Friday, March 26, 2010

A glimpse from "the other side"

I often wonder how I will react if and when that day comes when I am on "the other side." You know...if the day comes when we either give birth to a baby or receive one in love through adoption or foster care. I think about that a lot, especially when I'm trying to sift through my thoughts and emotions at this stage in the journey (8 months post surgery and no conception). Would I look back at this time in the valley of tears and wonder why I had been so sad? Would I feel frustrated that I had wasted so much time worrying about conceiving? Would I be embarassed by the numerous emotional outbreaks and tantrums when I felt that life wasn't fair? Or would I be proud of me and the way I held up under the pressure and sorrow? What would I be happy with the way I had carried this cross? The answer is, I just don't know. I'm not there yet. What I do know is that I'm doing the best I can. I think we all are, aren't we? We're doing our best to make it day by day, and that's all anyone can ask of us. This entire journey is a growing process...and even if we would never have chosen it for ourselves, I would imagine that most of us have learned things along the way, and have grown stronger and holier (which is what really counts!!). But still, every so often, I come back to the question, if I were on "the other side" what would I say to me now? What advice would I give?

Karey (AllYouWhoHope) had a beautiful reflective post on just this topic recently and I wanted to share it here as well because she provides that insight from the "others side" that I have been curious to know. After adopting her baby girl Clara, Karey talks about what she would say to her former self. You can read the post it it's entirety here, but here are the parts that touched me so deeply.

I wish I would have had more of an opportunity to really reflect on all that has happened. There is just so much. So many angles I need to reflect upon. So much gratitude. So much love for baby Clara. For all of you.I wish I could get it all down and out of my head. There is just so much I want to say. I still want to write down the entire story of how all this happened. I want to talk about my complete joy of becoming a mother and how it is everything I dreamed it would be and more. How it was worth the battle it took to get here. I want to talk about how it has changed my struggle with infertility. I want to write to those who are considering adoption but wondering if it will fill the void in their hearts left by their inability to conceive. I will hopefully get to some of that in the days to come...

...The other thing I often reflect on is my former self. Boy, do I want to hug her. I'm not ashamed of the way I reacted to my infertility in the past, before the adoption. I always used to say that if I ever became a mother, that I wouldn't regret my actions, and I don't. I did the best I could. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to endure. It was as if someone was holding my head under water and I was fighting for air every. single. day.I don't have to tell all of you about that. But my point is that just because I am arguably on "the other side" now, that doesn't mean that I am going to be hard on my former self. Just the opposite, actually. That person I used to be tried hard. She fought. She hung on and endured some pretty rough crap. She didn't know if it would ever end. She assumed it wouldn't.My heart breaks for her and I tear up just thinking about it, and about all of you who are still fighting. It's so easy for me to say, "hang on! Your time will come!" So I won't. I didn't want to hear it then, and you might not want to hear it now. I will just keep praying for all of you every day, that your time is just around the corner. I want all of you to be as happy as I am. I wish I could make it happen for every single one of you.In adoration today, Clara's first time, I came across a passage that summed up my feelings exactly. I loved it as soon as I started reading it and it just got better and better as it went on. Then, I read in the notes that the psalmist was recently delivered from suffering himself. How fitting. I especially like this part near the end:

When the just cry out, the LORD hears and rescues them from all distress.The LORD is close to the brokenhearted, saves those whose spirit is crushed.Many are the troubles of the just, but the LORD delivers from them all.God watches over all their bones; not a one shall be broken.

The thought of God watching over all our bones comforts me. He is watching over every single one of us, even those of us whose ovaries don't work. And, like this psalmist, I want to tell my former self, and all of you, to hold on and trust in the Lord. He is close to the brokenhearted and saves those whose spirit is crushed.

Thank you Karey for this glimpse from "the other side"! It was just what I needed to hear. It acknowledged the depth of our suffering [someone holding our heads under water and we are fighting for air every. single. day] and validated us in the way we carry the cross...that while we may not always carrying it willingly or with beauty we do the best we can [We try hard. we fight. We hang on and endure some pretty rough crap]. And finally, her post reminds those of us still childless, that infertility is not an end. It feels like it sometimes [we don't know if it will ever end...we assume that it won't], but our physical barenness could be lifted at anytime and we do not know the plans that God has for us. Thank you Karey, for providing the insights and the comforting words that I too might share with my former self if I someday were on "the other side."

