I really truly thought that this photo would be the last photo taken of us as a family of 3. This photo was taken just 1 week before we found out I was pregnant. Our hearts were so overjoyed! We have always had an openness to life within our marriage, trusting that we need to allow the Lord to guide our child spacing. After finding out I was pregnant, I felt such reassurance that God was revealing His beautiful design for our family. FINALLY, Sophia would have a sibling!
After finding out I was in the process of miscarrying on October 19th of last year, I felt numb. I have never felt so angry at God. Why would God take my baby from me before I ever got to meet her
(or his) sweet face? Why did Jesus need this baby in heaven more than He desired for me to know and raise this baby?
I was heart broken. I survived on Ben and Jerry's for 3 days, and when a few good friends brought me a box of brownies, I ate the entire box for lunch.... I needed to feel numb. I didn't want to feel the emptiness and sadness in my heart. After a week of complete and total self loathing, I finally knew that I needed to face reality and I needed to begin the journey of giving this burden to Jesus.
We had participated in the creation of a baby who we would never meet; at least not in this life. After driving in the car one day, and Sophia repeatedly shouting, "baby Mary, baby Mary, baby Mary" we asked her who baby Mary was. She answered matter of factly that baby Mary was in heaven with Jesus. And so we named this sweet baby MaryRose. It seemed like a fitting name for a child who had a straight ticket to heaven.
Months and months went by. We began to desire conceiving again immediately, but it wasn't happening. Nothing brought me solace. Whether talking to my mom, my sister, my husband, friends at church. Nothing comforted me. I had built up such a wall. I was so angry and so stubborn. Finally at a point when I had begun to hit rock bottom, we were at church and Father announced that the prayer teams were available after mass to pray for special intentions. After mass, my husband pretty much dragged me to the prayer team. As I was walking over to the teams, I was drawn to a husband and wife team, and the holy spirit put this thought in my mind, "she lost a baby too". I started sobbing uncontrollably and I felt like an idiot. I went up to her and her husband and told her what was going on. She told me that she had lost 5 babies and yet she also had 5 healthy children. Praise God. I confessed my fears that there was something wrong with me. (After months and months of not being able to conceive, I had convinced myself that I must be seriously ill.) The woman praying over me, gave me such an embracing hug. I was touched by her gentleness despite the fact that I had never met her. She looked at me with a very serious look in her eyes and she said, "sweetheart, that baby is in heaven because you needed an extra saint on your side, praying for you everyday." WOW! What grace I received from that statement! Numerous people had referred to my baby as an angel, but as Catholics we don't believe that people become angels when they die. Hearing that my baby was a saint whom I could talk to and who could intercede for me, brought me the comfort that I had longed for.
The past year has been hard. Really hard. In more ways than one. I have been so angry for the past year. Every time I see a pregnant woman, my first thought is complete and total anger. I have begun to be sickly jealous of those women who find it so easy to get pregnant. You don't know how lucky you are! I am now able to turn this jealousy into a prayer because I know that jealousy is not of God. We recently found out that there are medical reasons for my inability to conceive. To put it simply, my hormones are VERY out of wack. I have begun to take natural approaches to normalize my hormones as much as possible. (If anyone wants to know more about this topic, I would love to share; being the health nut that I am, the topic of fertility diets is a HUGE passion of mine.) I am blessed to have a Catholic doctor who respects my dignity as a woman. He has complete faith that in time, we will conceive again.
I have spent the past year negotiating and pleading with God. I have felt such a fog over me. Every time I am in front of the blessed sacrament, I felt a physical pull and tension. I felt God trying to take this from me, and I felt my stubborn heart say, "No!" My fear has been that if I surrender this to Jesus, it is as though I am giving up on having a baby. I have been so foolish. Clearly it is only through our surrender that God will truly reveal His plans for us.
I look back on this year with gratitude. James and I both agree that this has been the hardest year of our marriage. If not for the grace of God I truly think that our marriage would be on the rocks, I would be on antidepressants, and we would probably be taking drastic measures to have a baby. God is bigger than all of that. I would love to say that I had a huge light bulb moment that finally gave me total trust and comfort, but the reality is that there have been numerous small light bulbs. I literally feel like God has taken my heart from my chest, twisted and turned it upside down and conformed it to Him. I am grateful. It has taken an entire YEAR for me to say yes, but I am grateful nonetheless. On this day, I find myself joyful. I am joyful for our beautiful, healthy family of 3. I am joyful for our Catholic faith, I am joyful for a husband who will lead me and support me. I am joyful for the realization that all things happen on His time.
Possibly the greatest lessons of my life that I have learned through this experience are this:
1.Getting angry at God is only sinful if that anger leads us away from Him. My anger and frustration has led me right into His arms and I am thankful.
2. Negotiating with God doesn't work, so stop trying.
3. Living your life according to His will is always worth it.
4. When struggling with infertility, or anything for that matter, make sure to constantly check in with yourself to make sure that God is in charge and not you.
5. Fertility is a gift. A true, God given gift. Whether you have a very large family and continue to conceive with ease, or you struggle to conceive, the ability to carry a child in your womb is a beautiful gift from God that is abused a lot in our culture. To carry another soul alongside your own soul- what a miracle!
I continue to desire more children. I have a very strong desire for Sophia to have a sibling. I never envisioned myself as only having one child. I feel very strongly that one way or another, we will have more children. Whether God allows my body to normalize, or we take on the gift of adoption. Until then, we are a family of 3 and I say Yes! I say Yes to the plans of the Lord.
*It is my greatest hope and desire to be a source of support for other women who struggle with infertility. Unfortunately more and more people continue to have struggles conceiving. There are tons of reasons that infertility is so prevalent today; one of these reasons is an excess amount of processed foods and endocrine disrupting foods. There are numerous dietary measures you can take to increase your chances of conception. I would love nothing more than to offer support and encouragement for anyone who is struggling with loss or infertility.
Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!