Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Time for that CD1 song

"Love will hold us together" - "This is the first day of the rest of your life..."

Today is actually CD2. Yesterday we were visiting my parents and travelling, so no time to post.

I kind of knew this cycle was a bust before it began. We had a guest staying during the peak time of my cycle, sleeping on the couch right outside our bedroom. That’s probably enough explanation!

Today is also our 2nd anniversary. I feel surprisingly peaceful, considering the disappointment of feeling cramps on our anniversary when I’d rather feel elation at telling my husband, “Happy anniversary…you’re a dad!” Maybe next year?

To celebrate, we’re making a nice steak dinner tonight, and opening a bottle of wine. I told him last night, “If I can’t have a baby on my anniversary, you better believe I’m having wine!!” We're going to watch our wedding DVD. I'll probably cry, as I always do.

I guess the 2nd anniversary traditional gift is cotton, or so my mom says. She was so generous and bought us fabric to make matching pillows for our living room couches. (She’s sewing them too!) 

Thinking about CD1 yesterday, the thought came into my mind: “I guess Jesus isn’t done teaching us what we need to learn in this valley of tears.” That was comforting.

Today I am determined to celebrate our anniversary and not lament our childlessness! Child or not, I still love Mr. M with all my heart. I am so grateful to be his wife and get to see him up close and personal day in and day out. I rejoice in the gift of him today!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

These verses spoke to my heart

This was the first reading from yesterday, from the book of Sirach (which I am thinking I need to read!!)

As I heard it in mass yesterday, it was one of those moments when I thought that this passage was just for me. I felt God whispering, "I'm here. I see you. I love you. I hear you. I'm with you."

My son, when you come to serve the LORD,
stand in justice and fear,
prepare yourself for trials.
Be sincere of heart and steadfast,
incline your ear and receive the word of understanding,
undisturbed in time of adversity.
Wait on God, with patience, cling to him, forsake him not;
thus will you be wise in all your ways.
Accept whatever befalls you,
when sorrowful, be steadfast,
and in crushing misfortune be patient;
For in fire gold and silver are tested,
and worthy people in the crucible of humiliation.

Trust God and God will help you;
trust in him, and he will direct your way;
keep his fear and grow old therein.

You who fear the LORD, wait for his mercy,
turn not away lest you fall.
You who fear the LORD, trust him,
and your reward will not be lost.

You who fear the LORD, hope for good things,
for lasting joy and mercy.
You who fear the LORD, love him,
and your hearts will be enlightened.
Study the generations long past and understand;
has anyone hoped in the LORD and been disappointed?

Has anyone persevered in his commandments and been forsaken?
has anyone called upon him and been rebuffed?
Compassionate and merciful is the LORD;
he forgives sins, he saves in time of trouble
and he is a protector to all who seek him in truth.

- Sirach 2:1-11

(I bolded the parts I like the best.)

I'm not saying I fit in the category of "worthy people," but I love the image of gold and silver tested in fire...that gives me a lot of comfort in this "crucible of humiliation," that my soul is being purified and (hopefully) becoming more radiant.

And I love the line, "Study the generations long past..." I think of the saints, and how many trials they went through, and how God is always faithful even when things seem desolate. If it's hard to believe that in the moment (and it often is), then I can look at the saints and see their witness of hope.

I might need to memorize some of this passage and recite it when things get tough...


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

feeling weary, feeling stagnant

Three pregnancy announcements in a week. One last Monday, one on Friday, and one yesterday. All three good friends that of course we will have contact with in the months to come. For the first two women, it’s their second child (their firsts were born the summer we got married, 2011). For the third, it’s her first child, and they got married this past summer (after us).

I woke up at 3:30 this morning, my mind racing. I just feel weary. My heart feels weary. My brain feels weary, trying to find an answer as to why we haven’t been blessed with a child. Almost two years in, and we have no diagnosis. No rational reason as to why we haven’t conceived.

