Motherhood Preservation Testimonies

Healed through Pregnancy!

My husband and I came to the Lord and received His salvation early in our marriage.  Along with many changes this new life brought, we chose to yield our childbearing to our all-wise God, believing that children are indeed a blessing.

I must admit that my visions for a large family were quite idealistic. With five children under the age of seven, I found I was expecting another. We were temporarily living in Birmingham, Alabama, 1100 miles from our home while I received treatment for a medical condition. At nine weeks, I began spotting, followed shortly after by very heavy cramping and bleeding. In the middle of the night, not knowing how much bleeding was too much, my husband called 911 for an ambulance to take me to the hospital and an ultrasound showed an empty uterus.

All was not well. I continued to cramp and bleed for weeks. I felt physically ill, and not only did I still have my family to care for, but we were getting ready to move back North, which involved sorting and packing. God gave me the strength, somehow, to get it all done, but as I drove our mini-van out of Birmingham, a wave of extreme panic hit me. Suddenly my arms and legs turned to spaghetti.

Thankfully, my father had come down to help us move, and he was able to drive the van the rest of the way. I spent the remainder of the trip totally ill and overwhelmed with panic, lying on the back seat of the van. I had no appetite and did not know what was wrong with me!

My husband, a driver for Federal Express, had to report for work in a couple of days at his new post in Keene, New Hampshire. However, since we had not yet found suitable housing, our family stayed with my mother in Connecticut. George worked in New Hampshire and drove down to spend the weekends with us. This lasted for six weeks. I was very ill. I still had no appetite, and hardly any strength to care for my children. Just lifting my head off the pillow in the morning sent my heart rate to 170 BPM.

The bleeding from the miscarriage never really ended. Two months later, when I visited my doctor, he said, “We really have to stop this bleeding,” and recommended that we do a D&C. I told him I would rather wait it out another month to see what would happen. I went home to my mother’s place and literally cried my heart out to God. “Dear God,” I cried. “You know we have gladly received any children that you wanted to send us. But look at me, God! I’m sick. I can’t even take care of the children I have very well right now. What should we do? Perhaps we should ‘use something’ until my body gains strength? Please show us your will! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

After six weeks of staying with my mother, we found a large house in the woods of New Hampshire that would accommodate our family. We were all alone with no friends in the area. We lived at the end of a half-mile long dirt road, and the winters in New Hampshire are long!

I awaited my next period which would have been due the end of the month. It never came. “My body is REALLY out of whack now,” I thought! I felt somewhat better, and my appetite returned, although I was still very tired. Another month passed without a period and I decided to take a pregnancy test. Sure enough, it was positive!

There were still some problems. The nearest obstetrician was in Keene, which was a 25-minute drive from our house in the woods. I was still very far from being able to drive a car due to my recurrent panic-attacks. My husband was not able to drive me there during office hours. What would we do?

I cautiously looked into the possibility of having my baby at home with a midwife, but never pictured myself actually doing it. We found a sweet midwife with a ton of experience who was willing to see me in the evenings, when it was convenient for my husband to drive me to her office. During my first visit, she discovered I was not eight weeks pregnant as I had thought, but was actually twelve! What a delight! I calculated that I was already pregnant when I had visited my doctor with the bleeding. Actually, I was already pregnant when I was crying out to God for wisdom! The Lord had answered.

I continually gained strength that winter and my appetite became ravenous. By the time spring came to the mountains of southern New Hampshire I was full of energy and optimism. On the first day of summer, Father’s Day that year, we welcomed a perfect baby girl into our home! All the other children got to enjoy her immediately since we were at home. What a blessing!

We moved back to Connecticut for a short time, and then to Pennsylvania where we have now been for 15 years. The Lord has given us eight more children since Elizabeth Grace, who is now a sweet, talented seventeen year-old. I often think of what we would have missed if we had cut off our childbearing years after the first five, as many had suggested.

