9 Things Infertile Women Want Women with Children To Know

Found this and it is soo true- had to share!

9 Things Infertile Women Want Women with Children To Know - especially for those who are facing the hopeless end of the dream....

1.) I'll just come out and say it... we are jealous of you.

Please know that we in no way hate you for being able to bear children and would never wish this hurt we feel on our worst enemy. But there's no use in denying it... infertile women are jealous of women with children. We see the connection, the love, and the amazing bond that you have with them. We see the joy they bring to your life every day and we want that for ourselves more than anything. We would give up everything for it, spend our last dime to get it, and die to know what it's like. We aren't mad that you're happy... we just want some of that happiness too. So there... now you know. Ok, let's not kid ourselves - you already knew, but now it's out in the open so we call all stop pretending we can't see the green monsters sitting on the shoulders of all the infertiles. LOL!

2.) Cards, emails, words of kindness, and caring acts are appreciated more than you know.

Infertility breeds tons of self-esteem issues, insecurity, and feelings of being on "the outside". One little handwritten note, text, or thoughtful action could make our entire week. Mother's Day is an especially hard time for women who want to, but are physically unable to become a mother. I will NEVER forget the handful of friends that sent me a message this year on that day. I went from feeling extremely depressed to feeling overwhelmingly encouraged and touched that someone was actually thinking about me and took the time to let me know. Though Mother's Day is one of the more difficult days for childless women, infertility is always looming no matter what day it is. One simple thought could brighten one of those days.

3.) Don't take it personally if we decline a baby shower invitation.

Honestly, our not being in attendance is doing everyone a favor! Seriously... do you really want us to look sad the entire time and risk a sudden outburst of tears? Nah... I think not. You're safer to accept the fact that we are truly happy for the lucky lady, but don't want to ruin her special day by being a gloomy guest.

*NOTE: Personally, I do ok at showers. However, I have talked to many ladies that don't handle these types of events as well. This point is for them.

4.) We are constantly hurting.

I'm sure that sounds like an overstatement to someone who hasn't been in our shoes. For those that have, you know EXACTLY what I mean and can probably still feel that bitter pain every time you think about that time in your life. Things the average person would never think about add to our hurt every day. Something as simple as a commercial about diapers with a baby crawling across the floor or seeing a mama out with her little ones or even just walking by the baby clothes in Target are all daily reminders of what we are missing. It feels like a huge knife is stuck in your chest and every time you are reminded of your emptiness that knife gets pushed deeper and deeper. The pain, though less intense at times, never goes away.

5.) Telling us to "just adopt" doesn't help.

Adoption will not magically erase the pain of infertility. It is definitely something that most infertile couples consider, but the desire to bear your own children won't just disappear by adopting. Then there's the money aspect. Here is my response to that... "Sure! After we have spent thousands on infertility treatments let me just pull out that extra $25k that I have stashed under my mattress and 'just' go adopt!" I won't go into greater detail about that, but financially, legally, and emotionally it's really not an easy fix as some might have been led to believe.

6.) We still want to be friends with you even though you have kids.

I understand it can be awkward at times. You might feel bad about inviting a couple dealing with infertility to an event involving your kids or a birthday party for a child. Yes, There are times where we will decline the invitation when we may feel emotionally unable to be in that environment, but please don't assume that we never want to attend if your kids are present. We already feel isolated because of our circumstances... please don't add to that by excluding us from your lives because you're worried about us feeling uncomfortable.

7.) Please don't give us advice on how to get pregnant. Believe me, we've already read, heard, and tried it all!

We do understand that you are sincerely trying to help, but more than likely everything you say to us we have already tried (and more!). We have heard every story, researched every option, and we really don't want to hear about how your cousin's best friend's sister-in-law knew a girl that tried such and such and magically conceived. That's great for them, but we aren't that girl and you probably don't know the details of her situation or ours. I'm sure that sounds hateful... you might be able to tell that I've heard one too many words of advice from people who have no idea what is medically wrong with me.

8.) Understand that we can't empathize with you when you complain about pregnancy or your children.

I think part of the "infertility rite of passage" is making a promise to God and/or yourself that you will TRY as hard as you can not to complain about pregnancy or your children if that day ever comes. In fact, I would wager that 99% of the women affected by infertility will know exactly what I mean when I say that hearing someone complain about morning sickness, lost sleep, or whiney kids can literally make you cringe inside. When you wait, hope, pray, and shed countless tears as we have you simply can't relate to women that take the miracles they have for granted. We would gladly trade your worst day with children for our best day without them.