It’s like this: when it’s just me and Mr. M, or when we’re hanging out with people without kids, I can almost think our situation is normal. We have a good life! We have a good marriage, great friends, a lot going right. But then when I get pregnancy announcements, or I spend a chunk of time with our friends who have kids, it’s like the illusion is shattered. No, it’s not normal to try to get pregnant for 22 months with no success. Heck, doesn’t Creighton say that beyond 6 months of “focused fertility” is abnormal? And when that thought occurs to me, usually in a jarring way after forgetting about it for a while, it’s so hard to not feel stagnant, like we’re in a river where everyone is floating past on their happy rafts, having a picnic, while we’re clutching driftwood and swirling around and around in a whirlpool, going absolutely nowhere.

I know the truth, the reality, is that Jesus is right beside us. That our marriage is fruitful, just in less obvious ways than other people’s. That we’re growing in faith, hope, and love and are certainly not stagnant. But man is it hard to really believe this!

Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.


Monday, May 20, 2013

Things are usually not quite like they seem

A short vignette, to file in the folder labeled "Encounters that made me grow in humility."

I wrote last week about being frustrated that our new next-plot neighbors in our community garden have a newborn that they bring to the garden and talk about a lot. Gardening is a huge stress reliever for me, and something that helps me fulfill my desire to be nurturing. So I was feeling a little put out, in a "really, God?" sort of way that even my garden couldn't be a baby-free zone.

Well, after I wrote that, I went to the garden, and when I saw that my neighbors were there, with their newborn, I grumbled inside and resolved to ignore them as much as possible and just concentrate on my plants. (I know, horrible. I'm just being honest.)

Then the wife gardener asks me whether such and such a pile of leaf mulch is fair game to use. I say I don't know. Then she adds, "You know, weeding has been a challenge for us so far. We have a newborn, you know..." [me, inside: grumble grumble of course I know you have a newborn! You only mention it every time I see you....] But she goes on, "And I was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, actually while I was pregnant. I'm still undergoing chemo, and it's just hard to get here enough to weed."


I had no idea. And felt really ashamed. And have made a commitment to pray for her. Because her baby is something of a miracle baby, right? No wonder she talks about him all the time. He must be the bright spot in her day, the thing that is getting her through chemo...

Score 1 for the Holy Spirit, leading me to greater humility, teaching me to not judge so quickly but to have an open, compassionate heart. There's always more going on in someone's life than what's visible on the surface. (Why is that such a hard lesson to learn?)


Friday, May 17, 2013

7 quick takes: things that give me hope

It's been a long week! Starting with a funeral on Monday, being crazy busy at work because of a major meeting next month, and being really, really sad over a blog friend's disappointing news =( ... the weekend can't come soon enough!

So I thought it would be uplifting to write about a few things that give me hope. Things I think about when things feel bleak.

1. GK Chesterton

I'm a huge fan of his work. Orthodoxy is my favorite - I've read that at least 5 times, and there's now more underlined than not-underlined text! The man was a genius, and a gift to the Church. But did you know that he and his wife Frances were childless? That really gets me when I think about it. It's so clear from his writings that he loved children. Really, he has a theology of childlikeness that is so beautiful and compelling. For example:

“Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.” (from Orthodoxy)

How beautiful is that?!? "the eternal appetite of infancy"... To think of him and his wife never having kids breaks me heart. So what's hopeful about it? Well, for one thing, his cause for canonization is open! (Read this article - maybe there's something more recent too?) I for one would be so inspired to have such a saint to pray to, someone who was so full of joy and lived out his marriage vocation, even though they were never blessed with children. Because it seems (if I'm not mistaken) that most saints who struggled with infertility eventually got pregnant: Hannah, Sarah, and Anne, for starters. It would be great to have someone who knew the pain of infertility throughout his whole life and yet is a saint! How beautiful would that be? And how inspiring for us in the IF trenches.

2. Friends, new and old

New friends: It has been such a joy to meet people over the last year who are going through the same struggle with infertility that we are! I've been able to meet some of you in person - and hopefully meet others soon - but even to become friends online, it's wonderful. New friends make life so interesting and fresh!

Old friends: I have a friend visiting this weekend who I've known since freshman year of college. As I get older (oh, sounds so nostalgic!) I realize ever more clearly how precious these "old" friendships are. Thinking about the memories we have, the conversations we've shared, the live we've experienced together...and then how beautiful it is to meet again and pick up like no time has passed. Old friends are so dear and special!

3. Mr. M

the birthday breakfast he made for me this year

4. Mr. M

the birthday lunch he made for me (how healthy!)

