Tag Archive: infertility


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My favourite space on my blog is probably the Taboo Topics section where we look at topics rarely spoken about such as losing a baby or infertility, singleness or being a parent of young children when it’s really really hard, abortion and adoption, issues of race and many more… with one exception these posts take the form of stories of real live people who put their names and faces on them to help make them more relatable and i think they have been extremely powerful and will hopefully continue to be so…

For the most part i have not had a strategy or plan of what topics i would like to see happening on Taboo Topics but have rather let it create itself in a sense. As i have heard a story from someone and asked them if they would be up to sharing or as i have felt a particular topic weigh more heavily on my heart, so i have introduced it and stories have followed. So there are probably fifty more topics waiting to happen, but until i feel it is the right time or i receive a story that feels like it needs to be shared, i will continue with what i have…

A topic i posted on recently was about people who have lost people in their lives – now while losing a baby and losing a child are both obviously that, this was one i started to cover people who have had more grown up people in their lives die and because these can cover so many different relationships [parent, sibling, good friend, grandparent] there is a lot of space for a whole host of different stories to be added there. I understand that for some people this can be an extremely difficult piece to write on but i imagine these stories in particular can be so helpful for other people who have suffered recent loss to read. So if you have lost someone and feel up to writing a story to share, please get hold of me [brettfish@hotmail.com] and let’s chat:

Two Brand New Topics i was asked to share on in the last week were these:

[1] People dissing/hating on South Africa – i guess this might be those still there who are always whining about the place or else those who have fled the country and are constantly breaking it down from outside. So i guess i would be looking at someone who has something to say to those people and maybe thinks differently…

[2] The second topic i was asked to share about was Sexual Abuse, which i am going to put on hold at the moment, simply because it is such a sensitive topic and i need to figure out the best way to deal with and share a topic of such a nature so as to make sure it is handled in the best possible way. So i think i need to put a pause on that for now. This is definitely something i would like to see addressed in some way and maybe i have an older friend who i know well and trust who has a post they can write on it rather than treating it as another Taboo Topic… so let me think about that one and get back to you… if anyone has good links to sites where people have shared stories like this well in the meantime it would be helpful if you could provide a link in the comments section. Thank you.

So if you have a story to share that is prompted by anything you have read in this post so far, drop me an email at brettfish@hotmail.com and let me know what you’re thinking and i can give you some tips on how your share might be shaped and we can take it from there. [i cannot guarantee that i will share it – this is my blog and i always have final say on what i choose to post, but i have rarely said no to anyone and so the chances are good].

Don’t nominate someone else’s story, but if you know someone who has a story that fits well into any of the topics we have run and you think they might be up to sharing it, then please have a conversation with them and if they are up to it get them to contact me directly.

i trust and hope this continued conversation will both encourage those who are struggling in silence and also just help us overall to feel more comfortable in talking about rarely spoken of things…

also if you see a topic that you know relates to someone you know but are struggling to figure out how to share it with them directly, why not SHARE the topic link on your facebook or twitterer page and give them the option of choosing to view it or not? Or else if EVERYONE who reads this can share the Taboo Topics intro link:

https://brettfish.wordpress.com/taboo-topics-contents-page

There are bound to be many people you know who would benefit from some of the stories here…

[To see the Taboo Topics that have already been covered, click here]

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BV134WordPress informs me this is my 1000th blog post on Irresistibly Fish. It feels like i should be doing something special.

for anyone who follows this blog, or maybe stumbled upon it today, and who doesn’t understand the title, let me explain…

my nickname is Fish – has been for a very long time – stands for Faithful In Serving Him and i try to see it as something i am aiming towards as opposed to something i feel like i’ve arrived at… there is always room for me to be more faithful. the Bible tells is that even when we are unfaithful God is faithful and so it’s a good example to follow.

and then just taking it a step further, i want to be Irresistibly Fish – i want to be faithful in serving God in a way that is enticing to others – that is really the heartbeat of what i want this blog to be about.

sure, it tends to be a bit of a mixed stew because i am also a great appreciator of humour [yes, Americans, with a U!!!] tending more towards the dry british monty pythonesque and the random misdirection’ness of a good Jack Handey:

‘Before criticizing someone, walk a mile in their shoes. Then when you do criticize them, you will be a mile away and have their shoes.’ [Jack Handey]