As best as I can discern, I think I must have gone through some kind of post-traumatic stress disorder after that miscarriage as my whole nervous system was affected. I have never met anyone since who has experienced anything similar.

I love to tell the story of our faithful God who answered my prayer, and whose ways are FAR above our ways. He used Elizabeth’s pregnancy to not only restore my health, but to solidify our faith in the matter of childbearing.

LISA KEYES 
Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA
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No More Migraines!

My husband and I married October (2008) and I had our first baby girl July 5th 2009. It started out as an easy pregnancy but turned high risk after discovering that my cervix was starting to efface at 22 weeks. I was put on bed rest and prayer lists. After another ultrasound a month later, we found that the bed rest and prayer done its job and, praise the Lord, my cervix had actually lengthened! I was still on bed rest, but could resume simple tasks.

At 34 weeks, the baby’s head dropped and I was once again put on complete bed rest. My husband works on a ranch and we live at least an hour from the nearest hospital (two hours from the larger hospital with a large NICU). I started to have episodes of pre-labor with regular contractions for several hours at a time and was dilating a little more each time so we decided that I stay in town with my midwife while my husband went back home to the ranch until 36 ½ weeks when we would be pretty much out of the woods.

I made it to 36 ½ weeks and was allowed to return home, (even though I was dilated to a 5). I enjoyed about a week and a half of walking around and finally preparing for our little girl. She was safely born at 4:03 am after laboring all night long with fireworks going off in the neighborhood the whole time! Joy and peace came that morning with little Cheyenna Faith.

One wonderful thing about my pregnancy is that I was spared from migraines. I’ve had terrible migraines with vomiting and sickness ever since I was 11 years old. They would “strike” every other month around my monthly cycle, which lead me to believe  they were hormonal. I went to chiropractors, tried different preventions and remedies, but nothing helped. All I could do was pray for complete healing!

I suspected that, since they seemed to be mostly hormonal, they would lessen or disappear during and after pregnancy. It seems I was right. During my whole pregnancy I only had one serious, vomiting migraine (it was in the first trimester after drinking of a cup of regular coffee that I don’t normally drink). As my monthly cycle has regulated more after childbirth, I have headaches around my menstrual cycle. However, I have not had to deal with one debilitating migraine and it’s now one year since my little angel was born. I’m so thankful that our bodies are truly saved in childbearing.

ASHLEY PLOURD
Hobson, Montana, USA
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The Children Saved our Marriage!

After years of major struggle in our marriage, we have been asked countless times how we made it to this point in our lives. We have also been asked many times how we managed to have eleven children in the process! In the midst of marital issues, people often wonder how to trust the Lord with childbearing. It seems that this would be the most unwise thing that a couple could possibly do. Yet, I can honestly tell you, that not only my spiritual life, but also my marriage, was saved through childbearing. Babies can do wonderful things; they save you from yourself, and from making selfish choices.

When pregnant with my firstborn, I was fully prepared to abort the pregnancy. I found it extremely inconvenient and was not at all interested in changing any of my well laid out plans for my future. I was happily on my way to law school, and I was not interested in sustaining anything long term with the father of the pregnancy. Miraculously, and only by the hand of God, I kept the baby.

My son's arrival ushered in several significant changes in my life, the spiritual change being the most dramatic. The Lord used my first baby to draw me to Himself, and for the very first time in my life, I started attending church and worshiping God without being coerced by someone. I was in love with the Lord and sought to live according to His ways for the first time in my adult life.

Although I now walked in faith it did not mean everything was wonderful. We did manage to get married, but those early years…well, let's just say that my marriage was a huge shambles. After all, this was not a marriage made in heaven, or so I thought at the time. This was a marriage of doing the proper thing, as we were the parents of this beautiful child. At least, that is how I saw it in the beginning. Not an ideal start. Many folks wondered how we could even have one child, let alone more children, in such an ugly relationship. What on earth were we thinking? Why are we staying together? I'll tell you.