*NOTE: We understand that motherhood is hard. We aren't expecting every day with children to be perfect. The point is that we can't relate to women who make a habit of complaining about something we give anything to have.

9.) We covet your prayers.

I personally feel this is the most important thing that you can do to help and encourage us. There can never be enough prayers going up for women and couples dealing with infertility. Not sure how to pray? Pray for our emotional and physical state and for our faith in God to stay strong. We are dealing with the reality of never being able to have a family, with the physical problems associated with the cause of our infertility, and are on a constant emotional roller coaster month after month if we continue to try to conceive. In addition to all of that, most infertile couples are dealing with extreme financial stress since insurance does not pay for ANYTHING related to infertility. All of those things can be taxing on our relationship with God so prayers for our spiritual well being are welcomed as well.

Well said. The barren womb carries a grief that only God can help others understand. I love how you wrote #8. I completely agree.
lovelylittlelife-hannah.blogspot.com|By Hannah Hutslar

Desires of a Barren Woman

I stumbled across this raw and real poem:

Desires of a Barren Woman

 by Emily Hurd
 
A lifetime longing for life in one's belly
is not a joyful life.
The most wonderful love can't fill this void
no matter how hard he may try.
For what sin am I punished,
That I may never enjoy,
clinging to my breast, a blonde haired baby boy?
To know the love of a sweet child,
and the feeling of being whole-
These are the things I've always wanted to know.


Because when we can find no answer for our longings and no relief for our grief, we are forced to realize that no earthly love can fill this void.... these words ring such truth... so I reach for the source of love and I despirately fight to cling to the truth that as my creator somehow He and only He can fill this aching hole in my heart and give me rest and peace....

9 Untruths in the 'Never Give Up' Message

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/justine-brooks-froelker/acceptance-in-infertility_b_6413924.html

Acceptance and the art of letting go are some of life's trickiest sons of b*tches. They are topics I often work on with clients and I, myself, practice daily. They also seem to be some of the most difficult hurdles in the infertility journey.

The acceptance of my childfree, yet childfull, life does not mean I do not have the losses. It does not even mean that I like it most days. Acceptance is simply practicing my work every day to accept what is, what I cannot change and how to be okay despite the lifelong losses of infertility.

I am beyond thankful that infertility education is continuing to be in the spotlight and therefore hopefully fertility compassion will continue to grow. However, I believe, some of the messages being delivered by some voices with a huge platform are contributing to the loss of ourselves to this painful, difficult, long and oftentimes heartbreaking journey of infertility.

One of the biggest punch-in-gut messages that is probably one of the most spoken is the "never give up" message. Time and time again we hear celebrities or families with the "traditional" happy ending (read: baby) saying never ever give up.

I do not believe this to be a message of hope and light but rather one that dims our light and can leave a lot of us in the dark. Because, sometimes it is okay, and the healthiest option for us, to say no more and to accept what is. And, I don't think this is giving up in the least but rather fighting for and finding our ever upward.

And so, here are what I think are the nine biggest untruths in the "never give up" message:

1. Minimizes the difficulties.

  • Infertility is expensive, and in most of our cases, we don't have endless resources and our insurance does not cover it.
  • Every cycle can feel like a loss. We live by the timelines and the waits. We oftentimes feel like no one understands and try to cope with it all on our own. The emotional difficulties of infertility feel endless.
  • The money, the losses, the stresses, all of it are so hard on our relationships. If we do the work to turn towards one another then many times our relationships gain strength but for many infertility will do undeniable and sometimes even irreparable damage.

2. Breeds comparison

  • It seems like no two infertility stories are the same, causes, medical and family history, treatment protocols, etc. and yet we compare so much.
  • Add to that that not all of us have the same financial resources, faith or religion, family and social support.

3. Triggers shame

  • Some of us did make the choice to stop treatments. Some of us do not choose adoption. Some of us choose to keep trying. These are choices sure, however, more times than not they are choices between two shit-ass choices.

4. Puts stress on the relationship

  • How long do we try? What if one partner only has one more round in them? What if one partner is not open to full IVF? What then?