‘Of all my uncles I think I liked Uncle Cave man the best. After school we’d go and play in his cave and every now and then he’d eat one of us. Later we found out he was a bear.’ [Jack Handey]

so how to celebrate a 1000th blog post? i guess by sharing somethings i wish for you to know:

IF YOU ONLY HEAR TWO THINGS

Often when i get a chance to preach, i throw in a kind of bonus pre-preach intro along the lines of ‘If you only walk away with two things today, let it be these two things’ and so this would be a good place to share those as well and they apply to you whoever you are:

[1] GOD LOVES YOU MORE

You might be someone who doesn’t believe in God or is struggling to hold on to a belief in God. You might be someone who has turned away from God or stopped believing in Him. You might be someone who is really angry with God at the moment, or disappointed or confused because of ‘something God did’ or maybe even something God didn’t do [that you really believed or were hoping that he would] – Know this – God loves you more. It doesn’t take your believing it for it to be true.

On the other hand, you might be someone who feels completely loved by God at the moment. You feel completely close to Him. You hear Him speaking to you through scripture and through the promptings of the Holy Spirit. You feel absolutely connected to Him in worship. You and God are pretty tight right now. Well hear this – God loves you more. No matter how big you can grasp His love for you to be right now, it is bigger.

God loves you more. And if you don’t believe it, then take at least a moment to consider ‘What if it is true?’ Ask Him if He does? He’s certainly big enough to confirm it to you.

[2] GOD IS BIGGER 

I’ve been known to make churches or whole camps of people sing this little mantra i came up with years ago. The only problem is that although i have a kindof tune in my head it is really hard to communicate that tune and so the whole singing part for the most part ends up being me singing and everyone staring at me with a kind of WHATTHEFLIPISGOINGONHERE kind of look… it goes like this:

God is bigger than my box…

He’s bigger than my theology…

He’s bigger than my understanding…

He’s bigger than me.

With some kind of weird fast five clap thing after the ‘understanding’ that no one [including me most of the time] ever gets right.

But it’s true. You may not like to think this but you have a box in terms of how big you think God is, what you actually believe He is capable of, where you think He can and will get involved, how He can speak to people, what He looks like, who He speaks to and so on. It might be a really huge box. It might be the tiniest of boxes, or a box that confidently displays ‘There is no God’ which is its own little picture of God. But you have one.

Each of us do – the idea of just how big God is and the limitations that we place on Him. We each have a theology [study of God] and we each have an understanding. And it’s a little bit of tautologous redundancy on the one hand as the three things mean largely the same thing, or connected things. But the point is that in some way each of us reduce God to a smaller thing or being than He actually is.

One verse that helps bring this home to me is Ephesians 3.20 which informs us that God is able to do IMMEASURABLY MORE THAN ALL WE HOPE OR IMAGINE which basically says that however large we are able to hope or imagine, God can do even more, even bigger than that. But it’s these verses that come before that which help back up my statement song as well:

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. [17b-19]

How wide and long and high and deep…

God is bigger than your box, than your theology and your understanding.

Plus the one we forget way too often: He’s bigger than me.

WHAT I WOULD LIKE YOU TO HEAR AND TAKE WITH YOU FROM THIS BLOG

there are so many things i could say and so this list will not be exhaustive by any means, but as i hit this milestone on the blog there are some definite things i want people to take hold of and engage with;

# going back to the above verse, God is able to do immeasurably more than all we hope or imagine – i do say this a lot but i think often our hopings and imagings are so small that we aren’t all that impressed when God does them. i suspect God might be wanting us to HOPE and IMAGINE bigger so that when He does show up and do the things we are hoping and imaging for, we are super impressed and give Him the glory and praise He deserves…

 – i think of the story of Gideon in the Bible facing this huge unbeatable enemy army and how God stripped his army down from thousands to just three hundred and then ‘armed’ them with musical instruments and torches and sent them into battle [so it was obvious that the victory was God’s]

 – i think of the story of Joshua and the whole of Israel marching around the impenetrable city of Jericho for seven days and then on the last day breaking into shouts and musical instrument noise and the city walls collapse and they gain a huge victory [all attributed to God]

 – but i also think of my friend Dale who was praying with a bunch of friends from church before hitting the streets and one person got ‘a ‘download’ from the Holy Spirit that there is an elderly man, who’s name is Henry who used to be a painter, but is now out of work and financially vulnerable and suffering from pain in his knees.’

