THE ENDO CLUB *Prayer *Forum *Treatment for Endometriosis

PRAYER & Natural Treatments for endometriosis sufferers

Infertility!

Hello!

First of all I need to apologize for not writing about this sooner. It is a very painful subject! and truly I did not want to be reminded of the pain I used to have. I say I used to, because all of our dreams have come true through adopting our 2 wonderful children. I did not miss out on a thing from adoption and actually now I am so glad it worked out this way! God did have a wonderful plan for us. If he gave us what we wanted at the time when I was 23, we would not have loved children as we do. We would not have been Sunday School teachers. We would not be the parents that we are.

Saying that it still pains me to hear your stories and at times we have wanted another child, but adoption is just not an option anymore as we are older and our social worker is gone. It would be years of starting all over again with the process. My husband is now 50 and I am 43. Our children are 6 & 11.

We gave it up to God and if it is meant to be, I would miracously get pregnant-oh my, I cannot even imagine that happening, but I do know that my husband prays for it.
Do you believe that? One vacation, I opened his prayer journal and in it he asked the Lord to give us another child. I sat there reading it over and over. I was so shocked! We were done with our family and I thought he he did not want anymore children also.

 

I am not going to get into all the medical procedures here as that alone pains me. I do remember it was 10 years of it. Many doctors, every test done, clomid, a hormonal drug(parlodel-hated the side effects) to get rid of the high prolactin I had. Too many gyno exams, test results, intercourse at specific times-1 x a day, every 2 days, all different ideas that we were told. Standing on your head afterwards, ok this is crazy! The thermometer-I do not want to ever see a basal thermometer again! So many home pregnancy tests I took, pregnancy tests at the Drs. when I was 1 day late for my period and obsessed with this.

Every month the same hopes of conception and every month the same disappointment when I started bleeding. Such a roller coaster ride that I wanted off of, but I could not stop myself from riding.

 

Suggestions from male friends: Do you need some help? NOOOOO!

Suggestions from girlfriends:  “Just relax and it will happen, I know so & so…”

Jealous co-workers who rubbed it in my face that I was infertile.
Another co-worker who spread it around the office that we we were not being considered for adoption because we were so reserved and laid back.
When we were thinking about adoption- comments: “I would not want to adopt someone else’s problems”
“If you adopt a colored child, people will think that you had an affair”
OK WHO CARES WHAT OTHERS THINK!

 

But the main problem is that not too many people would want to talk to me about it. They just did not know what to say! This truly pained me as you have to think of my mindset. Everyday that I woke up, I would be thinking of how I wanted a child, I truly was obsessed and it took over my life. I guess I am goal driven as when I set my mind out to do something, I will do it, hence the reason for the 10 years. One day I finally came to my senses and stopped. I had gone to another new Dr. who had said that we need to start over with the tests and another laporoscopy and I went home crying and said” I will never go to another gyno again” I had it with Drs. appts., tests!.....I did not even go for yearly check up’s  afterwards for the endo pain and all.... I think I went for 1 pap smear in 10 years.


Pain, Pain, Pain!! Baby showers-the ultimate pain! I suggest you kindly get out of it, give her a nice gift, try to explain as this is shear torture for you to go to. If it is your best friend/sister… than I think you need to go anyways, but try to talk to her about it and find some ways to cope with that day as it will be traumatic. Think of ways to cope before you go and what you will do, how you will act. Will you cover up your pain as you certainly do not want the shower to be about you. How can you handle this, can you go for just a very short duration?

 

There is so much more about all of this, my husband and how he felt and all. He just wanted me to be happy and did not understand that he was not enough for me. He was also hurt and felt that it would never happen at the time, gave up on the entire thing, but went along for the ride. He was very wonderful!

 

Things that stand out:

Las Vegas, pulling the slot machine thinking so what if I won the jackpot. I still would not be happy! I wanted a baby more than anything else in the world.

Everyone around me was pregnant! Ones on drugs who conceived and then I saw them smoke during pregnancy...some who accidently got pregant but were not happy about it.

