Friday, November 29, 2013

The Next Chapter

You can probably tell that blogging has not been a priority for me in the last several months.  Ever since Google stupidly deleted Reader it became very hard for me to stay up on my favorite blogs.  So, I stayed connected through JBTC's website.  She was so sweet to text me last night and check up on me.  I thought everyone deserved an update from me or at least I thought it was appropriate to wrap up in a way my infertility story.

By late August and early September, events in my life had become so traumatic, my body and brain could not tolerate the stress and pressure any longer.  Separation and divorce were imminent and we were already making concrete plans to go through with it.  I was my own worst enemy.

I took a step I should have several years ago.  I called my therapist that I'd worked with in my early to mid-twenties.  She is a talented, wonderful woman who helped me understand how my weaknesses were driving me further downward.  And, in this case, most importantly, she connected me with a psychiatrist that is reliable and caring (just what I needed).

The result of the treatment has been miraculous.  I am happy for the first time since the month we started trying to conceive: October 2009.  A major component of that happiness is hopefulness.  I'm able to look forward and see great things.

Work has never been better.  My annual evaluation deemed I was nearly perfect.  Of course, I took that with a grain of salt but being told you are showing incredible maturity and professionalism is pretty great.  My boss also said I was poised for executive management.  I manage six people and that has given my a wonderful sense of responsibility to mentor, guide, and inspire.  I love my job and look forward to work every morning.

My marriage has also recovered.  I realize we were in a negative feedback loop for years.  My anger and irritability made my husband defensive and sometimes aggressive.  And that made me angry and depressed.  I am no longer irritable.  Not to say my emotions are dampened; they're not.  It's just that I don't obsess over negative situations.  I get angry, say my piece and move on to something else.  I'm not flooded with negativity.

My energy level is very high.  Consequently, I'm highly productive.  I get a lot done in a day.  And I feel great doing it.  I feel very grateful for what I have.  I'm luckier than I should be.  God has done great things for me.  I'm still questioning Catholicism but it's a fruitful search.  My husband thinks I should go to confession more often but I'm taking it slow-a great pace for me.

I am no longer sensitive to infertility.  I suffered unnecessarily for a very long time but now I feel those bonds are loosened.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

'Mother of George'

I just read a review for a new movie called 'Mother of George.' Apparently, it's a good movie and about infertility.  The tag line for the review is Trying to a Parent for Better of For Worse.  I think I'd cry straight through this kind of film.

If anybody sees the film, please let me know.  I'm going to try and check it out in LA or if it comes here.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Those who run seem to have all the fun

I can't help but think the first few sentences of the Misfit's latest post might, just might be referencing me?  :)

Yes, I've been web silent.  Not much to say on the infertility front but here's the latest in my life.
  1. Some weeks ago, I delivered a copy of my and the Archbishop's letter to my parish pastor along with my contact information (all of it.)  Did I hear from him?  No, of course not.  So, last Sunday after Mass, I walked up to him, put out my hand to shake his and said, "Hi Father, I'm [my name].  Did you read..."  He interrupts, "Yes, I know.  I read your letter."  My response, "Aren't you impressed?"  Is that not a leading question?  He said it was "impressive" I got a response from the Archbishop.  "Well, I'll make an appointment to meet with you and we can discuss the contents of my letter."  "Uh, um, ok."  He was not enthusiastic.  But I am not deterred.  I just have to figure out what I'll say before I make the appointment.
  2. Things with the husband are going OK.  We are still living together.  I've been so busy at work that it helps keep my focus off my marriage (in a good way.)  
  3. We are planning to hike Mt. Whitney (by way of the Mountaineer's Route) with three friends/relatives in September.  We have two guides and one day to do it.  Two guides were essential to not tie me to my husband's pace.  He can leave me in the dust for all I care now.  
  4. Speaking of work, I now work a later schedule (YES!).  I can now come in at 9:30.  This has really changed my life in terms of my mood.  If I can sleep until 8am, I am a happy camper.  Working until near 7pm makes no difference.  I also have taken on a new division and great responsibilities.  Happy times.
  5. I am living nearly 24/7 in these skirts:  They are so comfy.  I can dress up the black skirt (wearing now!) with a blazer so it's totally fine for work.  
  6. We are thinking about down sizing our house.  We bought the four bedroom house with the intention of filling it with at least two kids.  No kids, no need for a big house.  So, we might be in the market in the next year or so.
  7. My confidence levels have never been higher.  I think infertility and turning 36 will do that to you.  And maybe surviving a trek in Morocco does that, too.  But, I am not afraid to voice my well reasoned opinions.  I am not reckless with my words; I am just not hiding.
  8. I got sick and tired of growing my hair out.  Just after ten months of growing it out and two months from a chin length bob, I got it cut.  It's a bit longer than the last pixie cut, but it's short.  I take delicious pleasure in not having to blow dry my hair.  I'm just happier this way.
In short, I have embraced the realities of life and have started to realize what my spiritual gifts really are.  Maybe more on that later.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Where's the acknowledgment from the naysayers?

While a three month wait for a response to a letter is pretty excessive in my opinion, I'm still super proud and happy the Archbishop responded.  I need to make a copy of the two letters and deliver to my parish priest.  Maybe that will get his attention.  And maybe I'll send it to the Los Angeles Archbishop....

I find it a little funny/strange that I haven't heard from the challengers on my initial posts on this topic.  In fact, my husband wants to know where you guys are and he told me to write that in my blog.  Thanks, honey.

I never understood why some folks wanted to defend the Archbishops comments in the USA Today article and call me out on my letter by saying I got him wrong.  I'm very happy he decided to respond so he could speak for himself.  That's the way it should be.

Sunday, July 14, 2013


Since my last post, it got worse before it got better.  We're really taking things a day at a time.  Most of this process is clarifying my own values (starting a new term in my master's program - yeah! Leadership class is a major revelation) and determining now that I am almost 36 (counting the days) what is right for me.  My husband readily admits that I am more self-aware.  Sometimes what is plainly obvious to me won't become apparent to him for several months or years.  So, he's a man.  C'est la vie.

It might sound really unromantic but we decided to not live separately because we don't want the extra cost.  There.  I said it.  Separation and divorce can set both parties back financially ten years or more!  We don't want that and I have a feeling we can find a workable solution to save our marriage.  Tolerating frustration and pain is well, painful and most people want to eliminate pain as soon as possible but I'm trying desperately to show some maturity (and it is a major struggle).

We watched The Last Station last night.  I really recommend it.  It's about Leo Tolstoy, his wife, and followers in the last few months of his life.  Even my husband liked it.  But knowing a little bit about their marriage (based on their diaries), it's fascinating to look at an accomplished couple who struggled incredibly to stay married.

My husband has been making strides.  He's admitted he's been a bad husband.  He tells me he loves me.  He tells me he never wants a divorce.  He tells me he's trying to be better.

He took the clean dishes out of the dishwasher early this morning.  I mean, that's a major contribution in my book.

He's making progress on our personal business plan.  All these are good things.

And this morning, after I found at my office the landscape plans for our other house that had been "lost" for two weeks, I called my husband.

[Me] I've got good news for you.  You're going to be very happy.
[Him] You're pregnant!
[Me] Ha!  I'm still on my period.  I can't be pregnant. [I very much appreciated the humor.]
[Him] Oh, right.  You bought me that Ducati as a gift.
[Me] No, this gift is free!  It cost us nothing.

He thanked me for finding the plans.  He hasn't been a big "thank you", "I'm sorry", "Please" type of person so yes, he's making progress.  Without him trying I don't think we'd last.  But he realizes the hurt he's caused and willing to make it better.  Gotta respect that.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


Part of the reason for such a long absence from (infertility) blogging is because we went on a hiking trip to M.or.occo for sixteen days.  Then we (although I got it 10 times worse than my husband) contracted the Sh.ig.ella bacteria which took me to the emergency room with severe diarrhea (it was water, people) and dehydration. I got two bags of fluids and took three different antibiotics to get rid of the infection.  Although we returned a month ago, I only started to feel better last week.  Most people in my life received the censored, watered down (no pun intented) version of the hike and the ensuing illness but you, my dear IF folk, get the real story.

