Tuesday, December 3, 2013

My Nativity

"Prepare me, Lord, for my nativity."

He will not leave my mothering heart empty. He wants to fill my motherhood until it is overflowing!

I am in the middle of a week of visiting my best friends and their two children, one of which is less then two weeks old. Looking at them parenting these two beautiful children is sharp; sharp moments of joy and of pain.

Thoughts like, "God doesn't want that for you. He doesn't care about the desires of your heart. Shouldn't you be over this infertility pain already?! Why are you putting yourself through this? Close yourself off! Stop poking a wound that God never intends to heal." But I want to say very firmly. THIS IS NOT GOD! I reject these thoughts. I trust is the Lord. Sometimes, I don't say this very firmly at all.

God has been faithful this week though. Despite the business with the cleaning and the children and the meal time and the crazy FUN, I have also had more time for prayer. God is strong enough to stand up to these lies even if I feel weak!

I am reading Mulieris Dignitatem (On the Dignity and Vocation of Women) right now and Bl. Pope John Paul II talks about the motherhood that is inherit in the personality of every women. This is a challenge to understand. I can think of some women I know who have no desire to be mothers and some who just never seemed traditionally mothering. And I wonder, how does this affect the women who want to be mothers but aren't. Does any of these situations cancel out what God has written on our hearts as women?

Instead, motherhood is part of my vocation as a woman! And God wants to satisfy this desire! My womanhood; my motherhood is not dependent on my state in life or on the number of children I have, whether biological or adopted, even if that number is always zero.

I feel like my motherhood is experiencing an Advent right now. God is preparing me to be fully myself, fully human, fully women, fully mother.

We live our faith in the tension of "already but not yet!" Perhaps that is where the fulfillment of my motherhood is as well.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

"Let Me Show You Your Baby"

Back in the beginning of October I was given the chance (yet again) to go to a Theology of the Body course with the TOB Institute. This one was entitled, Theology of the Body and the Interior Life. In preparation for this course (and for other very good reasons) I decided to ask a priest I know and respect to be my spiritual director. I knew that this course would be about... well duh... the interior life! And I knew that my prayer life specifically needed an overhaul. So I sought out a spiritual director to help get me back on track. His encouragement has been wonderful and his insight, pre- TOB course, was invaluable. He helped me to start opening to whatever God wanted to do in me at this course.

Now, at other courses, infertility and reconciling that with my faith has been a huge focus. Many blessings has come from this unconscious partnership. But I didn't want this to be the focus of this course. I didn't want to only ever discuss infertility on these retreats. I didn't want to be "pigeon holed." I wanted the opportunity to work out other things in my life, like a "normal fertility person." My thought process was, I wonder what God is doing in other peoples lives since they aren't discussing infertility. I want that. I want to be a holy well-rounded person. Other reasons for not wanting this course to be about infertility for me was that I felt like I over-exposed myself at my other courses; that the people there only knew me by my infertility. I was tired of feeling like a long-exposed wound in front of these people that I respected. And I knew that I wouldn't have a support system (Rebecca) at this course. So I decided pre-course to NOT open the "infertility wound" up at this course.

What I had failed to consider is that God does not compartmentalize us; God wants all of us. So "leaving infertility at home" did not last long. Infertility affects every area of my life and God wants to love and heal me completely.

We spent a fair amount of time in class on the idea of God beholding you. How is God beholding you? Let God behold you. Be aware of God beholding you. I had to confront very quickly why my response to the idea of God beholding me was "don't look at me!"

"I was afraid because I was naked so I hide myself." Genesis 3:10

God lead me to the Scriptures and many passages resonated with me! The first letter of John in particular! Below are just a few of the thoughts are prayers that stirred within me.

"Let what you heard in the Beginning abide in you" 1Jn 2:24
LET- Receptive: let yourself be open, be led. Don't build walls around yourself- acknowledge God within you.
WHAT YOU HEARD- which means someone spoke something to You and you listened. God acted first. The WORD of God: Christ: God made flesh.
IN THE BEGINNING- Christian anthropology, male and female, Gospel of John: "In the beginning was the WORD and the WORD was GOD and the WORD was WITH GOD. Incarnational.
ABIDE WITH YOU- Live with you. Be one with you, in YOUR house- "under your roof": Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof but only speak YOUR WORD and my soul shall be healed. Let the WORD of the Lord IN- Be in me, Lord. Live out of me!