5. Denies some truths

  • There are some of us that the all ends of the earth in fertility treatments will never work. Sometimes there are genetic or chromosome issues, sometimes our bodies completely betray and fail us, sometimes we will never get to now the reason.

6. Invalidates those who define their enoughs and everythings

  • Only we can determine when enough is enough and what our everything is. For some of us, that is only a the first step in the infertility treatment road but not full IVF treatments. For some of us it is two rounds, for others it may mean eight.

7. Makes us doubt ourselves and abandon our truth

  • These pressured messages, that may be completely inaccurate for ourselves and our situation as stated above, make us completely deny and abandon our truth, what we want and who we are.

8. Reduces us to our numbers, our losses, our ability to procreate

  • We must be so much more than this. We deserve to be so much more. We are so much more.

9. Sometimes it is okay to stop

  • This does not mean we are giving up but rather defining what our own happy ending is. This is finding and moving ever upward.

As both a survivor of infertility and a mental health therapist who works with clients every day, I see the lifelong devastation that is created by the infertility journey. Every day I see people who have lost their light and lost themselves somewhere along the two-week waits, the waiting rooms, the pokes, prods and meds, the losses, the judgement, the loneliness, the gravity of this battle. Every day I see people who are making decisions out of fear that are resulting in more pain.

The conversation must change. The education must continue. The compassion must grow. There are simply too many casualties to the infertility journey.

It is not about never giving up on treatments or the dream of parenthood but it must be about never giving up on ourselves. This is the hope of this journey, to not lose ourselves to it and in it. The hope of never giving up on our happiness and health, no matter what our ending may be, we must do the work to define it as happy

find this at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/justine-brooks-froelker/acceptance-in-infertility_b_6413924.html

http://gateway-women.com/blog-2/

It’s done. Another Christmas Day is over. Never an easy time for us childless women, even if we are ‘through’ our grief, as I am.

I had a griefy moment in an English country church this morning when the vicar’s adorable children were running around the alter, looking very much like one of them was about to actually get into the manger with the baby Jesus in it! A moment of such cheeky freshness that it took my breath away and I felt the sadness that I never got to enjoy the mischievousness of my own children. My sister outlaw, standing next to me, saw my eyes shining with tears and linked her arm firmly through mine as we dirged our way through yet another Christmas carol celebrating the ultimate miracle baby story; her the mother of teenagers and young adults, me the childless one: ‘I know that no life is free of pain’, I said, looking into her eyes and, in that moment we knew each other’s truth. It was a moment of pure connection, the like of which so many of us childless women rarely get from those around us; an honesty seen in the eyes and felt in the strength of our arms as we sang together.

Although I am no longer the broken childless woman I was, I treasure these moments of grief because they connect me back to the core of loss that every human life has to endure, however ‘perfect’ it may look on the outside. The vulnerability of that moment, my willingness not to hide it and her capacity to meet me in it, was precious. Tears, when met with empathy heal us in a way that nothing else can, and pass often very swiftly.

Find this and much much more at: http://gateway-women.com/the-love-and-grief-at-the-heart-of-christmas/

Another helpful site I stumbled on..... http://blog.silentsorority.com/

http://gateway-women.com/blog-2/

The number one question I get asked by other childless women is this: ‘Have you really got through your grief? Really?!’ The next one is often ‘So, how long does it take?’

And yes, I am through my grief over not having children. I am absolutely, definitely on the other side of it now and have been for about 3 years. However, what I’m discovering is that my experience of being in this new state continues to evolve and the gifts of grief keep getting delivered.

For example, the ‘freedom’ that felt like a life-sentence of misery 5 years ago today feels like, er, freedom again. Really expansive, open-road, let’s-go-do-it freedom.

And that pervasive, bodily, awkward-as-hell feeling of something vital ‘missing’ in my life has recently shifted to a feeling of being complete-as-I-am, and absolutely no less of a person because I don’t have children! I didn’t feel ‘incomplete’ as a child or as a young woman and it seems that this earlier sense of ‘wholeness’ has returned. And it feels very, very, good thank you very much!

