By JEFFARAH GIBSON
Tribune Features Writer
For many years, author and church ministry leader Dr LaTazia “Doctor Tazz” Stuart suffered silently with the secret of infertility and miscarriages, feeling ashamed and embarrassed even after finally having children.
Miscarriages, infertility and infant loss are rarely spoken about in the public and are emotionally difficult to discuss.
Every year, Bahamian families experience miscarriages, stillbirths or the death of an infant. But it is such a painful subject to address, that the conversation about how family, friends and the community at large can help is never had.
“Doctor Tazz”, as she is known, describes herself as Christian wife and mother of three. She is also a prominent speaker and active member of the Altamonte Springs Seventh-day Adventist Church in Florida.
She found the courage to break her silence and chronicle her journey of pregnancy, infertility and infant loss in a new book called “The Secrets of Faith INfertility: An Untold Journey of Faith, Fertility, and Favor”.
“I was suffering silently and in isolation with the secret of infertility and miscarriages for many years and still not acknowledging it even after having my kids,” she told Tribune Health.
“I recognised that I was captive to the shame and embarrassment of this taboo issue. During that season, God kept tugging on me to write my story, but I ignored His calling to do so because it was ‘my secret’, ‘my business’, and I was fearful of the more shame and embarrassment I would feel in placing my business in the streets. It was as if a small voice was saying, ‘Girl, you can’t put all your business out there. People don’t need to know all of that.’ But again, God kept tugging on me, telling me that it may be my life, but God wrote the story on the pages of my life, and He needed me to share it.”
Reluctantly, Doctor Tazz finally decided to open up about an ordeal she knows so many women battle with. In doing so, she hopes she can help them.
“I never imagined that this would be my struggle, much less ever be able to share it with anyone, and definitely not write a book about it. However, I accepted God’s tugging on me that it was not fair for me to let others experience the same struggles I did in isolation and remain in the shadows of infertility and miscarriages without hope,” she said.
Doctor Tazz and her husband tried to conceive while she was in her 20s and well into her early 30s, without success.
“After many years of unsuccessfully trying to have kids, I felt forgotten by God. Everyone was pregnant or having kids except me. And then, to finally reach the point where I became very visibly pregnant and then lost my babies, I was left repeatedly feeling as if God had forgotten me. However, in my book, chapter seven, titled ‘God, Did You Forget Me?’ I vividly described how God confirmed for me that I was not forgotten, which I now use to encourage others,” she said.
“A highlight in my book is around a crazy mission that God sent me on to buy baby blankets. It’s wild how it all happened and how God manifested His promise through the direction I was given. In chapter 10, titled ‘Buy Baby Blankets’, there is incredible detail reflecting how God works in mysterious ways when we are obedient to His direction.”
Writing has helped her to face the shame and embarrassment she said she was living with unnecessarily for so many years.
“It allowed me to process why these feelings existed. Writing helped me to acknowledge the need to be intentional in addressing those feelings for myself and others. It also allowed me to realise I no longer wanted to live in the shadows of infertility, nor did I want others to experience the isolation of living with infertility and miscarriages secretly. Through writing from a vulnerable place, I began to experience healing in many ways, including extinguishing the shame I felt internally for something I did not do and could control,” she said.
“There was a season in my life when I constantly questioned whether my life aligned with God’s will. I always wanted to do God’s will and struggled with whether my fertility choices aligned with His will and what the perceptions of others of me would look like. A series of events transpired in my life during that season and even afterward, as described in my book. Through those events, and the recent miscarriage of a close relative due to fibroids, I recognised I needed to release the burden of secrecy, extinguish the shame I held, and carry out God’s assignment of completing this book.”
The book has been five years in the making, and Doctor Tazz refocused all of her energy on finishing it during the past year.
“Infertility and miscarriage for too long have been a taboo topic that has left many women and couples suffering in silence and isolation without hope. I desire this book to activate its readers to change the taboo narrative and increase awareness of this health and societal issue as more individuals are diagnosed. I want readers to have more open dialogue in their churches and communities to recognize this as a prevalent medical condition like any other diagnosis. Understanding that both women and men experience the effects of infertility will hopefully encourage couples to share their needs and explore all their options for having a family without fear or embarrassment,” she said.
“I want my readers experiencing infertility or other life challenges to know that God has not forgotten you. He has our lives engraved on the palms of His hands and desires us to experience his joy in the process.”
Doctor Tazz is a speaker, author, university dean, consultant, children’s ministries leader, and mentor to young business leaders. Despite wearing many hats, her main passion is to serve God with all her heart through her service to others. Doctor Tazz, who is of Bahamian descent, currently resides in Central Florida with her husband and kids.
Her new book is available at the Logos Bookstore, the Oasis Bookstore and Café, the Myles E Munroe Diplomat Centre, and at the BlackFood Bookstore & Culture Shop. It is also available for purchase on Amazon.