Tuesday, April 22, 2014

My Favorite Infertility Resources

One in six couples experience infertility at some point in their marriage.

I wanted to share a few resources that have helped me during the last four and a half years of infertility. You can also read Our Story

I hope these resources are helpful: 

Prayer Warrior Program from www.CatholicandInfertile.com
This website offers lots of resources for couples experiencing infertility. My favorite is the prayer warrior campaign. By signing up online, your name and information is given to a religious community of sisters who will pray specifically for you and your intentions. We have a Dominican order in upstate New York praying for us. How cool is that? 

Following Hannah Primary Infertility Support Group, Naper.ville, IL
This Chicago-area support group is for women experiencing difficulty beginning their families due to primary infertility (no living children). It offers a loving, safe place to share and pray together with other women who are committed to following the Catholic Church’s teachings on reproductive technology. We meet on the first Saturday of each Month 9:00—10:30 am St. Paul Center Sts. Peter and Paul, Naper.ville, Illinois. For more info please contact me! Information on other support groups is available here.

Infertility/Miscarriage Greeting Cards and Art
These beautiful cards are from CarlyMarie, a women from Australia who suffered infant loss. They. are. amazing. She does butterfly and sand art (writing and drawing in the sand along the beach) and offers greeting cards for those experiencing infertility, infant loss, or miscarriage. Just looking through the online store is uplifting and soothing for me!!!

Chaplet of Hannah's Tears
This beautiful prayer is based on the story of Hannah in the Bible begging the Lord for a child: "In the bitterness of her soul she prayed to Yahweh with many tears" I Samuel 1:10. The prayer involves praying nine Our Father's, nine Hail Mary's, and nine Glory Be's. It includes scripture verses and simple meditations on trusting God and abandonment to his will. I have found this prayer very comforting.

Facing Infertility: A Catholic Approach
This is my favorite book on infertility from a Catholic perspective! Each chapter starts with a real-life story related to the topic: dealing with sadness, learning about treatment options, knowing your limits, understanding Catholic teaching, and keeping the faith in the midst of suffering.  It was encouraging to know I was not the only one feeling devastated by infertility. Each chapter ends with reflection questions, suggestions for friends and family, and a prayer. This book is a "must read" in my humble opinion.

Infertility Companion for Catholics
Another excellent book on how to cope with infertility. It has chapters on Catholic teaching, carrying the cross of infertility, and seeking God's will. I especially liked that there was a chapter written especially for men, which my hubby read and was able to relate to.

Infertility Blogs
This past year I've been especially blessed to follow several blogs of other women going through infertility. Sharing in the journey of these new friends helps lessen the weight of the burden. 

Below are a few blogs worth checking out (those with an * have children after primary infertility or are experiencing secondary infertility).

Friday, April 18, 2014

Learning to Carry My Cross

I'm not proud to say it, but I've been in a funk the last two weeks. I've been jealous, feeling sorry for myself, and giving in to negative thinking.

My hubby has been putting up with a lot from me and been extra sweet, but I've still been "off". Midweek I got it all out, and just vented about life. It felt good to talk about everything swirling around in my little head, even though it wasn't pretty.

I also came across these reflections from "In Conversation With God Vol 2, Holy Week: Wednesday" on three different ways of carrying our cross:

One - Carrying our cross furiously or sullenly
"Today, too, the cross can be carried in different ways. There is the cross carried furiously or sullenly, in a rage; man writhes and squirms, filled with hate, or at least, with a deep and burning resentment. It is a cross without meaning and without any explanation, useless; such a cross may even separate one from God. It is the cross of those in this world who seek comfort and material well-being, who will put up with neither suffering nor setbacks, for they have no wish to understand the supernatural meaning of pain. It is a cross which does not redeem. It is the cross carried by one of the thieves."

Two - Carrying our cross with resignation and acceptance
"On the road to Calvary is a second cross, carried this time with resignation, perhaps even with some dignity, with an acceptance of the situation simply because there is no alternative to it. This is the one carried by the other thief. Little by little he realizes that close by him is the sovereign figure of Christ, who will radically change the final moments of his life on earth, and for eternity; he will be the one converted into the good thief."

Three - Carrying our cross with love and in reparation
"Jesus embraces the saving wood and teaches us how we ought to carry our own cross: with love, co-redeeming all souls with him, making reparation at the same time for our own sins. Our Lord has conferred on human suffering a deep meaning. Being able, as he was, to redeem us in a multitude of ways, he chose to do so through suffering, for greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13)."

These reflections challenged me to take a good look at the way I carry my cross. I'm embarrassed to say that lately I've been carrying my cross more via the first way, rather than the third. Thankfully Jesus is merciful and patient.