For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare, not for woe! plans to give you a future full of hope. ~ Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, March 22, 2010

Carrying the Cross of Infertility in Marriage - Our talk at the Marriage and Family Conference

Wow. What a weekend! The Inaugural Marriage & Family Life conference went so well! We were supposed to have 17 people in our session and ended up with 26.…almost all couples going through infertility. What we shared seemed to really hit home with them as well, as there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. Some attendees couldn't even make eye contact with us, but instead sat through the talk with their eyes fixed upwards. From my perspective as a speaker, it was a very touching experience. Husbands holding their wives hands, holding them close…women crying into the chests of their husbands….and then afterwards, women who were strangers going up to each other with tear-stained faces saying “I don’t know you, but I just want to hug you, we’re on this journey too.” And the husbands giving each other man-hugs and saying “Hey man, we’re on this road too, we’re praying for you.” Wow! I felt so blessed to even witness this outpouring of support for eachother. This is what the body of Christ is about. Encouraging one another in hope. And then after the talk, a woman came up to me and said that she and her husband had come from Indianapolis to attend because of my blog and seeing the conference information here. Wow! So I haven’t been blogging to an empty cyber-space, you are all really out there and we are getting to meet eachother. :) lol.

For anyone that is interested, I have an audio version of our talk that I would be happy to share with you. It is about 50 minutes long. I am working to trying to figure out how to post it here (anyone know?) but in the meantime, just email me at and I will be happy to send it to you. I have never recorded myself at a speaking engagement before and thus have never had the opportunity to go back and re-consider things that I've said. This time I have had that opportunity and while I have found some things that I would change for the next time I do it (April 25th at St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Arcola, email if you want to attend), I thought went pretty well. There was only one stick foot-in-mouth moment if you will. For some reason beyond my understanding I mention that my friends and family were not supportive of us in this journey. Even as the words were coming out of my mouth I knew that was not the case and in the audio you hear me correct myself. As I have reflected on what I said versus what I meant, I think what I was trying to express was that many of us on this journey are the only ones we know going through infertility. No one in our family has been affected by it, and none of our friends either. For this reason, although they try to support us as best they can, we still yearn for someone who truly does "get it". This was what I was trying to get at when I boldly stated that "our friends weren't helpful and your family certainly didn't help." Oh jeez...nice...really nice. So just to set the record straight, our friends and family HAVE been supportive as best they know how, and through this blog, Hannah's Tears and our opporutnities to share our story, we have been blessed to know many others of you on this journey. We are thankful to all for their support, love and encouragement. I can boldly state that you all certainly have been a help and comfort to us. :) (Guess this is the danger of public speaking right?) Also, at the end of the talk, there is a song that we here if you'd like to hear the song. It's also the one I posted about a few weeks ago in "Our God is in Control.")

Anyway, if you'd like to have the talk, just email me at and I'll send it to you. If you do listen to it, please feel free to share your feedback with me. I would love to know what your found helpful, what you think I could add and if there is anything you would leave out. We are always open to ideas...we are journeying this road together. Blessings everyone!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Infertility and Reproductive Technologies: A Guide for Catholics Pamphlet

Infertility and Reproductive Technologies: A Guide for Catholics Pamphlet
by Steve Bozza

The discovery of infertility by a married couple can be a very trying and difficult experience. Most couples enter marriage with the dream of raising a family, and this hope can quickly turn into heartbreak. Modern science offers an array of options—some are morally acceptable, but others fail to preserve the dignity of the couple and the child. So, what are Catholic couples to do? If you or someone you know is struggling with infertility, this pamphlet is an indispensable resource. You will learn about the most common options, whether they are in accord with the teachings of the Catholic Church, and why it matters. But this is much more than a mere checklist of options. This pamphlet offers every infertile couple grace for their journey, a renewed sense of hope about their marriage, and fresh optimism concerning the future of their family.This item usually leaves the warehouse within 3 business days. Click here for more information about shipping.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Our God Is In Control

Every now and then a song shows up in my life and sweeps me off of my feet. It is as if the singer is singing straight to my heart. Rare is it that an entire album has this effect. But Steven Curtis Chapman's new album "Beauty Will Rise" has earned this rare honor. I downloaded it yesterday and listened to it on my iPod for the entire 8 hours I was cleaning the office out.

Beauty Will Rise is a collection of 12 new and profound songs from Steven Curtis Chapman. Created in the past 18 months in the walk through the darkness of the loss of his daughter Maria, and while God continues to meet him there on the journey. Part lament, part praise, part grief, part hope, part wrestling, part pondering; these tracks resonate as Steven’s personal Psalms. It is a desperately hopeful, raw, personal, and honest recording. And this is precisely the reason that I love it. In my own journey along this way of the cross, I too lament, praise, grieve, hope, wrestle & ponder. Steven's words and music are the cry of my own heart and I would think that of anyone else who suffers going through infertility, miscarriage, stillbirth, the loss of a child, or any other cross. He truly has a God-given gift.

