Friday, May 25, 2012

The Infertility Mysteries

As my beloved wife and I continue to wait for a pregnancy, I've had many chances to reflect on our struggles.  Out of concerns of privacy I won't go into great detail.  I can say for me that any strong recollection of our baby Bernadette Hope (miscarriage last February) usually waters my eyes.  Sometimes seeing a picture of an ultrasound is difficult.  Overall, it's very hard when we're doing everything we can to get pregnant... and no good news.

I think I mentioned before that I've been praying the rosary on my drive home--it was Erin's idea originally.  It's a great time for praying and it's two spiritual exercises in one: fasting from listening to the radio or the DP Show and praying a rosary.  A recent insight came with the Joyful Mysteries.  There are a lot of insights into the struggles faced by couples struggling with infertility (IF for short).  

First Mystery: the Annunciation
Every couple trying to conceive begs for that moment... "you're pregnant!"  Granted, we get the news from a stick and some little lines; haven't heard of the archangel Gabriel bringing any more glad tidings since that wonderful day.  The thing to pray for on this mystery is the willingness to be joyful when others get pregnant.  New life is new life, no matter how good or bad a situation may be.

Second Mystery: the Visitation
This is a celebration of pregnancy... John the Baptist dancing in the womb!  Mary and Elizabeth, two unlikely mothers, rejoicing and giving praise to God!  However, the praise carries less meaning if we forget how long it took Elizabeth to conceive.  The way the Gospel of Luke describes her is: "But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren" (1:7).  So, not only did Elizabeth have to deal with it on her own, but it was apparently a plainly known fact that she was barren.  Lovely!  Imagine what the other women said at the water well!  At the market!  And in those days, barrenness was seen as a curse from God or the results of sins; either hers or her parents'. 

On this mystery we should pray for all women struggling with infertility.  She has to deal with it; her marriage has to cope with it... and no matter how private the couple keeps it, the community notices.  While all the other young couples are starting families, IF couples are forced to wait.   

Third Mystery: the Nativity
The road to having a child can be a lot more complicated than expected.  We should pray for all IF couples that they have strength for the journey.

Fourth Mystery: the Presentation in the Temple

Here we can count Our Lady of Sorrows as our companion.  Imagine a joyful occasion--consecrating Jesus according to the Mosaic Law--broken into by a prophecy of suffering.  Simeon rejoiced at first but then warned Mary that a sword would pierce her heart.  On this mystery, please, Our Mother, pray for us.  A sword pierces the hearts of every IF couple that's trying!  Stabat Mater dolorosa, ora pro nobis.

Fifth Mystery: Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple

Mary and Joseph lost Jesus for three days.  Many lose children in the womb as we did, and the pain bores deep into the heart.  On this mystery, we should pray for all of those who have gone through a miscarriage.  Even more prayers for those who experienced more than one.


  1. What beautiful reflections on the Joyful mysteries! I continue to be amazed at the depths of spirituality the Lord is taking you through this painful journey. I have begun saying the rosary of the seven sorrows of Mary. My, she was strong through the trials recalled in this rosary! Mary knows what it is like to suffer. I know she is holding you in her arms and comforting you. So am I :-)

  2. Beautiful reflections, John. I can relate! IF is such a maze of sorrow. It's great to remember the saints like Elizabeth who went through it too. Love you lots!

  3. Thanks Kristy. It really is a cross... a heavy one. You're right about the saints! Love you!