Infertility: breaking the stigma

By Bianca Kasawdish

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With so many couples strug­gling silently with infer­tility, three women in the community shed some light on what they went through with having chil­dren – the ups, the downs, and every­thing in between. In a Mom to Mom show hosted by Lisa Denha brought by the Eastern Catholic Re-evange­lization Center (ECRC) and shown live on the Chaldean Moms of Metro Detroit Facebook page, these women shared their stories of infertility and how they each managed to find their way through faith.

Kristina Awdish

After almost eight years of marriage and a long journey to conceive, Awdish and her husband suffered two miscarriages when they found she had low progesterone. She then had a third miscarriage.

After seeing a NaProTechnology instructor, she learned the method and started tracking her symptoms for a few months. This Creighton Model monitors biomarkers of the menstrual and fertility cycle. This required her to do blood work often and track her levels of progesterone which was found not to be as high as it should. This required her to then take injections of progesterone every two weeks to make sure the levels were okay. Soon afterwards she was given her gift and she and her hus­band welcomed a daughter into the world. She is now pregnant with her second child.

“It’s a wonderful thing to want children,” she shared. “Having a child is not a right. I am undeserving and I’ve been trusted with a gift with this child.”

On stigmas within the commu­nity on IVF and abortion, which is on the rise, she shares that there are so many other ways that are moral and approved by the church. She believes we’re all in need of God’s grace and we should talk about in­fertility and miscarriage more often. On words of advice for other women struggling with infertility she states “It’s not your fault. Don’t let people make you feel guilty.”

Sandra Kizy

Kizy got married later in her twenties and didn’t rush to have children right away. She went the Natural Family Planning (NFP) route and, when she and her husband were ready to start trying to have children, they tried for two years. They then decided to see a fertility specialist and after many tests, bloodwork, and an invasive procedure, found she had very severe endometrio­sis after having no symptoms of it.

“Infertility, in general, is a lot more common these days,” she said. “Women are pursuing careers, are waiting longer to get married, and, when they get married, are waiting a little longer to have kids for whatever reason that may be.”

During that time, she had discussed options with her husband, one being adoption. She shares that she had contacted a woman she was referred to about adoption and was considering it and praying about it, only to learn she was pregnant very soon after. Her son is now five and she also now has a daughter who is three. Wanting to expand their family further, Kizy then had a late term miscarriage at 20 weeks and is currently trying for a third child.

Dawn Pullis

After being diagnosed with ovarian cancer at just 21 years old and catch­ing it at the right time, Pullis was left infertile. Through difficulties dating in the community and knowing this would be a struggle with her future partner, she knew adoption would be the route they would have to go. After marrying and deciding to start a fam­ily, she and her husband wanted to give a home to a child in need rather than go another route such as IVF.

After going through the adop­tion process, Pullis and her husband met their daughter when she was just a day old. She shares that as soon as they met her, they knew she was meant to be their child. “God gave me the gift of forgetting the struggles once my daughter was born. I cherish her and appreciate having her more than anything,” she said.

She shares that adoption is a blessing, and “It’s as if I gave birth to her.” She also shares that she would love for her daughter to know as much about herself as possible and maybe one day she will have contact with her birth mother.

While the journey to motherhood is not easy for some, it’s time to break the stigma. For all of these women and for all women struggling with infertility, hold on to the hope that what’s meant to be will always find a way.