Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Less-than-Optimal Fertile Christian

I haven't tackled how infertility effects or doesn't affect my spiritual beliefs, but I have had enough people attempt to explain my infertility away through their own beliefs, that I thought I deserved a turn.  I apologize if I offend anyone with this post even though no one has ever apologized to BJ or me for forcing their beliefs on us, or for telling us what God is trying to "do" to us.  I will never truly understand what it is about infertility that makes other people feel they get to give advice and judge our choices when it is something they've never dealt with.  It's a disease just like cancer is a disease.  Most tactful people don't go around the cancer ward telling the patients they don't have cancer because they do such and such.  It is EXACTLY the same thing!

That being said, this is my attempt to explain, through my own words how infertility has had an impact on me.  I am no biblical expert, and would never claim to be.  I'm not even attempting to debate anything with anyone.  I just want to take the chance to explain my thoughts and feelings on this matter through my spiritual perspective.

I am a proud "Cradle Episcopalian" and still consider myself one. Outside of church, I grew up in a very fundamentalist-rich environment and was frequently asked if Episcopalian was "even Christian".  Yes, it is....You remember Henry the 8th from World History?
That's us!!!  We were right there with Martin Luther breaking off from the Roman Catholic church.  Grant it,  the motives might have been slightly different, but none of us is Jesus Christ.  Am I wrong?  Anyway, if we are anything, we are tolerant.  This is probably the single most thing I enjoy about my church.  Our patrons are so diverse, and I feel very privileged to be part of that.  We are truly practitioners of the Golden Rule and "Judge not lest ye be judged." What all Episcopalians have in common is our Worship at the Episcopal Church which is a "creedal" church (See Nicene Creed) unlike most of the "confessional" churches that surround us in the Bible Belt.  Think of it as leading by example rather than words.  Let me reiterate I'm not saying confessional is wrong, it's just not what the Episcopal Church is.  I know some fine people that belong to confessional churches.  (But I know some that are annoying as sin, too!  I might even know an annoying Episcopalian or two...)  Episcopalians would never, ever say that our denomination (or religion, for that matter) is right or superior to yours.  Our "dogma" is simply the Apostle's Creed, and we NEVER add to this.  This is how the Conservatives in the front right pew of our church get along with Liberals sitting in the front left pew across the aisle.  

As for my faith and infertility, it is simple.  I have faith.  I know that I was made perfect in God's image even with infertility, just like my uncle who died of cancer was made perfect.  So I know that God did not "give", "cause", or "punish" me with infertility.  It is simply an unhappy circumstance that I must face during what I will one day look back on as a brief period of time of my life here on Earth.  If God just willy-nilly, "giveth and taketh away", and everyone who prayed for anything got it, there wouldn't be much point or need for religion would there?  For what reason would we have to sin if we had everything? 

I most frequently hear, "It's just not God's time for you."  Well, he sure picked a bad time for all the high school students I worked with that got pregnant.  Conceiving as a consequence of rape doesn't seem like an opportune moment, either.  For that matter, we as Christians are all really here because of a pregnancy with an extraordinary amount of bad timing for a young, unmarried virgin. What about when I or anyone miscarried(s)?  Are you saying that God made a mistake?  "It's your time. No wait, I changed my mind." I'm not honoring a debate on how a miscarriage wouldn't count as a "mistake" if you argue that life begins at conception.  God doesn't make mistakes, and I truly believe that.  God blessed me with this life, and I am working much harder at appreciating the one I am blessed with because I am realizing how truly blessed I am.

I simply pray for strength.  I pray to hold steadfast to my faith during this dogfight, to let God do His work through me as I face this battle, and to live up to my potential as a Child of God.  In a recent post I said something to the affect that God knew what He was doing in reference to me not having a child, yet.  This is simply my perspective on the current situation.  I don't really believe that God will "give" or "not give" me a child. I may or may not be blessed with a child, and yes I see that as different.  To be blessed with something is to have it as part of your journey on Earth.  We as humans will never understand everything we are blessed with as not all blessings seem "good".  Think about those that were martyred. I wouldn't call their lives happy, but they were certainly blessed. Yet, God blessed us with the means to endure the hardships and be humble, grateful, charitable and respectful of others during the good times, too.

The other one we get a lot is, "Maybe this is God telling you to adopt."  Did God tell you not to adopt?  This is such a personal decision, and I am grateful to have this option.  It is but just one option out of many that BJ and I have.  I am willing to share that we are talking to people who have adopted and are learning about their experiences, but we are also learning about other options as well.  So, my honest response to that is, 'No, I've not felt a call from God to adopt at this point nor have I felt a call to not adopt.'  The only call about our spawning journey I've felt recently, was from my husband when he said we've had enough for the time being.

I am proudly saying, that my journey with infertility has only strengthened my beliefs.  I'm finding happiness in life with what I have now.  I can honestly say that I truly have learned to appreciate what I have in the past year.  I thought I did a year ago, but, alas, no I didn't.  I had the idea, but now I got it I am getting it (definitely a process!!!). It's so much nicer to wake up knowing that I already have more than enough things in my life to wake up happy for. I believe that I am a loved child of God no matter what I face in this life, and that's why the Devil says, "Aw, crap!" when I get up each morning.  

Peace, Love, And Also With You,

Mary Katherine Roberts

PS. It would also be hasty of me, as a pierced, tattooed, sinning Episcopalian, to end this without saying, "The Episcopal Church Welcomes You!"

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