IT’S INFERTILITY AWARENESS WEEK: DID YOU KNOW THE CATHOLIC CHURCH CARES DEEPLY?

Original from  http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/

In honor of this year’s National Infertility Awareness week (April 19-25), I wanted to spend a few days recognizing the struggle and the heartache and the sometimes silent suffering of couples who are bearing the cross of infertility in their marriages.

And I wanted to highlight some of the hopeful, heartfelt efforts to help and to heal which the Catholic Church is making (yep, you read that right) and, in fact, has been making, for quite some time now.

I also wanted to bring a few new voices into the mix, stories that you won’t hear from my perspective, because so far I have nothing but empathy and a view from the sidelines on this issue, for which I’m incredibly grateful (yes, grateful, in spite of the craziness of raising tiny humans and the difficulties of pregnancy). So for the next couple days I’m delighted to have some women coming into this space to share their stories of infertility, and their journeys toward building the family God has called them to, in cooperation with His will, not in spite of it.

So much of what we hear about infertility has to do with economics and technological “advancements” and is far, far too often dismissive of the pain and the frustration couples who find themselves in this place are facing.

Just save up and get the materials collected to have some embryos created.

Have you thought about surrogacy?

Well at least you can adopt.

Relax, you’re not getting pregnant because you’re trying too hard!

And other illuminating nuggets of cultural wisdom along those lines.

Rarely, if ever, are the underlying medical condition(s) of either spouse considered until well into the process. Most (not all, but most) fertility MDs are eager to proscribe pills and procedures with an eye towards conception, not stopping first to consider the related systems and potential deficiencies of a body – or bodies – that isn’t working properly to begin with.

That’s where the Catholic Church blows the rest of the reproductive medicine and technology field out of the water. Because not only does she champion NaPro and other medicines that respect the dignity of the lives (and potential lives) of all parties involved, but her methods are actually the most effective of all other Assisted Reproductive Technologies out there.

Yep, NaPro is more successful than IVF. And it has the primary benefit of being completely moral and completely in line with the profound dignity of sex and the human person. No disposable embryos, no illicit sperm collection, no chance at forgetting – or simply denying – the human dignity of the persons involved. Just good science and ongoing research that asks the why of a couple’s struggles with infertility instead of jumping right to the how can we fix this, at any cost?

Now it’s not perfect, and of course it doesn’t work for every couple, but it is still the single best option in a sea of murky and immoral options and an immense amount of money.

(Important disclaimer: many people – even Christians – are woefully uneducated about the nature and the methods of traditional infertility treatments and ARTs. For them, the culpability of cooperating in evil is greatly reduced. And always, always, the dignity of the human person stands, no matter if they were conceived in rape, incest, or a million dollar laboratory.

All persons are created equal, but not all methods of creation are permissible – because they do not honor or recognize that innate human dignity, first, and second because they circumvent or bypass entirely the marital act, which is sacred in and of itself. End disclaimer.)

So I hope you’ll stick around this week because I have some wonderful stories to share with you. Not my own, but dear to me because they are my sisters’ stories, and because we are all members of the suffering body of Christ.

And if you know someone who is struggling with infertility right now? I’ll have some great advice from another mama in the trenches about how you can love them best. Even if it’s only (only!) through prayer and unwavering emotional support.

We’re all in this together, after all. And we’ll each of us be asked at some point to carry crosses whose weight would crush us, should we attempt to go it alone.

That’s what this week is hopefully about: dispelling the myth that any of us, no matter what we’re facing, is going it alone.

We Said “Yes”, Too

http://www.catholic365.com

Michaelyn Hein

I heardit again yesterday. The words that make me cringe a little, terrible though that sounds. But, it’s not from disagreement. I cringe from something else.

It was midafternoon, and my son napped on the sofa while I scrubbed countertops and listened to an online Catholic radio program. A caller had eight children. Eight, God bless him. God blessed him. He asked his question, suggestions were offered, and then, before he hung up, the talk show host said, “Thank you for saying yes.”

To what? As the discussion entailed nothing requiring assent, one could only surmise that it was a yes to life. To God’s plan for his family. A yes to as many children as God saw fit to give him. And to this, I agree.

But, another world of parents who rarely receive gratitude exists. Instead, these parents get suspicious stares. Do they know birth control is against the teachings of the Church? And they still take Communion? I imagine the thoughts because I’ve heard the whisperings, the judgments exchanged at a weekend Bible study. “We see the secular culture in our Church all the time. Look how many families at Mass have just one or two children,” said a fellow attendee, ” and how few with many. It’s a shame.”

