Hi, it’s me. Can we talk? Remember that homily you preached at that wedding about a year ago? You know, the one where you said in a booming voice from the pulpit,

“The purpose of marriage, really, is children.”

Yes, that’s the one. Remember how you went on and on backing up that point? Remember how at the reception later, people were telling you how great it was, how true, how important? Remember how I stood there in that circle and nodded, agreeing that you have a gift for wedding homilies?

I lied.

Yes, I lied to a priest. To spare your feelings, of course.

I hated your homily that day. It wasn’t even my wedding, so why should I care?

Because it Hurt. Like. Hell.

You knew I was in the pew. You knew that I have MRKH. You knew that my husband and I will never be able to conceive. Was it your intention to say that our marriage has no purpose? That our marriage is useless? Or  that maybe it’s just second class? Were you trying to make us feel unwelcome and unneeded?

It may not seem like much to you, but to me it was a complete betrayal. You’ve told us to “be happy for others” but do you realize what you’re saying?

When Jesus carried his cross, he didn’t do it with a smile. And I’ll bet that when he fell, his comfort was not in the Romans yelling at him to get up and keep moving. You wouldn’t tell Jesus to quit saying “Why have you abandoned me?” and just be happy for those people who get to not be crucified today, would you?

Now of course, I’m not Jesus. I don’t claim to be. But like him (and like you), I have a cross. We all do.

You wouldn’t tell an amputee with phantom pain to be happy for everyone who still has all of their limbs. When your friend suffers an abusive relationship, you don’t tell them to be happy for everyone whose heart was never broken. No, no one would say that because it misses the point and ignores the wounds that these people carry. We all deserve compassion and understanding. We all deserve to be loved.

We love you very much. Perhaps that is why this hurts so much.

And in case you would like a little reminder, the Catechism of the Catholic Church states (paragraph 1660) that marriage has TWO purposes: (1) the good of the spouses and (2) the generation and education of children. These are both true, and we cannot overemphasize and ignore one or the other. If children were all that mattered, then my marriage wouldn’t be valid, and IVF would be encouraged. If the spouses were all that mattered, then we wouldn’t have to be “open to life”. Both matter. Both are important.

Otherwise, our struggle is in vain.

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10 thoughts on “A Letter From the Girl in the Pew

  1. I understand your feelings. My husband and I have been struggling with infertility for a few years now. And while I understand the Church’s position on the importance of being open to life, I know the sting you feel when you hear people talk about it. While I will never pretend to understand your particular struggle, I wanted to let you know that you are not alone in your feelings. I just remind myself that, as you said, there is more than one purpose to a marriage and the Lord knows what He is doing. There is a reason for it all. Unfortunately that doesn’t take away the sting and people will still say things that hurt simply because they do not understand the pain. But rest assured that God knows your struggles and in some plan we don’t understand, your suffering is not in vain and you are never alone in your struggle. God Bless!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for such a kind response. I really need to remember what you said, that people say things that hurt simply because they don’t understand the pain. I hope that someday (maybe in the hereafter) I’ll be able to see the plan in its entirety. Sending prayers to you and your husband. God bless you guys!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Connie—i just shared your post on my facebook—how would you feel if i translated it to spanish and we could share on our archdiocesan spanish Facebook page? Its’ such an important message. Let me know.

    Mary Suarez Hamm
    Director of Hispanic Family Life and Leadership Development
    Office of Pastoral Ministry and Social Concerns
    Archdiocese of Washington
    5001 Eastern Avenue
    Hyattsville, Md. 20782
    Office 301 853-4499
    Cell 301 980-3350

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Mary, thank you so much! I would love it if you translated it. Please feel free to share as much as you like. I am so happy that you liked this.

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  3. I have never been in a situation quite like that, but ouch. Oh my goodness, ouch! I know that, being single, I have heard countless homilies extolling the virtues of family and felt my aloneness that much more. Usually I am able to remind myself that it’s not someone that typically sees or thinks about a situation like mine, or like others that don’t fit the mold, but whatever the situation, when someone knows, and you thought that someone understood on some level, that hurts all the more. Your response is so needed for so many that have been in a similar situation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We really do need to raise awareness about our situations among the clergy and the culture at large. So often, if you don’t fit the “married with kids” mold, you wonder if you even have a place. God made ALL of us, and we are ALL a part of the Body of Christ. I hope I personally have the strength to be more vocal about this, not just online! I’m so glad you enjoyed my post. I really do feel that God has a plan for all of us, and right now we need to do what we can to educate people and break down the walls of ignorance.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Although I have never been in your shoes and can’t imagine the pain, I am so very happy that you wrote this post. People need to read these things and realize that, especially within the Church, there is a lot of (as you said in your comment on my post) “large family worship” that sneaks its way into things like homilies at weddings. Or everyday conversation at the back of the church after Mass, with comments like “when are you going to have some babies?” or “Johnny is almost two, are you pregnant again yet?”). People forget when trying to teach about that section of the CCC, that not everyone is called to the same family makeup. You sharing your perspective on this is so crucial, and I hope this gets shared with the masses!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for such a thoughtful response. I really hope it does get shared! I grew up in a family of 3 kids, and sometimes it pains me when people say the family with 7-10 kids is somehow “more Catholic”. We went to Catholic school, we became Catholic adults, my parents always kept faith present at home…. And yet they never got the cheers that others got. The truth is that God has a different plan for everyone. I hope more people come to see this.

      Like

  5. Thanks for another great post (its wonderful to know I’m not alone). Sometimes our Priests and Deacons don’t do a good job of defining what it means to be open to life (children) and motherhood. For us infertile gals, its hard to remember that we can be open to life and spiritual mothers. I often have to remind myself when I hear the Churches teachings on these matters. Remember, we are infertile, we are open to life, and we are spiritual mothers! Your suffering is real, it is uses to bring you closer to Christ and brings you special grace. You are not alone. Peace be with you.

    Liked by 1 person

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