they went out on to the streets to pray for people and didn’t meet up with Henry the whole day. Until right towards the end, when they came across this old man walking with his four year old grandson:

‘We asked if we could pray for him… he declined and was walking away. I asked him ‘Is your name Henry?’ He turned and said yes. I did a double take. I asked him if he used to be a painter. He said yes, but he was laid-off and is now working odd jobs and money is tight. I asked him if he had pain in his knees. He said the arthritis was so bad in his knees that he often could not fall asleep at night!! So I called over everyone and asked them to repeat what we had spoken of that morning. They confirmed all this to him. Boom!’

– i also think of a talk i preached at a Simply Worship gathering where [against my initial will and ‘better thought’] i invited people to step forward into the impossible thing God was calling them to [much like Peter walking on the water] and a young guy called Brendon felt like God had told him to take his inheritance money and put it as a down payment on a place of safety for children at risk and how a group gathered with him and started praying regularly [because God had told them they were not allowed to as for money or fund raise] and how God used an atheist having an encounter with a presence on the property they had found to hand over 2.1 million South African Rands to but that property, which more than 5 years later is continuing to function as a place of safety for children at risk.

so i would like you to ASK and IMAGINE bigger – and i would like to start doing the same more often.

# those of you who claim to be followers of Jesus [whatever you choose to call yourselves] i would like for you to follow Jesus. 

this ‘christian’ thing is not a decision you make once so that you can ‘make it into heaven’ – it is a life-transforming decision that needs to be made again every day as we choose to put Jesus on the throne of our lives and submit to His will and be involved in bringing about His kingdom. i just wish for you to live that stuff you say you believe. i wish to see you living it in the way you spend your money, i would love to see you living it in the way you use your energy and time and the resources you have at your disposal. i wish to see you following Jesus in the way you forgive anyone and everyone who may have wronged you in any large or small way. i wish to see you involved in some way with those who are considered ‘the least of these’ whether they love Jesus or not.

i wish to see you combining these two – so asking and imagining bigger in the things of Jesus. Thinking of your community, of your neighborhood, of your country even. Thinking along the lines of education and healthcare, of human trafficking. taking on the ‘What ifs’ of even daring to consider the idea of ending poverty, or lack of access to clean drinking water or an end to the violence that plagues the streets around you.

# i deeply desire that we [as followers of Jesus and even just as people in general] will be known more for WHAT WE ARE FOR than for WHAT WE ARE AGAINST. even as we wrestle with scripture and trying to hold on to Truth in times that test the very fabric of it, may we completely be removed from the mantle of ‘you will be known by your hatred of the gay’ as one example within a myriad of examples.

# i hope that we can move past trite ‘answers’ such as ‘abortion is wrong’ to what may sometimes be difficult or inconvenient solutions such as offering to adopt the child of a young single mother whose only option seems to her to be abortion… or better yet, inviting the woman and child to live with us. because surely as the church that is the next logical step right? providing viable solutions rather than just picking on the scabs of what is broken and messed up?

# i love my wife. i know, i know, doesn’t seem to fit in with the run of where i was going there but i can’t write a 1000th blog post and not mention tbV [aka The Beautiful Val] but yes, we have not had the easiest of contexts since we have been married, but we are still running strong and we had the most excellent date night last night. i do completely love her and am grateful for the journey we have walked and run [and occasionally crawled] together thus far, and for everything that is ahead of us.

# i long to see relationships flourish, which is why so much of what happens on this blog has to do with relationships. From those in the lives of people who are single right now, to those who are in dating or engaged relationships, to those who are married and then beyond that to any who have children. God just has such a huge heart for relationships, and so do i. i want to see the 50% of marriages end in divorce statistic plundered. i want to see fresh life and hope and people who will fight for their relationships and not just in them. i want to see people honouring promises made in front of family and friends and God instead of jumping ship when the waters get rough or when someone messes up. i want to see people owning up to their own crap first before trying to fix their partners. i want to be doing that too.