5. Mr. M

the "devilled eggs" he and my mom designed for Easter

6. Mr. M

scene from our winter getaway, Feb 2013

7. Mr. M

Ha ha - yes, I'm short on time today =) But it's true! I could list him as reason one to one million as to why I have hope! He's my best friend, my dearest companion, my "kindred spirit" =) He is very sanguine, meaning that he's talkative and cheerful and always has a new idea up his sleeve. His latest idea: he wants us to write a novel together! I kid you not. I came home from work yesterday and he was all excited to tell me about the plot of our novel, and have me read the 1st chapter!!! He says, "I just want to change the culture...I don't care about the money." (I love how hopeful he is...in his mind, there is no reason why we won't write and publish the next best-selling novel!)

I'm so happy to be with someone who is so full of life, who balances a lot of my quirks, who has said "yes" to me forever. Mr. M always gives me reason to hope! And as I've read another blogger say (can't remember who - sorry!) if I'm going to have to live this journey of infertility, there's no one I could think of better to spend my life with!

All right, I'm feeling more hopeful already =)

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, May 16, 2013

"Infertility is a full-time job"

I remember reading that statement on the Yahoo Catholic Infertility group, and thinking, “Spot on.”

It's not that I obsess over our childlessness, dwell on it, mull it over in my head constantly. It's rather that it's so hard – probably impossible – to escape consistent reminders of our infertility. “Triggers,” I guess you could say. Unless I want to cut off all friendship with women below age 50...unless I want to lock and double-lock our doors and hole myself up inside...there's no way to avoid daily, hourly reminders of my lack.

In a phone conversation with a pregnant friend, it's an effort of will to not think of her happily patting her belly while we talk...

In the choir, for the second year in a row, I sit next to a pregnant woman (a different woman than last year). It's an effort of will to focus on Jesus during mass, look past her bulging belly, and not grimace when she says, “Oh! The baby's moving!”...

When I walk past the park and see all the moms pushing their kids on the swings, it's an effort of will to not feel sad and left out...

When a coworker casually tells me about her sister's pregnancy, it's an effort of will to give the correct congratulatory response and ask the right questions...

When Mother's Day ads are on practically every website I visit an entire month before Mother's Day, it's an effort of will to say a prayer for my own mother and not feel sad...

In our community garden, our new next-plot neighbors have a newborn that they bring to the garden. It's an effort of will not to run away when they talk with other gardeners about how “kids are so great! Even though they're a lot of work...Sleep? What's that? Ha ha” and on and on...Please let me garden in peace...

Every month, when the tell-tale cramps arrive on the day they always do, it's an effort of will to still get up, get dressed, go to work, be pleasant, not cry, love my husband, smile at people...

On the days when I see irregular bleeding, it's an effort of will to not curse my body for its reproductive ineptness...

When I'm helping a friend move and have to pack up baby-sized spoons and colorful toys and board books, it's an effort of will to offer up my longing for such things, and the child that goes with them, for my friends and what they need...

When I overhear two friends talk about a playdate to a park while I was inside at my computer in professional dress, it's an effort of will to thank God for my job...

I could go on.

All these “efforts of will” get exhausting! The amount of self-control it takes to just keep going, to “chin up” and not sob at work...to not dominate every conversation with the perpetual ache in my heart...to accept again, and again, and again, and again our current childlessness...to offer up all these pains and pricks to God for the sake of those who suffer...it's tiring!

How many more years until menopause?

The closest I've ever come to experiencing such a daily – hourly – mortification of desire was probably a bad breakup I went through in college. That was no walk in the park. But one big difference is that at least that heartache had directionality. I knew it was going to get better, get easier. Once things were finally over, they were over. The only way was up. It hurt, for sure, but closure meant that healing could come.

Closure is exactly what I don't have, and realistically speaking, won't have for another 15-20 years. (What's that times 12?) Not knowing how much longer I'll need to exert continual “efforts of will” to offer up my suffering and not collapse underneath it...that's scary to me. Infertility is one full-time job I would like to quit right now!!!!

Jesus, I need you.

