I thought I’d share an email we sent to family 3 years into trying for a baby. Miraculously just 1 week later we found out we were expecting our little bear. I share this to hopefully encourage others and to share the resources we shared with family.
Apologies for the mass email; we wanted to update you with where we’re at in our attempts to start a (or more accurately, to grow our) family, and an email was the easiest way to get everyone up to speed. Obviously, this is not something we wanted to include in the Christmas letter!
We’ve now been trying to conceive without success for over 3 years, and in that time we’ve really valued your prayers and your support. We understand that it’s impossible to know how to support us fully without you having been through the same situation, and we find this with our close friends as well.
Since we started trying, we have been to the doctors twice about the issue: first to have some initial tests, which showed no obvious issues, and the second time they said they wouldn’t be able to treat due to Sarah’s weight. We’ve since spoken to friends who are medical professionals who have assured us that this is a formality (bureaucracy) and not a medical reason. Sarah has obviously been trying to lose weight, and at times has done quite well, but infertility is an emotional roller coaster which doesn’t help the process of weight loss, and so she hasn’t been as successful as she would have liked. She has recently started trying to stick to Slimming World more seriously and with more fervour, and she always appreciates your support in helping her to eat well (Slimming World isn’t always obvious in what ‘eating well’ means as it’s different in different circumstances, so please ask if we’re eating with you and you’re not sure – she/we won’t be offended!)
Since the end of last year we have been thinking about going private for further tests, and have decided to pursue that this year. We still need a referral from the GP for this but the weight loss requirements are less when you go private. Sarah still has a few more pounds to lose before this bar is met, but it is much more achievable, given the circumstances. Obviously there are costs involved in this which start off quite piecemeal, so we will see how it goes and whether it’s something God wants us to pursue all the way. Thankfully, we have been saving for when we have a baby, and after praying, talking with friends, and discussing it between us, we feel this is an appropriate use of the money. (There’s certainly no point in storing up the money without the baby!) Although our savings aren’t much, it’s enough to get started. We have faith that if this is God’s path, he will provide the money when we need it.
We’re grateful that we’re able to talk about this openly with you and that you are all understanding and considerate people. We want to let you know that we do find life hard because of all of the above, and sometimes it can be particularly bad around special occasions where the absence of a child in our family is all-the-more obvious to us, or when we have recently had another negative result. Consequently, sometimes we may withdraw from situations or conversations, or even decline invitations to events that might rub salt in an open wound. We appreciate your sensitivity in these situations. Also, there are some topics of conversation that could provoke an emotional response internally (which may or may not become external!). We don’t expect you to know what these are, as sometimes we don’t even know what they are ourselves, but this is just to give an explanation in advance if we come across as short, withdrawn, or just a bit ‘off’!
All that said, we honestly don’t mind talking about our infertility journey, and if you ever think of questions, we’re more than happy to answer them. It’s rare that you would upset us by bringing it up, as chances are, it’s already on our minds.
We could carry on giving advice on how to support us, but there’s a website that has it pretty well pegged, by the author of a book called ‘Hannah’s Hope’ that we’ve read. (If you’d like to read it to gain a greater insight in to what we’re going through, we can lend it to you, or it’s available on the Kindle at a reasonable price.)
Look for the section titled ‘HOW TO ENCOURAGE YOUR INFERTILE OR BEREAVED FRIENDS’ roughly two thirds of the way down. There’s a little bit to read; we’d be very grateful if you were able to spare a few minutes to read it all, as it really is very good advice.
There’s also a video linked from that page: (can be watched without audio)
It’s a smidgen cheesy but conveys pretty much where we’re at, although the suggestions for support don’t go into as much useful detail as the hannah.org website.
We’ve seen God do a lot in us in the last 3 years, and we still have hope in Him for what the future holds. We’ve had words, pictures, and Bible verses from God through friends and strangers, so despite wobbles in our faith at times, we still know that God has us in his hands, and that he has his best for us in store.
Anyway, sorry this has been so long; thank you for reading this far (if you skipped to the end, shame on you! ;-D), and thank you for your thoughts, prayers and love, both in the past and the future.