First of all, without the children, it would have been far too easy to walk away from the marriage. What we as a couple really needed desperately was some time to grow, change and learn. Without the children acting as our glue, we would not have had the stamina to persevere through those hard years. And the hard years were hard! The Lord knew that we would come out in love in the end though, and so He blessed us with children along the way.

Contrary to what society may say, the children did not create more chaos; they prevented more chaos from happening. We had to focus on their needs, and let go of our selfish desires to have our own way. Many times we had to get along for the sake of the children. Without them, why would we bother? It would have been so simple to walk away, like so many do in our culture. I had no time to do this, because if I wasn't nursing, I was pregnant. This occupied so much of my time, that life managed to move forward, and we as a couple moved forward also. Thank God for the children as it would have been so easy to walk away if they hadn't kept coming. And why did they keep coming? I'll tell you that too!

Thankfully for us, when it came to childbearing, we honestly both felt that we were incompetent to decide when, or if it was "the right time", to have a child or not. Neither of us wanted that responsibility on our heads. The Lord makes it very clear that He opens and closes the womb, and that we as humans have hearts that are deceitful beyond description. So we left it in God's hands.

Now, when I look at each of our children, I can honestly say that God timed them, not us, and that He made them according to His plan with no "help" from our feeble hands. His timing is always perfect and it gives indescribable peace. We are very thankful that we trusted God for now that we are getting older we are quite shocked to think that our fertile days are actually numbered.

We both know that I was spiritually preserved and that also our marriage was preserved through childbearing. The most amazing part, as if the side benefits weren't enough, is that God created these children for His glory and we get to watch His plan unfold. We are humbled to partake in this great adventure and to have the love of a large family.

The wisdom of God seems like foolishness to the world. The world may think it is crazy, irresponsible, even downright stupid to not use any form of birth control, but we know better. Where would we be now if we had not let God have control? We shudder to think! We rest knowing that our most trustworthy Father reigned and created our family as He saw fit. And He kept us together through it all!

MICHELLE KAUENHOFEN
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
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Michelle is the Above Rubies Director in Canada. Canadian readers, contact Michelle for all your orders, magazines and donations: Ph: 204-355-7682.

 

Healed from Depression!

I have lived with anxiety and depression at some level for my entire life. I put this down to a childhood fraught with trauma, abuse and neglect. Thankfully though, God’s hand has always been evident in my life and amongst all the negative experiences there were people who showed me love and security and taught me about God’s plan and will for me life. In particular, He blessed me with a wonderful godly mother figure in my Aunt Anthea.

For as long as I can remember I yearned to someday have a husband and children of my own. My wise aunt had often encouraged me to pray for a godly husband. Just before I turned 18 I realised the man I had been hoping and praying for had been right in front of me for 10 years. I was only eight when we met! Through prayer and the wise advice of godly mentors, Jeremy and I married in July 2005.

The first year of marriage was difficult as I continued to struggle under the cloud of depression and anxiety. In June 2006 we were blessed with Jonathan Wesley, our first son and I felt the cloud lift a little. Fourteen months later in August 2007, along came our second son, Oscar Malcolm and I never felt better! I was living the dream. For about eight months or so life was wonderful and I experienced peace and joy at levels I had never before known.

When I began to struggle again in late 2007 I was referred to a psychologist by my GP. She was a lovely Christian woman, who taught me valuable skills for combating daily anxiety but failed to recognise the need for healing at a soul level. After seeing her for a couple of months she left work on maternity leave. During a visit to my Uncle and Aunt’s farm over Christmas 2007 and some counseling from my aunt, it became clear that God had some healing to do in my life. I needed to work through the deep scars of my childhood. While I waited for my psychologist to come back from maternity leave, things rapidly went downhill. By March 2008 the anxiety attacks became worse and more frequent. I was desperate.