Jesus, I trust in you.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

"Infertility & Spiritual Surrender"

I came across this article today and loved this paragraph:

"I thought I had a strong faith, but I was wrong. Sure, I’ve trusted in God, but it wasn’t until this latest suffering [of infertility] that I started to realize and internalize what it means to surrender to God. It is one thing for me to trust Him with concerns about a job, a salary, a move, or a health issue. But, it is quite another to surrender my deepest desires, to feel as though I am surrendering my very self. In my mind I had more power and control over this struggle to conceive if I held on to it–tightly. The thought of surrendering this desire to God as I have done with other struggles in my life was, in a word, terrifying. So many devout and holy people I know speak about the freedom and peace that comes when you place your trust in God, but for so long all I felt was fear."

Surrender...how hard it is. Especially when it involves one's "deepest desires," as the author said so well. Especially when the future is so uncertain: will we conceive this month, or never?

The whole article is very good, and I think those who've journeyed through IF will particularly appreciate her sense of humor.

(Note: the author writes at the end that she eventually conceived. Just a heads-up if you're not up for reading about other people's happy endings today =))


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

mother's day moments

7 a.m.: spiritual direction
I met with Fr. C, the priest who married us and my spiritual director. As I thought it would be, it was a perfect way to start off a day filled with so many hazards to the heart! Fr. C is such a good listener, and also has a gift of saying the right thing at the right time.

Big takeaway this time (he's said this before; I could hear it everyday!): "Your marriage is complete," he reminded me, "even without the gift of children. Children are a superabundant gift. But even if that gift never comes, you and Mr. M have something beautiful to offer the world: your love for each other." (Of course my heart feels like it has a big, big hole not being a mother...but it is so good to be reminded that our marriage isn't "lacking" or "less than" because we haven't been blessed with children...and extra good to hear this from a priest.)

8 a.m.: breakfast at a coffee shop with Fr. C and Mr. M
We treated Fr. C - an early Father's day gift =) After he left for his Sunday duties, Mr. M and I stuck around at the coffee shop to read (him: "The Idiot"; me: "David Copperfield"). Also a great way to ease into Mother's day - there are few better pleasures than reading a good novel with a hot cup of coffee!

11 a.m.: mass
Thank you, Jesus, the "theme" of Mother's day was very understated. A mention at the beginning and end, a prayer for mothers (without standing!), and that's it. The pro-life club was selling carnations, and the priest said you could buy one and put it on the Mary altar if you didn't have a mother to give it to. I bought one and put it on the altar for all those still waiting to be mothers and for those who have lost children.

12:15 p.m.: a blessing
(Before I describe what happened after mass, let me say that Mr. M is long-time friends with the priest of this parish, Fr. R, who is quite charasmatic, outgoing, loud, a "big" personality, as they say. From all my experiences with him, and from what Mr. M has told me, he has a heart of gold and love for God that's wide as an ocean...but his approach can be a little "in your face"...)

After mass, Mr. M flagged Fr. R down to say hello. Fr. R says to him, "Well hi! Did you get that wife of yours pregnant yet?" or some such thing...I'm blushing to my toenails as Mr. M says, "No, well...we actually could use your prayers for that. You see, we've been trying to have kids..." Fr. R: "Okay, got it." And then immediately, in the middle of the church, which is not empty but everyone is milling around, Fr. R puts his hands on our shoulders and says, loudly, "Heavenly Father, make these children of yours fruitful. Amen!" Then he says, "Watch out now - that should do the ticket!"

I choked back tears, both embarrased and a teeny bit annoyed (but see above - I know this priest's personality) but also so touched that he would immediately give us a blessing, knowing that that's what we needed above all else.

12:30 p.m.: brunch
A delicious repast cooked by Mr. M's older brother. Just the 4 of us (me, Mr. M, his brother, and their mom, at home.)

3ish p.m.: a text
Out of the blue, a friend of mine texted me to say, "Thinking of you today! Praying for you and hoping all is well." She knows our struggles, and her words made me cry happy tears because I was hoping, just hoping, that someone would reach out.

4:00 p.m.: a viewing
On Wednesday, the mother of a good friend of ours died. She had battled cancer for 2 years, so it's been long in coming. She's younger than my mom, and her daughter and her husband are newlyweds like us. I can't think of many sadder things than attending your mother's viewing on mother's day...so of course we had to go and support them. Their trial and heartache really puts things in perspective...I am blessed to have my mom still, plus a great MIL.

