Submitted by Shelby D Burns Wed 04/27/2011
Cross For the millions of American women experiencing infertility, there is pain and disappointment. For Catholic women, the pain is private, mournful and often times accompanied by judgment from one’s fellow congregants. For the faithful Catholic couple, IVF is not an option. Most medical interventions are not an option. The temptation may be huge and pressure from non-Catholic friends and family could be overwhelming. One treatment from NaPro, Natural Procreative Technology, addresses women’s cycles and ways of naturally overcoming infertility, but many couples don’t know about it or the support services offered there. There is also a loneliness reported by these couples. Most other Catholic families have children, often times lots of children. They may be suspected of using contraceptives to avoid pregnancy rather than experiencing an inability to get pregnant. As the couple gets older, there will be fewer peers without children for them to socialize with and the pain of being around other people’s children can be tough. And it can lead to jealousy and envy which may isolate the couple or drive a wedge between them. Often times they will question God and even their faith. Many Catholics in this position admit there is a lack of support and understanding. For many it is a private pain they share only with their priest. One Catholic woman stated “While NaPro is one of the biggest blessings known to Catholics with infertility it is still not widely known, and there is a large gap in support for this sector of the Catholic community. . . Even on the rare occasion when I have found Catholic literature or brochures in response t the cross of infertility, it is generally a list of illicit treatments, that most of us already know to be morally wrong. We don’t need an education. We need love, support, and spiritual guidance. What are we to do? Where are we to go? How can we best serve God and live a ‘fruitful’ life while bearing this Cross, not knowing when or if we will ever be relieved of it in this lifetime?” During this week of Infertility Awareness, it is worth thinking about the couples who do not take advantage of medical breakthroughs but rather live with the sacrifice that their infertility has presented to them.