# i long to see Taboo Topics spoken about and stories shared that encourage others to seek transformation in their own lives or simply encourage those who may be struggling through a particular experience or stage. This has been the most successful aspect of this blog and i love how powerful some of the stories that have been shared have been for other people – i think particularly of Singleness, Losing a Child, Infertility, Parents of young children [when it hasn’t been particularly easy] and Pornography/Masturbation. Topics rarely spoken about in church [and even general life often] where a bunch of my good friends have come forward and bravely shared a glimpse into their story/struggle/experience with amazing results. May these continue to grow.

and so much more… but i will have the next 1000 posts to do all of that.

thank you to those of you who made it this far down. thank you to those who journey on Irresistibly Fish, whether you read each post religiously or whether you head back every now and then and dip your feet into the waters [that was a metaphor, no actual water was involved in the writing of this blog post] – i really appreciate you, even those who disagree with me from time to time. maybe especially those who disagree with me from time to time [especially when you fight nice]

# i think largely i would say if i had a wish for this blog it would be more engagement! More comments and interaction, more sharing of similiar stories or equally funny cartoon strip links or your opinion on the thing i’m currently opinioning on or your Facetablet offer

I stumbled upon a blog by Steve Wiens a while ago, about parents and little children, and it was really great so i emailed him and asked for permission to use it as part of the Taboo Topics series and he graciously said, ‘Yes!’ and also sent me a link to the Infertility blog which he wrote which looks like it will be really helpful for people who have been struggling with that:

    Ten words that describe infertility by Steve Wiens aka The Actual Pastor

Two weeks ago, I wrote a post about the hilarious and exasperating journey of parenting small children. But for seven harrowing years of infertility, Mary and I would have given anything to have children, no matter how hard it was.

Here are ten words I would use to describe how infertility feels:

1. Lonely. We saw couple after couple get pregnant before us, our best friends included. When they told us, we high-fived them, then we went home, and hardly knew what to say to each other. We felt lost, sad, and even lonelier than before. We were excited for them; we were just very sad for us.

It’s okay to go home and cry your eyes out when your friends get pregnant.

2. Exposed. Everybody wants to give you advice, and some people say incredibly stupid things. My favorite: “You just need to stop trying so hard!” Some people want to know every excruciating detail of what you’re doing to get pregnant. Suddenly, your most private details are the subject of casual conversation. Once people know you’re trying, people want to know how it’s going, if you’ve done artificial insemination, if you’d consider IVF, and how it felt in that small white room with the gross leather chair & the bad magazines.

It’s okay to avoid the question, smile, and change the subject. Keep as many things private as you can (except to a few trusted friends).

3. On Hold. We were always checking the calendar, wondering if we should plan that vacation, or that work trip, because what if we’re pregnant? Then we stopped doing that, because we would have never lived if we would have scheduled everything around a “what if.”

It’s okay to miss a month or two; you have to live your life. This is hard, but over the long haul, it will create more stress if you feel so trapped that you can’t plan anything. We even found that it’s good to take a month off now and then.

4. Invaded. For women, there are so many things entering your body (probes, needles, drugs) and so many people measuring your progress. Even sex, at the mercy of a calendar or a temperature reading, can feel invasive. The loss of control can almost merge into a loss of self. But, it feels like once you’ve started down this road, there’s no stopping until you get pregnant.

It’s okay to say what you need, and it’s okay to shore up your boundaries in whatever ways you can.

5. Awkward. During one of the first visits where I was given the small cup and ceremoniously ushered into the small room, I actually ran into some people from my church afterwards. Of course they had their baby with them. I had a small cup that contained very personal contents with me. They asked, “What are you doing here?” I mean, what do you say?

It’s okay to laugh at yourself sometimes. And when someone catches you with your cup in your hand, that’s all you can do.

6. Angry. Unfair is the password that gets you into the infertility club. Mary tells a story of a friend asking her if she was angry with God. “No!” she blurted. “I’m angry at pregnant women!” She knew this was irrational, but she also knew that it was good for her soul to be honest in safe places. You actually may be angry with God, and you may need to find some safe places to be honest about that.

It’s okay to express the darkness, even the stuff you’re terribly embarrassed about, because it’s good for your soul. But in the right places, with people who can handle it.

7. Stressed. Even though it seems like a stressed out couple is less likely to get pregnant, The American Society for Reproductive Medicine finds that there is no proof stress causes infertility. Besides, trying hard to “not be so stressed about it” never worked for us. It also didn’t help to “just stop trying.” Everybody has a friend who was infertile for 73 years, and the day they stopped trying, they got pregnant. That never happened with us.