The grueling adoption process...pressures, forms, meetings, home visits and being under scrutiny.

 A 6 hour adoption interview.

 

Many funny times also:
-When my husband had to give a fresh sample-cannot explain everything, but it was funny.
- During an exam, the gyno asked for a lightbulb in here. 
-Before doing an overnight test, I mistakingly took the string & wrapper off of the sponge-the dr. had a good laugh!
-That wonderful probe that they use-excuse me, at least buy me dinner first.


We applied for adoption not thinking it would ever happen as it was 2 ½ years that we were waiting.

About 10-11 years ago(not a Christian), It was my best friend's bachelorette party.

 We were drinking…went to a night club and this cute bouncer of the club was smiling at me as I entered the club. Later he came up to me in the club, as I immediately told him I was happily married. He said he was married also, but just wanted to talk to me.

I am assuming he saw the pain on my face as he asked if I had any children. I only said “no”

He then said” You cannot have any children can you?”

I was shocked and I said” How do you know?”

He then said "I did not know".
He immediately said ” Do you have Jesus Christ in your heart”
I said ” I am_____________(my denomination)
then ” Well maybe the Lord wants you to ask him into your heart and then you will have children”

 Ok this was weird!  and the conversation did not progress to this point, it was quick and to the point just as I just told you. I never forgot this conversation and I still think about it.  He had "planted the seed”  but as I thought about what he meant for many months..I then decided to buy a cross necklace after so much thought about what it all meant...I did not commit my heart to Christ at this time, but was thinking about it and looking back I think He was drawing me close (I am very stubborn remember) but it took many more years..see the "Journeys" page for more details.

March is when we got the BIG CALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Are you ready to be a mother she said?  YES!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Ways to cope:
-Talk about it here on the forum or find someone close that you can confide in especially your husband.

-The ultimate comforter is Christ, he gives guidance.Looking back, I wish I had him at the time…

 

My heart goes out to you and also to the ones who have lost a child. That must be even worse than this. I am sorry that you are going through this pain.

 

Great times:

-The weeks before we were to see our son for the 1st time.

-Going up to strangers in the mall and telling them I was adopting.
-Wanting to shout it from the rooftops!
- Calling my girlfriend at 5:00 am to tell her the great news.
- Looking at baby clothes anticipating.
- Showing up an hour early to see our son for the 1st time.
-Seeing our son and daughter for the 1st time!!! 
-The 1st night at home.
-Writing here about the outcome!

-Seeing my kids this morning and appreciating the gifts God gave us. James 1:17

Right now you may be suffering but God may be calling you to him through it, he may be refining you for the plan that he has for you in the future-taking out the bad & leaving the things that are valuable and pleasing to God. 1 peter 1:6-7
If I only knew!

I would also like to share with you a story about some children who we think were placed in our lives by the Lord of course:

About 5 years ago, a knock at the door-a boy about 10 years old with the biggest, saddest brown eyes. He was asking for food. Of course I gave him some, but also questioned him about his life & why he was hungry....He told me he was poor, but I came to find out through the years about his horrible family life. He had 6 brothers & sisters. His parent were alcoholics...and basically just slept in the house. There was no care or comfort and even the basic needs were not met. This drove us crazy a bit but my husband, our kids & our church came to love them. There was so much drama, I was constantly on the phone with the social services but to absolutely no avail. They knew it was a problem, but as the officers would tell me there were so many worse situations...I did not see how it could have been worse but no matter what was done the children continued to live as they did in this home. Finally a few were taken out of the home...but many years later. During this time-3 years, they went to church with us, as they felt so loved their. They shared with us about what went on as it was worse than I imagined. This was a very hard situation as we had to limit the time with them so they did not corrupt or harm our children. I wish I could say it has ended well! but 1 of the girls is with a new family and is doing great! The boys still call us and want to go to church with us, rarely do as they do not show respect so we cannot have them under our care. I have seen the boys singing about Jesus though and it has made me cry. One of the girls who is a teenager calls us up and crys in thankfullness about what we have done for her. I hope she someday sees that it is the Lord who has done it.  Another of the older girls occasionally calls us to tell us how her life it going, she has been in juvenile hall quite a bit and seems to be making her way out of the mess.
The bottom line only God knows but the way that the entire situation happened & how we were somewhat parents for them all those years I think will have an impact on them for the rest of their lives....

