Friday, January 15, 2010

The Pain of Infertility

I've talked to a few people about infertility and adoption lately and it's reminded me of the pain we have endured with our infertility.I wish I could say that all of these issues have been resolved; but every once in a while they rear their ugly heads and make me miserable again for a while. However, each time I draw closer to healing, all with His grace.

I've noticed whenever I talk to young adults or teens that aren't married yet, they almost always assume they'll be able to have children when they marry. Anytime I bring up the other possibility they tend to look at me with disbelief. One of the few who doesn't is my own darlin' daughter; perhaps because she has lived with my infertility too....her (and our dear sons') very presence in our family is a result of that.
Whenever Mark and I talk to an engaged couple from our parish, I always bring the possibility up. Most of them have never discussed it. I know that Mark and I did discuss adoption in our pre-marriage days, but I wonder if we were the exception. I know that I always had a positive outlook towards adoption. I remember reading several books about it as a child and I was always fascinated by the topic. Perhaps our dear Lord was preparing me.
Though many don't think of it, the possibility is there. Mark and I each have five siblings. We suffered through infertility, and we each have a sibling who suffered through it too. We were the only ones to adopt; my brother and his wife and Mark's sister and her husband chose not to.They have remained childless.
None of us were people who would have been considered high risk for infertility. It was just part of God's plan.
The ironical thing in my family was that my brother and his wife and Mark and I were the only ones among my siblings who didn't use artificial contraception. The rest all did, at least in the beginning of their marriages. Some have since come to accept the Church's teaching on it. However, they were the ones who were fertile and we were the ones who weren't. It didn't seem fair....sometimes, the unfairness of it all would anger me.
I know that our dear Lord planned for our family to be the way it is, but I would think "Couldn't you have just sent me one baby after we adopted our others?" Other people would tell me stories all the time about people they knew who adopted and then got pregnant. Not me....
I remember being at a party with a bunch of Mark's friends from college many years ago when we were suffering with longing for a baby and before we were blessed with our Beth. One couple got up and said they had an announcement to make. I thought to myself "Oh no, another pregnancy announcement. Prepare your heart Barb."
However, this was even worse. They announced that they were planning on getting pregnant that month. They had decided this was the right time and they were confident it would happen.
And it did...
Drove me a bit crazy at the time.
I wanted others to be able to have babies, but I wanted to have them too.
Then there were the people who implied that we weren't praying enough; that we were lacking in faith. If we prayed hard enough or in the right way, we would have a baby. In other words, we were doing something wrong. I remember listening to a tape by a Catholic woman (who had five children) that barrenness was a curse from God. She quoted an Old Testament Scripture about it and talked about how they overcame infertility with faith. I couldn't believe it. Once again, momentarily, I felt like a failure.
I threw that tape away. It made me doubt but somehow I kept telling myself that I wasn't a failure; that this woman was wrong. It had nothing to do with Mark and me having a lack of faith. God had a plan even if I didn't like every aspect of it.
Several years ago, Mark and I were out for dinner with friends. We were talking about adoption and the husband said he could never adopt a child; he could never love someone else's child. I've heard that before but it became worse. He told us how he had wanted his wife to go to the doctor before they were married to make sure she could have a baby. She refused. I asked him what he would have done if she had gone and the doctor had said she couldn't and he honestly said that he didn't know; that he might have changed his mind about marrying her. I couldn't believe he was sitting there, saying that in front of his wife. Fortunately for their marriage, the good Lord has blessed them with many children but I couldn't believe the attitude. I felt blessed that I knew that Mark had never felt that way....he loved me, not my ability to bear children.

So our infertility has been a cross to bear and a blessing. Without it, we would not have Beth, Michael, and John. It has bonded Mark and me closer together.
It has brought pain, but it has also brought growth.
I think of the fact that a child is a gift from God. Our modern society tends to think of having a child as a right. When I was going through treatment for the infertility and the treatments that were allowed by the Church weren't helping, my doctor suggested invitro fertilization. He really felt that I was an excellent candidate; that I would get pregnant that way. But I said, "No, it's against my faith." and he laughed at me and told me that many Catholics were using it, but I knew that didn't make it right. I have comfort in that.
Children are a gift, not a right.
Hold yours tight...

A blessed Saturday to all....


Gretchen said...

Beautifully written.....You are such a great role model....especially when it comes to our faith. :-)

Alena said...

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