The trip was awful.  I've received very complimentary comments from people saying how sporty/fit/adventurous/cool we are, but I'm here to say we are just foolish.  I am not discounting the training and fitness required for the trip, I'm just saying I/we were able to endure.  And that's all it took.

We had only five others on the trip; all British.  Normally, I have no problem with Brits but this particular group was pretty bad.  Anti-marriage, anti-wealth, anti-religion, anti-intellectualism, anti-the right to bear arms - all things I cannot tolerate.  The sexual innuendos were out of control.  One woman (leaving only me and E.lain.e) couldn't hang physically so she was asked to leave by our group leader.  The rest of the group made fun of her everyday after her departure.  I asked them to stop after the fourth day of that crap.  "She can't do it - that's clear but why gossip and put her down?  That's wrong."

The relationship with my husband deteriorated even further.  He said I was difficult to get along with and the group was shunning US because I was too slow on the downhill portions of the trails.  I had to literally beg him to be loyal and protective of me rather than side with the group (people we didn't know and would never see again.)  Half-way through the trip, I told him and the guide and heck, the group that I wanted to leave.  They all convinced me to stay saying I was more than capable of completing the trip.  Physically, that was true.  Emotionally was a very different story.

There were two incidents that really crushed any hope of the marriage working normally.  Our first major downhill section (3,500 ft) was really tough.  It's hard on everybody's knees.  I don't care how fast or slow you go, joint pain is inevitable.  My husband wanted to chase the muleteers so he and two others took off fast.  I was able to keep up with them for the first twenty minutes.  I then decided to rest more and slow down.  I found out later that John had told my husband that I had dropped back.  In fact, he did know himself because I was still on the mountain when I called to him down on the river bed.

The slow group (with our guide) was at least twenty minutes behind me.  But I couldn't see or hear them at any point so I was alone.  The trail was pretty clear (head to the river crossing) to the bottom of the canyon but after that, I had no information other than what the dossier had said, "we take our lunch under the welcome shade of trees near the river."  You might think that north Africa is dry; it's not.  There are plenty of waterways.

I got lost in the nearby village.  I was scared.  I didn't know where to go.  I was then caught between waiting for the slow group (not knowing how far they were behind me) and desperately wondering why my husband didn't come look for me.  I kept heading down.  I trooped through some villagers' wheat fields.  A woman was making noises at me as I tried not to look and keep walking.

I finally saw a mule near the river but couldn't be sure it was one of ours.  There are lots of mules in Mor.occo.  I finally spotted John, then El.ain.e, then my husband.  He was facing away from me, towards the water, with his boots off, relaxing in the sun.  I was livid.

I won't retell the epic fight we had.  The resolution was that he acknowledged he did the wrong thing and wouldn't do it again.  Famous last words.

This trip was billed as four, 4,000 meter peaks in the At.las mountains.  I did the first peak just fine.  The second required a major uphill slog after a 4:30 am wake-up call.  Once we got up to the pass, it was another 1/2 hour down to the canyon.  Those wanting to do the peak would climb up another mountain and go over several passes to the peak.  I had told the guide a day earlier that I was not inclined to climb the peak.  He told me that I didn't have to make an early decision: I could do that at the canyon.

Since I was the last to the canyon, the group waited all of two minutes to pack up and get back on the trail.  They started to walk up the hill when I yelled, "Wait!  I don't want to do the peak!"  Our guide told the cook in Berber, "[take the blonde to camp]" which was just a half hour down the canyon.  No one said a word to me at that moment - not even my husband.  No one called after me.  They just left.

When they got back to camp, another argument.

I decided that I could no longer trust my husband would give even the slightest thought to my well-being in these situations.  I have, for many years, forgiven and forgot these situations but I just can't do that anymore.  It's getting out-of-hand.  And some of the situations we get into are inherently dangerous.  Class 5 river rafting, racing his sport bike to 120 mph with me on the back, etc.  But this is actually an important side story.

Two weekends ago, because he hadn't ridden the sport bike in weeks, we wanted to take it out.  We needed to run some errands and I wanted to go with him.  I like that bike.  The fastest he will normally go for short periods of time is 80/85.  On the way home, on a straight-a-way, he kept pulling back on the throttle.  I could see that the speedometer was rising.

I was pretty nervous but not scared.  In fact, I told a co-worker, my sister, and my husband's cousin what we did.  Nobody reacted well.  My sister thought it was reckless and said not to tell our parents.  Cousin's reaction was the most telling.  He said DH had told him that story but left out the fact that I was on the bike, too.  I asked my husband why he omitted me from the story.  He said that at the moment it seemed like a good idea to go that fast but in retrospect it was a stupid thing to do.  He lied to his cousin, unbeknownst to me, about the speed because he knew if he told the truth, his cousin would think he was a reckless idiot who put his wife in needless danger.

Yesterday afternoon, I called my husband at work and asked him 1) what time he expected to be home? and 2) to please call me when he left work so I knew when to have dinner ready.  I was home around 5:30.  I didn't hear from him.  At 6:45, I decided to go ahead and prepare dinner and eat.  At 7:00 I called and he said he was a few minutes from leaving.  He didn't get home until 8:39.  The first words out of his mouth when he walked in the door were NOT, "I'm sorry."  I was devastated.  I felt completely used and dismissed and disrespected.  I made a nice meal and he couldn't even call to keep me posted at any point.  He just showed up.

This kind of behavior has been common since he started his new job.  This morning, he finally said the words - "I have a hard time calling you and telling you what time I'll be home because I feel like I'm on a leash."  I told him to think about the lease I'm on and if he wasn't willing to be simply decent, there was no point in continuing to live together as a married couple.  He said we'd talk about it tonight.

I am highly inclined to move out.  I can't continue to live with someone who doesn't care even a little to consider my feelings or my motivations.  This is where we are.

We have a se.con.d house about 15 miles from our existing home.  It sounds pompous, I know.  However, it does provide an opportunity for me to get out of the torture of being a foolish wife waiting like an idiot for her man to show up.

Please understand: I've told these stories truthfully not to elicit pity or even prayer (not that I would ever reject it, believe me) but to be able to get this off my chest.  Yes, I could privately journal and hell, I probably should have but I'd told you guys some of the challenges and thought it was fair to tell the rest.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Love is a Decision

I'll be on a blogging hiatus for a few weeks.  I'll catch everybody up when I return.  However, after such a dramatic, depressing last post, I owe ya'll a sunnier picture.

It didn't start out on a promising note.  Yesterday, on a drive together, we were discussing divorce terms.  The conversation reached a crescendo when my husband said, "I'm holding you back.  You are free to move to a big city, get an indoor cat, have a kid on your own terms."  

It all sounded so great.  My mood instantly lifted.  What he had said is everything I want.

But, then it made sense.  The Devil was firmly entrenched in my life.  I don't hear much about the Devil in the Catholic church.  Maybe it's just my parish community.  Maybe you talk about the Devil all the time.  But, I remember in my Protestant churches, we always talked about temptation in terms of the Devil beckoning us.

If I hadn't had the surge of happiness in the middle of these dark moods the past several weeks, I don't think I would have realized what was happening to me.  

I remembered back to our wedding when our favorite deacon read the gospel reading.  I personally had chosen it because I wanted my husband, my family, and everyone gathered to know that marriage was permanence to me.  The passage was Mark 10: 1-9.  This is actually titled the Divorce passage.  

And here I was on Sunday, May 18, 2013, after nearly a mere five years of marriage, I was practically giddy about divorce.  