 

It would not be right to expain about my children's background but let me tell you-our kids are the happiest children ever.

 

The heart that you are getting for children now can possibly effect ETERNITY!

 

Regarding adoption: I always that it would be strange and that it would be like loving a stranger..getting to know the baby. I WAS SO WRONG! Love at 1st sight! and all those fears of how the adjustment period will be, well we certainly did not have an adjustment period. Perhaps our children did as we would not leave them alone!

 

Regarding your relationship with your husband-Involve him in everything, it is you 2 together as a couple in this trial. Think of his feelings, he probably is thinking of how he is not enough for you. Keep talking about it and go out and travel together or do many fun things together that you will remember forever. Once the baby comes, if you are like us-overprotective, you will not want to leave you children with babysitters. It is funny, there are times we would like to get away by ourselves but it is a very rare occasion. Last anniversary-the 20th we just took our kids with us and had a wonderful time.

 

Dear Heavenly Father,

You know how much this one hurts, even more than the physical pain is the pain of not having a child to love. Please draw the hurting women to you and answer their prayers when the time is right. If it is later, show them how to be patient and how to deal with it on a daily basis and in social settings. If they have some growing to do in you Lord, show them how to rely on you for comfort and wisdom and salvation. Please draw the hurting children in this world to you and let them know that right now you have a special plan for their lives that may include some of the women on this site. Please comfort those children, let them know that you love them and will protect them and the trials that they are going through will end in peace with you father. Please bring these family's together in whatever way you see best and ultimately to praise your holy name.

In Jesus Name, Amen.

 

He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heep; he sets them with princes of their people. He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the Lord!

Psalm 113:7-9

 

Great article:
http://www.heartlight.org/feature/feature_970625_sezno.html

Thank you Jesus!

Statistics & more:
http://www.endo-resolved.com/infertility.html

Since I had every test done to determine the cause, they blamed it on unknown reasons. Endometriosis I am sure is the cause, but pinpointing the exact reason was never determined. Tubes were clear and organs were not stuck together....tests showed that I ovulated. I would really suggest a naturopathic Dr. who can certainly give more insight into it if you still want to pursue it further after all of the medical tests. www.naturopathic.org

I hear so many women get pregnant despite all kinds of odds against them and some do not. Well I guess what I am saying is, I do not believe in statistics all that much. I mean if the Lord wants you to have a child naturally, then he will provide a way somehow. Please pray to Him and ask him. (see the about prayer page of this site, especially the article on the bottom about knowing God's will)

It all did work out for good reason in my case, but truly I wish I did not obsess about it. I cannot get those 10 years back. I would take some vacations and focus my mind on other parts of life, but hope for the best and Give it to God. Jesus is the source of peace and finding Him can make all the difference in the world!

9-2006 I wrote this article above many years ago. Since then I have grown more in the Lord, so I do have some different perspectives now. For instance, going to a baby shower..well if you know the Lord, I believe that He can give you the strength to overcome your jealousy and be able to attend a Blessed event as your friend's baby shower. I do not think it is God's will that you skip it out of your selfishness. You see, it is painful, but you would be only thinking of yourself as I did right?

 I also cannot believe how Blessed that we are by adoption! My beautiful daughter gave her heart to the Lord years ago and yesterday was baptized. The image of my daughter's joy on her face under fearful conditions(she is afraid of ocean water) is in my heart forever.  My children truly love Him and want to follow Him. Some days, I look back on it all like today and I am amazed. I am 45 years old now and well unless we are to be like Abraham and Sarah, then most likely ideas of more children are gone. That is ok! We have our hands full with teaching our children to follow on the narrow road of life.

