Marlo Schalesky. It is a collection of stories from real people who have walked this path before me, and there is no fan-fare presentation which made me feel worse than I did already, for not having enough faith or whatever, rather they are people who have thought the same thoughts as me, and fought against the same feelings of injustice as me.
The testimonies are from women, couples and men and are woven into five sections with the headings:
- Struggles of the heart
- Struggles of the mind
- Struggles of the body
- Struggles of the spirit
- A word of hope
Within each heading, I found someone who's story I related to... I've been in the situation where it seems like everyone around me is pregnant, except me, I've struggled with being in Church on Mother's Day, I've received maddening advice from well-meaning women, I've struggled with the thoughts that I am less than a women because I've not yet been able to do what is supposed to be a natural part of being a woman, and I have wondered if God was punishing me. So as I read through each of the chapters, I found a connection with the encouragement each author received from the God Who really does care and understand what we are going through.
One of the things I really valued was the fact that this book didn't try to give any answers, nor offer any false hope or false promises... in some of the cases, the decisions went beyond the woman's desire to conceive, to her desire to be a mum, and looking into adoption or surrogacy... not every journey will have the outcome we think it should have. This is a very sobering thought!
The final chapter included stories from those who had become mum's, through one means or another. I found this an excellent way to conclude the book. I appreciate the fact that the author / editor Marlo wasn't trying to make anyone feel guilty for feeling the way we do in this walk, rather, she found a way for us to identify with people who are just like us, to learn from them, to be encouraged by their stories and to find relief in the fact that, as one woman said, It's OK to cry, it's OK to grieve and it's OK to get mad at God!
I would have loved to know the outcomes of each of the stories highlighted in the book, especially as it was first published in 2001. It would be interesting to know where each of the couples are at now. But ours is not to know, ours is to read, dip in and out of and gain strength from the testimonies of women who God has led on this path before us.
I would urge you to check out this book, especially if you feel you are the only one who struggles with your faith and your journey to conceive.