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    How to Stay Married While Navigating Infertility

    “Fifty percent of our infertility patients end up getting a divorce,” the nurse explained, when I questioned what I thought was a peculiar portion of the hospital’s legal paperwork. At that moment I was surprised to hear the statistic. But with raised eyebrows and a let’s–just–get–on–with–it mentality, I circled the appropriate decision for which one of us would be given custody of our frozen specimens “should divorce occur” and I went on with my day. A few months later, however, as my husband and I struggled to overcome our intense grief over a double infertility loss, I remembered her words. I then understood perfectly well. Infertility, miscarriage, and loss can…

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    The Struggle with Infertility

    In my last post, I talked about how to make Mother's Day better for those who mourn, including people experiencing involuntary childlessness. Now that Mother's Day is behind us, let's think about how to make church a more supportive environment for those experiencing infertility and pregnancy loss. Dr. Julie Shannon did her dissertation on remaining childless after infertility; I've published a few books on infertility and pregnancy loss. So Dr. Darrell Bock, host of The Table Podcast, sat down with Dr. Shannon and me to talk about this topic that is do near to our hearts. For more on how to comfort those experiencing infertility, see my post, Infertility: People Say…

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    Honoring Spiritual Mothers

    You did it. You survived another Mother’s Day. You’re licking your wounds, but you made it through the day. You plastered a smile on your face and gave a polite nod and shrug of the shoulders in response to the all too familiar question, “When are you going to have a baby?” You, and the other non-moms, successfully pushed back tears and sat staring at the bulletin while a church leader asked all of the mothers in the congregation to stand for applause and recognition.

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    For Those Who Mourn on Mother’s Day

    Often the worst day of the year for an infertile woman is Mother’s Day. On this holiday, going to a house of worship can feel more like going to the house of mourning. During the decade when my husband and I went through infertility treatment, lost seven pregnancies, and endured three failed adoptions, I found it difficult enough to see all the corsages on M-Day. Sometimes a well-intentioned leader would ask all the mothers to stand, and I would remain seated. Some years a leader would even call for the youngest mother to stand and then smile awkwardly when a sixteen- or seventeen-year-old unmarried teen rose to her feet. On…

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    Hope Deferred—Observations from Hannah’s Story

    She pushed herself up from the table and left the room. She did not have much appetite. The day had been long, and she could take the painful and provoking comments from Peninnah no longer. As she walked towards the temple, tears poured from her eyes and slid down her cheeks and nose, making a wet trail in the dust. Her lips moved as she prayed, but she did not utter a sound as she pleaded and begged the LORD for a child. To make matters worse, the priest believed her to be not grieved, but rather, drunk. (1 Sam. 1:7–14) Hannah suffered much because of her childless state. Many…

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    Adoption—Not Plan B

    All major life decisions should be made on a beach in Mexico. It was November 2015 and my husband and I finally had a few days alone after attending a family wedding. Unplugged from ministry, work, and everything else that competes for our time, we discussed our plans for family. I had finished seminary the year prior, he was partway through his doctoral degree, and we’d been married for four years. The timing seemed perfect. Neither of us, though, were what we would call, “spring chickens.” Having married later in life we were both over forty years old and, at that point, unsure of our options. But we talked and…

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    The Tapeworm Gallery: The Pregnant Pause

    WOMAN SEEKING WOMEN 44yo freak with no kids seeks intrusive adult females for unsolicited fertility counsel ambush at next baby shower. No experience necessary. Accosts in room corners encouraged. Know-It-Alls welcome for prophecies, judgments, original advice, and magical remedies. Leave your Bible at home and we’ll talk some voodoo. Scab picker, salt, and $0.02 required. Come hungry. Alkaline water and Apricot Oyster Patties will be served. First 100 ladies will receive free PermaBond Lip Adhesive. *** Why does she respond to your opinionated opinions with a blank stare? Why won't she open up? You're just trying to help. Well, don't fret. I have the remedy. Like nails on the chalkboard,…

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    Prep for Mother’s Day: Infertility Facts & Some Advice

    It’s less than two weeks away—Mother’s Day, which, like all holidays, can be difficult for lots of people. Those who have lost or are estranged from parents or children feel pain on the day set aside for honoring mothers. Included in that group of mourners are the infertile. For them the day serves as a reminder of the gift they long to have but that continually evades them. The subject of infertility is surrounded by many myths. So let’s put some of them to rest. Myth: Infertility and sterility are the same thing. Fact: Infertility is not sterility. Infertility is the inability to conceive after one year of unprotected relations…

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    Samaritan Woman: Stay Away from Me?

    I received a question this week from a former student, Vernita, about the Samaritan woman, whose story John records in the fourth chapter of his Gospel. Vernita: I'm looking for any credible historical data to support the statements I've read in some commentaries which suggest the Samaritan woman was an outcast in her society and came to the well later in the day than most women in order to avoid the scorn of that crowd. Are you aware of any writings that specifically and definitively state that, or would that be speculation based on what we know about that society? Me: English translations tell us, "It was about noon" (Jn.…

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    Donor Insemination: How Would You Counsel?

    If infertility is in the closet, insemination using donor sperm is buried in the basement. About one in eight infertile couples conceive using donor sperm, yet the rest of the world knows little about donor insemination (D.I.) due to the veil of secrecy surrounding it.