There was some calm silence in the car.  As we approached our destination, I said to my husband, "So, we made some pretty dramatic statements.  What do we do now?"  He said, "I don't know."  And then more silence.  

Mercifully, my husband said, "If we are both willing to make this work, it will work."  Slowly coming to my senses, I replied, "I want to make this work."  He said calmly, "I do, too."

Now, this was just yesterday but we made significant progress in just trying to lighten the mood, focus on good stuff, be nice to each other, etc.  I'm praying God gives me enough strength in the coming weeks to refocus on doing what He wants me to do which is stay committed to this man, put aside selfish desires, and fulfill my ministry.  

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Nothing is as sacred as we want it to be when it's real

I'll preface the following with: I've always been accused of being oversensitive.  Always.  I figured this character trait would fade over time but it seems not to.  I usually chalk it to being my unique self; the personality God Himself gave me.  But, it also causes me a great deal of heartache that misses most people that are more dismissive of wrongs.

My latest personal tragedy is a confluence of factors.

  1. My newly married sister despite having said to my mother when she got married that they weren't going to have children ("they like their lifestyle the way it is") are currently going through their second round of IVF.  
  2. I learned of the particulars of that situation how I usually do in my family, third hand.  My sister told our mother.  My husband asked my mother and my husband told me.
  3. However, my sister did talk to me a couple of months ago about fertility testing and "how I had so many options if I just wanted to learn about them."  I told my sister that we were done with trying.  We'd tried a whole heck of a lot.  And I didn't want to discuss fertility treatments with her.  She sort of obliged.
  4. My mother dispatched my father several months ago and my husband two weeks ago to "talk to ATC about getting her eggs frozen."  I was and am livid.  Not only does it display a complete ignorance from my mother, her continued non-support of me is chilling (no pun intended).
All of this crap came to a head two weeks ago when I stupidly invited my parents along with my husband to watch me play semi-competitive basketball.  While I played my heart out, my husband got into a discussion with my mother about the particulars of my sister's treatment.  This is where the story gets fuzzy because somebody is lying here.  And it's not just any average Joe.  It's either the woman who bore me or the man I pledged my life to.

My husband said my mother asked him why we don't do IVF.  My husband replied that ATC won't do IVF because she's afraid it would be painful.  I didn't hear this from my husband.  I heard it from my mother yesterday when I went to confront her about her comments about me.  My husband, early this morning admitted he made that statement.

What my husband said about me is a bold faced lie.  And it is extremely hurtful to me.  He knows the reasons why we don't do IVF and pain and fear have nothing to do with it.  But he is much more willing to shame me than take responsibility for his own beliefs.

My mother denied talking to my husband about freezing my eggs.  My husband maintains that she did and what sense does it make he would lie about that?  When one is dealing with multiple lies, it can be hard to sort out the truth.

The feeling of isolation yesterday afternoon after talking to my mother and husband was overwhelming.  To say I felt like I didn't belong anywhere cannot be overstated.  I told my husband early this morning I felt numb.

I often wonder if the others who chose and are facing a childless life have painful moments like this?  Do their parents implore them to violate their morals in the pursuit of "happiness"?  How does anyone tolerate this kind of treatment?

I asked my husband this morning if he wanted to stay married.  He said he did.  But then paused and said he wouldn't want to keep me in a marriage where I was miserable.

I'm mulling that over.  I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around a relationship where partnership is neither recognized nor publicly presented.  How much disloyalty can be tolerated?    

Sunday, May 12, 2013

I stood up

The priest announced before the beginning of Mass that the Mother's Day blessing would come at the end.  I was still undecided what I would do however pretty much leaning towards joining the standing women.  And I stood up feeling very good about my decision.  It was a wonderful feeling having hands extended in blessing.  Why this special feeling would be denied to anyone is beyond me.  I and any other woman who has faithfully tried to conceive (along with a whole host of others) deserves to stand.

After Mass, an older pal was beaming at me.  Uh oh.  She said, "You stood up!  I didn't know you are...."  "I am not pregnant," I stated in a firm, steady voice.  She said something after that, that I couldn't make out but clearly she was confused and rightly so.  I put my arm around her and said, "It's a long story.  I'm happy to talk to you about it when we have more time."  And then I asked her if her kids (all grown) had called her to wish her a happy Mother's Day.

Outside the church, my husband expressed concern.  "I knew when you stood up it was going to unleash a lot of curiosity."  Actually, he said, "...a can of worms."  "What am I supposed to say to people?"  "I doubt anyone would ask but if they do, say that your wife is not pregnant and if that person is curious, I am more than happy to answer their questions."  He said he was OK with that.

DH and I went to Starbucks after that and talked.  "This is the beginning of taking infertility out of the shadows.  I am not ashamed."  We say in Retrouvaille that pain not shared is wasted pain.  This is hopefully a new beginning.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Late to the party

I was just at the dry cleaners going over some recent posts and I noticed that I missed some comments.  I know Leila has invited me to discuss personal matter with her over email and I might get there at some point but because this whole discussion started over the internets, I'd like to keep the discourse here.

I don't believe I personally attacked Leila.  The language I used to discuss her writings or the spirit of her blog could be considered snarky but I maintain that I did not attack her personally.  Given some of the comments on my blog, a few people thought I was wrong in wondering why she frequented infertile blogs.  I did not mean to question her relationship with anyone else.  I love it when bloggers get along. 

However, I write to follow an argument or support/oppose others' opinions and I disagreed with hers.  For my own edification, this is the chain of events:
  1. California's Proposition 8 is defended in front of the US Supreme Court.
  2. I discover the word "infertile" is uttered in the court room.  I'm intrigued.
  3. I wander over to Leila's blog and find she posted an interview in USA Today with the Archbishop of San Francisco where he defends the Church's argument that procreation is the whole reason for marriage.  As someone who has not procreated but is married, I'm offended.
  4. So, because I'm offended, I write a letter to the Archbishop where I argue my position on infertility in the gay marriage debate and post the letter on my blog.
  5. Concurrently, I'm offended that Leila writes on her blog in reference to the interview with Cordileone, "How I wish I had the eloquence and intelligence of this kind and thoughtful man of God."
  6. Because I don't think what he had to say was all that eloquent or intelligent and because it was offensive to infertiles/the childless, I'm upset that Leila (a supposed friend to the infertiles) offers no contrast or further insight to what the Archbishop said.

Further, in her comments in that post (and of course, feel free to correct me) Leila was the first person to invoke that infertility was caused by the Fall.  I see no connection whatsoever between the "gays can't get married because they can't procreate" argument and "Hey, infertiles, the Fall is the reason for your circumstance."

To me, the Fall comments were unnecessarily hurtful.  It's sort of death by a thousand cuts.  What else do fertiles have to offer me and others like me?
For those who have kept with me for a while, you'd notice that I'm happy to... well, I feel it's necessary as a thinking human being to challenge and debate.  You'll never see me post something about the Church and say that, "I have no words" or "This cardinal is just right on."  First, I always have the words.  And my blog is not a forum to repeat what the Church teaches.

I've said this many, many times but I'll say it again.  If you have not walked in my shoes, I don't think you have the right to say anything about infertility other than, "I'm sorry."  Everything else is pouring salt on the wound. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

"Despite... the years of sinning, Elizabeth is winning"

The title is pulled from a song by Matt Pond PA.  Incredible band.  Worth a look.  The lyric came to mind as a contrast to the argument that bad things happen to us because of sin/the Fall.  More on that later.

I feel forced to respond to Leila's comment in this post.  Hers is the second to last comment in the string.  I don't think any post of mine has generated so many comments and they're not brief.  Each one is an thoughtful essay and should stand on its own.

