that they are a gift and a blessing, but I wish I could have hidden away from this morning's service and focus on babies.
Why this focus? A couple of babies being dedicated, that's why. I'd forgotten when the pastor had pre-warned me, and now I have to try to remember that for me... God has a different kind of heritage. A different kind of blessing. A different kind of future. I'd love to see what it is. I'd love to see what He has in store for me... but for now. It's a waiting game. A game of hide and seek. A game of blind man's bluff. So many games all rolled into one heart's desire unfulfilled. At least, that's how it feels sometimes!!
Father God, I do pray you would be with these young children would be found always in your presence and that You would lead their parents as they lead them.
Monday, March 30, 2015
Sunday, March 15, 2015
Monday, March 2, 2015
Sunday, March 1, 2015
Sunday, February 8, 2015
There are times when I really struggle with trying to understand God. Not surprising when His thoughts and ways are far beyond my simple comprehension. But every now and again, I come across a verse which upsets and frustrates me. Today, one of the guest speakers was preaching from the life of Ruth.
The verse which hit me wasn't even one of the verses he was focussed on during his preach, but that is sometimes the way God works - at least for me - in that He will draw my attention to something else. Ruth 4:13 TLV: "So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife. When he went to her, Adonai enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son."
This is the Tree of Life version - a Messianic Family Bible developed with Messianic Jewish and Christian scholars. I like it because it includes some of the Jewish names of God.
The bit which struck me was "Adonai enabled her to conceive". Obviously, being brought up a Pastor's Kid, I've read the book of Ruth many times. But reading in a new or different version can shed a new light on an "old" story. I mean I know God is the Creator of life, and that we're given the gift of a child through Him, and He knits us together in our mother's wombs and all that, but this concept that God enables us to conceive.... why doesn't He enable all of us to conceive. Or rather, why hasn't God enabled me to conceive.
And so, here I am again, back in that place of wondering if I have been soooo hideously bad that God is punishing me by not enabling me to conceive. Or maybe I'm just not cut out for motherhood, which is why He hasn't enabled me to conceive. Or maybe...!
I wish I knew. I wish I could work it out. I wish I could understand God, and why He enables some women to conceive and not others.... especially those women who don't actually want children. Or who mistreat them, abuse them or neglect them. I wish I knew how God chooses who will be blessed with children and who won't. Is it that simple????
Interesting that Stephen Fry has been in the conversation of many Christians for his attack on God earlier in the week. Maybe because he is such an outspoken, anti-God atheist it riled us and we didn't like the way Fry spoke about our God in that way. But one of the things it has highlighted is that even the most seasoned Christian is similar to the atheist in that one way.... we all have questions we would bring to God. I think I had hundreds when I was growing up my parents coudn't answer so they used to say, "You'll have to ask God."
This question of why God hasn't enabled me to conceive, compared to some women, is one of my questions I would love to ask Him. The question of my faith, though, remains unchallenged. Even by this. Because whatever is happening, I know the only One Who can carry me through the good days and the bad ones, is the One Who knows my beginning from my end, and He knows the plans He has for my life. I can trust that when the time is right, God will enable me to conceive. And if the time is never right, He will give me the strength to get through every dark day I face, He will enable me to stand, even when I feel like falling on my knees and giving up.
Father God, I don't understand. But Father God, I trust You. Help me to stand.