My prayer was "Help me to be silent with you, to listen to you, to not fight your presence in me but instead to trust in YOUR LOVE for me and YOUR unquenchable desire for communion with me. Why lord? Why do you love me? Why do you Desire, so deeply, communion with me? What do you love about me? Who is this Caitlin you created me to be: to love?"

And God's response: "I created you TO LOVE. You are easy to Love. Let me LOVE you! Let me show you how beautiful you are. Let me show you WHY I abide in You, why I LOVE to be with you always, why I delight in You; to be IN you."

Then the song, "I want to hold you hand" came into my head. I had this image of the first few times I held my husbands hands. My husband's left hand is a little bit "crippled" and in that moment I remembered just how honoured I felt the first time Grant let me hold THIS hand. I realized that God was saying to me, "Will you let me hold you in your brokenness. Can I hold your woundedness? Can I hold it with tenderness? Will you HONOUR me by letting me hold you brokenness? Will you give me the 'honour' of your 'hand'?"

This thought carried me through the week and started me opening my "infertility wounds" again to God. When I give my woundedness and the worst parts of myself, the things I hate most about myself to Christ, they become my greatest "possession". They become the thing that give the greatest honour and dignity to Christ. It tells the world "This is where my heart lies." Because you only share your nakedness with those closest to you. If you hide your sicknesses from those you care about how do you receive what you need?

God finished the though then, saying to me, "You are easy to love, BECAUSE of your brokenness, not in spite of it."

That night I dreamt that I was pregnant.

I was confronted with the questions:
Do I believe God wants to give me a child? Do I believe God wants to satisfy the desires of my heart?
Does God care about the "little" desires of my heart? ("Little" meaning not the desire for heaven and holiness)

Am I being asked to revisit my infertility discernment?

For those of you who have read other posts, specifically the one entitled "Sisters of Life," you will recall that at that retreat in February 2012 I surrendered my dreams of a child to God and I have not really let myself pray for a child since then. I united my suffering to Christ's in a beautiful weekend of pain and grace. But since then I allowed God into the pain but not the hope. If I were to be honest, I didn't believe that God was ever going to "resurrect" me from the cross of infertility. My husband did. I would still go through the 2ww with my hopes separate from God but my husband, my wonderful husband, would remind me, "God will grant us a miracle someday but I don't think it is this cycle."

So here I was at this retreat where I didn't even want to think about infertility and I start feeling like God wants me to pray for a child; like God wants to give me HOPE. To say I was petrified would be underselling it!

It is easier in many ways to think, "This will never happen." You have a few "relapses" in wishful thinking but you focus on other things. You try to fill the child shaped hole in your heart and life with other things and you have moderate success. But to be confronted with the thought, "Maybe this will happen. Maybe this hole CAN be filled. Maybe." My soul was trembling!

I didn't want to reopen this discernment, this wound, if I didn't have to. So, God put a wonderful priest at the course who would listen to me and honestly seek to understand. After our discussion, I resolved that this movement was from God and I should follow it. So I spent the next 4 days of the course opening up my longing for a child to God.

We had a time in class where we were to try imaginative prayer. We were to place ourselves at the nativity scene. Allow God to show us this scene in however he wanted too. This was a beautiful dialogue between God and myself and since you are still reading and I haven't lost you yet (which is very surprising) I will share it.

I was being walked from my Grandma and Grandpa's old farm house to the barn by my grandma (who passed many years ago). I was a young child and she led me to a stall. There in the corner was Mary and Joseph hunched over in the hay with their backs to me. My Grandma gentled pushed me towards them. Mary turned around, took my hand and brought me towards the baby in the hay. She put her arm around me, smiled at me. St. Joseph smiled also at me. Mary said to me, "Let me show you your baby." I looked at the little baby lying in the hay. I say, "You mean, my saviour." She smiles, "No, baby. He is yours!" I looked at my Grandma and she smiled at me. I say, "Help me prepare for his coming. Show me how to be his mother."

