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Learning from Hannah

The odds are certainly not in my favor with regards to fertility.

I know science will only be able to do so much for me, and I absolutely refuse to even consider IVF for faith-based as well as experience-based reasons. Experience-based reasons include countless hours of labwork. I know the techniques involved, the materials, the tools, the protocols, etc. With that said, even if I wasn't Catholic and even if I could have this procedure performed with the guarantee that no embryo would be destroyed in the process....I could not bring myself to do it. Firstly, IVF is an industry. Second, the entire procedure is too "Brave New World" for me. Too many microscopes, pipettes, incubators, cell media, etc. and not enough humanity. Too many non-human steps to create life and too little emotion. I don't care how caring an IVF specialist claims to be, at the end of the day, the whole procedure is just that...a procedure. It is simply a procedure that involves a specimen from a male, a specimen from a female, pipettes, microscopes, sterile dishes, a punched in time card...and that's it. I am not going to judge you if you have had IVF performed or think any less of children conceived through IVF. Knowing what I know and experiencing what I have experienced in a lab...and even reading the dystopian novels that I have read...I just could not do it. 

In short...I understand and agree with the Catholic teachings on IVF....but even if I didn't know or agree with them...I still could not go the IVF route.

The husband and I are open to adoption and, if the whole fertility thing doesn't pan out...well, adoption it will be. I have always loved children and been considered the "soccer mom" among friends (for my ability to always supply snacks and beverages, my good birthing hips, and other fine qualities). 

Yesterday, I went to confession and as part of my penance, I was asked to go down and pray before the tabernacle. Christ was on display for an all-day prayer service that was taking place and the group in the chapel was in the middle of praying the Divine Mercy chaplet. At the end of the chaplet, this group had an open discussion. An older Filipino woman brought up abortion as a topic. She emphatically expressed sadness for the loss of so many children and as she spoke my heart cried out.

"Give me those children. I will take those children!"

Tears formed in my eyes as this silent prayer was raised up...

As hectic as my life may be, I still yearn for a family. I want to start a family and raise children. Yes, I am working on my PhD...and yes there are quite a few people that will tell you to put a family on hold in order to obtain a PhD. I don't care about what these people say and have, thankfully, known a few very wonderful women with doctorates as well as families. I look up to these women and know that both are possible. I am not yet 35, but going by age, but am already on the decline as far as fertility goes. Add polycystic ovary syndrome and endometriosis to the mix...and well, things don't look too fantastic. That's not even counting any environmental or occupational exposures to potential toxins that could have affected fertility.

My husband and I are not actively trying to have children right now....but we aren't avoiding children either. Still, my mind has already started to wander back to Hannah...the mother of the Prophet Samuel whenever another cycle begins uninterrupted. I know I should not worry too much about fertility until after at least a year of actively trying for children...but every new baby on my friends feed and every child I see these days brings me back to Hannah. The woman who made such a spectacle of herself in the temple, sobbing as she begged God for a child...the woman who finally got to be a mother after years of being barren. The same woman who, when her child Samuel reached the right age, gave him up so that he could serve God as one of His greatest prophets. 
File:Gerbrand van den Eeckhout - Anna toont haar zoon Samuël aan de priester Eli.jpg
Hannah presenting her son Samuel to the priest Eli
Gerbrand van den Eeckhout ca.1665
God knows what He is doing and I trust in Him. I know my chances for children may not be too great from a purely scientific perspective...but everything is possible for God. He knows me and knows the love in my heart as well as he knows the longings in my heart. He knows the pain I feel when I hear of unwanted children that had been aborted, abandoned, hurt, or neglected by people in this world who really do not know the value of the treasure they were given. He knows that I will literally stand next to an abortion clinic with a sign reading "Infertile couple with loving home! Will adopt your baby!" if that is what it takes to bring my children home. He knows I will deal with all of the lengthy, bureaucratic red tape necessary to bring home my children. He knows exactly how much I can put up with to ease this longing in my heart...and maybe that is why I was given this particular cross to bear. 

I have not given up hope on children yet as I know it is too early in the game to even be too worried about it. Who knows, I may already be bouncing a baby on my knee a year from now. Only God knows...and I just have to trust Him in the meantime.

Pax Vobiscum

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