‘How long does it take’ is harder to answer. Because it depends on how much support you’ve got (both internally and externally) and whether you’re ready to grieve and to do your grief work. Grief isn’t a passive process, it’s an active one, and unless you’re actively grieving rather that living in limbo waiting to ‘feel better’ it’s not going to shift any time soon. It’ll just sit there like a heavy fog, obscuring your life and getting in the way of all your relationships, including the one with yourself. It might seem as if your life is lived black-and-white whilst everyone else’s is in colour. You can get so used to this (calling it depression perhaps, which is a part of grief, but not the whole story) that you can stay there for decades. Yes, decades.

If pushed on the ‘how long’ question, and drawing on my own experience and that of being a guide to other childless women who’ve attended my groups and workshops, read my book and done their grief work, I’d say you’re likely to see a huge difference in your life in two years. And yet, if I say ‘two years’ women look horrified, thinking it seems too long. Which is ironic as some of them have been feeling like shit for 5, 10, 15, 20 years…  But it’s not two more years of the same old feelings – it’s two years of progress, of ups and downs, of realisations and changes, of finding your tribe. It’s two years of laughter and tears, of discoveries and rediscoveries, of finding your mojo again. It’s not all doom-and-gloom, honest!

And yet, despite the fact that I’m definitely ‘through my grief’, I can still have what I call ‘griefy days’. Or even ‘griefy’ mornings, afternoons, evenings, weekends or just moments.

I had one last night, a Friday night at the end of a manically busy work week spend mostly in the company of others. I was so happy to get home and was looking forward to a quiet evening alone and yet… something felt ‘off’.  I cooked myself supper yet almost let it burn in the oven due to a lack of enthusiasm for putting it on the plate; I watched a TV documentary about ancient pre-Columbian civilizations (just my thing!) yet found myself unable to concentrate and kept checking my Twitter account; I had been looking forward to having a bath and reading a novel but found that I couldn’t get myself into the mood to run the bath.  It was as if whatever I did, I felt I should be doing something else and nothing felt quite ‘right’. It was a physically restless, uneasy feeling as if I’d forgotten something really important and was aware of it yet unable to remember it. Just writing this down brings up the bodily memory of the sensations – it’s a unique signature…

I was having a griefy evening.

For me, ‘griefy’ times are something that no longer freak me out and I’ve come to recognise that they are my body and psyche’s ways of telling me that something has been irretrievably lost and that I need to pay attention to its passing. In the last two weeks, I’ve had several pieces of news that have impacted my financial arrangements negatively and all of which were unforeseen. And of course, they all came at once!  In order to respond to these situations, I’m having to accept that certain plans that I had both personally and professionally will need to be put on hold. My sense of feeling ‘safe’ and ‘in control’ in the world has been knocked a bit. And that’s what’s been ‘lost’ and is bringing up the griefy feelings. I didn’t want to feel them, hence trying to distract myself with food, TV or a bath… but my grief, always smarter than me, wasn’t having it.

I went to bed early instead, and once I was in bed and lying quietly in the dark with my cat, the feelings began to surface and I recognised the presence of grief, my old friend.

Grief is an old friend to me now not just because of our long acquaintance, but because I also know that it is a loving, healing force that transforms my perspective, heals my heart and makes it possible to go on. It is wiser than me, kinder than me and has my best interests at heart. Once I’d allowed it to blossom in my consciousness, the uneasy, restless feeling I’d had all evening left me. I listened to a comedy podcast and went to sleep accepting that grief would do the rest and help me to adjust to this unforseen change in my circumstances.

By the time I woke up this morning, I’d let go of my old sense of what my ‘security’ looked like and accepted that something new was arising, ahead of when I would have chosen it, but that I’d adapt and thrive in the new situation, just as I have always done. I realised I needed to do some grief work to help myself through this transition. For me, grief work involves self-care and creativity so I was out on my bicycle this morning (exercise, fresh air) to buy some delicious food to try some new recipes (creativity, cooking, self-care), have written this blog (expressing my grief creatively) and I’m getting stuck into that novel I was avoiding last night. I fully intend to read it in the bath this evening, if I haven’t finished it by then! All the books I’m ‘meant’ to be reading for my studies or work can wait – my grief work is more important.