Thank you for it all Jesus!
Lori

Anne's Story

Hi,
I am a prayer partner and 90 DAY ADVENTURE Bible reader.
 
I accepted Jesus as my my Lord and Savior when I was a junior in high school. From that time forward, I have been saved and have been a child of God. Nothing I have done or could do can cause God to reject me. I am saved because of what Jesus did for me on the cross. The Bible says that he will never leave me or forsake me because I belong to him.
 
Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever but at one time in my life, I walked away from his love. My goal as a young woman was to get married and have children. By the time I was in my late 20's I had given up on being married. I made a life for myself knowing I would be single forever. God had a different plan. He brought my husband to me through a friend. So at age 30, I was finally married. 3 months later, I was pregnant. I was getting everything I ever wanted.
 
But at 34 weeks gestation, I delivered by C section. My son Eric was born with about 12 different deformaties. He lived 2 months in the newborn intensive care. God healed him by letting him die and letting him join Him in Heaven. The pain of losing the baby that I had waited for so long was so hard. It is hard to put those feelings into words.
 
I had accepted the fact that Eric was better off in Heaven. I began to try to get pregnant again knowing that Eric's condition was rare and the chances of repeating it were slight. We tried for 2 years but I could not conceive again. My problem was fibroids on the uterus. I decided to have surgery to have them removed. It didn't work. I can relate to the pain and frustration of trying everything and still having your dreams destroyed.
 
This disappointment made Eric's death hard to take. I didn't understand why God would not answer my prayers when he knew how important it was to me. So I walked away from him. I never stopped believing that he was God but we were not on speaking terms. I gave him the cold shoulder but he never changed. He still Loved me and just waited for me to come back. For several years, I kept him at arms length. Because I was his Child, He continued to work things out in my life even when he was not the center of my life.
 
About 18 years ago, My husband and I became foster parents for infants. God used it to fill a void in our lives. We have adopted 3 of the children. It is not what I had planned, but it is what God had planned for us. During these past 10 years, Jesus has become the most important part of my life. He slowly healed the heartache and disappointment. He has used me many times to help families in the newborn intensive care who have lost their babies. You see, I am a nurse and have worked in this area for about 30 years. Because I have been their, I can relate.
 
I know I do not share your specific medical condition, but I can share a lot of your feelings. Jesus has the power to help us through anything. Today, He is the center of my life and I am growing to love him more each day. If he hadn't been a part of my life, I wouldn't be here. I considered suicide at my lowest point. God's Grace and Love for me was my strength even when I didn't want it. He Loves all of us that much.
 
Anne

Nutrition for Infertility

The nutritional status of couples who are trying to conceive
from
www.endozone.org
 
Dian Shepperson Mills, MA & Stephen Kennedy, MD
Dr Stephen Kennedy, MD: Good afternoon. I’m Stephen Kennedy, a gynaecologist working at the University of Oxford.
 
Dian Shepperson Mills: I’m Dian Shepperson Mills, a clinical nutritionist working at the Endometriosis and Fertility Clinic based in Sussex in England.
 
Dr Stephen Kennedy, MD: The aim of this interview is to ask Dian about the nutritional status of couples who are trying to conceive. Dian, tell us why is it so important for couples, who are trying to conceive, to think about their nutritional status?
 
Dian Shepperson Mills: It would seem from literature that there are major problems if people are nutrient-deficient or eating a poor diet and not obtaining enough good nutrition in food in that the egg and the sperm require nutrients in order to mature.
 
The blood supply into the ovary carries the nutrients into the ova and the graafian ovarian follicles help to mature the ova using those nutrients. You also have the endometrium, which has to be nutrient-rich in order for the blastocysts to implant and grow. In fact, the latest research is showing that the blastocysts actually roll down through the endometrium to find a spot to attach where it is rich in nutrients. The attachment enzyme requires zinc and vitamin E.
 
