Infertility and the Vocation of Marriage

I am not sure I want to publish this. I wrote it earlier in the week and it’s kind of personal. However, I feel like the Holy Father’s words could help someone else’s heart as much as they did mine, so I’m going to go ahead and hit publish. I reserve the right to hide it again.

From Pope Benedict XVI’s February 25 address to the Pontifical Academy for Life:

The Church is attentive to the suffering of infertile couples and her concern for them is what leads her to encourage medical research. Science, nonetheless, is not always capable of responding to the needs of many couples, and so I would like to remind those who are experiencing infertility that their matrimonial vocation is not thereby frustrated. By virtue of their baptismal and matrimonial vocation, spouses are always called to collaborate with God in the creation of a new humanity. The vocation to love, in fact, is a vocation of self-giving and this is something which no bodily condition can impede. Therefore, when science cannot provide an answer, the light-giving response comes from Christ.

Although I have never experienced the inability to conceive, I have some symptoms that often appear in infertile women. Because of Natural Family Planning, I have come to learn how a woman’s fertility cycle should work, and how mine works. It has been a blessing and a curse, being married for three years without having children. We have used NFP to postpone getting pregnant all except three cycles of that time, when we did try to conceive but were not successful (mostly because of our rudimentary knowledge at the time). I pine for children, but because of Brett’s unemployment, my low wages, and our expenses, we have continually discerned that it is not responsible to bring a child into our family for the time being. The curse of NFP in my case is knowing that all the spotting, continual non-peak-type mucus, short and long cycles, and anovulatory cycles I have had most often appear on the NFP charts of women who experience inability to conceive or repeated miscarriages. As the time we are in financial straits wears on, we are not getting any younger. For most women, each year after thirty it becomes more difficult to conceive. Once we are financially a bit more secure, how long will it take to conceive? Will we forever be a family of two?

It is encouraging to remember that, as St. Therese said, “My vocation is love.” We cannot grab for ourselves the gifts which we think God should give us. We are dependent upon His will for us. Though we may not have children, we must still live out our vocation in the best way we can. Even if God never gives us the gift of children (who are only and always a gift), we are still called to love. God brought us together and we vowed to become one in Him in this Sacrament of holy matrimony:

This mystery is a profound one, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church
Ephesians 5:23

 

What fierce love I must have for the one whom God gave me! And not only for him, but for others as well, as we work together to bring God’s self-giving love into the world.

 

Source for Pope Benedict XVI quote.
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10 thoughts on “Infertility and the Vocation of Marriage

  1. Awesome words. One of the most difficult things to come to terms with, and difficult living true to His word in this “sophisticated” society. Thank you for sharing!

    • Sometimes I thnk it is better to keep my mouth shut, but other times I think, “Maybe someone else could benefit from this.” and I hit post.

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