I was uncomfortable with this prayer because I felt like Mary should have said like me show you my child. But she didn't. She said, "Let me show you your baby."

It took me another 2 weeks to really understand what God was telling me.

God was asking me to ask him to reveal my family to me. He exists out of time. My children exist in him already. He knows them. I don't. He wants to prepare me for my nativity! He wants to prepare me to be the woman and mother he created me to be. He wants to prepare me to love. He wants to impregnate me with HIS divine life, with grace.

Now... throughout the course I was expecting to Peak. I didn't have my peak day (day closely associated with ovulation) until I came back from  my course. I wish I could say that I was at peace throughout the 2ww. I wasn't.

I also wish I could say that I am pregnant. I am not.

What I can say:
God knows my children already and he is preparing me for them perfectly, whether they be biological, adopted or spiritual.  And my goal is to be pregnant with grace!

Romans 12:12
" Rejoice in hope, be patient in trial, persevere in prayer."

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

TOB III Reflections Tuesday and Wednesday Part 1 "Be Born In Me"

*The song “Be Born in Me” (which I have posted about before) was basically the theme song for the whole week but over Tuesday and Wednesday God really allowed me to PRAY the lyrics.  Today has been a very difficult day for many reasons. I think that God is expanding my heart's ability to love and, naturally, this is leading to pain. Going back and reading my reflections from this very fruitful week has been exactly what I needed tonight. So, here is my actual reflections on the song from that wonderful week.*
BE BORN IN ME by Francesca Battistelli

Everything inside me cries for order

             For understanding, or an answer to my sorrow, my ache.

Everything inside me wants to hide

                Hide my face. Hide my shame. Hide my misfortune. Hide my vulnerability

Is this shadow an angel or a warrior?

Foreshadowing of heaven: a message or a judgement? A blessing or a curse? Redemption or death?

If God is pleased with me, why am I so terrified?-

If God is a loving God, then why do I have to deal with this. Is my infertility from God?

Someone tell me I am only dreaming

Someone tell me that this pain from infertility isn't real and isn't going to last. I am searching for a way out of the pain. That all I have to do in open my eyes or pray to this saint at this shrine in this order and I will be fertile

Somehow help me see with Heaven's eyes

But I recognize something. You are there. Help me see. Suffering = cross=good, holy, redeeming ache

And before my head agrees, my heart is on its knees

And as I come to you with this pain, before I even answer if I can accept a God that would allow this pain, I am surrendering. Everything now is crying out to you, the satisfaction of this hunger.

Holy is He. Blessed am I.

And HOLY is He: on fire for love of us. And BLESSED am I that I can share in this fire, that you want me to share in this fire.

Be born in me, be born in me

Trembling heart, somehow I believe that You chose me

Trembling Heart: My heart trembles from the pain, the tears I've shed. I'm trembling from fear that you've chosen me to be an infertile witness (why me, Lord?) and I'm trembling from the thought that maybe you didn't choose me. The idea now of losing my infertility, of someone trying to take my cross away.

I'll hold You in the beginning,

I will cling to You: 1) To Christ, 2) To my suffering. I will hold, almost hug, my suffering. I won't abandon this cross.

You will hold me in the end

You will hold me in the end:  1)My desire will be fulfilled in you. My desire for Eternal Life. 2) My cross will hold me up to heaven.

Every moment in the middle, make my heart Your Bethlehem

Every moment of my life until I reach you, dwell in me. Give me only the fertility that you want me to have.

Be born in me

Be BORN in ME: I am open. Impregnate me with your life. Light my FLESH ON FIRE for your life. Let everything about me, let my body, cry out with YOUR LIFE! Let me, my body and the union of my body and my husbands body, direct others to and witness to the SOURCE OF LIFE.

All this time we've waited for the promise

You have promised my marriage would be fruitful. I have been waiting on you. I have been living in this ache, trying to balance my impatience and your  providence.

All this time You've waited for my arms

But YOU, you my beautiful embodied savior, have been waiting on my open arms! You come to us as bread to be consumed. You have been waiting for my embrace!