Leila said that I did not interpret her comment on her blog related to gay marriage and how infertiles fit in to that scenario correctly.  I stand to differ.  Here is the entire section of her comment I am referring to:
I want to speak to you as a fellow Christian now, as secular folks don't believe in the Fall of man. But you've often brought up the issue of elderly folks getting married. They can get married as long as they can physically partake in the salient act of marriage (conjugal love). The reason old folks cannot have children is for the same reason that infertile couples cannot: The Fall. Defect, aging, decay, disease. All from the Fall. 
 This is what I said:
And on Leila's blog she took the time to say that infertility was due to "the Fall."  And that meant that I was defective, diseased, old, decayed. 
And this is how she responded:
If you put a direct quote up, and in context, you would see that I never said that and never "meant" that. I am very careful about the words I use (although in comments, they can be rushed). Never would I say that an infertile woman was "defective, diseased, old and decayed"! Just never.  
Let's run through the logic, shall we?  Infertile couples cannot have children because of the Fall and defect, aging, decay, disease emanate from the Fall.  It follows that my husband and I are infertile and do not have children thus we are "an infertile couple."  Infertiles cannot have children because of the Fall and defect, aging, decay, and disease all come from the Fall.  Therefore, our infertility is caused by defect, aging, decay, and disease.  If as a sufferer of infertility, I can call myself an infertile woman, I am defective, diseased, old, decayed.

JoAnna did in a manner of speaking support my statement by saying:
A healthy female and a healthy male can and will procreate eventually if they time intercourse accordingly and all systems are working as they should. If they do not conceive within a year, then there is an unexplained disease or defect (nutritional deficiency, etc.) that is preventing one or both of their reproductive systems from functioning as intended (biologically). 
I really can't tell how the gay marriage debate and denying gays the right to marry based entirely on the notion of procreation morphed into explaining why infertiles are infertile: the Fall.  I'm siding with Joy Beyond the Cross and the Misfit in saying that the Fall offers me no comfort and it really makes absolutely no sense to bring up this topic in the context of gay marriage.  Why did we get stuck on this?  Was it to divert attention to the issue at hand which is the unfair targeting of infertiles in the argument against gay marriage?

Saturday, April 13, 2013


Right after writing my post last night, I went over to Joy Beyond the Cross and read her horrible news.  I couldn't sleep last night because of it.  I woke up my husband to tell him.  He said, "God, that's terrible."  All this debate on my blog felt so gratuitous.

I see two camps forming.  The first doesn't think it's OK to question Church leaders or contact them to do so.  They also like to attribute infertility and some other bad stuff to the Fall.  In addition, they are on board with the procreation aspect being the central tenet of the anti gay marriage argument.

The second camp (the infertiles/the childless and cancer sufferers) aren't taking a lot of comfort in the Fall argument.  They also see value in the other salient aspects of the anti gay marriage argument not related to procreation 'cause hey, we're married and we don't procreate.

Joanna, it's not that I don't recognize that our infertility is due to some defect.  That's obviously true.  It's just that I've never felt the mothers have been able to empathize with the infertiles and they don't even try.  That's why I don't get why they comment on infertile blogs.

I'm here and I write to represent a persecuted minority.  And advocate for us.  To hear lawyers and archbishops casually throw around the word "infertility" like it meant nothing to some people was extremely hurtful.

There's a gulf I guess between these two camps.  People that get pregnant like clockwork can't understand people like me who fail to conceive 32 months in a row.  Nearly all the friends my age have children and I have to bend to their schedules.  It's a life fertiles don't understand.  That's all.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Thank you and a rebuttal

I'm very happy my letter to Archbishop Cordileone sparked so much interest and thought.  We have a lot of smart, articulate women in our community.  Thank you for taking the time to comment.

First off if anyone wants to use the letter, go right ahead.  No need to credit me by name just as a sympathetic sister in Christ.  Just please don't edit or change the content.

How do I go about addressing all the salient arguments in the comment from the last post?  It'll be random.

I completely disagree that the Archbishop didn't devalue the marriage of infertiles.  By calling infertility, "a challenge and a disappointment that some husbands and wives have to go through" means he doesn't understand infertility at all.  And nothing I've read from Leila lets me know she understands it either.

It's hard to express profound grief and trauma in a letter and I probably failed in that regard.  To call the most significant event that is continually happening to you, a disappointment is profoundly insulting.  When anti gay marriage advocates both secular and religious choose to rest their argument against gay marriage on procreation, they failed to consider how they would address infertility.  I cannot properly format all the sections of the Supreme Court transcript on the gay marriage case (Hollingsworth v. Perry) that I want to refer to but, Justice Kagan asked: 
In reading the briefs, it seems as though your principal argument is that same-sex and opposite -- opposite-sex couples are not similarly situated because opposite-sex couples can procreate, same-sex couples cannot, and the State's principal interest in marriage is in regulating procreation.  Is that basically correct?
Cooper, the lawyer advocate for Proposition 8 said, "I -- Your Honor, that's the essential thrust of our -- our position, yes."

The Church, despite saying in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that 'homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered'. They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
They've got to pair up with the secular argument because the Supreme Court won't listen to biblical reasoning.  The Church, instead of emphasizing the 'grave depravity' of homosexuality and it not being genuinely affective and sexually complementary, they rest their argument of procreation.

And because of USA Today and several Supreme Court Justices, anti gay marriage advocates forced themselves into addressing this little inconvenient problem called infertility.

I've got a big problem with that.

Why?  Because Cooper thought infertility is "very rare."  Cordileone called it "a challenge and a disappointment" and implied that the only people that are infertile are old.  That's why I made a point to tell him I am only 35.

If the most traumatic experience of your life was called very rare and only affected old people wouldn't you be upset?

And on Leila's blog she took the time to say that infertility was due to "the Fall."  And that meant that I was defective, diseased, old, decayed.  I'm not sure any of these adjectives are mutually compatible or exclusive because she didn't use 'and' or 'or'.  Sarah (and I'm sorry, I can't remember where she said this) said that cancer was the result of the Fall.  Skin cancer runs in my family.  And that's because of sun exposure.  My very good friend Renuka Sharma died of non-smokers lung cancer.  I wasn't a Catholic when she was dying but if I were I suppose it would have been faithful of me to tell her she had terminal cancer because of the Fall.  I'm sure that would have been helpful and comforting to her.

I don't need bloggers to regurgitate what the Church teaches.  I can look that stuff up myself.  If the reason you write is to cut down debate and women exercising their brain, I don't see any value in that.

And Sarah, I don't write to get the reaction I want.  I'm not insecure.  I don't care if the Archbishop doesn't respond to me.  My parish pastor didn't respond to me when I took Made for Another World's brilliant letter about Mother's Day and not asking mothers to stand up and leaving out the childless.  And that guy knows me.  I'm not bothered.  It makes me work harder.

I live in a place that has three Catholic churches for 600,000 people.  And it's not urban.  I worship where my in-laws were married, where I was confirmed, and where we were married.  I'm not moving churches.  I've accepted that I worship in a place where people are deathly worried that it took them three months of trying to get pregnant.

I agree with the Misfit that I feel a deep connection now with gay Catholics.  Ah, the irony.

Did I say, "that it is wrong to emphasize the role of procreation in marriage?"  No I didn't.  I said that argument is "half-baked" and that the argument against gay marriage shouldn't "hinge" on procreation.  If the validity of opposite sex marriage hinged on procreation, I'm not married.  

I sometimes wonder why Catholic superstar Leila got involved in the infertile blogs.  I hate to judge knowing what I know but since she loves to, I'll go ahead.  Until you know what it's like to love a man and take the very serious step of marrying him and work very hard to make your marriage a good one in a society that loves to tell you to get a divorce if you're unhappy when everybody is unhappy sometimes, and make love with that man during the time of the month that almost everybody seems to get pregnant and still get your period two weeks later month after month, and face a life knowing you will not know the joy and sorrow of raising and loving your husband's children, you will never understand what drives me.  

I am a faithful Roman Catholic.  However, I will not be a mouthpiece for the Church and I will not stifle debate.  I won't let bullies bring me down.