7:00 p.m.: dinner
Simple, leftovers, at Mr. M's mom's home. I was actually quite glad to not go out because of all the hoopla everywhere about mother's day. It was nice to stay at home and get some quiet time catching up and laughing with Mr. M's mom.

All in all, our plan worked =) I was grateful to have someone else to focus on during mother's day, so it didn't just become a navel-gazing pity party. Oh! And Mr. M got me a gift =) Two tickets to go to a lavender farm in June. Fun!

(p.s. Even after being filled up with spiritual direction, mass, and a blessing, still when I got a pregnancy announcement yesterday, on the way home, I cried. Does that ever get easier? I'm grateful that my pg friend emailed me - she did so out of sensitivity, I know, and that means a lot. It's just hard when you want that blessing so, so badly.)


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day...in no particular order...

...to all women who have said "yes" to life in whatever form it's given to them...

...to my own mother, who was on bedrest for months before I was born, who poured so much love into me, who is irreplaceable...

...to my mother-in-law, who has borne so many crosses gracefully, who always has a smile and a kind word, who I thank for teaching my husband the faith...

...to my friends who are mothers, who are giving me a solid education in the art of motherhood, should I ever become a mother myself...

...to mothers who say "goodbye" to their child before they get to say "hello"...

...to my sister-in-law, who gave birth to healthy quadruplets even though the doctor wanted to "selectively reduce" one of my beautiful nieces or nephew...

...to mothers whose kids need a lot of extra care, time, and effort...

...to mothers who are celebrating their first Mother's Day today after a long journey of waiting...

...to women who are still waiting for a Mother's Day of their own...

...to women who haven't been blessed with physical motherhood but who give maternal care to the sick, the poor, the confused, the brokenhearted, the lost, the frightened, the lonely, and the hopeless...

...to women who see the great gift of motherhood so clearly that they submit themselves to blood draws and uncomfortable tests, to surgeries and injections, to the whole roller-coaster of TTC, all in the hopes of receiving a gift that so many others reject or dispose of...

...to women who haven't met the right man yet but want to be wives and mothers so badly...

...to mothers who look at their children and know there are some missing, some they never got to say "I love you" to, who they wait to see in heaven...

...to women who want so badly to be mothers but are dealing with a major illness, or poverty, or have an absent husband...

...to mothers who desire a sibling for their child...

...to elderly women who grieve their childlessness...

...to aunts who are "second mothers" to their nieces and nephews, who love them like they're their own...

...to godmothers who teach their godchildren about the faith, who guide them to Jesus...

...to adoptive mothers who give a home to a child without one, who accept their children as their own flesh and blood...

...to mothers who are told their unborn babies are sick...

...to everyone without a mother, whose mother has died or abandoned them...

...to everyone with a strained relationship with their mother...

...to the one perfect Mother, our Blessed Mother Mary, who is Mother to us all.

Happy Mother's Day.

Friday, May 10, 2013

7 Happy Things for Friday

...because this melancholic temperament needs to focus on the good more often =)

Happy thing #1: We're visiting our nieces and nephews this weekend! We have 8 of them, ages 10-16, and they all like to play sports so we'll probably play the Soccer Aunt & Uncle for the weekend =) I love being an aunt.

Happy thing #2: On Sunday, Mother's day, I have spiritual direction in the morning. (My spiritual director is the priest who married us, who lives in Mr. M's hometown.) I'm so happy about this, because what could be a better way to start off Mother's day as an infertile woman than some good spiritual direction? This priest has been a real treasure in our lives and I feel privileged to be still learning from his holiness and wisdom.

Happy thing #3: Our garden is growing! This is what I pour a lot of my nurturing into right now, making sure it's weeded and watered and tended. And I may or may not talk to the plants when no one's around....Here's what's growing (this pictures are from 2 weeks ago, so picture everything a little bigger!):

Peas, slowly climbing up their trellis

Garlic on left, planted last fall; arugula on right

Beets: detroit red (your typical beet) and chioggia (an italian heirloom that is striped red & white like a target)

Happy thing #4: Both Mr. M and I are trying to get in better shape. Sitting down all day does no favors for our physique! So we've been going to the gym faithfully and running, biking, or weightlifting. This is starting to pay off: I've lost 12 pounds since Christmas and am only 7 pounds above what I weighed in college. This feels very gratifying! And hopefully will help our fertility....?

