book

Announcing our blog book tour!

We’re going on a book tour – a blog book tour, that is.

blog tour

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 22: Frustrated Musings of a Seemingly Calm Gal

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!

Blogger meet-ups

Yesterday, we had the privilege of “meeting” two Catholic infertility bloggers: one via Skype and one in person. Earlier in the afternoon, we Skyped with the incredible E of A Martha Trying to Be a Mary in Mexico and the results of that conversation were truly amazing. Turns out we have a shared interest in creating more Spanish language infertility resources and thanks to the incredible work of the Holy Spirit,  it looks like that will be coming to fruition soon! She summarizes the details best here. We’d love it if you could please keep this intention in your prayers. And yes, God willing, we will be translating our blog into Spanish very soon!

In the evening, we were blessed to be able to have dinner with Chasing Joy and her family. It was so great to have been able to break bread together and meet them while they were in town. They are so sweet and, as long as we didn’t scare them away, we hope it will be just the first of many in-person gatherings with them whenever they return to Miami.

But… it looks like we’ll be the ones doing the “visiting” soon. We’ll reveal the details of what we mean by this soon but let’s just say that we’ll be making a few stops along the way, and the aforementioned lovely ladies will be just two of our hosts. Stay tuned…

On Suffering – A Lenten Reflection, Part 2

Many Catholics are familiar with the phrase “offer it up,” but what does that mean and how can we offer up our infertility? “In bringing about the Redemption through suffering, Christ has also raised human suffering to the level of the Redemption. Thus each man [or woman], in his [or her] suffering, can also become a sharer in the redemptive suffering of Christ.” (Salvifici Doloris 19)

This can give meaning to suffering, which so often seems to be lacking.  I know then, through my faith, that my suffering has meaning, that just as Christ died for our sins and suffered, the cross I carry has meaning.

In the Second Letter to the Corinthians the Apostle writes: “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For while we live we are always being given up to death for Jesussake, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh …. knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus” (2 Cor. 4, 8-11. 14).

I find it helpful to focus onSt. Paul’s use of the word body and his imagery of us carrying our cross in the body since infertility is a physical ailment.St. Paulsays it clearly: we can manifest the life of Christ in our bodies. We can be witnesses to God’s love no matter what happens. We can show others a different way of dealing with infertility. We can be afflicted but focus on Christ and know that He has suffered for us and joins us on the road of infertility – we will not despair.

And in the Letter to the Romans he writes: “I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship” (Rom. 12, 1).  While undergoing countless tests and procedures, it has helped me to focus on that image of my body as a living sacrifice. We bear the suffering of the cross but know that the story does not end there. Our faith in the Resurrection is what helps us to continue on the journey despite the difficulty. Paul’s words challenge me to show others Christ in and through my suffering of infertility. This is very difficult and there are moments when it seems almost impossible to do. For example, when recently hearing the news of another IVF pregnancy, the hurt and anger were deep.  Talking to a friend in the faith helped me to vent and gain the necessary perspective. 

The brokenness of infertility is also special in that it is a brokenness of our body that may not be obvious.  It’s not a physical deformity that can be seen by others, for the most part, but we may feel that our bodies have let us down, like they are not doing something they are supposed to do; we may even feel like less of a woman Also it’s a brokenness that many times goes unspoken — maybe because people don’t ask, are afraid to ask, or we may not want to share.

St. Paul, though, also reminds us that “For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too” (2 Cor. 4, 8-11. 14 – 1, 5). This is the key, however: to always remember that we are not alone in our suffering, that Christ is comforting us as well.

In Salvifici Doloris, the late Blessed John Paul II alludes to the maturity which suffering brings.  Tto suffer means to become particularly susceptible, particularly open to the working of the salvific powers of God. (Salvifici Doloris 27). It is suffering, more than anything else, which clears the way for the grace which transforms human souls.

Confession became an important sacrament and avenue for this transformative grace for my husband and me as we learned to let go of so much and seek God’s counsel. I have to be honest and say that confession is not the easiest of sacraments for me to participate in, and though I am a more frequent confession-goer now because infertility has brought to the forefront many of my failings and sins, I still need more of the grace received from reconciliation.

John Paul II said that, “Suffering is also an invitation to manifest the moral greatness of man, his spiritual maturity.”  By being a witness to others on the journey you can also inspire them in their own faith. Christ did not conceal from his listeners the need for suffering. He said very clearly: “If any man would come after me… let him take up his cross daily” (Luke 9: 23). The way that leads to the Kingdom of heaven is “hard and narrow,” and Christ contrasts it to the “wide and easy” way that “leads to destruction” (Matthew 7: 13-14). Our culture rejects the difficult road many times and looks for quick fixes.  Yet God says in Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

As we enter this Holy Triduum, may we remember that in coming to God and uniting our suffering with Christ’s, our journey will be easy as we place our trust in Him.

On blogs and brownies

Welcome to our website! We are Carmen Santamaría and Angelique Ruhi-López, best friends from Miami who love to share our faith – and the occasional chocolate brownie. We have a lot in common (with a few differences of opinion, like whether dark or milk chocolate is better) but perhaps one of the most formative experiences of our friendship is walking the road of infertility. Though we walked this journey at different points and with varied experiences, we both felt called by God to write down our experiences so that other faithful Catholics could know that they are not alone in carrying this cross.

We compiled our research on the Catholic Church’s rich teachings on infertility and human dignity and combined them with our own personal testimonies and experiences to write The Infertility Companion for Catholics: Spiritual and Practical Support for Couples, which is scheduled to be published by Ave Maria Press in late March 2012 (just a few weeks away!)

In addition to the book, we have created this companion website (a companion for the companion, if you will) where we will post select portions of the book, update you on Church resources on the subject of infertility, as well as any speaking engagements we will be doing to promote the message of hope while bearing this cross. We pray that both the book and this site are as comforting as a warm, gooey chocolate brownie on a long, lonely day.