We know that, in order to mature and produce healthy ova, we need sound nutrition. I have just worked with a woman of 42 years and she has had six failed IVFs eight years ago and was told her eggs were very poor quality. I worked with her for five months and she has gone back and done IVF, as she had her fallopian tubes removed, and she was told her eggs were the quality of a twenty-year-old and she is now pregnant with twins. So there is obviously a mechanism whereby the nutrients for maturing egg and sperm are crucial to fertility.
 
Dr Stephen Kennedy, MD: Are there any particular foods the couples should avoid and are there are any particular foods that people should be encouraged to take?
 
Dian Shepperson Mills: Foods that can effect: alcohol, coffee, smoking. It would appear that caffeine has a detrimental effect on ovarian function, so caffeine in strong coffee, chocolate and strong tea and fizzy-cola-type products should be kept at a low level.
 
Certainly, you need to ensure if you have digestive problems, the main two gut irritants would be caffeine and citrus because they do irritate the gut membrane. So, if you have digestive problems, which could be compromising your absorption of nutrients, those would be the first two foods to avoid.
 
There is some research now showing that wheat can be a problem - wheat gluten or the gliadin factor in wheat. It used to be felt that one in 2,500 people have what is known as coeliac disease, but there is now a category known as non-coeliac dysfunction and that is finding that one in 100 to 1 in 200 people have problems with gliadin and gluten digestion and it can impact on fertility.
 
The main research looking at that is in America and they are finding that you can get all sorts of problems with this and it can impact on thyroid function. So, in certain people, there may be a gene, and you need to look at this, Sir, which proposes that you have sensitivity to gluten. The people affected by this are Jewish people, people from Scandinavian countries and the Irish - they carry the gene for gluten sensitivity. This is another area that needs looking into.
 
Other foods you need to be careful with: there is some research on aspartame interfering with the hypothalamus and pituitary functions. People who are drinking eight cans of fizzy diet whatever a day, could be having problems because it could be interfering with digestion and fertility.
 
The other area is people who are dieting. When I was doing my MA, I worked with 50 couples in Denmark and 50 couples in Britain, who were undergoing IVF, and they had to fill in a food diary for seven days so that I could track what they were eating. It was very obvious that I had to hunt vegetables and hunt protein – and you need the oils and vitamins and proteins to help hormone function.
 
The other problem was that, while they were undergoing IVF, a lot of the women who were taking Clomid,, Gonal-F and Perganol because of the action of the drug, they were bloating and retaining fluid and these women were dieting because they did not want to put weight on. There is a point in time when you are desperately trying to get pregnant that you need sound nutrition. In animals, there is a system known as flushing where before you put an animal into the fertility zone, as it were, you actually flush the animal with nutrients and animals always get pregnant, from veterinary research, on a rising body weight, never on a falling body weight.
 
Dieting at the very moment you are trying to conceive is a very, very bad idea. A), you are not taking in the nutrients you need and b) you are upsetting pituitary function because there is research showing that if you skip a meal, it can impact on the pituitary, which then does not send the right message to the ovaries for the next 24 hours.
 
There are lots of things you need to eat to be healthy. They would be fresh fruit and fresh vegetables, the fresher the better. Organic if you can get them but I do not like people being paranoid because we cannot always get organic, so if you can’t get organic then peel, and do the best you can with the money you have.
 
Fresh deep-water fish: there is pollution in shallow seas so trying to avoid oily fish from shallow seas would make sense because we know dioxins and PCBs are in that food, but certainly deep-sea oily fish - fish oils seem to help fertility. Two-thirds of the brain is oil, every cell membrane is oil, and it seems to be crucial in the ovary and testes and sperm. So eat fish oils, lean meat, nuts and seeds because the oils in the nuts and seeds are also very important; berry fruits because they contain proanthacyanadins, which are anti-oxidant in function, and peas, beans and lentils. Again, you have to be careful not to have too many legumes because in peas there is a chemical which can cause sterility if eaten to excess. This research was looking at Tibetan men, who only, on average, fathered two children and they wanted to know why. Because they have high pea content in their diet, they found it was a phyto chemical. So peas, beans and lentils are fine in moderation but not in excess.
 
