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When Empty Arms Become a Heavy Burden
Encouragement for Couples Facing Infertility

By Sandra Glahn and William Cutrer, MD

When Empty Arms Become a Heavy Burden : Encouragement for Couples Facing Infertility
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Review by Allison Martin

When Empty Arms Become a Heavy Burden is a thoughtful and sympathetic discussion of infertility issues with a Christian perspective. It is written by a former board member of RESOLVE and an obstetrician/gynecologist who is also an ordained minister. The authors blend scripture and true stories with practical therapeutic suggestions for both partners of a couple coping with infertility. This well crafted book addresses moral questions and emotional feelings in a straightforward manner. The pervasive humor, honesty and experience of the authors is entertaining and enlightening.

When Empty Arms Become a Heavy Burden begins by strengthening the marital relationship stressed by infertility, as well as each individuals' self image. Several chapters address the similarities and differences between men and women in their reaction to infertility, while providing practical suggestions for coping together as a couple. A chapter on choosing and interacting with your physician provides good advice in this difficult area. Then the book plunges into intense discussions of dealing with emotions, crises of faith, and ignorant comments, along with scriptural insight into infertility. The last third of the book addresses specific infertility issues - conception, egg donation, pregnancy loss, and adoption - from a personal and Christian perspective.

Example quote from the book on insensitive comments:

Every fertility patient deals with it. In fact, whenever I sit in a room full of quiet patients, I've found a quick way to get conversation going. I ask, "Has anyone ever made an insensitive remark to you about your infertility?" At first they give me the "duh" look, which says the stupidity of my question is on par with "Has Oprah ever been on a diet?" After that momentary pause, they all stumble over each other trying to be the first to tell their horror stories. They proceed, one-upping each other with, "You think that's bad? My mother-in law said..." and greeting each story with a chorus of sympathetic gasps.

Example quote from the book on faith:

Yet despite our ignorance of God's mysteries, we may find comfort in His love and in the knowledge that even this suffering passed through His hands before He allowed it to touch us. In these circumstances, our simple prayer becomes, "Lord, this stinks: I don't understand it but I trust You."

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