Grief work is different for each of us, but here are some suggestions adapted from Chapter 4 of my book:  

  • Seeing a grief counsellor or therapist – you might want to ask if they have experience with childlessness-related grief as many of us have found that therapists are not immune to the same unconscious prejudices as the rest of society. If you’re in the UK, you can find a therapist near you via the UKCP or BACP.  In the USA and Canada you can search using the Psychology Today listings. I can offer private sessions in person or via Skype and also have a very small list of counsellors and psychotherapists that I feel comfortable referring to in the UK and USA. If you are a counsellor or therapist with personal experience of coming to terms with childlessness, do get in touch with me as I’d love to get to know you!
  • Doing some form of creative practice to produce work inspired by your loss and in a nurturing collective way where you can share that with others. It might be creative writing, blogging, music, singing, sculpture, painting, etc. If such a group doesn’t exist in your area, you might like to think about approaching a grief counsellor and asking them to start one, or starting your own with a group of other childless women (you can meet them via the online community or meetups, see below).
  • Attending a workshop or group for childless women (see list of Gateway Women workshops here). As far as I know, there isn’t anything else like my workshops outside the UK but I hope to create an online version soon and I’ll be in the US in 2016 to lead some. (Make sure you’re on my update list for when those get announced)
  • Writing a blog about your grief, or commenting on other grief-related blogs in order to get a dialogue going. This can be anonymous – whatever makes it possible for you to share your experience with others who understand and respond.  If you type ‘grief’ into the search box at the top of this website, you’ll find that I’ve written a lot about it over the last 3 and a half years… I’d also really recommend the following blogs written by childless women (if you write or have found a great blog, let us all know in the comments below):
  • Buddying-up with another childless woman to work through my book together – you can connect through online communities at first and then progress to meeting up face-to-face. Gateway Women has a free private online reading group for my book which you are welcome to join – click here to email me and I’ll send you details.
  • Reading books and blogs about grief and discussing them with other childless women either online or face-to-face. Here are some that I’ve included in the resources section at the back of my book (and a ever growing selection is listed on the ‘Resources‘ page of my website). Please feel free to comment below about books that have helped you with your grief:
    • Beattie, M. (1990) The Language of Letting Go. USA: Hazelden. This is a little book of daily readings on ‘letting go’. It was written for co-dependents, but I find it incredibly useful for dealing with loss, change and grief. I’ve been referring to it regularly for over ten years. bit.ly/137MrfA www.melodybeattie.net
    • Beattie, M. (2006) The Grief Club: The Secret for Getting Through All Kinds of Change. Minnesota, USA: Hazelden. Apart from the (to me) astonishing omission of childlessness except due to abortion, miscarriage, stillbirth, infertility or bereavement from a list of more than 500 ‘losses’ in her ‘Master Loss Checklist,’ this is an excellent book from a woman whose writing has taught me so much about grief work and self-compassion. The website that accompanies the book has a grief forum which is free to join. bit.ly/16x94wq www.melodybeattie.net
    • Chodron, P. (1997) When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times. USA: Shambala Publications. The best book to turn to when you don’t know where to turn. The first ‘spiritual’ book I ever read and still the best. You don’t need to be a Buddhist to find great comfort in Pema’s wise, funny and compassionate writing. I also recommend audio book versions read by her – she has a wonderfully warm and self-deprecating style and yet conveys great compassion towards her own, and all, our frailties as human beings. bit.ly/15mmmMU www.pemachodronfoundation.org
    • Kübler-Ross, E. and Kessler, D. (2005) On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss. London: Simon & Schuster. This book is an excellent, humane and moving guide to the experience of grief. Although it doesn’t address childless-related grief directly, it helped me to understand Kübler-Ross’ Five Stages of Grief model. bit.ly/134DyrB www.ekrfoundation.org
  • Becoming familiar with Kübler-Ross’s Five Stages of Grief as they show up in all areas of life. Learning to name what you are experiencing with increasing precision will really help you process your grief. (See chapter 4 of my book for more on how the model specifically related to childlessness).
  • Talking, talking, talking about your situation with other women who ‘get it’ until you’re bored of talking about it. Boredom with talking about our story is a good sign that we’ve processed that part of our grief. Usually, our story ‘shifts’ at this point and we start to look at it in a different way. This is what’s called ‘processing’ our grief. It’s an ongoing process though… each layer needs to be processed. I’m not sure it ever stops, but it certainly gets less painful the more we process it.
  • Listening, listening, listening to other childless women and being that reflective, non-judgemental, advice-free and empathetic ear that we all need to do our grief work.