I continued to deteriorate and was admitted to the psychiatric ward in our nearest hospital. Though this was an extremely difficult and lonely time God made me aware that He was very near and very much in control. The ward psychiatrist blamed my breakdown on having children too young and too close together. I took offense to this as I know that God knows my children and they were born according to His plan and there was no mistake! She advised that it would be catastrophic for us to have any more children and that we should go on contraception until I was able to care for myself as well as the children I already had. My husband thought this wise advice and I sadly had an etonogestrel (Implanon) inserted.

I was desperate for healing, freedom and hope and to get back to being the wife and mother I so longed to be. Toward the end of my time on the ward the psychiatrist told me that while I may improve I would never fully recover from this breakdown. I knew that God had given me a high calling to be a wife and a mother and that there were things He was calling us to in our future, which would only be possible if I was able to function a lot better than I was. I believed that somehow God would work it out.

My husband took time off work while I was in the psychiatric ward and following my release he took a leave of absence to care for the children and me. We took a family trip to my uncle and aunt’s farm shortly after I arrived home, to aid in my recovery. While we were there my aunt sent off some forms for an Above Rubies retreat she and two of my cousins would soon be attending in Victor Harbor. I decided to send off a form too!

I shared with my husband when we returned home that I felt I was not trusting God’s wisdom in using contraception but trusting in man’s wisdom. He replied that if I felt it was wrong, I should have it removed. I was relieved but also scared. I feared having another child at this time, but trusted God would keep me from falling pregnant until I was well. I very quickly found myself to be pregnant. I was worried but held on to that thread of hope that God knows best.

Shortly after discovering that I was pregnant it came time for the Above Rubies retreat. While there I caught up with my aunt and cousins and told them that I was ‘expecting’. They reacted with excitement. She told me that Val Stares (Australian Above Rubies Director) had told her that this baby would be my healing. I took this to mean I would be healed once the baby was born, but almost immediately I slowly lifted out of the rut. It wasn’t an instant fix but a slow and gradual lifting.

Soon after this, I found a brilliant Christian psychologist. She immediately saw the need to work through my past and she, like me, had hope in complete healing, something I had not found elsewhere, even in other Christians. We began working slowly through each painful memory and speaking God’s truth and love into my damaged heart and mind. God steadily brought me comfort, healing and HOPE! I began to see the light at the end of the tunnel and looked forward to the arrival of our baby.

I improved so much that my husband returned to work, first working from home then eventually full time in the office. I kept seeing the psychologist regularly, only taking a few weeks break after the birth of our third son, Ashton James in June 2009. A month or so after his birth people started noticing a difference in me, a ‘sparkle in my eye’, a positive attitude, and hope.

Since then I have come to know a quality of life that I have never known before. I experience joy, peace and hope in ways I never knew possible. It is still hard for me to comprehend that this is real, that it is possible for anyone, let alone me, to feel this good on a regular basis. Even though life still has its difficulties, I face it all with a new strength and confidence that comes only from God and what He has done for me. I’m so glad I was able to trust Him, even in my darkest hour, so that He could bring me to where I am now; healed from my past, absolutely loving life with my wonderful husband and my three little treasures who bring me so much joy each day. I feel so much love I could burst. I definitely would not be without my Ashton. To think I could have so easily missed out on him had I continued to trust man’s wisdom over God’s.

JESS HANCOCK
Adelaide, Australia
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Goodbye to Nosebleeds and Migraines!

As a very small child I developed nosebleeds, which came if I exerted myself or when we had a very hot day. At the age of 17 I started to get migraine headaches. At 24 I had my first baby and from that day to this (I am now 67) I have not had a nosebleed or a migraine. God’s ways are marvelous.

ANTHEA BOLTON

New South Wales, Australia
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Healed from Chronic Pain!

For many months I had been suffering from mysterious abdominal pain, and I do mean suffering! In so much pain I couldn’t think anymore, I became very sleep-deprived because of the unrelenting pain. Worst of all, my husband had to be always looking after a sick and cranky wife. We had only just been married, after two years spent on opposite sides of the globe. My family and friends were all in Canada. There were so many things we had looked forward to doing together, but I was not in any shape to do much at all.

