Couples struggling to become parents find comfort in infertility support group

Nov. 1, 2016: The Infertility Journeys support group is helping East Tennessee couples share their experiences of struggling to become pregnant.

“Heavenly Father, we thank You for giving us hope and expectation that one day will conceive and bear our own child.”

A fertility prayer and a shared desire begins every session of “Infertility Journeys” in a quiet room at Parkwest Medical Center in West Knoxville.

It’s a prayer that’s personal to Katie Heatherly. The Sisters of Mercy wrote it for Katie and her husband during an In Vitro Fertilization treatment. She wanted to share it with the group.

“It’s been amazing the outpouring of support,” Heatherly said. “The people in the group seem so, so grateful. We really have a strong core group.” 

Usually, six to eight people attend each session.

“We have about 15 people that have come and all but two are couples,” Heatherly said.

“I was a little hesitant because I thought it was just a woman’s thing, but I realize the husband’s role in all this is just as important,” Del Wilson said. Here, he and his wife, Kelly, found a bit of normalcy.

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“Each month is just a different adventure,” Kelly Wilson said.

In this group, couples can find a shoulder to lean on.

“You know I can’t talk to people at work or friends,” Del Wilson admitted. “They don’t get it. But these guys, they get it.”

And most importantly, they’re finding hope.

“This month has been kind of hard, so I was just really excited being able to come tonight,” Kelly shared. “It just helps having someone to talk to.”

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In addition to sharing life’s ups and downs, Heatherly also provides fertility resources from nutrition and treatments, even alternative ways to become parents.

“We’ve had an acupuncturist come in,” Heatherly said. “I’m going to have an adoption group come in, a foster agency, foster parents and teenage children who’ve been adopted talk about their experience of gaining a family.”

Together, they’ll continue to shoulder the good and the bad.

“We’ve had a pregnancy in the group. We’ve had IVF rounds in the group. We’ve had adoptions go through in the group,” Heatherly said. “It’s been so wonderful to know that you’re not walking this journey alone. And, it’s not a shameful journey.”

The group meets every third Tuesday of each month from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Grubb Room at Parkwest Medical Center. The next meeting is in two weeks, Nov. 15. Free valet parking is available. You can learn more about the group on the Facebook page Infertility Journeys.

PRAYER OF BLESSING

By the Sisters of Mercy

Heavenly Father, 

We thank You for giving us hope and

expectation that one day we will

conceive and bear our own child.

Your ears are not closed to our

prayers, and you know our deepest 

desires and intentions.

We love You, Lord, and it is You who

put this longing to be parents into 

our hearts.

Help us to let go of all the stress,

pressures, fears, pains and grief

associated with this yearning for a 

child.

We put them all in Your hands.

We pray, knowing that You love us

and always give us what is best.

In Jesus' name. Amen.

(© 2016 WBIR)


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