Invisible Sisterhood: supporting those in the midst of infertility and loss
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A little over four years ago, I got my first positive pregnancy test, and I don’t think I will ever forget the surprise, the joy, and the excitement I felt that afternoon. I remember I had just gone for a run around our neighborhood and just felt a little “off,” but since my husband, Tommy, and I were not even trying to conceive at that point, it was not something I really expected.
If you have ever gotten a positive pregnancy test, you know all the feelings that come with it. I was definitely a little nervous since we had been married barely a year and were living in a tiny apartment, but the excitement and hope overshadowed any feelings of fear, and I just knew we would figure it out.
As the weeks went on, I began to feel all the “normal” pregnancy symptoms and became more excited, starting to envision and plan what our life would be like with a little one.
Our first doctor’s appointment went great; we saw the little heartbeat and the doctor said the embryo was right on track and everything looked healthy. We then went on a trip to Colorado with my family and shared the happy news. We got home Sunday afternoon and I was completely exhausted, hoping I hadn’t overexerted myself hiking, biking, and all the activities a trip to the mountains in the summer entails.
I woke up early Monday morning to extreme pain.
I remember just watching the clock until 9 am when I could call my doctor and get in to the office. They got me in right away, we did a sonogram, and she confirmed there was no longer a heartbeat.
I was devastated, confused, sad, angry, and sure that it was something I had done on our trip. The doctor assured me I was not to blame and that first trimester miscarriages are very common. We would just need to wait a couple months and we could try again. She told me I was young and there was no reason I wouldn’t go on to have a healthy pregnancy and baby.
Those next few weeks, I experienced a sadness I had never felt. It’s hard to describe the feeling of loss for something you never really got to see, touch, and feel, but I knew I had a life growing inside me and it was no longer there.
It took time to heal physically and emotionally, but I felt optimistic that this was a one-time occurrence. I turned to the Lord and trusted that He had a plan for our family and asked Him to give me patience and wait on Him for the right time.
Little did we know, there would be four more miscarriages, multiple surgeries, and almost three years of waiting before we would finally bring home our healthy, beautiful baby girl.
I won’t lie, five miscarriages in just over two years took a toll on my body, my spirit, and my mental health. I truly believe that it was only because of my faith that I did not lose all hope, fall into a deep depression, or damage my marriage.
It was after my third miscarriage that I found Invisible Sisterhood at HPUMC. I was extremely hesitant to show up on a Thursday night to a support group where I knew no one and talk about the hardest thing I had ever been through.
When I got there, I felt so welcomed, and as we sat in a circle sharing our struggles with infertility and loss, I felt connected to these women in a way that I needed so desperately. They had been through what I had and knew the sadness and fear that I was feeling.
At this point, most of my friends had begun to get pregnant and a few were starting to have babies. This was really hard for me, and I wondered why the thing I wanted so badly, and was praying for so earnestly, was coming so easily to all of my friends.
It was hard to talk to my best friends about my feelings since they hadn’t been through it, so Invisible Sisterhood provided a safe space to share my ever-changing emotions and all my doubts about my ability to carry my own baby. We also shared so many resources and information about doctors and fertility clinics that truly changed my course of treatments and led me to my diagnosis and eventually, to bring home our sweet baby girl, Molly, in May 2018.
Throughout those three years of getting pregnant, miscarrying, trying to get pregnant, and hoping to stay pregnant, I felt so much fear, loneliness, anger, and sadness, but I was pulled out of all of it time and time again through the Lord, through my strong and steady husband, Tommy, and through the church.
Through each pregnancy and through each loss, God drew me closer to Him and taught me that He is the only true thing we can put our hope in. He taught me about gratitude. I learned to be thankful even during my darkest days. He showed me all the blessings He was giving me in the midst of so much sadness and loss.
There were times when I would cry through sermons, especially on Mother’s Day, but I always left with a sense of hope and comfort that can only be explained through Jesus.
Invisible Sisterhood and the women in that group gave me strength, support, and love, and for that, I am forever grateful. Because of the comfort this group gave me, I feel called to help others walking this unknown road of infertility.
I was able to come out of my struggle with miscarriage a little bit stronger, a little bit more compassionate, and with a much stronger faith. I can only hope to pass that on to others through helping lead Invisible Sisterhood and supporting those in the midst of their own infertility struggle.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:1
Are you part of the Invisible Sisterhood?
In a world where it seems everyone is posting pictures of their children to Facebook or swapping stories about the joys of motherhood, those who are unable or struggling to have a child often feel invisible. HPUMC's Invisible Sisterhood is a support group that gives voice to the unique experience of longing for a child while embracing God's love for us beloved daughters.