I have always been very physically active, and the forced inactivity was extremely depressing. I wasn’t able to walk for any distance, my lower back became very weak and old injuries came back to haunt me. I would alternately push myself to accomplish a bit of work, and then spend days afterwards in misery, barely able to do anything. I fainted when the pain was at its worst and a few times ended up in hospital.

This went on for months and months, the cause of the pain a mystery. Finally, I had exploratory surgery, and was told it appeared as though I’d had an infection in my appendix, which had caused a lot of scarring. The first surgeon felt unequal to the delicate task of snipping my innards free from abdominal muscle, where the scar tissue had pinned them. The second felt that I did not need surgery, but should be put on painkillers for the rest of my life, in spite of being allergic to them. The third doctor feared the infection might have caused an abscess, which would not have been visible during surgery.

It was at this point, caught between differences among medical professionals, I found myself pregnant! The ultrasound showed a healthy little eight-week-old baby. Off the record, one of the surgeons explained to me that many women who had pain from abdominal adhesions and became pregnant found the pain disappeared or dissipated after the baby was born. The hormone, oxytocin begins to take effect around mid-pregnancy, causing connective tissues in the body to become soft and stretchy. Scar tissue softens and very gently stretches over several months, no longer pulling on sensitive nerve endings.

We were very glad to be expecting a baby, and also very glad to hear that not only would the baby be alright, but might actually provide a cure for this pain I’d had for so long!  All through that very long pregnancy I kept reminding myself that all would be well with this child. I had 24/7 sickness, and it lasted until two weeks after the birth. I was so sick, I felt like I was pregnant for years. In retrospect, I think my thyroid was low. My back went to pieces and I spent the last four months of the pregnancy with two joints in my spine out of place. I suffered from symphesis pubis dysfunction (when the pelvic joints get too loose) but I didn’t mind because I knew that oxytocin was doing its work on those adhesions as well as on my joints.

Through all that trying time, my little mystery baby thrived in spite of my poor health. Friends speculated that I was carrying a future England football star, as the little person made his or her presence known with unusually vigorous acrobatics.

A little grey-eyed girl was born into water after a three-day labour, one Sunday morning in spring. We named her Rose because she was pink and perfect and all furled up, just like a rosebud.

It took time to heal after a difficult pregnancy and birth, but as my body healed, the pain gradually faded away. I can’t describe how it feels to be free of pain! Pain in a limb, or from bone and muscle, does not compare to the grinding, draining pain that comes from an internal source. It is a joy to wake up feeling good!

Our beautiful little Rose is now a year and a half now, exceptionally strong and active and a constant joy. I am so thankful for the simple pleasure of being able to move freely and get back to an active life.

MARY LYNNE MOUNTJOY
Ashmansworthy, Devonshire, United Kingdom
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Children Preserved my Youth!

The wisdom God gave me, along with the gift of eight children, has preserved my youth for 15 years. I know that youthful appearance will eventually fade and because of that, I feel more importantly that God preserved my "way" rather than just my youth. Proverbs 2:8 says, "He preserveth the way of His saints."

When our sixth child was born, I felt God had given me more than I could handle. I had trusted Him with the size of our family and now I didn't see how God was doing what was best for us. I had four children to home school, a baby girl to play with, lots of laundry, too much housework, and now I was nursing another baby! I was also sick and tired of people feeling sorry for me and asking me if I knew what caused all these children. I wanted to do other things with my life, like teach aerobics, coach a basketball team, do scrapbook parties and work with my husband, etc.

But as God's goodness softened my heart, I listened to His voice. He gave me a desire to have our seventh, and then a few years later our eighth. But God had preserved me, my health, my body, my strength--and I knew it. I didn’t know until recently about the anti-aging hormone that had been in my body continually for thirteen years because of nine pregnancies.

