The Hidden Blessing of Infertility

There's a certain narrative that dominates most stories of infertility. Their sense of overwhelming anguish and loss, regardless of outcome, contrasts so drastically from my own experience that sometimes I have to remind myself that I, too, have a story of infertility.

That term, infertile, may be medically and technically appropriate, but it's not a word I would use to describe my life. A friend recently asked my advice for someone struggling with being infertile. "I'm not sure," I told her, "because I don't really struggle with it at all."

Even though God has not fulfilled my longtime desire to have children, he has filled my life with so many other gifts that my greatest struggle has been to be a faithful steward of so much abundance.

I was 26 years old when my husband and I threw away the birth control.

But the babies didn't come.

When I was diagnosed with endometriosis—likely the culprit in my inability to conceive—I had corrective surgery. My doctor said I would be pregnant within six months.

Still the babies didn't come.

My husband and I decided that further procedures were off the table. Although we are Baptists, we believe in the principles set forth in the Catholic Church's Donum Vitae ("The Gift of Life"), which distinguishes between medical interventions that assist the marital union in achieving pregnancy and interventions that replace the procreative marital act. We agree with the distinction made by some Christian ethicists and theologians between procreation and reproduction: While reproduction can be achieved any number of ways, procreation takes place in the mystery of two bodies becoming one flesh and producing another ...

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July/August 2014

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