Infertility—a long and quiet war...
Matt and Cheri Appling couldn’t get pregnant. One minus sign after another cast them into a long season of trying, failing, waiting, and hoping—into the wilderness where faith grew tired before it got stronger. And in that wilderness they wrote this book.
A blend of story, reflection, and lament, Plus or Minus is the chronicle of three couples warring with infertility. It depicts life, faith, and love amidst the ebb and flow of gain and loss. Amidst empty nurseries and quiet hallways, another baby shower for someone else.
As you journey with the Applings and their friends, you will learn to cope when dreams and reality collide. You will learn to cling to God’s real promises even as you long for gifts he may not give. You will see marriage in sickness and in health and witness strength in weakness. You will see what it means to live fruitfully amidst barrenness and to be thankful in every season.
This book provides solace for those battling infertility and a window into their pain for those who aren’t. Poetic and raw, Plus or Minus is a portrait of faith in the trenches of infertility.
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About the Author
MATT AND CHERI APPLING live and work in Kansas City, Missouri. Cheri (DVM) is a veterinarian while Matt (M.Div) writes, mentors and teaches. He has been featured by numerous publications and radio programs and is the author of Life After Art: What You Forgot About Life and Faith Since You Left the Art Room, released by Moody Publishers. Connect with Matt at www.MattAppling.com.
Table of Contents
1: The Rabbit Hole
Three Couples Tumble into the World of Infertility
2: Welcome to the Club
The Modern World of Infertility, Six Thousand Years in the Making
3: What to Expect When Everyone Else is Expecting
How Modern Parenting Culture Affects Infertile Couples
4: The Sanctity of Life
Rebuilding Faith in a God Who is Real (But Does Not Always Seem That Way)
5: With Friends Like These
Maintaining Relationships with Family, Friends, and the Peanut Gallery
6: Faith and Medicine
Searching for the Fine Line...and Then Erasing It
7: Babies are Not Marriage Counselors
Healing Marriages Stressed Out by Infertility
8: Plus or Minus
Does "Minus" Always Mean Negative?
Three Stories That Do Not End But Pause Momentarily
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The desire to have children is a natural biological drive. Matt and Cheri Appling have written honestly about their own and other people’s experiences with infertility. Their latest book Plus or Minus will make you laugh, cry and be inspired about the journey towards having children. If you are experiencing infertility or considering having children, I want to wish you all the best and that you have a happily ever after fairy tale ending.
Matt and Cheri Appling take us on a very intimate emotional roller coaster with many disappointments but also a few unexpected and encouraging victories. The ride is shared by two other couples who are also introduced to the ‘club’ or sub-culture of infertility. Between these three pairs of Christian couples the reader gets the privilege of experiencing the pains, trials, patient (and sometimes not-so patient) waiting that comes before varying degrees of victory in each relationship. As they find one another questioning their commitment to their plans, marriages, beliefs and their faith in God, we found it very difficult to remain emotionally detached as outside observers, but rather found ourselves wrestling with the same questions and other pains that were brought to the surface by Matt and Cheri’s candidness. Very highly recommended for any couple struggling with infertility or friends and family of those who are.
Ssshhhh. Let's Talk About Infertility Plus or Minus is the kind of resource I wish I'd have read during my wife and I's own struggles with infertility and should be required reading for everyone. It's wrote by Matt and Cheri Appling, but also includes the story of two other couples on different infertility journeys. This book does a fantastic job of covering all the things you might encounter if you were to ever struggle with infertility. You can tell the authors did their homework as they present a history of infertility throughout history as well as how different generations were taught to view families. They also tackle issues like how to keep your marriage healthy through such a traumatic experience, the type of comments or questions you'll likely hear from others who don't realize they're being hurtful, how to show those same people grace and educate them on the issue, and keeping your faith despite the struggle. They do a great job of exposing the myths that we have come to believe about what God has promised us and what He doesn't. This is not just another self-help book where there's always a happy ever after beyond the rainbow. It's a book on how to survive infertility as well as what happens if we never have a baby. The couples wrote the story while going through their struggles to avoid putting a happy spin on things. Some of them got babies, some did not. What you get in this book is a real world example. This book is obviously told with a spiritual perspective as all the couples are believers. They are open about this in the beginning of the book, but I agree with them that the information in this book can be a resource to anyone regardless of whether they share the same beliefs as the authors or not. Please don't pass on this book because of the faith elements. You won't find better information out there. The information is on point and easy to read. As I've already said, I think everyone should be required to read this. Even if you have a house filled with kids, you likely to encounter someone who is struggling with this issue, whether they tell you or not. * I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This book isn't just for those facing infertility but for all of us. I loved Matt's first book (Like After Art), enough to read this book too—even though I didn't think I was particularly interested in the topic. After all, I have three kids, all of whom were conceived without a struggle (and who now range in age from 14 to 21). Most of my friends are past the stage of life when they're trying to conceive. I basically just read it because I was curious how it would compare to his other book. And I got a huge surprise, because I loved it. I was drawn in to the stories of all three couples. I realized I was excited every time I got to pick it back up, eager to see what else they would say and do. Because while this does everything it's supposed to do—offers encouragement and emotional support for those who are struggling with infertility (and for those who love them)—it's so much bigger than that. It's about life and faith, about learning which promises in the Bible are for you and learning how to trust. It's about not letting your happiness rest in an answer you want, but about finding contentment and faith that aren't dependent on getting the answer YOU want but instead coming to peace with resting in HIS answer. All of the lessons apply to all of us who are seeking to live a life of faith. And as a bonus, it opened my eyes to the pain and stigmas faced by so many people, providing insight as well into a dear friend's earlier struggles and preparing me to be a better friend moving forward. You won't be disappointed in this book.
Plus or Minus by Matt and Cheri Appling is a God centered look into the "infertility club". The club no one wants to be a part of and the club my husband and I were members of for nearly 8 years. Plus or Minus is a straightforward, yet sensitive resource for those in the club or for those on the outside, looking in. This book is an enlightening and encouraging view into the areas we struggled with daily and the isolation we felt. I recommend this book to anyone who is experiencing infertility and for anyone who knows someone who is. Thank you Matt and Cheri for sharing your heart.
I just started delving into this book, but I have high hopes. My husband and I have been trying for several years. We have read all the literature, tried all the treatments. This book doesn't make any false promises about curing infertility. It's about figuring out how to have a happy, fulfilling marriage, despite all the hardship of infertility. It's as much a marriage book as a fertility book.