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Support Groups Anyone?

HOPE socks

Support Groups Anyone?

If I could take a poll I’d like to ask, “How many of you dealing with infertility/infant loss are attending a support group?”

Here’s what a Christian infertility support group can provide

  • a safe place for shared feelings,
  • strengthening in faith through the Bible,
  • healing for the grief of infertility and sorrow from loss through prayer, and
  • emotional and spiritual support through fellowship with others on a similar journey.

Recently, my friend Ami posted her experience attending our HOPE infertility support group here in Houston. The picture above are pairs of baby socks. On the first visit to the group each woman receives a pair of socks as a gift. A tangible symbol and reminder to keep the faith. Many women from our group have brought there babies home from the hospital in these little socks! In fact, over 50 babies! Praise the Lord!

We have two groups meeting within the city of Houston, one at Lakewood Church (hope@lakewood.cc) and at The Ark Church in Conroe. For some, support groups may not be available in your area. I encourage you to find a faith-based one if you can. Stepping Stones Ministry provides a listing of support groups by state. See our Resource Page.

If you are interested in starting a Christian Support Group within your church please contact me.

Read Ami’s story. Be encouraged to seek out a support group for yourself. You and those around you will be all the better for it.

Have a great weekend!

Love ya’ll,

Lesli

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HOPE through Infertility & Loss
by Ami

I went to a baby shower yesterday. As I took in the room full of women I work with, there were three that were currently pregnant. I think we counted seven little buns in the oven in our department. One of course was the one we were all gathered together to celebrate with.

I watched and listened to the many conversations going on. Some were about breastfeeding and what to expect when your milk comes in. Some were about birth in general. Did I mention that this was a room full of women that work in a Labor and Delivery and Mother Baby unit? So, I won’t go into details about the details…there were some definite details – LOL!

I watched as the guest of honor began opening her presents. There were many things that weren’t even around three years ago when I had our youngest little one. The conversation turned to how each gift worked, how absolutely adorable the clothes were, and even to people commenting things like,

“I need to have another baby!”

It was a lot of fun to get together with these beautiful ladies I spend many night shifts with to celebrate another one of our own having a baby.

Often times though, we don’t even realize that among us is someone smiling on the outside and weeping on the inside.

Statistically, one in six couples struggles with infertility. According to the CDC there are 6.7 million women ages 15-44 with impaired ability to have children.

We struggled for many years, and still do. I can honestly say today that I do have peace.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13

I can go to a baby shower and really enjoy it. I don’t cringe, as much, anymore when I hear that someone else around me is pregnant. That doesn’t mean that I wasn’t the crazy lady you saw in Target last week crying over a baby shower card that started playing the most beautiful version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. It could have made any woman cry I am sure!

The Women of HOPE

I have the beautiful privilege of spending time once a month with a group of women struggling with infertility, pregnancy loss, and failed adoptions. It’s called the HOPE group.

Hearts Of Promise and Expectation

We gather the second Tuesday of the month at The Ark Church in Conroe, TX. It was originally started at Lakewood Church in Houston five years ago. The Lakewood group is lead by Lesli Westfall and they have celebrated over 50 babies since the start.

We share our successes, struggles, hopes, fears, families, jobs, and anything else in our lives that is affecting us. We laugh. We cry. We hug. We celebrate.

Most of all, we pray; for peace, for favor, for clarity, for each other, and anything else that we need. We Thank God; for loving us, providing peace, providing hope, providing encouragement, and again for each other.

The Ark HOPE group just celebrated one year. We are also celebrating our first HOPE baby! How exciting!!

We celebrate and pray for each other whether we are trying for our first child either through pregnancy or adoption. We also celebrate and pray for each other if we already have children. As I was told when I first went to the group, it does not matter where you are on your fertility journey….

God knows the desires of your heart!

Mike and I have three absolutely beautiful children. Our first two children came through the blessing of adoption. I was able to experience all that pregnancy brings with our third.

We have endured four very difficult losses. Our most recent was in July 2012 when I had a ruptured tubal pregnancy that resulted in emergency surgery and the loss of my right fallopian tube. I have always desired four children. As you can imagine, this loss further complicated an already complicated fertility history.

I truly believe that I was at The Ark Church and began attending the HOPE group just a few weeks before this loss for a reason.

Our group leader, April, was so encouraging and sent prayers to us as I was going in to surgery. She followed up and continued to pray for me. At the next group April and Lesli met me before I could even sit down to hug me and encourage me and let me know that they loved me.

It’s a safe place to talk about things that have long been unspoken about. Women many times tend to suffer through these situations alone. It’s a safe place to talk about our deepest hurts and desired with people who understand what we are going through. It is a place to be encouraged by hearing other people’s stories of God’s blessings in their lives.

I attend this group of beautiful ladies. I have three miraculous stories of God’s blessings in my life. If it is God’s will one day, I may have four. Some people may think that is selfish of me. Some people may tell me I am crazy for wanting another one – well, hello, that’s not anything new to me! I just know I have come into a season of peace. I have entered a season of truly resting on His promises. God has promised that he will prosper and not harm me.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

I am just ready – for whatever He has for me!

 

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