While each song is fantastic, one has, in my mind, become the Theme Song of our journey. The music is authentic, the words ring so true. I hope you enjoy it as well.

Our God Is In Control
By: Steven Curtis Chapman
(click here to listen)

This is not how it should be
This is not how it could be
But this is how it is
And our God is in control

This is not how it will be
When we finally will see
We'll see with our own eyes
He was always in control

And we'll sing holy, holy, holy is our God
And we will finally really understand what it means
So we'll sing holy, holy, holy is our God
While we're waiting for that day

This is not where we planned to be
When we started this journey
But this is where we are
And our God is in control

Though this first taste is bitter
There will be sweetness forever
When we finally taste and see
That our God is in control

And we'll sing holy, holy, holy is our God
And we will finally really understand what it means
So we'll sing holy, holy, holy is our God
While we're waiting for that day
We're waiting for that day
We'll keep on waiting for that day
And we will rise...

Our God is in control (Holy, holy, holy...Holy, holy, holy)
Our God is in control (Holy, holy, holy)
Our God is in control (Holy, holy, holy)

Repent and Turn Towards God

Lent is about turning one's self towards Christ...detaching from the world and cleaving to Christ. Detachment...ah yes...detachment. Today single-handedly showed me how much stuff I still need to detach from. I spent the entire day cleaning out our office, going through box after box of "stuff". This all-important, could-not-be-thrown-out "stuff" that we have moved with us (in the same un-gone-through boxes) from Indianapolis, to Pennsylvania, to Indiana and then into our new house. It's just sick. We are captive to our stuff. I never really realized how much it weighs us down until this week. I am again leading Women of Grace at our parish and there is a beautiful lesson this week on Addictions to Stuff. One passage really convicted me... "Many good Christian women have attics, closets, basements, and garages full of "treasures" they most likely will never use. If they gave their excess to the poor before moths and rust destroyed it, they would be storing treasure in heaven. As it is, they are storing up condemnation." Ouch.

So needless to say, after having read this and having been has been a busy week. I have determined to tackle the house room by room with the focus of fostering a spirit of generosity and eliminate the vice of hording. I have already tackeled our bedroom and closets and came up with at least four bags of clothes to give away. And today, I spent close to 8 hours sorting in just the office...and I'm not even done yet! Yikes.

What is the point of me sharing this with all of you? Well, it's more than just a confession of a woman dealing with pleonexia and loving the comforts of the world. Rather, it's really to share the joy with you that I have found this Lent. I had not realized how much I had detached from God and attached to the world. Regaining the 30 pounds I had lost last year should have been my first indication right? But seriously, it has been only through this Lent and my commitment to drinking only water and eating a PCOS appropriate diet that I realized the extent of my inordinate attachment to much I was seeking comfort not in God, but in food. And as I have cleaned and sorted out the rooms in my house this week, it has made me realize that I have sought so many comforts of the world...and that it's now high time to clean and sort the "rooms" of my spiritual house. It's time to return to the basics. To simplicity. To a Christ-centered and balanced life. And as I do, a spirit of joy and freedom is growing within me. It's time to detach from "stuff" and choose Christ.

How did it get this far? I'm like that proverbial frog in boiling water. Had the water been boiling when I was placed in, I would have immediately jumped out. But instead, the water has gradually heated to the boiling point and I, not noticing, have remained, not seeing the reality of the situation. I think the pain of this way of the cross just hurt too much. If I'm being honest, I know that I've turned to food and the comforts of "stuff" to dull the fill the void in my life and create that (even momentary) sense of happiness that I (pridefully) determined that God was not going to grant me. Lent has given me the opportunity to repent and turn towards Him...and in doing so, I have realized that I have been so focused on the one thing lacking, the hole in my life, that I have missed seeing He who makes me whole. The same thing goes for how I've related to my husband. I've been so consumed with pursuing the hole in my life, that I've missed cherishing the one on earth who makes me whole. As my attachment to food and "stuff" is waning, the joy of God in my heart and the joy of being with husband and cherishing him is increasing exponentially. Thank you, Jesus.

Thank you, Jesus, for giving us Lent. A time of turning to you. Please give me the clarity to see the places in my life where I have substituted things and "stuff" where there should be only you. Give me the strength and the grace to turn these vices into virtue. Forgive me for reasons that I turned from you and chose them in the first place. May your grace enlighten and sustain me as I seek your holy face. Create in me a new heart...and let it be yours. Amen.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Creighton & NaPro Open House - March 21, 2010

Here's what I've been up to lately! If you're in the area or know people who are (especially Doctors and Medical Professionals) please spread the word! Thanks.