As most readers of this blog know, in May 2007 I miscarried our first child. It was a painful loss and feelings of grief, blame, inadequacies and guilt were overwhelming. What caught us off guard but was just as painful was the lack of support for parents like Travis and I, especially within the context of the Catholic Church, and the lack of recognition most pro-life people gave to our first child. I don't blame those people for how they reacted or didn't react; had I not gone through the process myself I too would not know what to say or how to act with a miscarrying mother. Yet I believe that as a pro-life community we should and can do much better.
In the past few months I've become aquaintenced with several Catholic women who struggle with infertility. The pain, sadness and frustration these women feel is palpable. A few of them have shared about problems they've had for years that, when brought to the attention of their ob/gyns, were just masked with the pill while they were unknowing teens. Later, when they began to ask questions they were told they'd never be able to have children and that was that. No seeking other treatments, no getting to the cause of the problem, just a band-aid and a meaningless "I'm sorry."
To an extent I can understand how these women feel, but only to an extent. After that I wonder how much it hurts when they hear us good, procreating Catholics - blessed with fertility - make comments about "how Catholic could they be - they've been married for x many years and have no kids." I know those types of comments are made because I've heard them said and I've made them myself. Shame on all of us. Shame on me.
So this morning I googed Catholic infertility and you know what I found? Blogs and two Catholic websites offering links, support and prayers. All but one of them seem to have been created by families struggling and feeling alone. Yes, there was a statement on reproductive technologies from the USCCB (very good), but the 7th top find claimed to be Catholic and then offered help finding a sperm donor... ummm... no. Once again, as a pro-life community we can and should do much better.
So here's a question to you, if you are struggling with the inabiltiy to concieve what would you want? Someone to listen?
A way to submit your name for Mass intentions?
A support group of some kind?
Messages of support and kindness?
Education of some kind?
I'm not sure if anyone will want to comment, but I want to listen if you want to talk.
Good links I found:
How to Support a Miscarrying Mother