During those baby years God showed me things like how to eat healthy, how not to buy foods that would make me gain too much weight (we only bought junk food for birthday parties), simple exercises that would help me stay strong (tightening my stomach muscles while driving in the car instead of slouching), and other little nuggets like getting rid of the TV.

I didn’t have internet until my seventh baby was born--using the internet late at night makes a mommy too tired for the next busy day. The Lord showed me after my first child the importance of resting for about nine days after the birth instead of getting up and working right away. I just stacked laundry, let dishes sit and cleaning had to wait. Instead, I let my mom, mother-in-law and husband help for about a week and a half.

The Lord also gave me wisdom to not over-exercise when I was tired in the last trimester and then for about four months after my birth. When your body is tired, exercise doesn't help you lose weight or build muscle. Walking was all I needed to stay fit. Pregnancy itself is like running a marathon to your body and you need lots of rest if you're going to keep having lots of children. God taught me that He would keep me in shape even through so many years of not being about to work out like I used to at high school.

One piece of wisdom is to teach our daughters to exercise before they marry. Keeping in shape in my teens really helped me when I got married to stay in shape and not be lazy. Our bodies respond to months of no muscle training. I found that our bodies can remember all the muscles that we had for a long period of time, and can actually regain that strength very quickly.

became very strong in my arms carrying babies around and nursing while standing up. I never used a sling. I used to work out before having babies but the muscles I developed from carrying babies were different muscles from what I had ever exercised before. The Lord showed me that when I didn’t have time to work out aerobically or with weights, I could clean house, rake leaves or hoe the garden and that gave parts of my body an intense work-out. Sweating is so good for you.

Now that my baby is two years old and I'm not pregnant (amazingly), the Lord is preserving me through the love I receive every day from our children. I get so many kisses, hugs, notes, and drawings from my children that the joy keeps me smiling a lot!

A book I've been reading about facial massage techniques explains, "Scientists believe that the muscles of the face and neck are unique because of their involuntary link to your emotional processes."  Being joyful is a natural face-lift. There are many celebrities who seem very beautiful and young looking, but that beauty cost them a great deal of money, exercise time, and concentration on what foods to eat, etc.  Since 1995 when my first child was conceived, I’ve tried to eat right, but lacked the money to buy health food or a gym membership. God still blessed my efforts and His wisdom gave me a wonderful life!  Ecclesiastes 7:12 says, “Wisdom giveth life to them that have it."

Nearing our fifteenth anniversary at thirty-seven years old, I have a similar body to when I was twenty, only my husband thinks its better. I also have more joy, more love and most importantly, I have a testimony to share about God's goodness. I thank God for our eight children who have given me the desire to draw near to God. Without them I may have never experienced true salvation, freedom from selfishness, patience, or the ability to love like I do. I definitely wouldn’t have gotten that free anti-aging hormone n abundance!

JOANNA SHEPHERD
Tawakoni, Texas, USA
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Never had more Energy!

I thought I'd exclusively breastfed my first three children. I didn't realize the truth until I picked up a copy of Breastfeeding and Fertility by Jenny Silliman at an Above Rubies Family Camp. My little fella was only 10 weeks old, and I immediately began to follow the guidelines of responsive breastfeeding. With my other children, my fertility came back almost immediately and I have a history of anemia (especially during menses) and post-partum hemorrhaging.

My midwife gave me further information on how women who practice responsive breastfeeding or ecological breastfeeding typically have better iron stores due to the break from menses, providing a true rest for her body.

My baby boy is now 18 months and my cycles have not returned. I have not taken iron tablets in at least eight months and I feel great! I recently shared with a friend how active I've been with my children and that I cannot remember a time when I've had this energy.

Responsive breastfeeding makes this toddler time easier on both of us. I used to think the extra patience I felt toward my nurslings and the distinct difference once they weaned was in my head but now I know better. During times of frustration, nursing calms my baby and me.

ELIZABETH BOJIE
Centerton, Arkansas, USA
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