The world promises you comfort, but you weren’t made for comfort. You were made for greatness.

-Pope Benedict XVI

Last week, a marketer on Twitter assumed I had daughters. Granted, it was a doll company, so it wasn’t the world’s most unreasonable assumption. Still, though, it felt rather uncomfortable.

I politely tweeted back that I won’t be blessed with daughters as I have permanent infertility, but I have always loved dolls.

Crickets.

The next day, they tweeted back “I have a sister who is adopted. And you can be a mother to people through…” Fill in the blank with the same spiritual motherhood things you hear all the time as an infertile.

Now, I don’t bear these people any ill will, but I’m bringing it up here to say why is it that when people hear “infertility”, the first thing that pops into their head is that I’m interested in adoption?

Sure, plenty of people with infertility decide to adopt… but the two do not go hand in hand. Still, there is a lot of pressure on infertile couples to “just adopt” (as if it’s that simple). Why?

Maybe it’s because people are Pollyannas, always looking for an up side. Or maybe it’s because our society likes to have quick fixes, and sweep any pain or suffering out of sight as quickly as possible.

Maybe it’s a deeply ingrained assumption that marriage must always include children, at any cost, no matter what, or it’s not real. At least not as real as those marriages with children.

The truth is that God has a plan for each of us. And each one is unique.

When Christ calls you out on the water, what can you do? It’s wet and it’s cold and it’s scary, and everyone else thinks you’re nuts and tries to convince you to stay in the boat. But once your eyes are caught by his penetrating gaze, how can you do anything but move towards him, no matter what it takes?

Giving up our adoption feels like that–like stepping out of the boat when everyone is telling you that you need to stay put. And though part of me wants to cling to that security, I know deep inside that I have to step out onto the water.


 

Have you ever had a moment when you knew God was asking you to make a choice that no one else was going to understand?

 

 

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8 thoughts on “Dear infertile Catholic, it’s ok to be different

  1. Great reflection 🙂 Peter stepping out of the boat is one of my favorite Scriptural images – I love thinking of what if he had kept the faith and he and Jesus danced with abandon on top of the waves…[cheesy alert] I hope you dance!!

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    1. Thanks Bethany. What a fascinating thought! I was just thinking now while reading your comment, I wonder if Peter ever had a second chance at that. I bet he wanted one. But maybe him sinking was a needed lesson in humility and his need for Jesus.

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    1. It really is. There is at least one good thing in it though- getting to meet all the people who share this cross, or a variation of it. Thank you for reading!

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  2. Those crickets… It’s the same ones that I hear when I’m asked if I’m married/have kids. Suddenly it’s like people don’t know what to say! Then they want to fix it. You should “just adopt”. I should “just get online”. That doesn’t always work, but it’s super hard to get out of the boat as well!

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    1. That’s so true. And I can imagine “just get online” gets very, very old after a while! Actually it feels completely analogous- people have heard of other people fixing infertility with adoption just like they’ve heard of people meeting their spouse online. Full disclaimer- I actually met my husband online. But I don’t credit the website with that, I credit God. And I think it’s the same thing with any blessing- pregnancy, a good career, marriage, money, an abundance of faith- sure there are things we can do to try and make them happen, but at the end of the day it all comes down to God and his plans. I think if more people looked at it that way we’d have a lot more compassion and a lot fewer comments like “just adopt/just get online/just get a new job/just___”.

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  3. Yes…it does seem like people just want to “help” you, but it really feels dismissive when adoption is brought up immediately after saying you don’t/can’t have kids. We’ve come to understand that right now, and until God tells us different, we’re not called to adopt. People really have a hard time with that. I even had a close friend suggest that maybe we were misunderstanding God’s direction for our life. Pretty infuriating–Can you imagine after the roller coaster that is infertility and discerning adoption to have someone say maybe you got it wrong? It was all I could do to keep my cool and strongly state that although that’s always a possibility we don’t believe that’s the case. We also had to turn down adoption through a family member of a family member. That was hard and it was obvious the person, who cared deeply for these children, was disappointed (maybe even angry). It was hard for us to say no! We actually couldn’t believe that this was falling into our lap and yet we weren’t getting the green light from God. Good post–great insight for others who are friends with those dealing with infertility.

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  4. Just nodding along, because yes. This is my life. Have you ever heard the song “Oceans” by Hillsong United? Meditating on the words of that song has been incredibly powerful for me. It’s a good one to sing when you need to talk to Him and you just don’t have the words.

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