It’s okay to be stressed. Don’t stress about your stress. Trying hard not to be stressed is silly.

8. Despair. The cycle of hope and despair with infertility can take you out. I remember getting so excited when Mary was 2 days late, and just knowing that this time, it’s going to happen! Then, a few days or hours later, when she told me she got “it,” I would plunge into despair. The alternative is to temper your hope so that your despair doesn’t get so low. After about a hundred months of experiencing this cycle, we found that the best route is to keep hoping, and if it doesn’t happen, keep crying. It’s too hard to pretend that you’re not excited and that you’re not depressed. Be excited. Be depressed.

It’s okay to hope, and it’s okay to cry. Keep hoping and keep crying.

9. Loss. This was not how it was supposed to be. This was not what you dreamed it would be. And you don’t know how it will end.

It’s okay if you don’t know how to wrap your mind around your emotions. Be gentle with yourself for not totally having control of how you feel from moment to moment.

10. Ambivalence. Every time you have to go through another kind of treatment, you ask yourself: “Is it worth it? Do I really want it that bad?” And then in the very next breath, you are taken out by the sheer magnitude of how much you want a baby.

It’s okay to want and not want. That’s normal.

If you’re struggling with infertility, it can be such a dark time. You have to be out loud with each other about what you need, and every journey will be different. You have to give yourselves permission to do this journey in whatever way makes the most sense for you.

My blessing for you as you struggle: May God give you what you need, when you need it, over and over and over again.

[To catch more of Steve’s blog, The Actual Pastor, click here]

Answering the ‘baby’ question

The way I work through things is different to how many others do. I experience something, think and pray about it and when I feel that I’ve heard God about something, I write about it. Sharing what God has taught me in challenging situations is like the ‘acceptance’ phase of grief. This blog post has been several months in the making and tells the story of something that we have battled with in 2012. But in the end, there is great hope.
A strange thing happened after Willem and I got married. Babies started to act differently around us. They’d giggle and smile at us and coo adorably. We would never hear loud wailing or witness tantrums, only sweet parenting moments like a mother and baby giggling together or a father taking his daughter out for a stroll in her pram.

It was like a conspiracy – these babies sensing our newly-married-ness and using cuteness propaganda to convince us that we wanted one too. They’d look at us with an expression saying, “Have one of us, one of us.”

Then, the family and friends joined in by asking us questions like, “So when are you going to have children?” When you start dating everyone questions you about when you are going to get married and as soon as you get the wedding band, the baby question comes up. It’s like people are constantly pushing you into the next life stage. They have good intentions, but sometimes they aren’t aware of the pressure that places on people.
Willem and I have been married for five years. We have our own place, secure jobs and a steady income. He’s in his early thirties and I’m in my late twenties. This makes us prime candidates for the ‘baby’ question. I have even had a friend tell me that my biological clock is ticking so we should hurry up! So, why haven’t we started a family yet?

We can’t.

That’s the simple answer, but the journey to this answer has been anything but simple. It started over two years ago when Willem and I decided that we were ready to start a family. We were emotionally, financially and spiritually ready to enter the next life stage – parenthood.

Almost immediately, life became all about schedule and watching the calendar. We changed our diet and tried to get healthier. Life became about sacrificing anything that could get in the way of us having healthy children. I even refused to take any medication that wasn’t safe for pregnant women in case I was pregnant. I made mental lists of pregnancy symptoms and every hint of nausea became a sign.

It was an emotional time of negative pregnancy tests and anxious prayers. It was so difficult to be disappointed every month. During this time of heightened health awareness, Willem discovered a lump in his testicle. It was malignant – he had testicular cancer.

He had surgery to have the lump removed. Thankfully, they managed to remove all the cancer but he went for radiation treatment as a precautionary measure. It was the most difficult experience that we had been through as a couple (you can read about how we got through this time by reading my blog post ‘The One you can cling to.’)

Willem’s treatment finished and all his blood work came back clear. Earlier this year we had a scare, but, praise God, the cells they were concerned about were benign. We felt comforted by the fact that the cancer was gone, and that the treatment wouldn’t have affected our ability to have children.
But still, I was not falling pregnant. In our desperation, we decided to get professional help. We visited my gynaecologist and Willem’s urologist and went for several tests. Willem also went for a biopsy. In a two week period it was discovered that Willem’s body does not produce sperm cells and that our chances of having a baby are very close to none. The only possibility we have of conceiving is a very expensive and invasive surgery with a very slight chance of being successful.

