Theresa Heijster and her husband were struggling to grow their family when she decided to start a support group for women dealing with similar issues of infertility and pregnancy loss. Hearts of Hope ministry has grown from that first meeting of three women in 2014 into a vibrant ministry supported by Living Hope Christian Reformed Church in Abbotsford, B.C.
“Hearts of Hope started as a little seed God planted in my mind when my husband and I were in our first year of trying to grow our family,” Theresa explained. “I was lonely, but I knew of several other people who were struggling with similar challenges, so why not form a faith based group to support each other, from a biblical perspective? And this is how God changed my life, and where Hearts of Hope started.”
Carrie Plantinga volunteers as a leader with Hearts of Hope. “When I first heard about Hearts of Hope, I dismissed it and didn’t think a support group was for me,” she said. “But joining Hearts of Hope and sharing my journey with my miscarriage and pregnancy after loss has brought relief, healing, and closure into my life.”
The group meets monthly for coffee and conversation in a casual and relaxed setting. They are also reading Jennifer Saake’s book Hannah’s Hope, in which the author shares her experiences with many of the same struggles.
Heijster and Plantinga recently organized an event called Blossoms for Babies, offering women struggling with infertility issues the opportunity to lay flowers at the cross to represent the babies they hope for or the babies they have lost because of miscarriage. However, the event did not have the response they were hoping for.
“Both infertility and pregnancy loss are very personal to go through, and coming to an event where they would be vulnerable with strangers around can be scary,” Carrie explained. “Attending an event like this makes your journey that much more real and public.”
They do hope the event raised awareness of Hearts of Hope in their community so that they can reach out to even more women through this ministry.