Recently I stumbled across a post from another gal in the infertility blog realm. The entire post, while seemingly sad and discouraging to some, was a breath of fresh air for me.
So often, I feel like I have to “keep it together” with this whole infertility thing. Or that I have to appear like I am handling things well. That I have to bear my cross perfectly and just like saints I’ve read about. Well, I’m not a saint (yet…God can work miracles) and I more or less suck at carrying this cross 99.9% of the time. In this post, I feel the need to just be real for my sake and others. I don’t want to give others the perception that I am a Rock star in carrying this cross or that I am weathering the storm with perfect grace. This is the real glimpse.
I stole a few lines from The Road Home blog because she so succinctly summed up certain emotions/thoughts. So here is me “keeping it real” on infertility:
It attacks everything I am – as a woman, as a wife, in my femininity, in my ability to use my mothering gifts, as a daughter, as a sister. Every. single. thing. is tainted and attacked because my body is broken. It doesn’t work.
I am jealous and devastated over pregnancy announcements…most of which come from brides married seventeen seconds or longer.
I am mad that Sunday Mass is torture for me. Seeing all the happy families and hearing the noises of kids around me is like a constant reminder of what I can’t have.
I have anger, deep-rooted-want-to-yell anger, lots of times, but especially when there is an intention at Mass for “mothers”. When is the last time you heard a prayer for infertile couples?
I see pregnant teenagers and I wonder why God lets them get pregnant and not me.
I see Catholic families having their 7th, 8th, 12th kids…and feel anger that the “rich get richer and the poor get poorer” in some strange fertility economics game I make up.
I see couples who contracepted for years get pregnant easy-peasy and wonder why God grants them their desires so quickly when they abused (often unknowingly or unintentionally) the gift of their sexuality with contraception. We’ve always been open to life, trusting our sexuality to the Lord, and he chooses to stay at a distance and refrain from blessing us with life.
I spend hours crying myself to sleep – asking God “why”. I never ever asked God “why” any other time in my life and I am sad that I am now. I am also sad that I don’t get answers.
I wake up in the middle of the night and forget about infertility for a few moments in a groggy sleep-like state. Then reality smacks me. We don’t have kiddos in the next room. I am not pregnant. I likely will never be pregnant. I try to go back to sleep as quick as possible so I can escape this depressing reality at least until the morning alarm goes off.
I have moments of insight, moments of reprieve, moments of clarity and understanding, but they don’t last – and they are always replaced with deeper questions, deeper fears. It is the largest onion to be peeled in the world.
I don’t want to be a spiritual mother – I want to be a physical mother. I thank God he allows me to be a spiritual mother but it’s just not the same.
I love adoption and want to pursue it. I am pissed off that it costs $25,000 and involves months of extremely tedious work and other women get pregnant for free without even meaning to sometimes.
I don’t want to have to explain why one does not, in fact, “just adopt.”
I don’t want people to feel sorry for me – or not know what to say to me – or feel like they have to walk on eggshells around me – or talk about me behind my back.
I don’t want to avoid pregnant women.
I don’t want to be the older, wiser, infertile sage.
I don’t want to feel awkward talking to moms.
I don’t want to resent moms who can’t seem to talk about anything but their children.
I don’t want to resent people that don’t “get” infertility and say extremely stupid, hurtful things.
I don’t want to have regular public panic attacks at work when I find out that another couple is expecting….a couple married yet again for seventeen seconds.
I don’t want to ponder how our marriage is fruitful in other ways.
I don’t want to think about working full-time next year. 3 years into marriage, I was NOT supposed to be working full-time. I don’t want to be SO available for work.
I don’t want to feel judged by people who know we are looking at buying a 4-5 bedroom home this Spring. No, I have no freaking clue how it will get filled. I don’t want to consider that it might not be full someday.
I don’t want to dig deep into Church teaching and documents to answer questions about a marriage that is childless being fruitful, and full sacramental.
I feel invisible. Alone. Left behind. Useless.
I feel in my heart that God hates us even though I know in my head he absolutely doesn’t.
I don’t want to have to take 15+ pills per day everyday.
I don’t want to have to pay $3-4,000 per year on medical expenses to treat infertility that never work.
I don’t want to ship my blood across the country every month. Or all the other rigmarole stuff infertility requires me to do.
I don’t want to have to wear a St. Gerard medal, pray a 54-day rosary novena, bless myself with Lourdes holy water, beg a litany of saints for miracles, etc. to even have a chance at pregnancy. I want to simply get pregnant the normal way without crazy amounts of loops spiritually, medically, and physically to jump through.
I don’t want to be such a Negative Nancy. I want to be my happy self.
I want to be holy and I feel like infertility is a way in which I could be made holy but I keep blowing it and destroying any spiritual growth that could be found.