There were also two pieces of research looking at wild cats in the Cincinnati and Auckland zoos. They did not get pregnant, whatever they did, the fertility was compromised and it was only when they looked at the diet in these wild cats and found that 50% of their diet was soy protein. They took the soy protein out and put chicken in and the wild cats got pregnant immediately.
 
There is all this research we have to look at and it is not looked at. Elsevier produced a CD-ROM called, “Food and Human Nutrition,” and this research data is from universities around the world, the nutrition departments, and it is done by nutritionists and it is not always found on Medline.
 
Dr Stephen Kennedy, MD: So, tell me, some cynics would say everything that you are proposing is common sense. That one should try to be as healthy as possible if you are trying to conceive. But is there evidence to suggest that if you are nutritionally deprived and you eat healthily, you are more likely to conceive?
 
Dian Shepperson Mills: Say that again: if you eat healthily and you are nutritionally deprived?
 
Dr Stephen Kennedy, MD: If you nutritionally-deprived and infertile, is there evidence to suggest that improving your diet will actually improve your chances of conceiving?
 
Dian Shepperson Mills: Well, there is a lot of research showing that people who are dieting and people with amenorrhea, who are amenorrheic because they are not eating well enough to support the reproductive system, and that includes men as well as women, it compromises fertility. The optimal body mass index for fertility is 23.5 and people below 19 and people above 30 find it very difficult to get pregnant.
 
Dr Stephen Kennedy, MD: I meant, more specifically, if you are short of specific nutrients.
 
Dian Shepperson Mills: There is a lot of different research that needs pulling together. There is the folic acid research looking at spina bifida. There is iodine: we have all this research on iodine looking at cretinism. There is research on iron. But apart from those three nutrients, nobody has done enough definitive research on specific nutrients. There is some research on B1 and B2 with cleft palate and club foot. But it is only common sense that all nutrients must be crucial to human life. It is looking at this research and the need to optimise research and make sure more is being done.
 
Dr Stephen Kennedy, MD: Dian, I think that is a very nice way to end this interview. Thank you very much indeed.
 
Dian Shepperson Mills: Thank you.
 
Endometriosis: A Key to Healing Through Nutrition
by Michael Vernon and Dian Shepperson Mills
 
see this website for more info from Diane!
www.makingbabies.co.uk

When You decide not to parent:
used in permission -rest ministries.

Some of us have children… some of us do not. Some of us plan to have children, some of us adopt… some of us listen to God and He says, "let the dream go."

"If I take a couple of years off after graduation and go back to college, I could have my masters degree by the time I'm 25," I enthusiastically told my mom. Despite raising me to believe I could do anything I put my mind to, her heart-felt response was, "But I want you to have a baby by the time you're 25."

Well, I am pushing 32 and the baby has yet to arrive. I married at 27, tried to have the baby in the following years and my husband and I have now been waiting for eight months to adopt. They say the "average wait" is a year and a half.

So why an article about not having children? As the director of Rest Ministries I understand that there are many husbands and wives who have made the difficult choice to not pursue parenthood. It's a choice that is more than difficult, because they wanted children. Illness may have made bearing a child impossible. For some, the idea of caring for a child seemed like a burden too great to bear. Above all else, though these men and women feel that God did not say, "Not yet," but rather, "no."

I believe that since we are a ministry that encourages people in the various aspects of their lives, we are called to address the ups and downs of parenting when you have a chronic illness. However, for those of you who pick up this newsletter and read about parenting, this article is an attempt to provide you with a feeling of "someone understands," and not a twinge of pain of not having a child.

