Wednesday, September 25, 2013

John 12:24

We all don't like to get unsolicited advice from people especially if we just spent time pouring our heart out to them. While I was in Alabama I asked for some advice from a woman named G who has been married about 20yrs. and they were never able to have children of their own. They got married when they were in their early forties and knew that they might not have children, even knowing this they were still disappointed. I asked her "how do you do it? How do you live or start to live your life knowing that children won't be a part of it the way you had hoped?" G explained to me that she didn't get too wrapped up in the disappointment or TTC she just lived her life with her husband. She said she poured her maternal instincts into her nieces, nephews, godchildren and children that God put before her to take care of. They never looked into foster care or adoption because it didn't really cross their mind. G told me to not give up hope that I will be a mother to a child here on earth someday and that it's all in God's hands and His timing. G told me to love my goddaughter and get to know her more, to pour my maternal instincts into loving her. Overall I left the conversation with G feeling very blessed and refreshed in hope!

Another scenario that happened while I was in AL was a woman who I have known since I was a teenager showed me a picture of someone I had gone to youth group with, in the picture she was holding her healthy baby that looked about 6months old. This woman knows our struggle very well and I asked why she was showing me this picture especially since the woman in the picture was not really a friend. She asked if I knew that the Drs. told the mother that the baby was not developing properly and would need surgery upon delivery if the baby had survived. She said they had a lot of people praying for the baby and when the baby was born she was fine, no surgery needed. I said I had known the story, puzzled the woman asked if something was wrong. Due to my post peak PMS bravery I told her that it is so hard sometimes to see pictures and hear stories of "miracle" babies when we don't know if that will ever happen for us. We don't know if God is promising us children now or in the future, that is what we are trying to discern. She seemed taken aback by my honesty and still confused as to why I would not find this story comforting. Believe me I am happy for this woman and that her baby is healthy but I left this conversation feeling like I was broken.

I don't want people to walk on eggshells around me because of IF but I do want to inform people that IF is no easy road where it is just peaches and sunshine as you wait and trust in God. The encouragement that they are trying to give you can call attention to the wound when you were not even thinking about it or leave you feeling like you are not doing enough. IF is a fight, a wrestling, a struggle, an inner war and an uphill battle as you try and make sense of the situation and then on top of that to try to follow God's will. You can't just wish or pray your IF away, which is super frustrating because believe me I have tried! Even if a beautiful healthy pregnancy occurs or an adoption takes place it does not magically make you "fixed" now or give you joy. Will you be happy? Of course, but it will not erase the pain that you endured and could still endure from the years of IF and/or miscarriage.

Now I have heard these lines of encouragement from people many times before "it's all in God's timing" or "its not God's will yet" or"you should relax and go on vacation, that's when it will happen" or "it will happen for you I just know it" and it would always frustrate me because I thought that the person didn't understand what I was trying to say, they didn't understand the pain and hurt I was in. So I would always brush off their advice or words of "encouragement" I would especially brush them off if they had children and had not gone through IF or miscarriage. It is very easy to dismiss those who "just don't understand." A lot of the times I would hold bitterness in my heart about their comments and warn myself never to share our struggles with those people again. It is very easy to turn inward and become bitter from IF and miscarriage.

Oh miscarriage, and I feel like my life changed forever the day that I started to miscarry. I no longer looked at our journey with a wave of hope, instead I saw a wave of disappointment that would continue for quite some time. I turned inward and started to guard my heart even closer, closing myself off from forming new or closer bonds with friends w/children or staying away from babies as much as possible. Part of this was a natural part of grief and part of it was self-pity. I turned inward in grief only revealing my true feelings to God alone, I barely started sharing some of these details with JJ. Then while in AL God gave me a glorious opportunity to share my heart with my husband. I let him in on the pain I experienced last year, he knew most of it but there was still stuff I was holding back. God convicted me while I was in AL of self-pity and many other things. It was such a wonderful release to lay it all down with Jesus and allow Him to start to heal those wounds from losing Cecilia. God did a wonderful thing to start to heal my motherly heart that was in so much pain.