All change, even good change, includes loss. Although I’d like to think that I’m a bit of an emotional warrior when it comes to grief and loss these days, my ego still would rather block it out for a bit. And that’s fine and normal too. I really don’t mind the occasional griefy evening, weekend or week these days. After all, I used to have griefy years!

Making friends with grief and seeing it as a loving energy that exists to heal my broken heart and put me back together so that I can live/love my life again has been, of the many gifts, perhaps the most important. I won’t kid you though, this realisation was a LONG time coming and during the darkest days nowhere near my conscious awareness. I thought grief was trying to take me out for good, but I realise now that it’s because I was so isolated and felt that nobody understood what I was experiencing, or accepted that I had the right to grieve the loss of the family I never had. That’s why I started blogging about it, and that’s how Gateway Women began…

***

Jody Day is the Founder of Gateway Women, the global friendship and support network for childless women and the author of #1 Amazon best-seller ‘Rocking the Life Unexpected: 12 Weeks to Your Plan B for a Meaningful and Fulfilling Life Without Children’ (2013). She set up the Gateway Women in 2011 to support, inspire and empower childless-by-circumstance women (like herself) as they develop meaningful and fulfilling lives without children. Jody runs private sessionsworkshops and retreats for women coming to terms with the fact that motherhood didn’t happen for them as well as private meetup groups in the UK & IrelandUSAAustralia,  NZ,  Canada and South Africa as well as thriving private online community.  She speaks regularly in public, in the media and online about issues and prejudices facing childless women in our society today and is becoming known as ‘the voice of the childless generation’. 

When the storms are overwhelming and all consuming and it becomes impossible to hide...
even when I cant see or feel Him -
God is with me...

FOR THOSE WHO HURT ON MOTHERS DAY

For Those Who Hurt On Mother’s Day

Today is Mother’s Day.

For many people that means flowers and handmade cards and brunches and hugs and laughter. It means celebration and gratitude and rejoicing.

But for some it just means tears.

For many moms and adult children out there, this day is a stark unsolicited reminder of what was but no longer is, or it is a heavy holiday of mourning what never was at all.

This day might bring with it the scalding sting of grief for the empty chair around a table.

It might come with choking regret for a relationship that has been horribly severed.

It might be a day of looking around at other mothers and other children, and feeling the unwelcome intrusion of jealousy that comes with comparison.

Consider this a love letter to you who are struggling today; you whose Mother’s Day experience might be rather bittersweet— or perhaps only bitter.

This is consent to feel fully the contents of your own heart without censorship.

If you are hurting; hurt.

May you feel permission to cry, to grieve, to be not alright.

May you relieve yourself of the burden of pretending everything is fine or faking stability or concealing the damage.

May you feel not a trace of guilt for any twinge of pain or anger that seizes you today, because it is your right to feel.

Above all though, may you find in your very sadness, the proof that your heart though badly broken, still works.

See your grief as the terrible tax on loving people well, and see your unquenched longing for something better as a reminder of the goodness within you that desires a soft place to land.

If on this Mother’s Day you are hurting, know that you are not alone.

May these words be the flowers that you wait for or the call that won’t come or the conversation that you can’t have or the reunion that has not yet arrived.

In your profound anguish, know that you are seen and heard and that you are more loved than you realize.

Be greatly encouraged today.

Open letter to Pastors

An open letter to pastors (A non-mom speaks about Mother’s Day)

 

I’ve asked Amy Young to share her “Open Letter to Pastors,” with us. I came across this article a few years ago and it really spoke to my heart. I hope it serves to encourage you as it does me.

Dear Pastor,

Tone can be tricky in writing. Picture me popping my head in your office door, smiling and asking if we could talk for five minutes. I’m sipping on my diet coke as I sit down.

You know that I’m not one to shy away from speaking my mind, part of the reason you love me (mostly!), so I’m guessing that internally you brace yourself wondering what might be next.

I set my can down and this is what I’d say.

A few years ago I sat across from a woman who told me she doesn’t go to church on Mother’s Day because it is too hurtful.  I’m not a mother, but I had never seen the day as hurtful. She had been married, had numerous miscarriages, divorced and was beyond child bearing years. It was like salt in mostly healed wounds to go to church on that day. This made me sad, but I understood.

