Faith-based fertility support group Moms in the Making to begin in Cape Girardeau – Southeast Missourian

Danielle Stoverink, left, stands with Melissa Schremp, middle, and Stephanie Hodges at the 2019 Moms in the Making conference in Dallas.

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A new faith-based fertility support group will begin meeting in Cape Girardeau later this month. The group, led by 34-year-old Cape resident Stephanie Hodges, is a local group of a nationwide, not-for-profit organization, Moms in the Making.

Stephanie and her husband, Hoss, have been trying, without success, to get pregnant for more than four years. They began trying about a year after they were married, Stephanie said, and have been told by doctors theirs is a case of unexplained infertility.

The first year and a half of trying to get pregnant took a toll on Stephanie, and she said she was in an emotionally bad place.

I was experiencing those feelings of jealousy or bitterness, Stephanie recalled about seeing other women become pregnant.

But after a friend in Perryville, Missouri, told her about Moms in the Making, her perspective changed. Now, Stephanie would tell you she is quite thankful for the journey on which infertility has led her.

Stephanie Hodges, left, sits with Danielle Stoverink, middle, and Melissa Schremp at the 2019 Moms in the Making conference in Dallas.

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I found my faith in this journey. Ive always been a Christian, but I guess I didnt know exactly what that meant, she said. But Ive definitely grown; I actually have an intimate relationship with the Lord because of this whole journey.

Moms in the Making was founded in 2013 by Caroline Harries with six women at her home in Dallas. Today, there are more than 41 in-person groups across 24 states and Canada, as well as four virtual groups, including a Spanish-speaking group.

As one might guess from the name, Moms in the Making groups are for women going through infertility or who wish to become mothers. Women are welcomed to the group anywhere along their journey to motherhood, including those experiencing baby loss or miscarriage, secondary infertility, foster care, adoption, medical treatments or a more natural route, according to http://www.momsinthemakinggroup.com.

Moms in the Making holds national conferences, usually held at a church outside of Dallas, and Stephanie who has been to several of the annual conferences said there are typically a couple hundred women in attendance.

Stephanie said she had been attending a Moms in the Making group in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, when she was encouraged by fellow group members to lead a group in Cape Girardeau. As of Monday afternoon, she had already heard from about 10 women who have shown interest in attending.

Women are pictured at the 2019 Moms in the Making conference in Dallas.

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Through Moms in the Making, Stephanie said she has been connected with infertility specialists she may otherwise not have known about.

Stephanie said she wants to help get the word out about her group so women experiencing infertility can find similar resources as she did, and so they know they arent alone.

This group has helped me and its literally helped every girl ... who has come, Stephanie said. And thats how you help each other just by realizing youre not alone, youre not the only one this is happening to.

And, they truly arent alone; infertility affects millions of women in the United States.

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Out of every 100 couples, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports about 12 to 13 have trouble becoming pregnant.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the general fertility rate for the United States in 2018 was 59.1 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44. The rate marks a record low for the nation, as reported by NCHS in its National Vital Statistics Reports in November.

And its not a problem just among women, either. The HHS states about one-third of infertility cases are the result of infertility problems in men, and another one-third by infertility problems with women. The other cases are caused by a mixture of issues among men and women or by problems that cannot be determined, according to hhs.gov.

Among women aged 15 to 44 in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports about 12% have difficulty becoming or staying pregnant. That number is closer to 6% for married women of the same age group, according to the CDC.

And for women and men alike, the biological clock is ticking.

According to HHS, women age 30 or older are less likely to become pregnant. At age 40, the likelihood of a woman getting pregnant drops significantly. For men, fertility problems are more common past age 40.

A lot is your mind. You start thinking negatively or you start thinking, This will never happen. Ill never get pregnant, or Ill never have a baby, Stephanie said. But I totally dont even think like that anymore. And if I can help one person with that, I would love that. Thats what I would love to do.

The Cape Girardeau-based group is free and will meet, beginning Jan. 21, every first and third Tuesday of the month at the Hodges residence. Stephanie said the groups often follow materials by Harries, and meetings will typically last from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Stephanie said she can be reached for more information at stephaniehodges@momsinthemakinggroup.com or by private message on Facebook (search for Stephanie Hodges).

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Faith-based fertility support group Moms in the Making to begin in Cape Girardeau - Southeast Missourian

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