I recently had a bad spell at work after finding out a coworker was pregnant. Having to compose myself and get back to work was hard, but after some deep breaths and prayer, I was able to continue working. The process of grief is also one that we at times feel should be easier. For example, I still miss my father more than 10 years after his passing, but yet with infertility I am less patient with myself and I wish I did not get so upset when I hear of someone else’s good fortune.
I read a book by Peter van Breemen S.J., The God Who Won’t Let Go, that talked about Mary Magdalene visiting the tomb of Jesus and her grief at the Lord’s death (John 20). She was so engulfed in her own grief that she did not even recognize Jesus when he spoke to her. There are so many moments during this journey when the pain has been so great that I, too, have failed to recognize Jesus.
Mary Magdalene chose to turn toward her faith community in her grief instead of retreating from the world and isolating herself. This is a wonderful example of how we need to turn to those people and things that give us strength so we can face the situations that defy our understanding.
The Embrace Ministry of the Archdiocese of Atlanta is sponsoring an Infertility Workshop on Saturday, Feb. 16 at St. Brigid Catholic Church, 3400 Old Alabama Rd., Johns Creek, GA 30022 from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Topics will include Treatment Options for Catholics, Barrenness, Child-Bearing, and Assisted Reproductive Technologies in the Roman Catholic Tradition, Infertility’s Effects on Marriage, and Bearing the Cross of Infertility.
Registration is $15 and includes lunch. Register at: http://www.embracefamilies.com/events
Please join us for this blessed event! Click below for an event flyer with more information:
When we attended the Future Full of Hope prayer service at the Diocese of Austin, we were privileged to meet the organizers of the Sarah’s Hope and Abraham’s Promise infertility and miscarriage support groups. They also hold occasional couples’ retreats with healing Masses - one is coming this Saturday, Oct. 20 at the Schoenstatt Shrine in Austin, TX. If you’re unable to attend, please keep those in attendance in your prayers. Here is a flyer you can download with more information on the retreat:
We were blessed to have the opportunity to visit the CatholicTV studios in early July to be interviewed on This is the Day about the Church’s teachings on infertility. You can watch our interview here:
I read in Tears of Sorrow, Seeds of Hope that “rituals seek change, not of God, but of us…The participants expect, and hope, to be different after a successful ritual than they were before…The ritual’s fundamental purpose is to escort the participants across a threshold, from where they are to where they need to go.”
We recently helped organize our first diocesan Mass of hope and encouragement for those experiencing infertility or miscarriage. We did not know who or how many people would come. Being at the Mass and seeing people there taking comfort in our ultimate Catholic ritual – the blessing of the Holy Mass – made me think back to this quote and the truth behind it.
The quote I cite above comes from a Jewish book on infertility, so the Mass is not something that is mentioned or even thought of, but it resonated with me.
We organized the Mass with the hope that this ritual would help people see the beauty in what God is doing in their lives amidst their pain. There were pregnant women who came to the Mass, as well as those who longed for a child, people who had long ago suffered infertility and those walking the road right now. There were people who participated that were not infertile but simply went to support a friend or loved one who has experienced this emptiness.
The ritual of the Mass united us all. There we all were, praying, receiving, offering – we crossed a threshold to a place of hope, and united our cross to Christ’s.
Remaining faithful in our prayer lives is one of the biggest challenges when bearing the cross of infertility. Infertility can shake our faith to the core, but it is so important to persevere and remain close to God, even when we may not feel His loving presence.
Please read this beautiful, honest perspective on infertility – and specifically on praying through infertility - written by a faithful Catholic man:
We had a great run in our Blog Book Tour and took some time off to recover from our “travels!” Thanks so much to the great blogs that hosted us and enabled us to share a message of hope for this cross of infertility. We hope you will continue to visit these lovely blogs and get to know the bloggers as they share their faith and pour out their hearts.
The past few weeks have given us an opportunity to further reflect upon this experience of infertility and how it affects so many areas of our lives. Here’s one such reflection:
Lately, I’ve come to think about more imagery of war in my prayer life. Infertility can be seen as an adversary. Like any good adversary it sneaks up on you. It slowly reveals itself to you. Month after month, disappointment after disappointment, it shows itself more and more. At some point, though, we are forced to see the enemy and call it by name. I am infertile. Unfortunately this is not like G.I. Joe where knowing is half the battle. It seems that once infertility is named, it claims a stake at the center of our lives. Charts, doctors’ appointments, the passing of the months; it’s all measured by infertility. Before we know it the enemy is gaining ground on us – infertility is taking over. It is up to us to stop. We need to fight back and hard. We need to put on some extra thick knee pads and pray. Surrender. Trust. When we do these things they are triumphs in the war and we begin to see the tide turn. The war may not be over but we are on our way and we can claim victory because we know that God is on our side and He has already won.
We’re going on a book tour – a blog book tour, that is.
From April 18 to May 2, instead of posting on our own blog, we’ll be making our way through the Catholic blogosphere and making daily stops to talk about The Infertility Companion for Catholics at the following blogs:
April 18: Matching Moonheads
April 19: This Cross I Embrace
April 20: CatholicMom.com
April 21: Chasing Joy
April 23: Karen Edmisten
April 24: The Thin Veil
April 25: Making God Laugh
April 26: Patiently Waiting…Kinda
April 27: Little Catholic Bubble
April 28: Infertility Options
April 29: Lavished with Lemons
April 30: Joy Beyond the Cross
May 1: Pray, Hope, Don’t Worry
May 2: A Martha Trying to Be Mary
Surprise stop along the way at: Infallible Blogma
We are very excited about the incredible bloggers who will be hosting us and we hope you will pay them a visit. We invite you to follow our virtual travels as we are interviewed, as our book is reviewed and as we offer guest posts related to the topics of infertility, miscarriage, adoption and more.
As an extra incentive, they will each be giving away a copy of The Infertility Companion for Catholics so please check them out!
Many thanks to our friends at Ave Maria Press for helping to make this blog book tour possible!