I do not feel qualified to write this article; the sacrifice and surrender that has been made by those who have decided to not parent is something that I have not experienced first-hand. However, I have experienced infertility. I have felt the grief, the frustration, the darkness and the feeling that no one understands how much strength it takes to get out of bed and paste a smile on my face, when babies seem to be multiplying everywhere I look. Women who are qualified to write this article have not been able to emotionally commit to putting their feelings down on paper and having them shared with so many. I understand. So I have asked them questions and have agreed to share their feelings with you without sharing their identity. I hope this helps you know that you are not alone.

Sharon's Story: I have always wanted children; It was a matter of when, not if. When I was diagnosed with lupus my first question to the doctor was "what about children?" He assured me that children were still a possibility and that he would monitor my pregnancy carefully. My husband and I decided to wait until I got a handle on my illness and started to feel better. That time never came. After many long talks and a lot of prayer, we have decided to put this dream aside and start the grieving process. More than anything in this world a child should want to be wanted, to be loved. I know it sounds selfish, but as much as I want a child, my life is a mess and just being a wife drains me. I don't believe it's God's will for me to be a parent. I don't know why or how He's going to get me through accepting this, but I am confident that in time it will make some sort of sense. I know God's providing a peace about my decision for my husband and me despite the fact that it still hurts.

Christi's Story: "You've got plenty of time." "Just relax and it will happen." "You're letting your illness win if you don't have a baby." "You can always get help." When you asked me to share my story, I had just received an email from an old friend that said, "Are you every going to have that baby? You're not getting any younger!" I don't even know where to begin to explain it all to people-and then I get mad because I really don't owe anyone an explanation. I don't have plenty of time. While a healthy person may, my illness gets worse every day. Every year that passes means that I am going to have less quality time with a child and more "down time" having to make excuses about why mom can't play. Secondly, I have relaxed, as much as one possibly can while being poked and prodded, tested and drugged. I've been given dirty looks by lab technicians and doctors that have told me I have no business having a child. Thirdly, my illness is not winning. It's taken a lot from me, but I've always made my own choices based on what is best for me, not on what my illness dictates. Lastly, while some people may be able to freely hire help, we can't afford it, and likely never will. If I have a child, I want to raise him or her.

For now, I believe that it is not in God's will for me to have a baby or even adopt an older child. I simply cannot care for a child in the way that I believe God wants me to. He has allowed me to be a "big sister" for an eleven-year-old girl next door who has a difficult family life. I feel like God has given me the chance to make a difference for her and be someone special in her life. For now, I am learning to find peace about not being a mom; but I'm not putting God in a box-I open to Him changing His mind.

Donna's Story: You asked me to share a bit about deciding to not be a parent. I am honored to share this with you, but I don't feel like I am in the position to share any words of wisdom because I am still learning how to cope with it every day. My husband and I truly wanted children, but as the years passed and my illness progressed, both us begin to wonder if children were going to be a part of our future. We got a puppy and I'm it's mommy. For now, unless God sends us a sign we are not going to pursue having or adopting a child. It still hurts. I will go days without thinking about it and then wake up one morning and suddenly remember that I won't ever hear someone call me mom. The grief will hit me so hard, I will stay in bed half the day. I cry and pray and eventually get up and get on with the day. I still allow myself to grieve. I still ache when knowing that all my friends are seeing each other at MOPs (Mothers of Preschoolers) and I am at a doctor's appointment figuring out which medication to try next. It's not fair. It's not easy. I am just taking one day at a time and relying on my faith that God will get me through it.

Many of us have felt the words spoken by Rachel. "When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children, she became jealous of her sister. So she said to Jacob, "'Give me children, or I'll die!'" Genesis 30:1. While a part of our dreams may die when we decide not to have children due to our illness, we do not die. We live on. And despite the paint hat we may experience, God still calls us to serve and to be faithful.

God has given us people to care for and reach out to. He has given us children as neighbors, nieces and nephews, and we are to teach these children about His lovingkindness. Even though they are not our own, they are His, and we may be the only example of God's love that they see.

Lisa Copen is the founder and director of Rest Ministries. She lives with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia and is the author of When Chronic Illness Enters Your Life Bible Study.

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