about us.

The path of infertility is not a path anyone plans to be on.  The devastation of a pregnancy loss is not something anyone expects.  As Christians, we believe that whatever road God has given us is for our good, even if it doesn’t feel like it in the moment. There are so many questions, so many disappointments when you are struggling with the pain of infertility and pregnancy loss, and sometimes, it can be very lonely.
 

That’s one reason why Hearts of Hope was created. It was started so that women of faith can find the strength, encouragement, comfort and support from God’s word, and from each other.  Please know that you are not alone in the emotions that you have.

The second reason why Hearts of Hope was created is to raise awareness in our church communities.  There are so many couples that struggle with infertility, or couples who have lost a child or children to pregnancy loss. But it’s extremely difficult to be open about emotions that are so raw, and so easily wounded. We want it to be ok that we struggle with pain that one can’t understand unless you’ve lived it yourself. It’s not something you “get over and move on” from. You don’t go back to who you used to be, because that person no longer exists. The pain of pregnancy loss and infertility changes you; it takes away your naivety. So we hope to help others understand that. 

We pray that God will give you the courage to reach out to our group, as it is a brave thing to reach out for help and support when you are hurting.  Whether you are currently experiencing infertility, have just lost a child to pregnancy loss, or if you are on the other side of your journey, please contact us, come for coffee with us, and be supported by others who have experienced similar challenges.

We ask for your prayers for this group! Please pray for those who are part of this group, and groups like it?  And also for those who aren’t part of a support group, but are going through similar circumstances, and need your prayers just as much.

Our Founders

Theresa Heijster

My name is Theresa Heijster, and this is our story.

When my husband and I got married in 2010, we were excited to start a life together, and looking forward to growing our family. I have always had physical issues, and so it was no surprise to find out that I had endometriosis. Thankfully, many women get pregnant when they have this, so we weren’t too concerned. The first six months passed of trying to get pregnant, and I was a wreck. Emotionally, physically, I was in a really bad place. Depressed. Obsessed. All I have ever wanted to do when I “grew up” was to be a wife and a mom, and so to realize it wasn’t going to come as easy to me as it does to others was an eye opener. My doctor sent us to a fertility clinic, where we tried one cycle of hormones. This ended with not only a negative pregnancy test, but also with a cyst rupturing. My husband and I took this as a sign from God, telling us (me) to slow down! We decided to go see a counsellor, to help me get to a better place emotionally. I can honestly say that God used my husband, the counselling, as well as a great ministry called GEMS Girls’ Clubs’ to bring me to a place of peace. This was our first year.

Our second and third year consisted of us making a point of enjoying the life that God gave us. We did get our doctor to run a few tests, but there was nothing wrong with us. ‘Unexplained Infertility.’ That moment was a difficult one for me, as now there was nothing to fix. We had to wait, to have patience that God knew better than we did. We did do a few cycles of hormones, just low doses. Even at low doses, the side effects were pretty harsh. The roller coaster of emotions, and the migranes were the worst. But we didn’t get any positive results. There was a reason that God was not giving us children at this time. Thankfully, He did give us the peace to be ok with His decisions.

In September 2014, my husband and I felt called to make the move to Edmonton, and we made the move in November. It was very bittersweet, as Hearts of Hope was just starting up, and my entire family lived in the Fraser Valley, as well as my husband’s mom and many good friends. But we both felt a peace once we made the decision to move, and that can only come from God. I can honestly say that had God given us children earlier, I don’t know if I could have made that move, away from family.

We had been in Edmonton for four months, and I truly believed that God moved us there for a reason. Part of getting settled in Edmonton is finding a new family doctor. I did manage to get into see one, and she referred me to an ob-gyn who had her own practice, but also worked at the fertility clinic. As the wait to get into the fertility clinic was a least a year, it was quite a relief to get a call confirming an appointment with this doctor only a few short weeks later. At the same time, I also started something new and different for me. I started getting acupuncture treatments. I’d been told that, according to traditional Chinese medicine, I was a textbook case of infertility, and she could “fix” the problem. Of course, nothing happens without the hand of God involved, so we were praying that He would bless the efforts being made with acupuncture. I saw her for two treatments while waiting to get into the new ob-gyn.