Did You wrap yourself inside the unexpected

Are you using an infertile women to show the world your life-giving love, your fertility, to witness to the beauty of life? Wouldn't it be more expected to use a fertile women. You came as a little helpless child when we were expecting a warrior. Now we are need a strong message for LIFE and you use the lack to speak about the abundance!

So we might know that Love would go that far?

And how far in Love are we willing to go? Love is willing to surrender completely to the care of a women, to be completely dependent on God. In the creation of life and especially when conception is difficult or impossible, we realize just how dependent on you we are, we have to become. How far do you want me to take my love for you, for my husband and for children. Take it to the Cross; to the point of death. Until I am bleeding for a child I will never know?

Be born in me, be born in me

Trembling heart, somehow I believe that You chose me

I'll hold You in the beginning, You will hold me in the end

Roles reversed: You are holding me in the beginning of this. Holding me right at my point of deepest pain. Holding me at my birth and you know the plans you have for me. And I will hold you in the end, through the cross of infertility.

Every moment in the middle, make my heart Your Bethlehem

Make my whole being your dwelling place. Make my body like Mary's!

Be born in me

I am not brave. I'll never be.

I can do nothing without you. I am empty, help me to be completely empty. To expose this wound to you is impossible without you. There is nothing I can do to penetrate into this deep ache without you. And I can not fix this myself. I can not survive this by my strength.

The only thing my heart can offer is a vacancy

the only thing my heart can offer is the emptiness, is the pain, the anger, the frustration, the dry burn!!!

I'm just a girl

I am  not God. I can not create life. I can not do what my body refuses to do.

Nothing more

There is nothing left in me. There is nothing left.  I am empty. Empty me. HUMBLE ME.

But I am willing, I am Yours

But I am willing. I am willing to open. I might not be able to open completely to you, but I am willing. I might not understand HOW or WHY but I am willing. I am YOURS. There is nothing left but you.
* My next reflection from the TOBIII week of wonder will be on my husbands gift to me*
*Hopefully you won't have to wait as long for the next blog post*

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Glory of Infertility?

I had the blessed opportunity to attend my 5th course with the TOB Institute two weeks ago.. This one was called Theology of the Body III: The New Evangelization. I am not sure what I was expecting.. I was excited and nervous because God always seems to make me a “new creation” at these courses. G-Man says I always come back a much better wife which is a very good thing because I have a lot of improving to do.

I started just writing about a few of the blessings I received but then I realized that God worked on me this week in a linear fashion and without the timeline of the week, the blessings can seem a bit one dimensional.

So you, the wonderful reader, will get a full snapshot of the week.

Starting with Sunday:

So I left Sunday and I met a great lady on the way that drove me the rest of the way so G-Man can have the car while I was gone. Letting someone else drive me was my first blessing. God was trying to take the control out of my hands. I can be a bit of a control freak. For example, at previous courses, I would arrive quite early, get settled in my room, find the perfect seat in the classroom and go to dinner exactly at 5 pm. Well, we didn’t arrive until 5:30pm. And then I find out my room, instead of being in the main building, is in a cabin up the street. So I just throw my self in the gym outside of the kitchen, eat a quite dinner and then try to find the cabin. This cabin is about a 7 min walk away. Not a big deal, but the control freak in me was freaking out because I was going to be late to my first session at 6pm. Believe me, I got the message immediately. God was saying to me, “Sit back, let me take control. Everything will be fine but it won’t be at you would like to have it. Allow yourself to come unhinged so I can start building you back up.” This was uncomfortable but good.  And I was so grateful to be here again. This little upset prevented me from falling into a routine since this was my 5th class.

Monday Morning:

There really aren’t words to describe what happened on Monday morning between God, myself and Rebecca. I suggest maybe reading her blog about the course. All I can say is that it was intimate, beautiful and was my first taste of the GLORY of infertility; of just how much of  a gift suffering can be. I was crying so hard. But I was also almost laughing! And sharing this spiritual moment with Rebecca just made it all the better!

