Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A ripple effect, maybe?

The Family M has been busy!

May 30 to June 3, I was at a conference on the other side of the country (the west coast), where I was lucky enough to have lunch with Kat and JJ (the Crow's Nest) before my conference started. It is always such a treat to meet bloggers in real life! (If anyone lives in/near St. Louis, I'll be there in July...)

Also, we're moving at the end of June, which, as my husband puts it, was a bit of a surprise to both of us. I spoke a while back about a moving opportunity, to a bigger apartment. Well, the couple renting it out (friends of ours - they live on the top floor, with the apartment in the basement) lowered the price, which made it cheaper for us than our current apartment, plus bigger, with laundry and a patio. We prayed and discussed and then said, "Let's do it."

Moving is a hassle, of course, but it is also nice to have something to pour my energies into, and I'm excited about setting up our new place.

We'll have a patio! I'm dreaming about what to plant in pots...(these aren't mine, if that's not obvious.)

And we're going on vacation starting on Sunday! For a whole week. I absolutely can't wait.

Revisiting Denver, where I lived for a year

Rocky Mountain High...Colorado
So blogging will be slim in the next few weeks, although I'll probably still check my blog roll because I love hearing from everyone.

A ripple effect, maybe?

Here's the little vignette that goes with my title:

The conference I attended was mainly college-aged and under 30-folks. The details aren't super important, but at one point during the last day, a conversation came up (at a lecture with the whole group in attendence, so 30ish people) that touched on infertility. In a moment of bravado or foolishness, I raised my hand and commented, including sharing that my husband and I currently struggle with infertility. My heart was racing the whole time...I'm usually not that much of a "sharer," but I thought a) it was pertinent to the conversation to make it personal, and b) I'll never see these people again!

The next morning, I rode to the airport with one of the attendees, a deacon who is going to be ordained a priest at the end of June. He thanked me for sharing what I did the day before, about infertility, and said, "That must have been hard for you."

I agreed, and we talked for a while about it. I said (gently, I hope!) that I think pastoral care for couples struggling with infertility is a bit, shall we say...weak in our Church. (Weak could be taken to mean "nonexistent" in some places...) He nodded, and said, "You know, you have a point. I have to admit, I've put my foot in my mouth before. Sometimes it's too easy to think 'Big family - good, Small family - bad.' I see how that could be really hurtful for someone going through infertility."

(First reaction: eeeeeeeek! no kidding! What a horrible, horrible, thing to think!)

Spoken reaction: "Yes, because you know the Church doesn't ask anyone to 'have children,' but to be open to life, and those aren't exactly the same...and if I could tell you how many women I know who want to be mothers of big families but haven't been blessed that way...."

And we talked some more. (He was a really gentle, holy-seeming guy, someone I'm excited to have as a priest.)

So, the ripple effect. I hope and pray that our little conversation, sparked by my sharing the day before, means that this particular priest never, ever implies to anyone anymore, "Big family - good; small family -bad" or anything like that. That he keeps a memory of me as an example of Catholics going through infertility when he's doing ministry, or when he's in a parish and there's that one family who doesn't have kids. I hope our conversation affects the way he talks and thinks about childbearing, about how it's not as easy as saying, "I reject contraception" to get a houseful of kids. And so on.

I hope somewhere down the road this priest blesses an infertile couple with his kindness and pastoral care. That would make the vulnerability of sharing about such a difficult, personal struggle totally worth it.



  1. It was so good to meet you! I am sure what you said to the future priest will impact his ministry for years to come.

  2. I'm so jealous you and Kat got to meet up! (Well, more of you meeting Kat since I already know you IRL :))

    And yes - that ripple effect will happen. Sometimes I think when we get to heaven, whether childless or not, God will show us a slideshow of all of the fruits that were born of our infertility and remind us that His plan was greater, even if it caused us pain. Oh. my. gosh. I can't even tell you what a revelation that just was for me. Whole blog post coming! Oh. B - thank-you thank-you thank-you!!!

    Ripple effect indeed.

    Oh. my.

  3. I´m really glad you spoke up. I have always found it so irritating that people think that way "big family-good, small family-bad". It´s like if you have a huge family, then you have a Passport to heaven. You know, I think this deacon was marked by your words. He will act different because of you and other couples going through infertility will benefit from what you shared because you changed him (in a good way of course).

  4. You are so brave to have spoken up! I am sure that your conversation with that deacon has opened his eyes and he will be more sensitive in his ministry.

  5. Yeah, Rockies! I always get excited for people that get to visit the Rockies. Is that weird? Anyway, I love this post and I love that God was working through you in this moment and these conversations. I have chills about the whole conversation.

    Are you going to get to go to RMNP? I recognize the pic of Nymph Lake. :)

    1. We are going to RMNP! I just grabbed that picture off the internet, but maybe we'll see it in real life! I've been there before (I lived in Denver for a year) and am so excited to go back. All we're going to do is hike and eat and relax and it's going to be glorious =)

  6. WOW!!!!! I'm so glad you shared! What a brave & courageous thing to do ... and put a name and face to infertility. I have great hope that you inspired that priest to do more for infertile couples!