I didn't muddle anything.  I stand by my letter.  

Thursday, April 11, 2013

I finally finished it.

OK, I just had to finish it.  I've had lots of other things on my mind but didn't want to quit this project.  Here's the letter (and it's not open for corrections or changes!)  It's done.

April 11, 2013

Most Reverend Salvatore J. Cordileone
Archbishop of San Francisco
One Peter Yorke Way 
San Francisco, CA 94109  

Your Excellency:

As a married Roman Catholic, I have been following the news of the United States Supreme Court’s consideration of gay marriage closely.  I believe strongly in and find great comfort in my marriage not only as a perfect union between a man and a woman but also as a Sacrament of the Church.  You have my appreciation and great respect for leading as chairman the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage.

While I in no way reject the view that marriage is the best place to raise and nurture children, I do not believe that the argument against gay marriage hinges on procreation.  I was pained to read your words justifying the manner in which you defend traditional marriage in the March 25, 2013 edition of USA Today.  You stated, “To legalize marriage between two people of the same sex would enshrine in the law… that marriage is essentially an institution about adults, not children; marriage would mean nothing more than giving adults recognition and benefits in their most significant relationship.”

You further state when asked how this view applies to elderly or infertile opposite sex couples:
Infertility is, as you point out, part of the natural life cycle of marriage (people age!), as well as a challenge and disappointment some husbands and wives have to go through. People who have been married for 50 years are no less married because they can no longer have children.

Adoption can be a wonderful happy ending for children who lack even one parent able or willing to care for them. But notice, when a man and woman cannot have children together, that's an accident of circumstances, the exception to the rule. When a husband and wife adopt, they are mirroring the pattern set in nature itself....

As a non-elderly infertile woman (I am 35 years old), I cannot disagree more with this view.  However, I firmly believe you did not intend to hurt infertile married couple through your comments.  For some of us, infertility is not just a part of the natural life cycle, it’s a permanent status.  If I may, let me take you briefly through our infertility journey. 

In 2008, in preparation for our wedding, my husband and I learned the Natural Family Planning method through our local parish in the Los Angeles Archdiocese.  After one year of trying unsuccessfully to conceive, we went through every diagnostic test outlined by the NaPro Technology system including laparoscopic abdominal surgery by a Catholic surgeon 135 miles from my home.  Three years since that surgery and additional Church-sanctioned fertility treatments, my husband and I have never conceived a child.  We have always been open to new life.  We have never used artificial contraception or Assisted Reproductive Technology treatments. 

We have further discerned that we are not called to adopt a child.  Adoption is a complicated legal process and can be very costly.  Not only that, because many states allow birth parents a period in which they can change their mind about the adoption, children are sometimes taken away from a loving adoptive family in a heart wrenching process.  To view adoption as an easy remedy or quick alternative to infertility is simply not true.

My husband and I are struggling to live a full life in Christ as a committed, loving, childless Catholic couple.  I hope you will understand that our infertility journey has been much, much more than a “challenge and a disappointment.”  This journey has been at times heartbreaking, isolating, and has profoundly changed the course of my life. 

In a faith community where families are large and many people assume that if you don’t have children you’re not a good Catholic and are using artificial contraception, the community can feel unwelcoming and judgmental.  Many times I’ve shared with friends that the only way I’ve been able to accept my situation is because I lean totally on our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ for strength and fortitude.

You labeled infertile couples as “an accident of circumstances” and an “exception to the rule.”  I firmly believe that in a loving Christian community, infertile married couples cannot be considered inconvenient statistical outliers that get in the way of the accepted argument against gay marriage.  We are not tools or convenient anecdotes.  We are committed Catholics struggling like every other believer to uphold our values and live out God’s commandment to us: to love one another. 

It is exactly because we are exceptions to the rule that I believe infertile couples, are worthy of compassion, respect, and attention.   

My prayers are two-fold.  One, I pray you and the Church leadership will emphasize the unique and special qualities of opposite sex marriage beyond procreation.  My husband and I recognize our marriage as the greatest opportunity for ministry.  We are complete as a man and a woman living together in a Christian home.  Many sections of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Sacrament of Marriage, if fact, support the holy mystery of marriage without emphasis on children or family.

Two, I would respectfully ask for greater understanding and outreach by the Church towards infertile married couples.  To illustrate just how marginalized the infertile community can be, a infertile woman who moved to Los Angeles in 2011 called the Family Life Coordinator of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the largest diocese in the United States and discovered that although there were support groups for widows and separated/divorced people, there were none for couples suffering from infertility.  Just as I believe Christ has been my constant, faithful companion throughout this painful journey, more recognition by the Church could ease the suffering of many couples who now feel they are pushed aside in a world where fertility is taken as granted.

I believe God has given me and my husband the cross of infertility in part to make others aware of a problem most people don’t give a second thought.  You can imagine my surprise when the topic of infertility was suddenly a critical companion to a national debate about gay marriage.  If you would like, I can discuss my concerns and ideas with you further.  I can be reached at [my email address] or by phone at [my phone number].  You and your critical work in the Archdiocese of San Francisco and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops are in my fervent prayers.



Friday, April 5, 2013

It's Friday!

  1. No, I haven't finished the letter to Archbishop Cordileone.  Not that my general feeling of abhorrence has gone away, I'm just preoccupied.
  2. Speaking of preoccupied, I've been on a baking and cooking frenzy this week.  Everybody wants to know what's gotten it me.  My short explanation is that nobody (because I'm a child of the eighties) ever told me I couldn't do something.  Now that I live with a man from a generation where they told kids they were worthless, I've received feedback from some related folks that I can't cook/bake.  So, now I'm the defiant one and I've done a fabulous job of proving them wrong.
  3. So, what have I made?  Galaktoboureko for Easter.  Entirely homemade Cajun shrimp cappelini alfredo.  Well, I didn't make the pasta or the shrimp.  And an amazing (pat on back) Meyer lemon loaf cake.  So moist!
  4. I love the Browneyed baker!  I only really follow childless blogs, a couple non-threatening adoption blogs, and Joy Beyond the Cross (well, because she's just too smart/sweet/faith-filled not to) and I saw this which took me to that, I wasn't really into the dulce de leche bars, I did find so many other recipes worth trying.
  5. Tonight, if I have time (my husband is "taking me out to dinner") I'm making Trader Joe's Jo-Jos Cheesecake Bars.  She made 'em with Oreos but since I know that Jo-Jos are better, that's what I'm using. 
  6. And related to having time tonight, I'd contend that watching Mad Men will make your man a better husband.  We're behind (because we don't have any type of cable service or television transmission) on Mad Men because we wait for them to be streamed on Netflix.  So, we watched episodes 1-3 of season 5 last night.  Megan does a song and dance routine for Don at his surprise birthday party.  After all the guests are gone, Don is gruff and rude and tells Megan not to spend money "that sort of thing" ever again.  He also tells her that she embarrassed him by performing a slightly suggestive dance. She's put off.  My husband recognizes his similar behavior and makes him think.  OK, good.  Next scene, Don asks to take Megan "out for dinner."  She's happy.  So my husband picks up the clue and asks me last night if he "could take me out for dinner."  YES!  What a polite way to ask.  
  7. No, never got to the cheesecake.  He's in bed already.
  8. Today is five months since my disastrous haircut.  The layer above my ears are not down to the bottom of it.  I project that it will take another six months or so to get to my chin, for a layered bob.  
  9. I'm headed to San Diego tomorrow to see my 90-year old grandmother.  We are reconciling after a difficult life-long relationship.  And in the evening I'm visiting my husband's second cousin and his wife.  They just had a baby so we're hanging at home.  I can hang with that.
  10. And for the first time in many months, I'm going shopping in a real brick and mortar store.  I absolve to take a bottle of water (malls make me dehydrated) and hang out and try on clothes for at least an hour in Anthropologie.  It's gonna be a great weekend!  

