Keys to Finding Life After Infertility

Keys to Finding Life After Infertility

Woman AloneYou’ve spent months – no, YEARS – trying to have a baby. You’ve tracked your cycles, had sex on demand, and subjected your body to things any sane person would never do. It may feel as though you saw your doctor more than your best friend. You may have spent thousands of dollars on treatments, only to be disappointed again and again. The time has finally come to contemplate Life After Infertility.

You’re wrung out. Tired. Angry at your body, and perhaps your husband. Perhaps feeling guilty for waiting as long as you did to try and get pregnant. Perhaps feeling grief over the loss of one or more pregnancies that began but ended far too soon. Perhaps feeling guilty at what you believe you did that may have caused your infertility. Your friends are taking their kids to soccer practice and Sunday School, while you wonder whether you’ll ever be able to attend a child’s birthday party without crying.

So what do you do now?

There’s no one answer for everyone. But after helping many, many couples struggling with infertility, here are a few things I know that can help make the next phase of your life meaningful.

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6 Things You Can Do to Look Younger

6 Things You Can Do to Look Younger

Smiling WomanYour face at 20 is the result of your parent’s choices. Your face at 80 is the result of your own choices. Isn’t that a little scary?!

Oh, how vain we are! Chances are fairly good you’ve contributed your share to the $260 billion yearly sales of antiaging products and services. Whether it’s antiaging creams, injections of botox or dermal fillers, or cosmetic surgery, we do a lot to look younger.

By the way, why is that? What’s wrong with a mature look?

Truthfully, as a senior woman myself I understand the desire to have full, healthy-looking hair, clear bright eyes, and smooth, even, youthful-looking skin. Stressing over every grey hair, fine line, wrinkle, or dark spot isn’t healthy, but there’s nothing wrong with trying to look our best as long as it doesn’t eclipse the more important things in life. And after a few basics, I have 6 things to suggest that will definitely keep you looking younger longer.

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Preparing for Marriage when you Carry Bad Baggage

Preparing for Marriage when you Carry Bad Baggage

None of us goes through life baggage-free. But some of us seem to accumulate more than our fair share of negative stuff in the “personal relationships” category. That type of baggage often sets a person up for misery or failure if and when they get married. Preparing for marriage can seem like preparing to be hurt, damaged, exploited, or just another “statistic” in a long list of failed and miserable life experiences.

But such misery or failure is not inevitable. I want to share with you what I learned about preparing for marriage – and doing it successfully – even while carrying bad baggage in that department. When I told my friend Evelyn Davison my story, she said “You’ve got to share this with people! There are lots of them who need to hear this.”

The messages, models, and memories I had accumulated growing up did not afford me a very positive outlook when it came to marriage. I knew intellectually that God created marriage, intimacy, and families, and that He intended it all to be “very good!” But I also had my own bad baggage that interfered with my emotional reactions to those topics.

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To the Woman Whose Husband is Addicted to Pornography

To the Woman Whose Husband is Addicted to Pornography

I hear from you regularly, you whose husband’s eyes are filled with many other women and not with you. You don’t even want to think the words, but he’s addicted to pornography. And every one of you carries a sadness I would love to be able to heal.

I think about you and carry you in my heart:

  • The 60-year-old patient sitting on the exam table fighting back the tears, who shared, “My husband hasn’t touched me in years. He spends every evening in the basement looking at other women on his computer.”
  • The friend riding in the back seat of my car as we were returning from a Christian event, almost choking on the words as she told how her “good Christian husband” kept promising to stop looking but never followed through.
  • The young mother writing to me about how she was trying to protect her two children from her husband’s internet porn while he seemingly refused to even admit he has a problem.

Sometimes you get angry. At him. At life. At marriage. At God for not fixing him even though you pray – and pray and pray and pray. You feel used and abused by the man who promised to love you even if he hasn’t done anything to hurt you physically. You wonder why you’re not enough. What if you hadn’t gained that extra weight? What if you kept yourself looking more sexy? What if you never said NO even if what he wanted seems disgusting?

And you’ve probably tried doing all those things, and more. But nothing makes any difference, at least not for very long. Some of you may worry about his soul,

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What I Wish Christian Parents Would Teach Kids About Sex

What I Wish Christian Parents Would Teach Kids About Sex

At 15 years old she was scared. Her mother sat there silent. I confirmed that Angela (not her real name) was pregnant, and outlined what medical care during her pregnancy would look like. Her mother had raised Angela in church, and she certainly didn’t expect to ever be sitting in my office with her pregnant daughter. I don’t know exactly what Angela had been taught about sex, but it was clear one message had been “Don’t have sex before marriage.” She felt somewhat ashamed, and her mother was angry.

As an OB-Gyn physician I see many teens and young women who have become sexually active by default. Many conservative Christian churches, if they talk about it at all, have shouted “Don’t do it!” But that has generally been no match for the sexual cultural revolution. Popular media has equated sexuality with success, growing up, individuality, and feeling good. Divorce, domestic violence, and the popular media have made marriage look less desirable than ever. Many young women don’t see any viable alternative.

I can understand why Christian parents are reluctant to teach kids about sex. Many may feel embarrassed or guilty about their own sexual past or the state of their marriage or lack thereof. They may feel powerless to effectively counteract the cultural messages their kids are getting about sex, or feel those messages aren’t really that bad. Or they may be surprised at how early and how pervasively their kids are exposed to those messages. Many may be confused themselves about what messages they want their kids to internalize about sex.

Most studies investigating religion, spirituality, and sexuality conclude that increased involvement in religious activities decreases risky sexual behavior. But what is “risky?” A 2014 survey of Christian adults showed that 61% said they would have sex before marriage. And the problem of absent fathers even among Christians makes the likelihood of early sexuality even greater.

Guilt, fear, and shame are not the answer. Some young women find it difficult to overcome the negative messages and go from “No” before marriage to “Yes” in one given day. Guilt, fear, and shame only make it harder for kids and teens to tell their parents if they are struggling with sexual matters. And a majority of adolescents (93% of boys and 62% of girls in one study) have been exposed to online pornography, and they need a context in which to address what they see.

Messages to Give Kids About Sex

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