It’s difficult to describe how I’ve felt since getting the news. I’ve gone from feeling devastated because I’ve always had the desire to be a mom, to feeling guilty for not being strong enough for my husband whose own sense of loss was magnified by my sadness. I’ve had mornings when I just wanted to stay in bed and cry.

I have learnt that I am not strong enough to deal with difficult times but that God is the one who is strong and I’ve needed to draw on His strength daily.

Our friends, colleagues and family have been so amazingly supportive. Our church family has been so wonderful with their prayers and encouragement. The first place we went to after we got the bad news was church where our pastor’s wife prayed for us. It was just what we needed – to stay God-focused during such a painful time.

I’ve had people tell me not to give up, that it’s God’s will for us to have children. Others have encouraged us to adopt. It’s been tough to really figure out what to do. I really felt strongly that God wanted us to have children and I’ve had prophetic words from others backing that up. I started to question whether I heard from God or if it was just my voice, or whether He meant that one day we would adopt and that’s how we’d become parents.
I’ve had to let go of the schedule, ignore the calendar. It may seem strange to find this difficult. For two years I had made trying to have a baby a huge priority. I’ve had to let go – and it’s been hard. I’ve learnt that it gave me a sense of control and being able to have this control made me feel more secure.

The truth is that we can’t control this situation. There’s nothing we can do to fall pregnant. This is out of our hands now. It’s been very frustrating…but also freeing in a way. We have to take a step back, there’s nothing we can do. We can only leave it up to God. After months of pain, I feel at peace with this. I feel secure in trusting God with this matter.

There are times when I do get emotional about the situation and all the pain floods back, but I then run to Him for comfort. My focus is on entering into His rest – a place where I don’t forget His promises amidst the negative situation I’m in. He has promised to give me life, and life to the full (John 10:10.) He has promised to prosper me and give me hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11.) Whether these plans include us becoming parents, or not – they are perfect.

So, if someone asks me when we are going to start a family, I will say, “I don’t know.” I don’t know if we will conceive naturally of if we’ll adopt. I don’t know if it’ll happen next year or when we’re in our forties. All I do know is that I trust in a God of the impossible, in a God whose timing is perfect.

It’s all in His hands now. And I’m finally okay with it.

I’d really like to thank my dear friends who have been on this journey with us- friends who I have confided in from the beginning; friends who comforted me when I’ve struggled or had moments of weakness in the marking room, who have asked me if I was okay when I needed to vent. Thank you for your support and prayers, thank you for your understanding and patience. You are amazing blessings.

[to connect with Melanie or follow her and her writing, you can visit her blog here]

Taboo Topics is a series dedicated to sharing stories from real live people [mostly who i know] on real life issues, situations or experiences that are seldom spoken about for various reasons. So far the topics that have been addressed [with links to all the stories] are the following:

Abortion

Adoption

Eating Disorders

Infertility

Losing a Baby

Pornography and Masturbation

Singleness

I hope these will be of encouragement to you and to friends and family who you know who have been through similar things – please feel free to share the stories or send links to people who you think might appreciate them.

love brett “fish” [brettfish@hotmail.com]

I have wrestled with writing this for a while now as it is a very sore spot but I know that God can work through this whether to help me heal or to help others know they are not as alone as we often feel in this situation.

My story starts not after I got married to my amazing hubby but a few years before. I was about 20 when I found out that I had a tumour on my pituitary gland (under the brain in the centre of the skull). This tumour, thankfully not cancerous, created havoc with my hormones and gave my body the impression I was pregnant without actually being pregnant but with many symptoms including all day sickness (not just mornings), weight gain, lack of periods and even milk production when the tumour got quite large. I ended up having brain surgery to remove the tumour and was under the impression that all was good and I no longer had to worry about tests and tumours.

My now husband and I then got engaged and later married and at this time had discussed that we would both love to have children but we felt (due to our younger age but also due to seeing other marriages fail from not building a strong foundation to the marriage) that we would wait 5 years before trying for kids so we could build a good solid marriage with God at the centre so we would have a good foundation to bring our kids up on.