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Holy Thursday - The Pope breaks with liturgical rules

I'm overjoyed, delighted, touched that Pope Francis decided to continue the tradition he started in his home country to wash the feet of juvenile detainees (including women!) in Italy on Holy Thursday instead of what popes traditionally do this day which is, "carry out the foot washing ritual in Rome's grand St. John Lateran basilica.  The 12 people chosen for the ritual were always priests to represent the 12 apostles whose feet Jesus washed during the Last Supper before His crucfixion." 

This act apparently got a Canon lawyer all hot and bothered because he said, "liturgical law expressly limits participation in that rite to adult males, and I have consistently called on Catholics, clerics and laity alike, to observe this pontifically-promulgated law in service to the unity (dare I say, the catholicity) of liturgy (c. 837)."  He went on to say that he found the Pope's actions "inspiring."  But, as a fairly new Catholic, I guess you can find a Christian act inspiring but still know it violates some Church law and be OK with it all.  Huh.

The Vatican spokesman we all know and love, the Reverend Frederico Lombardi said, what I found terribly interesting, "in a 'grand solemn celebration' of the rite, only men are included because Christ washed the feet of his 12 apostles, all of whom were male.

'Here, the rite was for a small, unique community made up also of women,' Lombardi wrote in an email. 'Excluding the girls would have been inopportune in light of the simple aim of communicating a message of love to all, in a group that certainly didn't include experts on liturgical rules.'"

Am I reading this right?  If the feet washing on Holy Thursday would have been in a grand solemn celebration, of course we would and should exclude women because Jesus clearly only favored the service of men, the Twelve Apostles.  But, because the new rogue Pope wanted to go to a kiddie prison, we had to wash girl feet because well, we are the one, true Church, heirs to St. Peter, and excluding girls would be majorly inopportune in light of those facts and we should be all about love here (that's what Jesus preached), and besides, there were no Canon lawyers in the jail to stop us.  Or, maybe I'm just cynical this week (in some arenas).  I'm terribly grateful God has given me a lively, happy Holy Week.

Why are infertiles being swept into the gay marriage debate?

Yesterday, I started a letter to Archbishop Cordileone.  I'll post it here once it's finished.  The first version was quite aggressive (my natural tone) but in the shower this morning had some ideas spring to mind to make it more diplomatic.  Not that I feel diplomacy is necessary but I figure I should give him the benefit of the doubt that he wasn't trying to hurt infertiles' feelings.  The same can't be said for a few people over at Little Catholic Bubble.  In the latest post (as of an hour ago) I think Leila buries herself into a deeper hole by saying this:
Because fertility is not required for marriage (never has been), only the ability to complete the marital act. Sometimes, due to defect, disease or age (effects of the fallen world), children do not come from acts which are by their nature ordered toward procreation. (Of course, many couples deemed infertile later do conceive… as the Bible says, "God opens and closes the womb". The creation of children is ultimately in His hands. But the act that makes children is the principle act of marriage; it's what separates marriage from friendship.)
First of all, I'm again glad to know that our infertility is because of the "effects of the fallen world."  That's strange because God Himself said in Genesis 3:16 (NIV version) because Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children.  Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

I remember from last Sunday's (Palm Sunday) gospel reading (the Passion) Jesus says in Luke 23:29, "For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.’" 

And I do appreciate Leila proclaiming that God's favor might fall upon me and I will conceive but I think for most of us infertiles, we've become blue in the face telling fertiles not to tell us that it's "All in God's time."  I've always rejected this crazy notion some bloggers have that because they are fertile God favors them more or because they can't get pregnant, God's punishing them for something they did.  I categorically reject that theory.

I also contend that sexual intercourse is NOT the principal act of marriage.  You might need to initially consumate a marriage to make it a legal marriage.  I think you used to be able in some countries or some states to nullify a marriage if you NEVER had sex.  But, you don't need to keep knockin' the boots to retain your status as a married person.

If Catholics want to base their argument against gay marriage on procreation i.e., you have heterosexual sex, you get pregnant, you carry a child to term, you give birth to that child, and then you raise that child until age 18 (well, now it's to 25 or more), as the only thing distinguising marriage as a sacred union and in the Church, a sacrament, Houston, we've got a problem.

I think a very mature attitude about a Christian marriage is that it's not about sex.  You heard it here first: If you are basing the quality of your marriage on the quality of the sex or having any sex at all, you're shallow.  Christian marriage is a vocation!!!!  It is one of the greatest opportunities for ministry.  If you are encouraging, supporting, and lovingly challenging your spouse in their Christian faith, you are a good husband/wife.  You are in a good, holy marriage.

I get that the Church wants to enter into the debate against civil gay marriage.  But, why are you divorcing your argument from your faith and making it all about sex, conception, birth, and parenting?  Isn't it enough to say that God says homosexual acts are wrong, bad, etc. and then say He ordained marriage between a man and a woman as a symbol of the relationship between Christ and His Church?  That's good stuff for me and it prevents everybody from having to tap dance around (or just stomp on) the infertile and elderly. 

For some in this debate those words are interchangable because despite being a lawyer for the OPPONENTS of same-sex marriage, Charles J. Cooper couldn't be bothered to educate himself on infertility when his whole argument is that gay marriage "will refocus the purpose of marriage and the definition of marriage away from the raising of children and to the emotional needs and desires of adults, of adult couples."  The key to marriage, he said, is procreation. 

He went on to say (and I quoted part of this as the title of my last post) "even with respect to couples over the age of 55 -- it is very rare that both couples -- both parties to the couple are infertile..."  I think Mr. Cooper spends too much time in his office.  As we NFPers know, if even one party is infertile, you are both infertile by definition because it takes two to tango.  Well, three.  Dr. Hilgers tells us that you need good sperm, good egg(s), and good cervical mucus to conceive.  In our case, we need more than that 'cause we've got all three and it's a non-starter.

I'm really secretly delighted this whole debate is swallowing up infertiles and spitting them out like a speck of dust in someone's eye.  I have joined, not by choice or desire, an extreme minority in human society.  I cannot get pregnant, am making zero moves to try and get pregnant through medical intervention, and won't adopt.  I am living according to my principles and my faith.  I am doing the right thing.

I know that there are bad apples in every bunch but it's very sad to me to see so many people who view their faith as pure and their understanding of it - perfect, throw the proverbial baby out with the bath water (I couldn't help myself.) 

I'm starting to realize my voice here on the Internets is important.  If I am going to be apart of that tiny minority, I will not shrink away.  I will defend the life that has been handed to me and I will advocate for my community. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

" is very rare... that both parties to the couple are infertile"

What?!?!  WHAT?!?!?!  Oh my gosh.  Holy Week and this is the stuff that's going on?  Did I just hear the word "infertile" uttered in the United States Supreme Court House?  I had to come out of semi-retirement for this.  This is big news.  And I was really dying for some Catholic bloggers to chime in on this issue, and one in particular didn't disappoint.  I was having so much fun being outraged today.

Let's establish some ground rules here.  I live in California.  I vote.  I voted in 2008.  I even voted "Yes" on Prop 8.  Shocker.  Elitist gays don't like that blacks and Latinos tend not to condone gay marriage and they helped Prop 8 pass in 2008 so they take this case to the courts and yo, it ends up in the Supreme Court where it looks likely that the justices won't rule on it.  It makes perfect sense to me that the SCOTUS won't rule on something so momentous to our society so soon into the debate.  Yes, that's good, sound reasoning.

But what has got me all excited?????  It's that the lawyer arguing in favor of Prop 8 tied his whole friggin' argument against gay marriage to the procreation argument.  And then the Archbishop of San Francisco jumped on the bandwagon.  Really?  Is that all these people have?

And holes were punched all through that argument.  Kagan asked if the government could deny a marriage license to couples over the age of 55.  Would that be unconstitutional?  Well, yes it would and the... well, do me a favor and listen to that excerpt of the hearing today.

