I was too embarrassed to talk about it. My infertility, that is. Maybe it was privacy, or maybe it was pride–but I couldn’t bring myself to talk about my infertility except with my husband, and doctor. (The Lord knew, of course, and I cried out to Him regularly.)
But as far as other women, or friends, I simply didn’t know anyone who had struggled, or was struggling with infertility. And so, I walked the journey alone. Completely, and utterly alone.
Are you walking alone?
If so, I get it.
It’s not something you want to (or need to) announce to the world. And yet–who do you talk to about it? And how do you find others who are going through infertility–without posting it on Facebook or Instagram for your Great Aunt Sally to read about?
Good news. There is another way.
Today, I am SO excited to have my friend Jenn Hesse share with you about an amazing infertility ministry called, “Waiting in Hope.”
Where There’s Hope, There’s a Lifeline
By Jenn Hesse
“No one gets what I’m going through.”
This thought dominated my mind for weeks, maybe even months. We’d just moved to a new home in a new state where I knew no one besides a few of my husband’s coworkers. From what I could tell walking through our neighborhood and visiting churches in town, most other couples already had children. We didn’t. We couldn’t. Infertility had already ruined our dreams for growing our family; now it was hindering our ability to make friends and interact with other couples.
Though I questioned God and argued with Him about His timing, He held me fast with His abiding love. He showed me I wasn’t alone; I had Him – my Redeemer who caught every tear I ever shed. He showered grace on me, right where I was at in my doubts and grief, especially through an unexpected source of encouragement: a local infertility support group.
A community built on hope
Friends, if you’re facing the frustration, disappointment, anger, and confusion of not being able to have a baby when and how you want, hear me out: You are not alone. The Lord is with you, always. He never forgets or abandons His beloved children. He gave us His Spirit to comfort and guide us. And He gave us each other to help, teach, support, warn, and lean on one another as the body of Christ, His church.
“But Jenn,” you might be thinking. “No one at my church is going through infertility. They can’t help me because they don’t get it.”
I hear you. Remember, I’ve been there and thought that, too. While I don’t know your specific circumstances or church context, I’m willing to bet someone else around you is also struggling with infertility, has dealt with it in the past, or knows someone who’s fighting the same battle. Like you, they might be so hurt they can’t bear to tell anyone about it. Like you, they might need a safe place to share their heartache and find strength to keep hoping and trusting the Lord.
That’s why Waiting in Hope Ministries exists. We nurture a community that helps women and men fix their hope in Jesus as they travel the hard journey of waiting to grow a family. As a non-profit faith-based organization, we provide resources to equip you with biblical wisdom, practical knowledge about infertility, and encouragement to find comfort in the Lord while you wait.
Types of support
When your heart is breaking, you yearn for someone to see you, to notice how hard this trial is and to reassure you that they care, maybe through a gentle pat, a hug, or shared tears. A local support group creates a safe environment for people to comfort each other in tangible, in-the-moment ways, and helps them form life-giving friendships.
Waiting in Hope currently hosts eleven local support groups throughout the country. We partner with local leaders who want to minister to other people in their community, and establish a sponsor for each group – usually a church in the leader’s hometown that has a vision for supporting people who are facing infertility. Our national team trains leaders, equips them with Bible-based curriculum, and provides ongoing support through monthly video meetings.
Of course, not everyone has the opportunity to start or join a local support group. So we offer online support through a private Facebook group called Waiting in Hope Chats. The group includes moderated discussion threads, where members can ask questions, share stories, and encourage each other. Our moderators try to manage the page to avoid photos and questions that might trigger painful responses (things like photos of babies or positive pregnancy tests). Some of our national team members hop on Facebook Live for scheduled Bible studies or interviews with our advisors, including pastors and a licensed marriage and family therapist.
Besides launching support groups, we host events and provide resources designed to help you navigate the twists and turns of trying to grow your family:
- Couples retreat: This February, we hosted our first couples retreat, called Waiting Well Together, in Tyler, Texas. The couples who came were at various stages of waiting – going through or considering fertility treatments, applying for adoption, or taking a break and trying to refocus on each other and their marriage. We brought in speakers and local leaders to host workshops and discussion times to refresh couples in their love for one another and in the Lord.
- Blog and website: The Waiting in Hope blog includes posts about a range of topics related to infertility and faith, plus stories of how God led different couples through their journeys. Our website also offers book recommendations, a list of medical terminology, and gift ideas from our partners who also minister to the infertility and infant loss communities.
- More tools and support in the works: Our national team is bursting with ideas for more ways we can encourage and equip you. Keep up on insider info by signing up for our newsletter, and follow us on social media for ongoing encouragement through stories, biblical teaching, recommendations, and conversations. If you have suggestions for new resources we could offer, let us know!
Wait for the Lord
We know God comforts us in our affliction so that we can comfort those who face similar affliction through the comfort we receive from God (2 Corinthians 1:4). This is our mission at Waiting in Hope, to gather the strands of our sorrows and bind them as a lifeline to real Hope.
“We wait for the Lord; He is our help and shield. For our hearts rejoice in Him because we trust in His holy name. May your faithful love rest on us, Lord, for we put our hope in you” (Psalm 33:20-22).
If you know Jesus, you have hope, friends. He’ll carry you through this. We’ll keep you company held together in His arms.
*Photos used with permission from Waiting in Hope