As St. Paul says, “Furthermore I count all things to be but loss for the excellent knowledge of Jesus Christ my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but as dung, that I may gain Christ:” (Philippians 3:8)

How awesome must God’s plan be, must His love be, if all my suffering can’t hold a candle to the GLORY of God. Indeed, what I learned over this week is that suffering can be a great blessing if you allow it to stretch you open to receive more of God! I want more of God in my life, thank you very much!

Monday Afternoon:

Confession and Penance: Since I had been to other weeks, I knew that they offered a penance service, adoration and confession on Wednesday evening. I also knew that because of how many people there are at this course, if you went to confession at that time the majority of your prayer time would be spent in line waiting for confession. So, instead, I went to confession the first chance I got, Monday afternoon. I hadn’t went to confession in a while and this confession was nothing special really until Father started asking me questions. I revealed my infertility struggle and how I feel I sometime use that as an excuse to put up walls around my heart; to remain separate from other people. Then, he looked at me and said, “For your Penance I am going to ask you to do something difficult and you probably won’t like it at first. I want you to spend some time over the week meditating on the glory of infertility.” Now, this would have sounds strange, almost impossible and even cruel if this wasn’t already on my heart.  I had only been at this retreat for about 24 hours and God was already beginning to show me the ecstasy that can be found in the agony of infertility. So I started to go deeper.

To Be Continued…

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Tears in the Driveway

I have a lot to say and nothing to say all at the same time. So I am sorry in advance if this entry is a little hard to follow. I have not written in a while (a month and a half) and I can feel all these words building up in me. Even as I write this, as I try to be honest with myself, I can feel myself start to well up and I wonder if I will even post this.

I went to Mass this evening and once I arrived home I sat in my driveway in my car and cried. I don’t know why I cried. I just cried. Hard and a lot.

I feel separate from the world of smiles and families. I saw so many beautiful babies today at my supposedly part-time job that is sucking my spirit dry. I want to scream at the world, G-Man and I ARE a family. We don’t need a child to be a family. We don’t need to adopt to be a family. We are a family. We can be happy without children. We don’t need a child to be happy. We don’t. I want the world to know that there is nothing deficient about my life and my relationship because I don’t have a child. I can be a mature happily married woman without a child.

And then my heart breaks. I feel loss so deeply that I can’t breath. I cry out to God and I feel Mary beside me, crying out with me. But I still cry. I still hurt so much. I feel a lack. I scream there is no lack but I feel the lack.

I race around with a million things to do. I am so busy right now that I describe myself right now as a overcooked pot roast, dry and dark. Then I take time to myself, to try and enjoy the relaxing moments. But the moment passes.

I had a wonderful day yesterday with my wonderful husband, walking around downtown in the beautiful weather.

But I feel the lack. I feel like our love hasn’t reached fulfillment. I want a biological child. I… I have no words left.

Everything I am doing is plan B. And right  now, I don’t like plan B. I want plan A.

I want to be too busy with my child instead of too busy with anything but a child.

I want to be that beautiful couple with the beautiful child at Mass. I want to raise my child to know and love Christ!

I cry out WHY!

Apparently I had some words left.

Can you tell what part of the cycle I am in?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wandering Mind

I am sitting at my computer at 1:30 in the morning and I should be sleeping. Marny, my little naughty kitty, is beside me, purring away. And every so often she tries to climb up onto my computer. This makes typing a bit difficult. The point is, though, that I should be sleeping.

I recently started my study to become a FertilityCare Practitioner. I feel very blessed to be able to be a part of many women and family’s lives in this intimate manner! I know how much G-Man and I love the FertilityCare system. As a woman I find it so empowering.  I am excited to share this with others. And it fits so well with my other two areas of study, Theology of the Body and Nutrition. This does mean however that I am a very busy person.

This fact usually keeps my mind from wandering. Not today for some reason. I think that this is because since I have been back G-Man and I have really been revelling in our marital bond, so to speak. And, as I was discussing with the hubby tonight, I feel the desire for his children the most when the bond is strong. Or maybe, this desire is just because I am near my Peak day. Either way, G-Man and I fell into dangerous habits tonight. We were laying around discussing great children’s names. We came up with some good ones. He always surprising me with what he likes and doesn’t like. BUT this discussion did lead to a great conclusion.