Six months into our marriage I started feeling sick again with all the same symptoms and my first thought went to the possibility of an unplanned pregnancy which was scary but we knew we’d be ok and even though I was on the pill if I was pregnant then it was part of God’s plan for us. After going for all the necessary tests and more we found out that unfortunately my tumour had grown back again. I then went through medication that did nothing except make me feel worse, a second brain op and radiotherapy to try get rid of the tumour of which none of these gave a permanent solution. I changed Neurosurgeons for the 3rd time and was put onto a new medication which would shrink the tumour and keep it under control but I would have to stay on it the rest of my life to keep the tumour under control as it would not kill or get rid of the tumour but as long as I stayed on the meds I would have no problem falling pregnant and should also have no complications in a pregnancy according to the dr’s.

We’d been married for about one and a half to two years at this stage but decided that with everything that had happened we would rather start our family sooner. Month after month went by and all we had was disappointment after disappointment. Months turned into a year and still nothing. We eventually consulted with a fertility specialist and blood tests showed that my hormones were not all at the levels they should be at. we tried medications to get me to ovulate and to try balance my hormones but each time we’d try something it would seem to mess the hormones up even more. After a few more tests the fertility specialist told us that the only way we would be able to have a child of our own was to go the IVF route at a cost of something like R45 000 excluding medication. We agreed that there was no way we could afford that or go into debt by taking out a loan and then bring a child into the world that we couldn’t afford due to the debt.

For much of this time we didn’t say much to many of our friends or family as each time we would say anything we would be told to “just relax” or told about so and so who went on holiday and fell pregnant. What none of them understood was stress had nothing to do with it. We tried to “just forget about it” and “relax” but still nothing happened, we even agreed that we would put it aside and said maybe God is telling us to wait till we were married for 5 years as we had originally decided. We never did anything to prevent pregnancy and decided that if I fell pregnant then I did but if I didn’t then in time we would maybe go for another opinion.

Our 5th wedding anniversary came and went and still there was no pregnancy. Thankfully the medication was still working on the tumour and I was living a normal life with no restrictions or problems. We discussed things again and went to see another fertility specialist as well as an endocrinologist to see if we could sort out the hormones and try fall pregnant without going the costly IVF route. All we got was more and more bad news, my hormones were at worse levels than before and now medication is not even an option. IVF was still the only option given by the fertility specialist and even then he said he doesn’t see that we would have a very good chance, according to him we have a less than 1% chance of falling pregnant and even then it will be a very high risk pregnancy. So now we have agreed since we have a slim chance of falling pregnant even with IVF we are not going to keep going to dr’s and getting bad news but rather now are trying to build our marriage even stronger than it is. We shared with my hubby’s family what the dr’s have told us and even though it was difficult I’m glad we did as my Father in law reminded us that even though we have a longing to have kids of our own we didn’t get married to have kids, we got married because we love each other and that will never change as God has walked us through so much more than just these issues I’ve mentioned. We do in all this praise the Lord for His healing hand over my life as about 18 months ago I went for my annual MRI to make sure the medication was still working and that there were no changes to my tumour when instead we got a surprise and were told that the tumour the dr’s said I would have to live with for the rest of my life had now disappeared, unfortunately due to the affects the tumour had on my body and my hormones over a number of years this has not changed the chances of pregnancy and my hormones are still very low and bordering on menopausal at the age of 30.

Over the years I’ve battled with wishing I could fall pregnant just so I knew it was possible for my body but having seen friends go through miscarriages at different stages of their pregnancies I prayed that I would never have to deal with that.

People don’t understand what you are going through at times like this and so often try the “just relax” approach or the “I have a friend or a friend who was struggling and as soon as they adopted they fell pregnant” approach. It also becomes difficult to discuss what’s going on with people who have not experienced infertility as they think they should protect you by not involving you in their children’s lives or exclude you from functions because there will be kids there. For me I know I often battle with wanting to be able to make my own decision about whether I am strong enough to attend or not but this is not always possible as people try “protect” you by not involving you which often hurts more than dealing with infertility hurts.