Happy thing #5: Spring flowers!! Here are some pictures of azaleas I took from a Sunday afternoon stroll last week.

Gorgeous, aren't they? That's just a fraction of the color variety. There was also purples of all shades, red, and even orange!

Happy thing #6: This week Mr. M passed a major landmark in his PhD work! I'm so proud of him. This means that he will now be officially starting work on his dissertation. "How long will that take?" you ask? It could be as quick as a year, if the muses cooperate =) Right now, since we haven't been blessed with a child, I can work full-time and support us, and Mr. M can just plow ahead with his PhD. If (please please God) we are blessed with a child, then he might have to find a job (Mr. M, not the child =)) and be slowed up a bit. One step at a time!

Happy thing #7: Pancakes!!!! (Why not?) I've become a pancake junkie. My favorite recipe (right now) comes from "Nourishing Traditions" and requires soaking whole wheat flour in buttermilk over night...yum....(I'm sorry to you gluten-free gals for talking about gluten-packed food! I hope there are good GF recipes for you!)

A little music...

My trusty griddle...

My cow kettle...that's a real bell too...

Our late departed French press (it had an unfortunate encounter with a casserole dish that decided to jump out of a top cabinet toward my face while I was putting the French press away. Let's just say that French presses do, in fact, shatter.) and my cow timer, still with us...

And some delicious pancakes! That's what I call an excellent Saturday morning!

 Happy weekend, all!


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Simple, small acts of kindness

They mean so much: those little gestures of kindness and thoughtfulness from people, who may not even realize that their words or actions meant a lot.

Two examples from today:

1. At a breakfast meeting, talking with a stranger, she asks the usual: "Do you have kids?" (Actually, she asked whether our kids went to a particular school.) To which I replied, "No, not yet," my usual answer. And she just said "okay" and then changed the subject to something we could both talk about. So small - but so meaningful! I was exceedingly grateful, plus relieved that my childlessness didn't become an issue and that I didn't receive advice.

2. Talking with a co-worker about mother's day, and he mentions that he thinks it's important to remember adoptive moms and women who struggle to conceive on mother's day. I could have hugged him (except that would have been wierd). He's a new dad, and somewhat of a newlywed still, so he wasn't speaking from a place of personal experience. Maybe he has a friend or family member who's struggling? I just thought that was so thoughtful, especially coming from a guy. (No offense meant to our wonderful husbands! It just seems women are more intuitive about this sort of thing.)

Thank you God, for simple acts of kindness. I hope I can do the same for someone!


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

What would you give up?

The other day I engaged in an interesting (to me, anyway) thought experiment. I was washing the dishes and honestly feeling kind of sorry for myself. I was thinking about the people I know who are younger than me, but who are pregnant or have kids. Several of them were married before me, and I thought, "If only I had met Mr. M earlier! Maybe we'd have kids by now."

But then I thought: "Wait a second. Meeting him earlier would mean never living in Denver..." I lived in Denver for a year after college, working as a full-time volunteer and living in community. It was an incredibly enriching, formative experience. Would I really give that up...? Wipe that out of my history forever...?

And then I got to thinking: What would I give up? What part of my past would I say "goodbye" to, if it would help me get where I want to be now?

And I thought of the other great sorrow I've gone through: a bad breakup, after four years of dating, in college. I'll spare you the details – but it was bad. I thought we would get married, but I graduated college single and without a clear direction. So would I "give up" and get rid of that horrible breakup – all the tears, the insecurities, the heartache?

Well...it's not that easy. What if I would have married him...I would have never gone to Denver, never gone to graduate school afterwards, never met this friend and that friend and my maid of honor and of course, Mr. M! Even thinking about that possibility made me choke up! I can't imagine life without so many people that I've met since college, since my life took a turn I didn't expect.

So then what? I guess I can't have all of these people I love without going through the breakup?

Wierd! I felt like I was in that movie "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind." It's as trippy as it sounds, but such a fascinating idea: after a breakup, a woman uses a new an untested technology to erase all memories of her former boyfriend. But...halfway through the process she realizes that maybe she's decided to give up too much...realizing that the bad and good are so intricately interwoven...I don't want to give away the ending, but I recommend the movie!