When I did get in to see the ob-gyn, she gave us the news that since nothing had happened at all in four years, if we wanted to get pregnant, our best bet was to try IVF. We made the decision that day that if we were going to spend that kind of money, we would prefer to go the adoption route. As we had had the adoption discussion in the past, it wasn’t a big step for us to make that decision and to start on that journey. I started researching adoption agencies, looked in the paperwork involved, etc. But it seems that wasn’t the route God wanted for us either, as 13 days after getting the news from my OB-GYN, I got a positive pregnancy test! After four long years, we were finally pregnant! And we are so blessed to report that we now have a beautiful little girl!

One of the reasons I thought God brought us to Edmonton was to start a support group here as well. Of course, getting pregnant makes it really hard to start up a group like this. So I was thinking after the baby was born, maybe then would be a good time to start a group. But once again, God seems to have different plans. God brought us back to the Fraser Valley again! Aside from being close to family and friends, I am so excited to again be a part of the work that God is doing through Hearts of Hope!

When we were trying to conceive again, the emotions, the turmoil, the pressure all came back to me, even stronger than before – which was a shock to me. I thought all that was behind me, but I think once you have been infertile, those emotions never go away completely. The doctor said because I randomly conceived the first time, I was still considered ‘infertile’ even though I’ve had a child. Hearts of Hope was a place of tremendous support for me in struggling with secondary infertility. Randomly again, after doing more acupuncture, we discovered we were expecting again – and now have a handsome little boy.

I hope when you read my story, it’s not difficult to read. I know from experience that reading about someone else getting pregnant can be incredibly hard, hurtful, seem unfair. But I hope you have hope after reading this. Everyone’s circumstances are different – but it can happen for YOU. I pray constantly that you will receive your good news soon.

If you would like to get in touch with me, please email me at theresa@heartsofhopesupportgroup.ca or send us a message through our website or our Facebook page! I would love to hear from you, to listen to your story, and help any way that I can!

~Theresa

Carrie Plantinga

I’m Carrie Plantinga, and this is a brief version of our story.

17 weeks into my second pregnancy I had a miscarriage. This was a very difficult pregnancy from the beginning and my husband and I didn’t anticipate going through pregnancy loss. A lot of events happened that day, but now looking back I can see the hand of God in it. It’s been a hard road of grief. My husband and I came to the realization that I should be a stay at home mom for our surviving child. On November 20th, I finally got the strength to call my doctor, and we found out we had a girl.

Gloria Joy: Gloria – She is in Glory with God and Joy – It brings us great Joy to know we will meet her in Heaven.

When I first heard about Hearts of Hope, I dismissed it and didn’t think a support group was for me. Coming up to the one year anniversary of my loss I was finding it very difficult to connect with people and “moving on”, as was regularly suggested. A friend had approached me and said she recognized that I was deeply hurting and maybe going to this group would be help me meeting with other women who understood my pain.

Not long after I started attending the meetings, someone I am close to lost their baby on his due date, 3 days before the one year anniversary of our loss. It shook me hard as I re-lived a lot of my own pain all over again. A few weeks later in church we were doing the story of Esther and the verse that jumped out was Esther 4:14 “And who knows but that you have come to such a time as this”.

When Theresa asked for help in leading the group, I spent some time and prayer, and as time went on I realized God was calling me to help other women.

Since coming and being a part of Hearts of Hope and sharing my journey with my miscarriage

and pregnancy after loss, it’s brought relief, healing and closure into my life. It’s a relief to know I’m not alone and things I’m feeling and experiencing have been felt by other women too, who have gone through a pregnancy loss. Healing for my suffering that even though my dreams are now broken, I’m going be ok. Which brings me to the last thing is closure; a peace has come into my life for my grief that I know can live life and rejoice in Him in strengthens me.

As an organizer of this group it’s been very uplifting watching God at work in the lives of women who attend the meetings as they all support each other through prayers, words of encouragement and love.

If you have any questions or would like to meet me for coffee, please feel free to connect with me through email (carrie@heartsofhopesupportgroup.ca), this website or through our Facebook page.

Carrie

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