Fast forward several years to Mother’s Day.  A pastor asked all mothers to stand. On my immediate right, my mother stood and on my immediate left, a dear friend stood. I, a woman in her late 30s, sat. I don’t know how others saw me, but I felt dehumanized, gutted as a woman. Real women stood, empty shells sat. I do not normally feel this way. I do not like feeling this way. I want no woman to ever feel this way in church again.

Last year a friend from the States happened to visit on Mother’s Day and again the pastor (a different one) asked all mothers to stand. As a mother, she stood and I whispered to her, “I can’t take it, I’m standing.” She knows I’m not a mother yet she understood my standing / lie.

Here’s the thing, I believe we can honor mothers without alienating others. I want women to feel welcome, appreciated, seen, and needed here in our little neck of the body of Christ.

Do away with the standing. You mean well, but it’s just awkward. Does the woman who had a miscarriage stand? Does the mom whose children ran away stand? Does the single woman who is pregnant stand? A.w.k.w.a.r.d.

2.  Acknowledge the wide continuum of mothering.

3. Commend mothering for the ways it reflects the Imago Dei (Image of God) by bringing forth new life, nurturing those on her path, and living with the tension of providing both freedom and a safety net.

I know I might be an unusual one to be speaking about Mother’s Day; but maybe that’s why so many talk to me about mothering, I’ve got the parts, just not the goods.  Thanks for listening and for continuing to mother us in a shepherding way. Even though I’m a bit nervous to come on Sunday, I will be here. But if you make us stand, I might just walk out =).

Warmly and in your corner,

Amy

- See more at: http://timewarpwife.com/open-letter-pastors-non-mom-speaks-mothers-day/#sthash.F73m642B.dpuf

My infertility is circumstantial but my life is not barren

The Truth About Childless Women

Nearly 46 percent of American women through age 44 are childless. That's up from 35 percent in 1976.

All reasons this generation of women are not bearing children at the same rate their mothers did are valid. Some are young women and just not at a point in their lives where motherhood is a choice they'd like to make. Some are 'fence-sitters,' not sure about whether or not they want children. Some are childfree by choice. Some are gay and need to take a potentially longer and less traditional route to motherhood. Some are suffering from biological infertility. And some, like me, are what I call "circumstantially infertile."

I want children. I always have. At age 12 I purchased baby name books in preparation for the son and twin daughters I dreamed to be a mother to one day. I was a nanny, camp counselor and frequent babysitter. I would make up songs to sing to the kids I babysat that would become 'our thing' or visit the kids even when I wasn't officially working for their parents. By age 21, I was hosting teen tour girls in my home. Motherhood was always a path I felt ready for.

At age 23, when interviewing for my first job in New York City, I inquired about maternity benefits to make sure it was the right place for me. I focused my career in the non-profit sector, hoping it would give me more flexibility in dating, marriage and motherhood. I dated men with traditional family values, men who have since gone on to be fruitful and multiply.

By my mid-30s, now in my third job working for some of the best companies in the world to make enough money to live in New York City, I was still unmarried. I wasn't a mother. My work hours were longer, some days were spent overseas, and I was beginning to suffer the prejudice of being an 'older' woman. At 34, I was approached by a male friend who said he wanted to set me up with a friend our age but I was just 'too old.' At 35, a man said he would date me if I agreed to freeze my eggs. At age 36, another man told me he'd (reluctantly) date me since I could probably still 'pop one out.' Now we all know these are exceptional instances but they were nevertheless embedded in my psyche.

The grief over not only not being a mother, but now also suffering from feeling 'less than' because I just simply hadn't found love (or mutual love), was at times overwhelming. And as I saw couples younger than I getting sympathy for their biological infertility, I wondered why all I got were accusations of not doing enough, not trying hard enough. Trying too hard. Being too picky. Not being picky enough... And the hardest comment to defend: "You better hurry up!" (Hurry up and fall in love?)

While I have not suffered from biological infertility (as far as I know), I imagined my grief was at least as deep as couples trying to conceive as I didn't have a love who shared the grief. Heck, I often didn't even have a date to get closer to trying! Every month that passed, I grieved a loss. But I grieved alone. I have no husband (or male partner) to grieve with me. And lamenting my infertility to close friends who are parents or to family was never well-received.