I want God to take away my desires to be a mother so this cross doesn’t hurt so bad. Why would he give me desires he doesn’t want to fulfill?
OK – that is probably enough. I’ve probably scandalized 99% of you but oh well. Now you know I am not perfect. That I question things deeply. That this cross isn’t just some small trial I am casually passing through on my path towards holiness.
It is real.
With all this said – “We are an Easter people and hallelujah is our song.” Blessed JPII
This cross won’t win. I will taste the resurrection. I don’t know when or how but I know firmly I will. Hope refuses to be snuffed out in my heart and soul. By His grace I putter onward each day. At times, I teeter dangerously close to the edge of despair but have yet to fall over that cliff and don’t believe Jesus will let me. Through prayer and the Sacraments He will ward off despair from gripping me for good.
For those going through this gauntlet too – I am sorry. I am here for you and would love to hold one another up in the battle. For those not going through this but caring for people who are – pray and be grateful. Please pray (for REAL and not just one of those “I’ll pray for you” passerby comments you don’t really mean) for couples going through this. And be crazy grateful for your health and kiddos. Yes, you have other crosses and I won’t deny that but hopefully the above glimpse will give you ideas of how to pray for an infertile couple.
Amanda, thanks for being real. What a gift to write it all out. You truly stated the pain of infertility as clearly as possible. I lift you up in prayer along with everyone else who carries this cross. May we unite in the Cross.
Lauren – Thank you for your comment and for being willing to lift us in prayer. You have been in our prayers and will continue to be. Thank you for your witness to us in carrying this cross with patience and hope.
Jonathan and Amanda, you are the best neighbors ever. I am reading about Flannery O’Connor and her amazing challenges as an artist with Lupus. Your “realness” and perseverance is like hers, I think–a shock to the system that is meant to awaken and illuminate.
Thanks again for the encouragement!
Amanda, this is so perfect. You have not scandalized me at all! I loved Rebecca’s original post, and I love your take on it. (Love is probably the wrong word here, but you get what I mean.) All of this is so true. It tells my own story to a T. So thank you for being brave enough to post about the real ugly side of IF. It needs to be out there so that people know just how heavy our cross is. Hugs and prayers, friend!
As for scandal…it’s a much much much bigger scandal to only talk about the good things and to say things like “No matter what, God is always there and so I always feel happy about that.” THAT’S what scandalizes the other infertile couples or anyone else suffering for that matter, because then they feel like they are somehow less for feeling angry or sad or depressed.
You’re understanding what it’s like to suffer in way that it sounds like you haven’t known before, and while that sucks, it connects you with a much larger population of the human community and shows your growth as a person.
[…] I have read blog articles from Catholic women being honest about their intense suffering (here and here). (I don’t know if they want to be linked to this or not. Ultimately, I mean to say I liked […]
Thanks for sending this to me, Amanda. I appreciate your candid and honest writing. It is helpful to better understand the reality of this cross. We love you both and you are in our daily prayers!
Thanks you! I appreciate your friendship, spending time with you and Jake is source of much happiness for us! 🙂
Thank you for sharing your heart here. I “get” everything you’re saying and could repeat it all myself!! We’ve also been married almost three years, so I also get the length of time you’ve been waiting. (Of course every experience is unique in certain ways, but I can definitely relate!) Oh, it’s so hard. I will hold you in prayer – for real – because this is always on my heart. Never a day goes by without wishing I was a mother, and grieving for everyone else who knows that ache. Thank you for being so honest. There are a few friends IRL that I’ve opened up to about our struggles, and while it was hard, and I doubt they’ll ever “get” it, it’s been healing and bonded us closer, I think.
Wanting to say a word of comfort to you…I pray you know Jesus’ love and closeness while you carry this heavy, heavy cross.
Thank you for your encouraging words and for holding us in prayer. May Jesus fully redeem and heal all our suffering in time!
Can’t find your contact info, but you have been chosen as March Adopt-a-Blogger, congrats! We’ll be praying for you this month 🙂
Yipee! THANK YOU!
[…] — 6 — Keeping It Real: Please pray for this couple. […]
Joining this very very late, but I just wanted to say THANK YOU for this post. So often I feel like women, IF and not IF alike, put their best face forward in their every day lives…it’s a natural tendency to some extent, and can be helpful in continuing to put ‘one foot in front of the other,’ but it in turn it makes other women feel like they are not as strong, durable, faithful, etc. Thanks for opening up your heart to this virtual community and showing that you, like ALL of us, are ‘human.’ Like you, I believe we will all be rewarded…hopefully both in Heaven and on Earth. Prayers for you and your husband, that you find the strength to persevere through each new day. It can be so hard!!!