It is a shame. Because I always wanted a congregation of children. I’d hoped I’d be like my mother who, with four children under the age of seven, received a snide, “Haven’t you heard of birth control?” I looked forward to being a living witness to life’s value, to receiving God’s gifts in abundance.

But, in recent years, I’ve felt a kinship with Sarah, who laughed when she heard that she and Abraham would one day conceive. I now have deep empathy for Rebecca, barren for twenty years before being blessed with a difficult pregnancy and, then, twins. And Rachel, crying, “Give me children or else I die!”

I am not alone. I am joined by many women, strong in their faith, who sit in the pew behind a beautiful, large family and wonder why we are not overflowing with God’s visible blessings, too. Why we must bear the added burden of being mistaken for a sign of selfishness.

Where do we fit in?

Outside the walls of our Church, we seem to have found our match. We travel with one, two or no children in compact cars, receiving support from people who say things like, “What a relief not to worry about putting kids through college,” or “Any more and we’d go crazy, right?”

Not right. We don’t fit in. We want more.

But, inside the walls of our Church, we feel out of place – though our hearts are more at home here than anywhere else. We don’tuse artificial birth control – possibly, never have, instead ready for God to shower us with abundant blessings from our first days of marriage.

But, those blessings never came. Or were very few. Or our blessings died before they were ever born, flooding heaven instead of our homes. Some of us walk into Mass not with a trail of children behind us but with a trail of tears.

Because we said yes, too.

We said “yes” on our wedding day when asked if we would accept children lovingly as gifts from the Lord.

We said “yes” with every marital embrace, hoping we would be pregnant this time.

We said “Yes, I should have expected it by now”, when our twelfth test in a row broke our hearts with one line instead of two.

We said “yes” when we said “no” to doctors’ offers of IUI or IVF, or to friends’ offers of surrogacy.

We said “Yes, we’ll adopt”, we don’t care how God blesses us with children, only that He does.

We said “Yes, I understand”, when the social worker told us that the birthmother chose a different couple or changed her mind and decided to parent.

We said “Yes, Jesus, I still trust in You”, when we were finally pregnant and then, weeks later, delivered our too young baby to heaven.

We said, “Yes, I know it will hurt my already damaged fertility, but please take the whole tube, and since there’s no other way, our sweet child with it”.

We said, “Yes, this is where our family plot will be,” when we buried our third trimester children before us, never having dreamt that at such a young age we would need to make such a decision.

We whispered, “Yes, God, I accept this cross of infertility, of a string of heavenly babies with no earthly children to show for it”.

We looked at our spouses and said, “Yes, you are enough. You are my gift from God.”

Or at our small, sweet family and said, “Yes, I am grateful. This is good.”

We comfort ourselves with thanksgiving that after much suffering we were abundantly blessed with one miraculous child, and with the knowledge that we are in good company. Sarah. Elizabeth. Mary. Very good company.

In these trials – and in many others – we also said “yes”.

And to all of those who haven’t heard it yet, thank you for saying “yes”., too.

I heard it again yesterday. The words that make me cringe a little, terrible though that sounds. But, it’s not from disagreement. I cringe from something else.

It was midafternoon, and my son napped on the sofa while I scrubbed countertops and listened to an online Catholic radio program. A caller had eight children. Eight, God bless him. God blessed him. He asked his question, suggestions were offered, and then, before he hung up, the talk show host said, “Thank you for saying yes.”

To what? As the discussion entailed nothing requiring assent, one could only surmise that it was a yes to life. To God’s plan for his family. A yes to as many children as God saw fit to give him. And to this, I agree.

But, another world of parents who rarely receive gratitude exists. Instead, these parents get suspicious stares. Do they know birth control is against the teachings of the Church? And they still take Communion? I imagine the thoughts because I’ve heard the whisperings, the judgments exchanged at a weekend Bible study. “We see the secular culture in our Church all the time. Look how many families at Mass have just one or two children,” said a fellow attendee, ” and how few with many. It’s a shame.”

It is a shame. Because I always wanted a congregation of children. I’d hoped I’d be like my mother who, with four children under the age of seven, received a snide, “Haven’t you heard of birth control?” I looked forward to being a living witness to life’s value, to receiving God’s gifts in abundance.