And Cordileone gets in on the action:

Q: You have spoken of gay marriage as a "natural impossibility." But in terms of procreation, how does it differ from opposite-sex couples who are elderly or infertile?
A: Our bodies have meaning. The conjugal union of a man and a woman is not a factory to produce babies; marriage seeks to create a total community of love, a "one flesh" union of mind, heart and body that includes a willingness to care for any children their bodily union makes together.
Two men and two women can certainly have a close loving committed emotional relationship, but they can never ever join as one flesh in the unique way a husband and wife do.
Infertility is, as you point out, part of the natural life cycle of marriage (people age!), as well as a challenge and disappointment some husbands and wives have to go through. People who have been married for 50 years are no less married because they can no longer have children.
Adoption can be a wonderful happy ending for children who lack even one parent able or willing to care for them. But notice, when a man and woman cannot have children together, that's an accident of circumstances, the exception to the rule. When a husband and wife adopt, they are mirroring the pattern set in nature itself. ...
               Treating same-sex relationships as marriage is the final severing by government of the natural         link between marriage and the great task of bringing together male and female to make and raise the next generation together in love.

It is so comforting to know that my circumstances are viewed by an archbishop as "disappointing."  And "an accident of circumstances."  Gosh.  And all this time I interpreted my experience as an infertile as devastating, life-altering, crushing, against everything I had believed to be true.  My infertility is no more than an accident of circumstances.  That's life, suckers.  And you are being used as a pawn to support an irrational argument against gay marriage.  I can't believe my status as a female, heterosexual, married, Catholic is now tied to gay marriage.

Now, as Catholics we don't have to use half-baked arguments to support heterosexual marriage.  Don't get me wrong.  Of course, marriage is intended "for the increase of mankind."  But, it doesn't stop there.  "1605 Holy Scripture affirms that man and woman were created for one another: "It is not good that the man should be alone."92 The woman, "flesh of his flesh," his equal, his nearest in all things, is given to him by God as a "helpmate"; she thus represents God from whom comes our help.93 "Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh."94 The Lord himself shows that this signifies an unbreakable union of their two lives by recalling what the plan of the Creator had been "in the beginning": "So they are no longer two, but one flesh."95"

I took that from the Vatican's website.  Yes, I know it's terrible citing of sources.  Marriage and the beauty and mystery of marriage has nothing to do with kids.  How a man and a woman relate to one another in a marriage is special full-stop.  Why a prominent member of the Church and Prop 8 cronies had to cheapen my (childless) marriage for their own purposes is disgusting.  To call me an "extreme minority" and toss me aside as an inconvenient outlier to their statistical model is wrong.  Infertiles are not the key to your argument against gay marriage.  Marriage is between a man and a woman can be defended with better and more compassionate arguments than that.  

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Break Out

A new Pope from Argentina!!!  How cool is that?

I'm now just two days shy of 15 weeks since my last haircut.  It grows slowly according to the hairdressers because I'm not taking hair growth vitamins.  Heck, if I won't take pre-natal vitamins, I'm sure not doing ones for hair.  And my face is relatively long, so I figure I'll only make it to a chin-length bob after 12 months.

Getting back to Sarah's comment on my last post... how I speak or what I write about my husband is the truth how I view it, so it's entirely biased.  I get that he come across as difficult but that's only because I tend to write out of pain and not good times.  I should probably change that habit, it might make me a more pleasant person, for sure.  My view is that we're all jerks at one time or another.  I'm a jerk.  He's a jerk.  It depends on the situation but I think that progress is all we can hope for.  It's a journey, not a destination and that's something I try to remind DH every time we hike a mountain summit.

Just today I've come out of a very dark grey fog.  But I'm seizing the moment because it feels so good to feel good. :)  My husband pointed out this morning that I've been mercilessly complaining about my life when what we have now is what I said I wanted previously.  And I just realized it today.  And so I'm a jerk.  I apologized to him for hurting him with my inconsistency.  I guess I can place the blame on the devil.  He's been leading me astray for months.  Maybe all of the pain of the last two years has finally come to a head and how I manifested the pain was by dragging my husband into Camp Loony.  I don't know.

But it has to stop.  The Misfit was right on target, along with Sarah, Kat, prayerful journey, and MFAW that the pain I'm feeling is reconciling my real life with what I had hoped for it.  I'm forever an Anne of Green Gables fan.  She says, "I can't help flying on the wings of anticipation.  It almost pays for the thud."  Well, my thud was too damn hard.  I cannot keep up this version that the life I lead is less than or deprived of the real things I should have, and the real people I should know, and the real experiences I should be having.

As any infertile who reads an entertainment magazine or former infertile blogs, the world can be a scary place.  Pregnancies and children are treated like winning the lottery.  I'm not negating the fact that children are a blessing.  Don't get me wrong.  Children are wonderful people.  But they are not the key to personal fulfillment and happiness.  Well, you know, they might be for some women and men.  But knowing what I know about life and risks is that pain exists and you cannot escape it.  So, for me, I think I can be just as unhappy with a kid if I let it be that way.  So, this is actually a comforting thought.  I can use mind over matter.

But what this also means is that I'm quitting the infertile blog business.  A lot of infertile bloggers have turned their blog theme into something really cool like decorating, or recipes and cooking.  If I had a hobby like that, I think I can make this into something.  But my house is already decorated and I only cook from recipes you can easily find yourself in a book or on the Web.  Trust me, you don't need me.  I'm flexible over how long I'll leave the site up.  I'm not sure when I'll post again.  I need to clear my head space and I'm pretty sure it'll be easier to do that if I'm not seeing pictures of babies with onesies on them saying, "Future Pope" or "Ladies Man", etc.

You wouldn't know it by reading my blog but I have lots of incredible things going for me.  I need to reconnect with my husband.  I need to widen my circle of friends (in real life).  I need to hike more.  You can always reach me at airingthechapel [at] gmail [dot] com.  I do check that account sometimes.  And I love to write personal emails so drop me a note if you'd like.  I promise to write back. :)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

"Your" Infertility

I've been away from blogging for a while.  It's not due to Lent.  I'm not convinced God think's it's spiritual growth to disassociate from the Net but I'm not questioning somebody who does.  I've been away just because there have been so many bad things happening in my life I didn't want to detail them here and I no longer write at work, so it doesn't leave many opportunities to blog.

I have plans to call Dr. Elizabeth tomorrow morning to sit down and chat with her and get some ideas about next steps with my health.  I keep trying to get better on my own but I slip back easily (even when I take expensive vacations) and it's not getting better to the point where I can get back to a normal life.  Cryptic much?

My husband would not support any part of what I'm about to write but he doesn't read my blog at all-he doesn't know the URL so I need not worry about him judging me here.  Yeah, it's great he's back but life is not a fairy tale.  My biggest problems right now are exceeding pressure at work with no corresponding promotion or raise, the fact that I have no meaningful support networks, and I continue to struggle at some level with infertility.

In an argument today, my husband was retelling me what I think my problems are and he said the words, "your infertility... uh, our infertility...."  But as any married woman knows, the latter part although it came a mere fraction of a second after the former part, was much too late.  I get reinforcements EVERYWHERE that infertility is MY problem.  My parents continue, mostly from my mother to freeze my eggs, get IVF, do something, anything other than what I'm doing now which is nothing.  Apparently, doing nothing in this, my culture is not acceptable.  I'm not sure that attitude is isolated to the secular community.  Catholicism can dish it out, too with NaPro.  Jeez, it's been forever since I wrote that abbreviation.  How many bloggers are out there that are doing nothing on the fertility front?  Two?  Yes, it's isolating.