Fun fact about the movie: it stars Jim Carrey in a non-funny role.
So what about infertility?

Would I give that up? In a heartbeat!! If Jesus would drop a child in my lap right now, you bet I would say "please and thank you!" without a second's hesitation.

And yet...I picture the day, with much trepidation because it is so awfully tender, and might never happen...when (if) I look my son or daughter in the face for the first time...and I know in an instant, without any doubt, that it was you I was waiting for all this time.

I can only imagine this now, and maybe the reality would be quite different (or maybe it will never happen)...but something deep within thinks that when I look at my child, feel their tiny fingers in mine and breathe in their newborn scent, if someone asked me, "Would you get rid of all of those months/years of infertility, all the tears, all the longing, all the heartache...? With the small, small catch that you can't have this child..." I'd clutch my baby fiercely to me and accept each and every tear, every day and hour of longing, for your sake.

It reminds me of that scene from C.S. Lewis's Screwtape Letters, which I'm too lazy to find right now...right after "the patient" dies...he sees a form, a face, hears a voice, and says "Ah ha! So it was you all the time! All those times I felt someone near...all those times I thought I wasn't quite alone...it was you!"

[I have the retro version...very marked up and highlighted...and falling apart.]

So much of life is a mystery...so much is happening that we can't see with our little puny human eyes...

I'm not saying that I'd like to live through every difficult experience again. And there are some experiences that are just so bad that no one should have to go through them, ever. And yet...and yet...everything is so mixed up together. "Lose the bad...but lose the good along with it..." Not really  a choice I'd want to embrace. Thank God it's not a choice we have! We're stuck in time, and can only move forward.

Will I get my "ah-ha!" moment this side of heaven? I have no idea. Jesus, help me trust that you can bring good out of even this, that someday, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, maybe not for years and years, I'll be able to look back and say "yes, You were there. I didn't see you, I doubted your presence, but You were there."


Monday, May 6, 2013

Take a deep breath. Let it go.

(This is a bit of a rant, by definition somewhat irrational...but this is my blog, and I reserve the right to be irrational every now and again =))

So a friend of a friend, who lives in our neighborhood, invited Mr. M and I to a movie night later this month. We've interacted with this "friend of a friend" (I'll call her J) a few times, most recently when we were helping our mutual friend move. J has several children - I'm not sure how many, maybe 5? The youngest is an infant.

Anyway, J invited us to a movie night, out of the blue. My initial reaction was, "How nice! I'm flattered that they would think of us." I still had in my mind a conversation with a couple after the prayers for hope and healing event, where they told us that they recently moved to the area and have struggled to make Catholic friends because everyone else has kids and thus very different social lives. So I thought, "Neat! We're invited to get to know a family with kids, even though we don't have any."

It turns out we can't go to the movie night - we're just too busy. But here's what I need to vent about...before I could let J know "Thanks, but we can't make it. Maybe some other time?" she sent me an email, where she said she invited us because a mutual friend is coming (fine), because she thought we'd like the movie (fine), and "because it's usually easier for people without a bunch of kids to get away at night."

[Cue slight irrationality and overly-emotional reaction...]

....ouch! Here I thought we were invited because they thought we were a pleasant, interesting couple that they'd like to get to know since we live in the same neighborhood. Nope! We're just more convenient and more likely to make an evening event because, presumably unlike all their other friends, we don't have "a bunch of kids."

Her words touched that tender spot of insecurity where I'm convinced that the first thing people notice about us, and the last thing they remember, is that we don't have kids. Like it's our most defining feature. ("Is my infertility showing? Great, because it's all I think about too.")

I can picture her conversation with her husband:
"Who should we invite to our movie night?"
"How about ---? They're fun to be around."
"Nope, they have kids and probably couldn't come over that late."
"Oh. .... Well, how about Mr. and Mrs. M? They don't have kids."

I realize that conversation may or may not have happened: but it could have! I would never tell someone "we invited you to this because you have / don't have kids." !! Who cares? If they're fun people to be around, that's that. I don't tell my disabled friend "We wanted to hang out with you because we figure you never go anywhere, since you're in a wheelchair." etc.