We’ve just recently celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary and I don’t know what God’s plan is for our lives and our marriage but we know that through Him we are made strong to deal with the situations that come our way. Some days are definitely easier than others and yes I get angry when I hear about another teenage or unmarried pregnancy. I have even often shouted at God and told Him it’s not fair that we did things that we’d been taught was the right way and yet other people who do things the wrong way get blessed with a child. I’ve shed many tears for the children we may never have but I have also been able to say that I have been blessed with friends who don’t exclude us from their childrens lives and even though they are not our own children we still get to experience the joy of a child being happy to see their “other mommy”. We will continue to take things one day at a time and continue to try leave the situation in God’s hands as only He can really say when and if a life will be created.

God bless.

Bettina.

My name is Wendy. Myself and my husband, Richard, have been married for 7.5 years and I have been off contraception for 5.5 of those years. I only went to the doctor in October 2010, as I was not quite ready to face up to potential problems, and we weren’t financially ready for a child. I also told myself that we had not actively been trying (e.g. taking ovulation tests) and therefore perhaps it wasn’t an issue that I had not yet fallen pregnant.

The news came back from the doctor that I had polycystic ovaries. This is something not curable, but manageable. There are medications that I can take to try and boost ovulation. Also, losing weight is supposed to help with the symptoms. It’s a bit of a vicious circle, though, as having this condition makes it much harder to lose the weight!

The news hit me fairly hard even though I had been expecting it and had already researched the symptoms (an irregular cycle being the biggest indicator). There’s a big part of me that really wants to become a mommy and have Richard’s child, but there’s another part of me that’s not sure, because it is REALLY hard work and at that point in time it felt like this was never going to happen for me, for us. Anyway, we prayed with some family members and I felt God’s presence touch my heart. I walked away feeling a renewed confidence in God, after previously feeling very negative.

The following Saturday night we had an Encountering God worship evening at church with people prophesying over, and praying for, one another. Even though I was feeling full of faith, I was still hoping someone would have a word for me. A lady behind me (whom I’ve never met and who knows nothing about me) told me that God had a very special gift for me. She didn’t want to say what it was, in case she was wrong. I told her it was a baby and she immediately confirmed that was the word she had, and that it would be soon. She prayed for me and all of a sudden I found myself in tears (I tend to be emotional when I feel the presence of God).

I left the meeting feeling even more confident and excited at what God was going to do in our lives! The very next day my sister-in-law also had something to share. She gave me the verses Luke 1:36 and 45 “you are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what He said”.

Richard and I both never felt such confidence in anything before. It is wonderful to know that God clearly has a plan and purpose for our child if He has spoken through various people (including a dream a friend had). I’ve also felt very encouraged by so many dreams God has given me over the last couple of years about being pregnant or having a baby (usually it’s a girl). I’ve found out that by opening up about our journey, others have shared their struggles to conceive their children.

Several months passed and it took a while to get my mind in the right place, but for the past 8 months I have been doing what I can to prepare my body – I have started running again and we have both been eating healthily and lost a lot of weight.

My 3-year old niece was praying for us too (so cute!) and she told her mom that she thinks we have a baby now so she has decided to stop praying. Child-like faith is amazing! Just to trust in God as a little child trusts their father. Our faith in Him is something that we hold onto when doubts sometimes come to mind. We have watched the Joyce Meyer DVD “Battlefield of the Mind” and found it helpful to implement some of those teachings in our lives. Also, at homegroup recently we’ve been focussing on living on the right hand side of the comma of the verse John 10:10: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy, I have come that they may have life and have it to the full”. Our spiritual lives have grown tremendously over the last year. We don’t always get things right, but we are moving forward.

We have been working through a Christian book about blessings and curses and the power that words have. We prayed against any curses that may have been over us and repented of sin in our lives. Since that very prayer was spoken, my monthly cycles (and I’ve had 3 now) have returned to the normal length. They used to be all over the place, anything from 3 to 6 weeks long! We are praising God for this.

I’ve read up about the possibility of IVF treatment but I don’t think we would pursue this option. It is a costly and traumatic ordeal. There are also the moral issues to consider, such as whether or not to freeze embryos (as a large number of them don’t make it) and not letting any of them get wasted, because we believe that life begins at conception. Besides, as God said in Genesis 18:14 “Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son”. We are standing in faith and know that the time will come soon when I can say the words I’ve been wanting to say for so long: “I’m pregnant”!

I hope that our story and faith may bring encouragement to anyone reading this who is going through any kind of fertility struggle.

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