When Empty Arms Become a Heavy Burden: Encouragement for Couples Facing Infertility by Sandra Glahn & William Cutrer, MD

Posted on January 24, 2024

I initially read When Empty Arms Become a Heavy Burden: Encouragement for Couples Facing Infertility to enhance my knowledge of infertility as I support people navigating through it. I was pleasantly surprised by Glahn’s open honesty regarding her own experiences and insights and Dr. Cutrer’s compassionate contribution from his medical perspective. In this invaluable guide, Glahn and Cutrer emerge as a reliable source for couples navigating the challenging infertility journey from a biblical perspective. With millions of Americans grappling with fertility issues, the authors address, in a concise way, not only the medical aspects but also the emotional and spiritual challenges that often accompany this challenging path.

What sets this book apart is the discussion of the spiritual struggles individuals and couples may encounter during this trying time. The authors also tackle topics such as “Is infertility a punishment from God,” “Why is God allowing me to suffer, and “What does the bible say about infertility?” My favorite chapter was What Do We Do with Our Anger, in which Glahn discusses the importance of expressing feelings of anger and grief to God through lament. She states, “We need to let our emotions take us to the Psalms, where we pray the time-tested prayers that move us from lament to praise” (p. 111).

Each chapter concludes with thought-provoking questions encouraging further reflection and discussion, such as “What, for you, is the hardest part about not having children?” While the book is a bit older (2010), the case histories and personal testimonies add a human touch, making the factual information relatable and timeless. One hindrance for me is the chapter on the grieving process set forth by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kesler. We at Reproductive Loss Network, and many people today, observe the grieving process as an individual journey rather than experienced in stages as one time observed. RLN also offers grief training using a biblical grieving model.

In summary, Glahn and Cutrer’s book explores a wide range of infertility topics from medical, biblical, and personal perspectives. It is a must-read for couples seeking guidance and understanding in pursuing parenthood and a profitable resource for those desiring to help those impacted.

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About the Author

Tricia Lewis is a national and international grief care educator and co-founder of the Reproductive Loss Network. Tricia had the privilege of spending many years as an executive director for a pregnancy clinic in Northern California. She now provides biblical grief education to individuals and groups, especially in pregnancy help organizations. Tricia holds a Ph.D. in Counseling and Psychology with concentrations in trauma, crisis, and grief. Tricia resides in Nashville but takes great pleasure cultivating enduring relationships with individuals, regardless of location. She finds joy in educating, empowering, and inspiring others to contribute to their communities through practical and compassionate care.

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