Generation X is the first generation of women who have a choice to wait for love. Unlike many of our mothers, we earn enough to take care of ourselves (please don't call us 'career women' as careers are as much a choice for women as they are for men.) But still, the assumption is that all women who don't have children don't want children. There is a place between motherhood and choosing not to be a mother. And tens of millions of American women are there.

I'm 42 and still single and I have come to acknowledge the truth: it's very possible I won't have children of my own. I've grieved and have found my happiness on the other side. There are days that are still hard for me (Mother's Day, the day a friend announces her pregnancy, when I hear a guy won't date me because I'm too old to have kids, my birthdays, my monthly reminder...) but most days I'm happy. Very happy. I'm not in the wrong life being the wrong wife and trying to get out. I have no regrets.

My circumstances have left me infertile but they have not left me non-maternal. I love the children in my life with boundless adoration. If I was not meant to be a mother to 2.1 kids, then perhaps I was meant to be motherly to many more. From a girl in Tanzania I've adopted as a niece and email with many times a week, to the little ones down the hall in my apartment building, and of course to my amazing nephew and nieces by relation, I am an aunt.
I'm not childless, I'm childfull. I'm not a mother but I am maternal.

My infertility is circumstantial but my life is not barren. And to the women who are on the other side of hope, know that you are more powerful than your womb. You are maternal whether or not maternity ever comes. You are a woman and your love and how you choose to offer and receive it, is a gift.

And you're not alone.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/melanie-notkin/childless-women_b_894535.html

Dont beat us with the bible.....

 

http://www.laurachristianson.com/laura/barrenness-in-the-bible/

Barrenness in the Bible by Laura Christianson

In this post, we’ll examine several oft-quoted Bible passages that compound feelings of guilt, inadequacy and disillusionment in infertile people. You have a Christian friend who’s infertile. You want to encourage her, so you pull out your Bible. You vaguely recall that several people in the Bible were “barren,” and they all ended up being blessed with children.

You decide to quote these passages to your friend.

Stop!

Before you say anything, become familiar with the following “Biblical” advice that is often given to infertile people by their well-meaning friends:

If you have enough faith, God will grant you a child.

This not-so-helpful suggestion is rooted in God’s promise in Genesis 12 that Abraham and Sarah – even though they were 100 and 91 years old, would give birth to a son. Romans 4:20 tells us that Abraham “did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God,” but was “fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.” When Christians are unable to “be fruitful and multiply,” does that mean their faith is weak? Has God chosen not to bless them for some reason? God’s promise to Abraham and Sarah was not intended to apply to every married couple thoughout history. In Genesis, God makes a specific promise to one couple, telling Abraham that all people on earth will be blessed through him. Nowhere does the text state or imply that all infertile people will be rewarded with children, just because their faith is strong.

You must have some unconfessed sin in your life. OR God must be punishing you for the sins of your youth.

Arrrrgggh!

Do I speak for all infertile people here? If God was punishing us for our sins, would anyone have children? When we want to encourage our infertile friends, why not choose a more appropriate passage, such as Hebrews 4:16, where the writer tells us: “Let us approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

I will pray that God will open your womb.

In Genesis, Jacob is tricked into marrying Rachel’s older sister, Leah, but he does not love Leah as much as he loves Rachel. Genesis 29:31 says, “When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren.” Rachel, intensely jealous of her sister, begs Jacob, “Give me children, or I’ll die!” (Most infertile women can relate to her statement). Jacob becomes angry with her and says, “Am I in the place of God, who has kept you from having children?” Later in the passage, “God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and opened her womb.” This is where the comment about God opening the womb originates, and also, the belief that opening the womb must be tied to confessed sin, forgiveness, and a close walk with God. Often, there is a big difference between what the Bible teaches and what it reports. The writer of Genesis reports that God opened Rachel’s womb; the writer does not teach that God will open the womb of every infertile woman. The Bible presents a much bigger picture in this story – one that includes the whole future of the nation of Israel and their migration to Egypt through the leadership of Rachel’s son, Joseph. Instead of telling an infertile friend that God can open her womb, just pray with her instead. Walk alongside your friend and together, lay your heartache before the Lord and allow Him to work in His mysterious way. Try not to wield Scripture as a magic wand that will make problems disappear. Use it with care and you’ll discover that it will equip you with the encouragement you need to face those problems.

- See more at: http://www.laurachristianson.com/laura/barrenness-in-the-bible/#sthash.4iGaXvid.dpuf