I know I'm blowing this way out of proportion, and I'm sure J meant nothing by it. In her world where people get married and then have "a bunch of kids," it's just a normal, run-of-the-mill statement. And like I said, we can't go to their movie night anyway. But it's just one more "jab" that hurts the heart of this infertile woman.

Jesus, help me to forgive...help to me pray for J and not hold a grudge and offer up the pain of not having "a bunch of kids"...


Friday, May 3, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday

I've had a lot of post ideas swirling around in my head, but haven't found the time to write them down. So these quick takes are seven things I've been wanting to write about but haven't yet. Oh well! Such is finitude =)

1. Last Sunday was the "Prayers for Hope and Healing" event, and it went great. I'd say there were about 30 people at the talk and a few more at the mass, which seemed good for a first-time event. My prayer was that everyone who needed to be there was there, and that it would be a comfort even to people who couldn't come or didn't feel ready. A big highlight was that after mass, the celebrant priest exposed the Blessed Sacrament and then offered a healing prayer to anyone who wanted one. Pretty cool. I won't lie and say my eyes weren't a bit...misty...laying all of my desires and hurts at the feet of our Eucharistic Lord, and receiving a prayer and blessing from a priest.

Jesus, I trust in you.

2. The talk before the mass was excellent! I highly, highly recommend Kevin Well's book "Burst"! His talk focused on the Christian understanding of suffering, how it can be redemptive, and how to carry the cross of infertility well. Again, misty eyes...it was so wonderful to hear someone put so many of my thoughts into words, and offer guidance and hope from their own journey.

It's about infertility, adoption, failed adoptions, brain trauma, murder, love, and baseball....!

3. The other awesome thing about Sunday was meeting and talking with other people who live near me and who are struggling with infertility. I am so, so, SO grateful for everyone I've met through this blog, but I'm sure you'll understand how great it is to talk with someone in person! I'm brainstorming now other events to propose to the Archdiocese, largely as a way to build something of a community around this issue, or at least a place where people can go for comfort and understanding friendship.

4. As I said earlier, my doctor has given us 2 options for "next steps": a sonohysterogram and/or Tamoxifen. After some discussion, Mr. M and I have decided to do neither for the time being. Mr. M said he just needs a break from doctor's visits and wants to explore revisiting the SA. And scheduling would be a challenge the next few months anyway. May was a bust for the sonohysterogram since Dr. C was on vacation. I'm traveling at the end of May and then we're going on vacation (!!!) in June, then I travel again in July. So I think we're just going to wait and see for the time being and revisit further diagnostic tests/treatments later in the summer.

                                                   (where we're going for vacation)

5. Here's a revelation and a resolution: the resolution is not to look at "mommy blogs" anymore (excepting the ones on the side of my own blog). The revelation: I feel left out and jealous when I read blogs filled with cute kids! That's a fact. But I hesitated to give up the mom blogs because they're still my sisters in Christ, after all! And to be perfectly honest, I felt a little resentful at feeling left out...I wondered why more mom blogs can't be more conscious of the fact that not everyone's life revolves around babies and play-dates...until my ever-wise husband pointed out that they talk all about such things because they're talking to other moms. My own mom-friends IRL don't bombard me with mom-and-baby stuff because they know me and love me...but if I was a fly on the wall at one of their play-dates, I'm sure it would be different! So all that is to say, for my peace of mind and a better focus on my own vocation as God has given it to me (and to avoid the near occasion of sin...jealousy) I'm going to steer clear of mommy blogs for now. Maybe for a long time - maybe until I have one of my own? ha ha

6. IF I am ever blessed to hold in my hand a little stick that tells me that there's a brand new human being growing within me...I think that I'll feel a lot like Elinor Dashwood when she finds out that Mr. Ferrars is not, in fact, married:

(I hope I didn't spoil the ending for anyone!) I feel like I have a lot in common with Elinor these days: a great longing for something that seems impossible, having to watch other people receive the blessing I want (not that I'm not happy for them!), getting older without feeling like my life is moving forward, etc. She's a good role model, too, I think, for how to bear sorrows of the heart virtuously!

7. This, on the other hand, is my new theme song for CD1. It was the song we played to accompany our wedding rehearsal "slideshow" (the kind where you put together all the pictures of you from babyhood through courtship). I love it, and I think it's perfect for CD1.

A beautiful description of marriage, too!

Have a wonderful weekend =)