Welcome to our Blessed Chats series! Each month, we will dedicate an entire week of blog posts to a topic that affects many of us. These conversations often come up in our Facebook groups and in our real life friendships. We want to share a variety of perspectives on the topic at hand, so we’ve asked women to share their stories and how the teachings of the Church have guided and comforted them. In this series, we’re talking more about fertility. We’d love for you to join the conversation!
My husband and I wanted to start a family almost immediately after we married. After a year of trying to conceive without achieving a pregnancy, we went to a fertility physician who specializes in NaPro Technology, a natural restorative approach to reproduction utilizing the Creighton Method.
Though we remain hopeful that we will conceive, the grieving process has been difficult. Some weeks are filled with joyful anticipation, while others are consumed by sadness and defeat.
What Has Helped Me Grieve Infertility
One in eight couples experience infertility, yet it remains a topic often left undiscussed, and many couples walk through their journeys in silence.
My own husband and I spent a substantial amount of time grieving in silence. Through the Lord’s invitation to be vulnerable, though, we have learned of some ways to ease the heartbreak of infertility.
Sharing any personal hardship with others—especially infertility—is difficult. It’s natural to feel afraid that our friends or loved ones won’t react in the way we hope, and it’s easy to give into feeling shame in the face of vulnerability.
But the Lord gives us community so that we don’t have to shoulder our burdens alone. If you have struggled to share your experience with infertility with others, start by sharing your story with one or two friends or family members. The people who love you will listen to you. They will give you a shoulder to cry on. They will ask you questions. They will pray for you. They will support you.
And though the grief might not dissipate completely, you will start to feel free, heard, and loved.
Feel and Pray
It’s okay to feel sad upon reading another negative pregnancy test. It’s okay to cry on the difficult days. It’s okay to mourn for the child you don’t have. The Lord allows these emotions, and it’s healthy to feel them.
However, this isn’t a place where God wants us to dwell. He doesn’t want hopelessness to become the disposition of our hearts. Instead, He wants to use our suffering to help us grow in virtue.
When feelings of sadness or even bitterness, resentment, jealousy, or anger creep in, acknowledge them and then lean into the Holy Spirit. Pray for the antithetical fruit of the negative spirit. Ask the Lord to fill you with grace, patience, and love to replace bitterness and resentment. Invite the Holy Spirit to render your heart humble in the face of jealousy. Pray for joy to replace anger. Make space for these virtues to transform and heal your heart.God doesn’t want hopelessness to become the disposition of our hearts. Instead, He wants to use our suffering to help us grow in virtue. #BISblog #blessedchats // Click To Tweet
Learn and grow in our Faith and love for the Lord.
Lean into Your Spouse
Like many difficulties faced by a husband and a wife, infertility has the potential to bear fruit in a marriage. Though each spouse often grieves differently, it is important to lean on one another.
Consider doing one of the following with your husband to unite your grief and heal together:
- Pray a novena to Saint Gianna Beretta Molla, the patron Saint of infertility and pregnancy.
- Talk about the phases of your cycle. Share with your husband different markers you are charting throughout your cycle.
- Go to doctor appointments together. Many fertility physicians encourage this.
- Go on dates and cherish each other’s company. Remember that you and your husband are already a family.
Meditate on Scripture
Scripture is layered with reminders that the Lord’s timing and plan surpass anything that we envision for our lives. Try memorizing one of the following verses to recite as a reminder that the Lord is walking with you on this journey.
// “Is anything too marvelous for the Lord to do?” -Genesis 18:14
// “Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer.” -Romans 12:12
// “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” -Matthew 28:20
// “Lord, I call to you; hasten to me; listen to my plea when I call. Let my prayer be incense before you; my uplifted hands an evening offering.” -Psalm 141:1-215
// “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you—oracle of the LORD—plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope.” -Jeremiah 29:11
One Day at a Time
Infertility is a heavy cross to carry, but the grief doesn’t have to be shouldered alone. Have the difficult conversations, lean into your loved ones, pray without ceasing, and trust in the Lord. He can transform your mourning and your heart, one day at a time.
Does anyone else carry this cross? We’d love to pray for you.
If you want more on the Church’s rich teachings on these engaging topics, our best-selling study, “Blessed Conversations: Rooted,” dives into the Catechism’s teachings and now offers a video companion series along with it featuring Theological Editor Susanna Spencer and Managing Editor Nell O’Leary. Get it here.
Mercedes Shirts works as a sixth grade teacher in Idaho. When not indulging in a good read and black coffee, she enjoys cooking, hiking with her husband and working in her garden. You can find more about here.