I started to feel guilty about all the thoughts and feelings I had last year and then I realized that it was all part of a necessary process. It was all part of the process of grief. The day we were leaving for AL we got to have a private Mass in our Carmelite friars private chapel w/ one of the priests that was going with us. The Mass was at 3:30am as we had to be at the airport by 5am, so God gave us the grace to wake up for it. It was such a beautiful Mass and my Carmelite heart was so happy! This line from the gospel for that morning was very poignant for me and it kind of became my theme for the trip:

"Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit." John 12:24

It's kind of cryptic I know, but it really stood out to me, unless I die I will not produce fruit. Does that mean physically die? What do I need to give up? This got me thinking and journaling about this gospel verse. During one of my holy hours in AL I let my mind wonder on this subject...

I certainly felt like I died last year when we miscarried and JJ had his horrible accident at work. I felt like God was stripping everything that I loved away and I felt like death was ever before me. As a melancholic I think I am going to die all the time or the people I love most will. The gloomy outlook is something I am used to dealing with but last year was something different, death became really real. I always knew that my family, friends and I would die someday but suddenly my life became a real journey toward one end, heaven. To get to heaven we must die. Sorry to make this post so morbid it gets better I promise!

I started to think of this pang that I feel in my heart from IF and losing Cecilia. It gets better where you don't always think about it but it is still there always, like chronic pain you learn to live with. Then I thought this is kind of like the stigmata that some of the saints had. Now I am not comparing myself to some great saint but it reminded me that those saints had this special painful thing about them that kept them in constant union with Christ and His sufferings. This pain allowed them to constantly remember that their ultimate goal was Heaven and their life was naturally ordered toward Christ.

Then I realized that I would rather go to Heaven than have children. Not that children are evil or anything like that but that I need to NOT make children an idol before God. I need to stop turning inward and start turning outward toward others especially JJ. I need to not hold back love from humanity by saving it for my children that are not even here yet or my child who is not here on earth. I need to open up my heart more to those around me, keeping some boundaries obviously. I need to not just brush off people who are fertile or don't understand me. I need to not think my pain and cross are bigger and heavier than everybody else's. I need to realize that infertility and PCOS are just medical diagnoses I have, they are NOT who I am. All in all I just need to get over myself! This is not to say that I will be happy go lucky and the ever optimist, that's just not me or that the pains of IF will not effect me anymore. It is to say that I don't want to just remain a "grain of wheat" anymore I want God to take me to places I never thought possible. I am ready to bear some fruit  ;)

I will leave you with a song that has been my theme song this summer. It is kind of long but well worth the listen.  


  1. Very honest post Kat, thank you for sharing what's in your heart.

  2. Oh, Kat, I feel your pain so much. So much. I don't have any words, for you have so eloquently spoken them here, but I do feel that if God could allow me - who fought so hard for so long and then finally gave up - to become a mother, I have no doubt that He - in His mercy - will do the same for you. If I can help in any way, please let me know. In the meantime, continued prayers for you and JJ. xoxo, Bernadette G.

  3. I love the way this all wrapped up. And you wrote it much more beautifully than I ever could. Thank you for my Thursday morning inspiration :)

  4. So many things I love about this, Kat! That first conversation was beautiful. To me, it's always SO different hearing advice from someone who's carried the IF cross than someone who hasn't. Same goes for the stories of miraculous conceptions/pregnancies - while it still stings a little to hear them from anyone, when they come from someone who tried for years and relates the story simply, gratefully...well that actually gives me hope. Like not every seeming dead end is a real dead end.

    And wow, the image of the chronic pain/stigmata - that's powerful! A hidden stigmata, too, which makes it harder.

    And the verse you shared, about dying so that you might live...we are reading through a beautiful book about the Anima Christi prayer, and the section on the line "Passion of Christ, strengthen me" talking about dying so *others* can live - how beautifully applicable that is to the IF journey - dying to our desires for motherhood for the sake of others, our husbands, God willing our future children, anyone who needs graces that we gain through our suffering...okay, this comment is way too long but THANKS for your insights!

  5. I don't know what to say, but thank you for sharing your heart so openly here.

  6. This is so poignant, and so wise. I will never be one of those who thinks IF (let alone miscarriage) is a blessing, but certainly I think the suffering can teach us things that others often don't really learn. (I am at a loss to explain the idiot with the picture, though.)