Light in the Dark: Support Group Empowering Kentucky Women on Their Infertility Journey
According to the World Health Organization, “around 17.5% of the adult population- roughly 1 in 6 worldwide- experiences infertility.” These numbers do not show significant differences in parts of the world, race, or income level which proves that infertility is an issue that can touch anyone's life. I know quite a few mothers who have struggled to become pregnant. They powered through various medical treatments, navigated the adoption process, or chose surrogacy. All of these avenues are difficult in various ways, be it emotional or physical, however, I see their joy now that they have come out on the other side of the journey with beautiful children.
That is the hope that the organizers of the new support group, Light in the Dark, wish to bring to local mothers. My friend Jackie Smith has advocated for families by sharing her own story. Because of this, she was asked by Owensboro Christian Church's pastor, Scott Kenworthy, to offer a prayer to those yearning to become mothers for their Mother's Day service. Days later, Tricia Ahart, OCC Connections Team Leader came to her with the desire to organize a community support group. Jackie shared, "This is something that had been on my heart for a long time, but I never really knew where to start. When Tricia approached me and offered the space, I felt like it was God’s way of saying that it’s the right time." She then reached out to Brooke Arnold, Becca Ruark, and Sarah Kenworthy to help get it started as they all have their own unique stories that can help others on their journeys to parenthood.
Jackie put it beautifully, "Our mission is to build a community that can love on and support each other no matter where they are on their journey. It will be an informal format, so come as you are and share at your own pace. Think of it as getting coffee with a friend and checking in on each other. We hope these women build a community where they eventually build friendships outside the meetings. How wonderful to connect women on similar paths that they may have never met. I know having other people understand is absolutely crucial to navigating the struggles of family building."
I asked Jackie what advice she has for others struggling with infertility who may be reading this. She said "Advocate for yourself. You know you best! Ask lots of questions to your doctors, adoption agencies, etc etc. They are amazing experts in their fields, but it’s not possible for them to know everything about your body or goals. Don’t be afraid to do research of your own. Also, try your best to find joy in other people's good news (i.e. birth announcements, gender reveals, placements). Use it as hope instead of defeat. One day that will likely be you and you will want to celebrate as well! And, of course, join our support community for lots of love as you navigate your path to parenthood."
I hope that if you are someone who could find inspiration from a community like this, you will join these wonderful women on the first Thursdays of the month. They will meet starting August 3rd at 6:30 pm at Owensboro Christian Church (Entrance A.) You do not have to be a member of OCC to join as this is a group open to ALL women seeking to find light in the dark.