And I'm 35.  I'm not idiotic to not think about dwindling chances.  I mean, if I throw in the towel now, have I forever fucked myself over?  When I'm 45 will the crushing regret reveal itself?  The truly sad part about this is that it has nothing to do with a kid, a person, or parenthood.  It's about shedding the stigma of infertility.  I mentioned two days ago to a woman I had just met with six terrific kids which I was lucky enough to hang out with for a few hours that I was infertile.  She offered up the forever reassuring story about her sister that couldn't get pregnant, tried IVF a couple times, gave up, and a couple years later got pregnant and actually gave birth to a living, healthy child.  Wow!  Who hasn't heard that story before.  The mother of six also told me that she had two miscarriages in her twenties, thought she'd never have kids, and look at her now.  Her Marine husband also recently abandoned the entire family, but no matter, the kids are great!

Miscarriage is one of those topics I feel is truly being talked about and women are getting support from lots of different places; friends, media.  In Mass, during prayers of the faithful, you can put in "Baby so-and-so" as a deceased person and everybody understands that, that is a terrible pain.  But at least you can give that pain a name.  Not so with infertility.  It's nebulous because if you never get pregnant, you don't register especially in Catholicism where conception is king.  The personhood movement is predicated on "the moment of conception."  If you never get to that point, what are you?

The truth is that every month we try to get pregnant and fail, I'm having a miscarriage.  It's the thought that counts, right?  If my intention, my whole desire and actions are to get pregnant, and I don't, it's a miscarriage.  I'm often tempted to put in my Baby [ATC's surname] into the prayers for the deceased.  I'm entitled.

Ok, let's get to the second problem.  During the six months that my husband lived elsewhere, not one of his friends called me for any reason; to get-together, to see how I was doing, to check in.  Nothing.  And now that's he's back, we're just back to good!  It's like the whole social experience was dependent on my husband.  I told him last weekend that at least I can now foreshadow what it'll be like when he dies.  Nobody will be around for me (save my family and my handful of close friends.)  Why the hell did we invite anybody to our wedding?  What a waste of money.  If the people who witness this all-important vow in front of God and company don't get around to paying the slightest bit of attention to you, what was the point?  We should have eloped to Vegas and has our union blessed during a regular, week-day Mass.  At least with strangers present, I wouldn't have expected anybody to follow up.

And maybe all of this is because I'm 35.  I'm coming into a lot of awareness about my own values.  Not my husband's, not my family's, not my company's.  Proclaiming self-determination while married is indeed a struggle.  I can list all of my demographic characteristics and that wouldn't tell you who I am.  I'm not an archetype.

Saturday, January 26, 2013


Thank you so much for your prayers.  Things have calmed down a bit, I guess.  I shared my concerns about my mother with her doctor's office manager.  We talked on Thursday.  She said she'd talk to the dr. who I should probably name however I don't want a libel suit against me.  However, I didn't hear from the manager on Friday.  I'll try to reach her next week.

My father continues to insist this third party relationship was not physical.  I'm actually starting to believe him.  I think it was a close, albeit inappropriate friendship.  No one is to say what's unacceptable to any person/spouse.  But I think my father was driven to talk to someone sympathetic.  Either way, my parents are not good for one another right now.

I had lunch with my father yesterday.  He said he appreciated that I and one of my siblings had taken his side in this. :)  I said emphatically, we're not taking anybody's side (other than God's).  Everybody's a sinner and both he and my mother have made mistakes and created problems.  So, I told him not to take that attitude that he's in the right and she's in the wrong.

My dad's seeing a doctor on Monday to make an initial assessment of his cognitive abilities.  I guess I'm dismayed that my parents are having problems of this nature at a relatively young age.  Their parents were just have kinda similar problems between 10 and 5 years ago.  So, not hardly a generational gap.  I thought I'd have at least another 10-15 years before I had to deal with elder care issues.

I'm very impressed that my brothers and sisters have all taken significant action.  We all finally agree for the first time in our lives.  I'm happy about that.

My husband gave notice yesterday and will start his new job in two weeks.  He told his parents last night and they were concerned about the "stability" of this new job.  Heck, what's stable anyway these days?  We're meeting in the middle tomorrow for brunch and his brother is at the family home so right now, the four of them are cozy together.  I'll let them have their nuclear family this weekend.

My school is going OK.  Keeping up with everything alright so far.  I am thinking about contesting the writing exam requirement since I've already written eight papers and did the first two with a perfect score so why do I need to take a $35 test?  What a joke.

All in all I'm feeling pretty happy.  Just because things in life are bad on a relative basis, I think there's a lot you can be positive about.  So, I'm positive.  I'm grateful for the pain because so far, I and we have always emerged.  And God continues to bless me in incredible ways.  I'm thankful today.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

End of the Innocence

On Friday my mother told me my father has engaged in a twenty year affair.  My father has told me and my siblings different stories about the state of my parents marriage and this third party so I don't know what to believe.  I have always considered my father the better parent and really my hero in life just after my husband.  To say I'm devastated is taking it a bit too far but I am very confused and sad for our entire family including the small children who will live with the shame to some extent for the rest of their lives.

What doesn't make sense is that my father was always around.  He's still around.  He has been what I consider a very devoted partner for my mother.  No child, no matter how old should hear what I've heard from my mother.  She's devastated but I think, is only making matters worse.  I think she's in shock.  They are not open to my advice.  I suggested they go to Retrouvaille because, believe me, many of those couple have survived affairs.  They know what the pain feels like.  But it's not really pain, it's insanity.  You lose all sense of reality when your spouse cheats on you.  However, my mother made it freakingly clear in a terribly articulate voice, "This is not a problem with our marriage.  It is your father's problem."  Sadly, this is not true.

So, I feel a tremendous amount of compassion towards both of them, mostly my mother although my Retrouvaille friends suggest I show love towards my father which I haven't been able to do the last few days.

OK, so here's the really dirty secret.  For at least eight years, my mother has been a d.rug add.ict.  Presc.ription but nonetheless.  She's been practically bou.nd for the same period of time.    I had tried to do an intervention about five or six years ago but my father would not participate and the interventionist said, "No spouse, no go."  Just last week I asked my father to take some action and he refused.  He always says my mother is too smart to go along with treatment.  Intelligence only gets you so far.

Secrets abound in my family.  I learn something new everyday about what random family member confessed to another but nobody knows if what was confessed is the truth.  I never had a perfect family but I thought it was pretty good.

I called my mother today to ask her, naively, how she was doing.  She said my father needed to see a geriatric doctor.  I asked her who would make the appointment.  "You or your sis.ter.  I've been cheated on for twenty years, why should I do it?"  My siblings, in my view, don't take as much action as me.  I won't detail the ridiculous issue they've chosen to focus on to distract them from real life issues.  I can't bring myself to actually type the words.  Believe me, it's crazy.  But my mother hung up on me and told me I'd said a horrible thing about my sibling.  I guess I'm in the dog house now.

I pray every chance I get.  It's practically every minute.  I resolved not to call them for at least a few days.  I thought about sending a card just to say, "I love you both.  I and lots of other people are praying for you."

I'm open to good advice.  It's been clear just how important God can be to a person.  If you keep God in mind, how can you do wrong?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Thank you! Blogger Angels

You ladies did it!!!!  My husband got a verbal offer today.  And it's very good and we're taking the night off to bask in the glow of success and will discuss the logistics tomorrow.  Besides, I have a paper to finish tonight.  So, your selfless prayers did this.  I'm convinced.

And most importantly, my weekend was horrible.  Really bad.  I couldn't get to sleep last night because I had a hard time forgiving myself for what I'd done.  However, I was so glad I posted Saturday evening.  Because your comments that you so quickly posted lifted me out of an extreme sadness.  You saved me.  You did.  And I love you.  I couldn't believe what being a part of this virtual community has done for me and my faith.  What you do in taking care of your husbands, your kids, your families, and your friends is truly godly.  And the fact that you offer prayers for little ole me is astonishing.  So, I give thanks to God for you.  Despite all my faults and bad deeds, the love keeps coming from all corners.  And I love my infertile blogger corner. :)