Friday, September 10, 2010

I Confess

I would be dishonest if I were to say that it has not been a struggle for us these past four years.  Anyone who knew Taylor and me before we got married knew that we wanted children right away.  We talked about it all the time. With anyone who would listen. We had dreams of being pregnant on the plane back from our honeymoon.  Every month we'd pray and hope that this would be it--the month we became parents. And so, we waited. And waited...

More than four years (or 53 months.. but who's counting?) and some four dozen babies (seriously) later, despite many evaluative tests and various remedies and strategies for conception, we still wait.

I have deliberately avoided discussing my struggle with infertility on this blog.  Not because I think you'd be unsympathetic, but because I didn't want it to become, for me, a forum for complaining.  I would be lying if I told you it hasn't been painful. But I would also be lying if I pretended we have not had our share of grace and blessing.  So many blessings..

St. Josemaria Escriva said:
"God in His providence has two ways of blessing marriages: one by giving them children; and the other, sometimes, because he loves them so much, by not giving them children.  I don't know which is the better blessing.  In any event, let one accept his own."
That was a hard thought for me: God is blessing our marriage by not giving us children.  Or at least, by not giving us children according to our plan and schedule.  I do hope to be a mother someday, but clearly my plans for immediate parenthood were not what God had in mind.

I've been thinking about St. Josemaria's words a lot, especially (you may have noticed) since it feels like everyone is getting pregnant lately.  There is a delicate balance between being thankful for one's own blessings and still pursuing the blessings we feel called to, like children; between looking around at my life and saying "I am so blessed" but still being able to look forward with hope and say "I do want children."

It's not enough only to look forward, because I could too easily forget about all the wonderfulness in my life right now.  But neither is it enough to merely "be content" with life as it is.  We are called to foster a sense of "not yet" in our plans.  What's in the future? How should we plan for it? What are we supposed to do to bring that future into the present?

Those questions have been difficult for me.  And I confess to feelings of bitterness when I read the ever-growing number of pregnancy announcements on facebook. I admit that I sometimes find it hard to look at swelling-belly pictures and the happy smile on the face of the parents.  I fight against envy when I see videos of cooing babes and exhausted-but-ecstatic parents holding their precious newborn.  Of course I am deeply (and truly) happy for them, but I can't help thinking "what about us?"

I even admit to selfish thoughts like, "well, they can't do all the things T and I can do, since they have kids."  But, inevitably, I say to myself, "but I know they don't care.. they'd never change a thing."  To be honest, we wouldn't change a thing either. Still, I have sometimes tried to convince myself that my life, sans bebe is better than life with kids, but that thought is empty.  Comparison is a deep, dark hole that will never bring fruit.

I won't tell you about the many blessings have in our marriage in this post, since the rest of this blog is an attempt at sharing those thousands.  But that is part of the difficulty.  To maintain true gratitude right alongside a deep, intense longing.  Part of the struggle is to reject those destructive, comparative thoughts and feelings of self-pity that tend to crop up at others' joyful news.  Part of the struggle is to sympathize with others who do not have the blessings I have, to bite my tongue and swallow my pride and not proclaim how blessed we are at just the wrong time...

I am no saint.  I can only speak from my experience and I have succumbed to these temptations many times.  But I do know that there is grace in abundance in such struggles.  "Let each accept his own" is St. Josemaria's advice.  Grant it, O Lord.

And we will keep waiting. But not without hope.


  1. i love that last picture :) i love you very much seester and while i don't have anything to "fix" the problem, i'll just say what you already know and that is: Rejoice! Oh highly favored Daughter! the guy upstairs works in mysterious ways and he loves you both very much. always know that i'm here to talk to about this, even if it's just to bitch, that's what seesters are for :)


  2. you are amazing seester, and yes - VERY BLESSED!! I know God will continue to bless you and Taylor in ways you cannot fathom yet. And by that I mean children ... because we all know how unfathomable they are! :) lagbb

  3. When you come to visit you will certainly have to have a look at my current book study. Not only are you blessed, but you carry forth God's blessing to each of us in a special way. That is nothing to scoff. The blessing God gives you, you are to bear to the world. Love you. Thanks for being brave enough to share.

  4. Anne - you can bet there are times when I look at the things you and Taylor get to do sans children and think 'wow, wouldn't it be nice?' Like you said, that doesn't mean we would want to change what we have, yet I think that you ought to feel very special that God has given you and Taylor a unique opportunity to grow and bond together at this time in your lives. I know you're thinking that couples bond over children - and that's true - but like I said your situation is so unique as to be admirable. Especially considering the way you are choosing to live. Clearly, children are still a huge part of your lives and you are not actively rejecting the gift of life (like so many other couples are doing) Therefore you are still acting within God's grace - and probably touching people that you don't even realize by your example. Anne - your generosity in encouraging us parents and sewing for us is beautiful and very self giving. Also, you and Taylor have an amazing relationship that just radiates love. Though you've only been married two years longer than us, I look up to you in so many ways...

    I know this is kind of a long convoluted comment! I'm sorry - I just wanted to let you know that you are admired, loved, and prayed for! I don't know if anything we say can make you feel 100% better, but the fact that you had the courage to share shows that you probably respect our input.

  5. Anne, this is such a beautiful post. I have several close friends who struggle with this. I will add you both to our personal prayer list. May God continue to richly bless according to His will.

    BTW- the bag arrived and I LOVE it! I used it last night for the first time and everything fits perfectly. Thank you so much! I am going to blog about it soon and pass on your cards to friends. THANKS!!

  6. This post was beautiful Anne. Beautifully written, and that last photo made me cry. Thank you for sharing.
    I pray this often throughout my day:
    "Protect us Lord from all anxiety, as we wait in joyful hope."
    I'll be praying it for you too.

  7. This is such a beautiful post, Anne. I know you will be such a wonderful mother whenever and however it happens!

  8. Love this and think you are both so amazing. I am so CAPSLOCK excited for you both. The way you reconcile your mixed emotions and thoughts about all of this is incredible on so many levels and this post is just one of the million examples of the beauty you hold in your heart. That beauty (among other things, of course) will make you a wonderful mother. The creation of life happens in many ways and I think you both create love and life every day even if you have not yet created a baby. (I also think that the little one who will come into your life absolutely needs you so so much and the fact that you are willing and want to take him or her into your lives is a miracle in and of itself.)