Friday, August 29, 2014

"I did not have enough virtue to rise above it"

Disclaimer: This post is about my personal medical condition--which I don't feel like getting into and explaining because it would take too much time--and reasons for avoiding pregnancy because of it. This post in no way is saying that all women with medical reasons for avoiding pregnancy should be ignoring their doctors advice. Everyone has to make their own decisions based upon their doctors advice and their own conscious. 

Recently, I've been struggling with the fact that I'm most likely done with having children. Please don't judge me on that or remind me why I am not supposed to have more kids; it is a sensitive subject for me. People mean well, but it seems that nothing that has been said really helps, but hinders.

There is so much more to it than just "wanting more". I love my kids; I have five of them. I have been part of the miracle process of having children five times.

I will simply miss this time in my life (which is still here) of being able to have children, that's all. It's a part of most womens' lives that we take for granted. We don't see having children as a privilege and the honor that it is. We see it as a choice, what works for us, and so on. We don't see it as part of God's huge plan. We don't see it as being His instrument of bringing someone new into the world. This is what having a baby is, and we don't see it. No wonder we modern women are so grumpy when we're pregnant; we don't see the happiness of being pregnant.

So much more than going baby shopping; so much more than "nesting". It's such a special time in (most) every woman's life. It's the time when God chooses us to be a physical sign to the world; we are holding a real life person in our wombs! Our bodies are doing something impossible! It takes a miracle to form a person! We can't do this by ourselves; it takes a man, a woman, and God!! Isn't that amazing?! It blows me away every time. It makes me cry every time.

Yes, I get grumpy like everyone else when I'm pregnant. I have been guilty of seeking sympathy. I sometimes lose sight of the miracle of pregnancy. But when I see it again, I am blown away all over again.

Pregnancy is such an honor; we are chosen to be the parent of a new human being that has been hand-made by God. We, as a mother, are the only ones who will know our child before anyone else does; we are the only ones who will carry him, hold her, swaddle him, rock her, soothe her, and rub his back. We are the first. No one else can ask to hold her, or steal him away for a few minutes. For those 9 months they belong to us. What a special time to bond as mother and child. We get to feel every move, every kick, ever hiccup. We feel the weight of their growing bodies within us, we feel everything. We become sick because of them. We already suffer for them but we suffer gladly because we love them. We are already mothers. For this, every month, I suffer. I have to give it away because the doctors said so. I don't know if I believe them. I had Henry and I'm fine. It was actually my best pregnancy of all five. But it takes more than a doctor to say you can't have children; it takes God.

I will be honest, I haven't been totally avoiding pregnancy. I have been letting God decide. I became pregnant with Henry so easily, so fast. Yet, two and a half years later, I am not pregnant. I somehow knew that Henry would be my last. I cried in the gynocologist about it (I couldn't help it. Hormones.) while they all stared at me and stared at one another. They didn't get it. They do this every day. They see a baby as either a miracle or a problem, depending on how the mothers see it. They do not see it for what it really is.

I see it and I know the single people who want to be mothers see it; the infertile women see it too.

I do have the consolation of knowing that it is God who decides to put a new life in me or not. I at least have that. All medical and scientific explanations for NFP aside, this is what it NFP means to me, that it is God who ultimately decides for you. I don't have to feel guilty for purposely not having children based on a "what if" or "could happen" a "risk" (that the doctors have admitted are unlikely) or a "small chance". I'm sorry, but that's just not enough for me. But then I think about the kids I have and risking leaving them makes everything even riskier. So I let God decide. That gives me peace.

I came across a simple line in St.Therese's autobiography. It was: "I did not have enough virtue to rise above it." She was talking about her time when she was in school and had lots of trouble with it, but other than that, there wasn't anything more as to what she meant  probably because she knew the reader (at the time, her sisters) would understand what she meant. But it spoke volumes to me, probably because I needed to hear that since I had just finished pouring my sadness out to God.

I have heard people say that they purposely don't pray for humility, or God will surely humble them. Or they don't pray for patience, because God will put them in situations to pray for patience. They take them "as they come", but if they don't pray for it, how can they use what they don't have because they didn't pray for it??

For myself, I put my book down and thought to myself and my sadness and wondered, "what virtue do I not have yet to rise above this?" Immediately I thought, "Humility."

If I had more humility, I would be more humble. If I were more humble, I would be more grateful. I would see what I have, I would be ok with letting go, I would step aside and allow God to say, "No more." I would be fine with that, because He is God.

I still need to work on it. I can say the words, "Ok God, You decide" and let go. I can practice and do it over and over until it finally feels "real". It isn't easy, because I'm still hanging on to hope, hoping God will change His mind one day, might surprise me with another miracle. But in the meantime, I'm praying for humility, praying for enough virtue to rise above it. Don't let fear stop you from praying for what you are lacking, because one day, you might find yourself struggling with a cross that is too heavy for you to carry because you didn't pray for what you need to carry it with love, which is virtue.


  1. Conception and birth are pretty amazing. I do think about what it would be like to feel a small baby of my own inside of me - all mine for a time.

  2. Beautifully written, Becky. I have been looking everywhere for some help on my feelings about the likelihood that we're "done." This is the only thing I've run across that really speaks to me. Prayers for you, and much love!