Guest Post & Giveaway: Amanda Hope Haley

Over the past few months we have been reading a book called Barren Among the Fruitful by Amanda Hope Haley in our  Moms in the Making group. I am so honored to have Amanda sharing her honest and real words about her journey through infertility and the secret she kept. In addition, she has also been so generous to offer a giveaway. She will be giving away a signed copy of her book as well as a necklace. Thank you Amanda!


The Dangerous Secret of Inferility

Canoeing at Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska

Canoeing at Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska

I don’t think any young married woman expects to have difficulty conceiving. I was 24, and David and I had been married about 2 years when we “stopped preventing” pregnancy. I guess we were still in fairytale land to some degree. No longer newlyweds, but still gaga for each other. (Eleven years later, I’m happy to say we still are!) After almost 2 more years of not preventing, we knew we had a problem.

For me, the diagnoses of the infertility-causing Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and an autoimmune disease were embarrassing. Here I was: a woman with the reputation of accomplishing much of what she put her mind to who couldn’t do the very thing God had created her body to do. I realized I might break His very first commandment: Be fruitful and multiply.

But there was hope! The fertility clinic we attended the first time said I was “young,” they saw this “all the time,” and they had a generic “plan” that was likely to work. To be honest, the whole experience was like being on a conveyer belt: pills, wait, ultrasounds, shot, intrauterine insemination, wait, negative pregnancy test, repeat. We later were embittered by their process, but leaving the clinic that first day we were thoroughly convinced by their nonchalance that we had nothing to worry about. We almost felt normal.

That’s when we decided not to breathe a word about our situation to anyone. We thought it would all be over soon, and we certainly didn’t want to have to talk about it with loved ones and nosy strangers alike.

If the fertility treatments had worked well, if we had birthed a healthy baby within the first year or two, and if we hadn’t had the additional heartbreak of miscarriage, then our “silence policy” would have made sense. Unfortunately 7 years and 5 miscarriages later, we were stuck on a deserted island surrounded by an ocean of secrets, tragedy, and despair. Yes, we had each other, but that really wasn’t enough.

So, what is a woman to do—tell the world you are pregnant just as soon as you know, building a potential support network if the worst happens, or wait until more people are asking why your waistline is widening than aren’t and hope you never need that support network? There isn’t an exact answer, but the safe road is probably straight down the middle. If you find you are pregnant, then tell those closest to you—those whom you trust. At the top of that list should be God. Let Him in on your fears, and allow Him to comfort you. [Amanda Hope Haley, Barren among the Fruitful (Nashville: HarperCollins Christian, 2014), 96.]

Caption: At Bar Harbor, Maine, with my mama, sporting my cover-the-braces smile!

At Bar Harbor, Maine, with my mama, sporting my cover-the-braces smile!

If I had it to do over again, the first person I would have told would have been my mama. She and I have always been best friends. She taught French at my high school, and I chose to have my locker right next to her room every year. I loved that she knew every detail of my life. And I’m pretty sure she loved that too. We were a constant support for each other (and you need that when you’re in high school—or teaching high schoolers!).

I don’t think there had ever been a secret between us, so there was no way I could hide the fact that I was keeping a secret. For years there was an elephant in the middle of every conversation. We could both see it, but I was the only one who knew what it was. She was hurt that I apparently no longer trusted her. I felt guilty for hurting her. She didn’t know she was hurting me every time she mentioned her future grandchildren or bought a bassinet to keep at her house “just in case.” It was a vicious cycle that damaged our relationship, and it was all my fault.

So why didn’t I just fess up? Because after you’ve started keeping a secret that is literally about life and death, it’s pretty hard to catch someone up years later.

As all secrets do, the truth eventually came tumbling out of me. Mama and Daddy found out what was going on after a Mother’s Day church service when I pulled her back down into the seat next to me and confessed I’d had 3 miscarriages. That was not ideal. To put it mildly.

What started out as David and me not wanting to make a “big deal” out of our situation grew into monster of a deal. It has taken years to repair the damage our secret did to our loved ones, and it multiplied our own pain exponentially when we didn’t allow others to comfort and pray for us.

So don’t do what we did. Take that middle road, and tell your loved ones what is happening in your life. The healing will start immediately.

For more of Amanda’s words on infertility and all things “Healthy and Hopeful,” visit her blog at amandahopehaley.com.

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5 Comments
  • Cheryl Smith
    Posted at 16:20h, 13 May Reply

    Bless your heart, Amanda! I am so sorry for your pain and grief. Your diagnosis is very similar to mine, and I can so relate to the things you have been through. God bless you for sharing your heart here…and a big thanks to Caroline for hosting!! Much love to you both. 🙂

  • Photog Yogi
    Posted at 10:35h, 14 May Reply

    Amanda, you’re so brave for sharing your story… I know from experience that this is not easy. I hate the dreaded “so when is it your turn” question. I feel like people constantly put pressure on us married couples to have babies, but I say, what’s the rush, it will happen if it is meant to be and if it’s not then it’s nobody else’s business other than mine and my husbands 🙂

  • Kelli {A Deeper Joy}
    Posted at 14:52h, 14 May Reply

    Thank you for sharing your story, Amanda!

  • Kim Adams Morgan
    Posted at 09:50h, 15 May Reply

    Amanda, I’m so sorry for the pain you and your husband have gone through. I was not able to conceive either due to endometriosis and autoimmune issues. It can be so isolating when you don’t share how you are feeling. It also feels like you can’t do the one thing God has created you to do, but this is literal, and we know there are many other ways He wants us to be fruitful. I have come to terms with this now. Blessings to you and your husband.

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