One of my favourite names is Isreal. I think that it would be a great name. Of course every friend I have ever had thinks I am crazy. G-Man is no exception. He has said many times that he would NEVER name a child that. BUT, at the end of our discussion on names tonight, he finally gave in. He said, “Well, ok, you could name our child that on two conditions:”

1) That we had 4 children already

2) That at least ONE of these children are biological.

So basically he is saying “Well, you are feeling down and I don’t want to make it worse so here are the almost impossible, “hand-of-God” situations where this dream of yours could be fulfilled.” Despite this, I thought it was very cute. And I agreed!

So the point of this very random post… If God gives us lots of MIRACLE children, our 5th child if the child is a boy or the first boy after 4 children will be named ISREAL! I am not any closer to have a child, but I feel I got closer to having a child named Isreal. So that is something.

Good night!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Little Blessings

Sometimes I wonder, "Do grant and I not have children because God knows we wouldn't make good parents?"

But then I get the opportunity to take care of some young cuties or I watch G-Man help train the alter servers and I know we would make amazing parents. I realize again that it is an unnatural tradegy that we won't be having children. Saything this, I know some of you are thinking, "Wait a second, what about adoption?" G-Man and I had said we would take some time to grieve and start discerning adoption when we turn 26. But somedays I think, "Nope, we aren't suppose to. God wants our focus somewhere else." Other moments, I can't breath at the thought of never being a mommy. But as of right now and for the foreseeable future (at least 2 years) we are childless.

I was putting 2 little ones to bed the other night as my friends went to the movies for a rare date night. The oldest, just shy of 3, just feel asleep and I went in to comfort the 10 month old little gent. The room was dark. I held him tight against myself, his sleepy head fighting resting on my shoulder. I pulled the curtains back a bit to let in some street light so I could see his beautiful face. I was swaying back and forth, humming softly. And I had a deeply moving moment. Everything just combined to make an awe-some moment that raised in me ever so gently a dull but powerful ache and a deep love for this fella.

It was a motherhood moment. No, I am not his mother but I experienced a wonderful taste of it. It didn't leave me bitter or sobbing at my loss but rather the gracious recipient of someone else's blessings. I was given just for a second a taste of a dream- the dream of motherhood. What a beautiful calling!

Honestly, yes, lately, I have felt a bit annoyed at mothers (and fathers) because everything seems to be about them and their children. Families with children are everywhere and I was feeling like a frustrated black sheep. But this feeling is futile. Families seem to be everywhere because they ARE! Families, children, ARE the natural reason for marriage and intercourse. It is like someone who is colour blind getting mad that in every picture the sky is blue- ot that others experience the blue sky. The solution isn't to make every else stop showing the sky as blue; to stop talking about it. But rather the colour blind must come to grips with the unchangable reality of a blue sky within himself. The families shouldn't hide their gift because it remind others that they don't have it. But rather SHARE the gift.

Like tonight, when I got to share, just for a moment, in someone else's motherhood.

Yes, it stings. But it is my lack that stings not their gift!

Now if only I can remember this moment in Church on Sundays. Sometimes Sundays are the hardest days.

I went over to visit a few weeks ago and the mommy and I were just chatting and she said off handedly, "Ya, nothing brings you closer to your mom then having children yourself."

Then she instantly stopped, looked at me and apologized to me. She said, "Oh, I'm sorry! What an insensitive thing to say." I was speechless! NOT because of what she said about motherhood relationships but that she apologized. The comment actually didn't really bother me. I think you build up a resistance to this type of comment because you hear them ALL the time. But I am not used to someone realizing it might be hurtful! Someone thinking about me and caring enough to apologize! I was so touched! Deeply touched that my feelings and struggles were considered and mattered, were remembered.

I find with infertility other people tend to forget you are living with it even 5 seconds after you are done talking about it. Or never mention it though they know you are dealing with something so difficult.

Yet here was this beautiful women with her beautiful 2 children right there thinking about ME! Telling G-Man about this experience later brought tears to my eyes.

So I guess the point of this post is thanking God for the little graces, comforts and acts of kindness that give me strength to go yet other cycle without a child.