But, in recent years, I’ve felt a kinship with Sarah, who laughed when she heard that she and Abraham would one day conceive. I now have deep empathy for Rebecca, barren for twenty years before being blessed with a difficult pregnancy and, then, twins. And Rachel, crying, “Give me children or else I die!”

I am not alone. I am joined by many women, strong in their faith, who sit in the pew behind a beautiful, large family and wonder why we are not overflowing with God’s visible blessings, too. Why we must bear the added burden of being mistaken for a sign of selfishness.

Where do we fit in?

Outside the walls of our Church, we seem to have found our match. We travel with one, two or no children in compact cars, receiving support from people who say things like, “What a relief not to worry about putting kids through college,” or “Any more and we’d go crazy, right?”

Not right. We don’t fit in. We want more.

But, inside the walls of our Church, we feel out of place – though our hearts are more at home here than anywhere else. We don’tuse artificial birth control – possibly, never have, instead ready for God to shower us with abundant blessings from our first days of marriage.

But, those blessings never came. Or were very few. Or our blessings died before they were ever born, flooding heaven instead of our homes. Some of us walk into Mass not with a trail of children behind us but with a trail of tears.

Because we said yes, too.

We said “yes” on our wedding day when asked if we would accept children lovingly as gifts from the Lord.

We said “yes” with every marital embrace, hoping we would be pregnant this time.

We said “Yes, I should have expected it by now”, when our twelfth test in a row broke our hearts with one line instead of two.

We said “yes” when we said “no” to doctors’ offers of IUI or IVF, or to friends’ offers of surrogacy.

We said “Yes, we’ll adopt”, we don’t care how God blesses us with children, only that He does.

We said “Yes, I understand”, when the social worker told us that the birthmother chose a different couple or changed her mind and decided to parent.

We said “Yes, Jesus, I still trust in You”, when we were finally pregnant and then, weeks later, delivered our too young baby to heaven.

We said, “Yes, I know it will hurt my already damaged fertility, but please take the whole tube, and since there’s no other way, our sweet child with it”.

We said, “Yes, this is where our family plot will be,” when we buried our third trimester children before us, never having dreamt that at such a young age we would need to make such a decision.

We whispered, “Yes, God, I accept this cross of infertility, of a string of heavenly babies with no earthly children to show for it”.

We looked at our spouses and said, “Yes, you are enough. You are my gift from God.”

Or at our small, sweet family and said, “Yes, I am grateful. This is good.”

We comfort ourselves with thanksgiving that after much suffering we were abundantly blessed with one miraculous child, and with the knowledge that we are in good company. Sarah. Elizabeth. Mary. Very good company.

In these trials – and in many others – we also said “yes”.

And to all of those who haven’t heard it yet, thank you for saying “yes”., too.

Worldwide FertilityCare Week March 22nd – 28th

This year’s theme for Worldwide FertilityCare Week, “Know your Body: Love your Spouse,” celebrates the potential that the Creighton Model FertilityCareTM System has for women’s gynecologic and reproductive health as well as for increased marital intimacy through SPICE.

Don’t think the CrMS is only for married couples.  Knowing the body’s language of health and fertility has a profound effect on single women, too.  It affirms them in their dignity and equips them with the necessary tools to monitor their health throughout their reproductive lives.  Furthermore, understanding the integrity of their fertility empowers single women in true femininity.

The System

•Is as effective to avoid pregnancy as any other method of family planning, including the birth control pill when taught and used correctly.
•Enhances a couple’s relationship.
•Respects Life from the moment of conception.
•Is effective with assisting in the diagnosis and treatment of infertility, miscarriage,ovarian cysts and PMS.
•Is more effective to achieve pregnancy than artificial reproductive technologies, including IVF, for couples experiencing infertility.
•Is inexpensive
•Is  an investment in your future because it can be used during the your entire procreative life, to plan or avoid pregnancy, coming off of hormonal contraception, breastfeeding, post-partum, perimenopause or any other situation.
•Is a valuable gynecological and health record because of the daily tracking of signs of fertility
•Is a healthy alternative for health-conscious women.
Would you like to learn more about the Creighton Model FertilityCareTM System?  Do you want to know what you can do to get involved?  Contact Santa Ana FertilityCareTM Center for more information on our special events, and presentations in the Dayton area.  Come, celebrate with us!