Advent Begins: A season of tiny lights

advent wreath 2Happy Advent!

“Blogger Mom” Sherry Antonetti, suffered a miscarriage this week. This energetic mother of ten is walking a “valley of shadow” that is unknown to me. A car accident when I was eighteen caused such extensive internal damage, my doctor informed me I would not be able to have children. (The only silver lining to this was that my then-boyfriend, an Argentinian jackass, dumped me the minute I came out of I.C.U. because “You’re not a real woman anymore.”)

In a way, the knowledge that pregnancy was not in the cards for me made it a bit easier when I got married. As much as I would have liked to have a child, knowing it was not possible gave me the freedom to check that particular dream off my “wish list” and find a new dream with my husband, which we could envision together.

And yet, I’ve come to realize that the pain of the not-quite-realized dream has a special place in the spiritual life. Those of us who never buy a lottery ticket, do not experience the let-down of those who splurge on $20 in tickets without a single hit. That tantalizing possibility causes us to hope in God’s goodness . . . the excruciating aftermath leads us to trust in his mercy.

As we enter the season of Advent, we recall the most extraordinary of all of divine interventions: the Incarnation, the moment in history when God definitively intervened in human history, to remake a future infinitely better than we’d imagined for ourselves. “O felix culpa …” O happy fault, that won for us so great a Savior.

This year, as we enter the Church’s new year, let’s take a moment to reflect upon those moments when we experienced a tiny point of light, a brief moment when possibility turned into disappointment. The angst of childish choices. The agony of free will turned on end. The inexplicable shadow of nature at its worst.

Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts,

Which even now, we receive from Thy bounty,

For better or for worse, in sickness and in health,

As long as I shall live. Amen.

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Life After Miscarriage: A Guest Post by Dawn Wilde

One of the last articles that I acquired for Canticle did not make the “final cut”… but I felt the subject matter was too important not to give it a wider audience. And so, I’d like to share this woman’s story with you here.

“Dawn Wilde” (a pseudonym) experienced her own painful journey from grief to hope after having lost her fourth child six months into her pregnancy in September 2007. She received an outpouring of support from Catholic, Protestant, and even Jewish friends … but her pain was compounded by her own family.

Dawn writes, “My sister-in-law was due just two weeks prior to what would have been my due date and I had to grieve in her shadow. Neither my sister-in-law nor my mother-in-law ever expressed sympathy for our loss beyond our son’s funeral, and my sister-in-law did not even attend the funeral.  

“It was a painful experience, but one that ultimately brought me closer to Jesus and Mary. With little support from family, I had to rely upon my faith for grace, strength, and consolation. I have forgiven my husband’s family because I understand now that, without Our Lord in your life, it is very difficult to offer compassion to others who are suffering. The whole experience has prompted me to pray for my husband’s family even more.”

 

If you are struggling to cope with the loss of your baby, please know that you are  not alone … and that your baby is safe in the arms of the angels, until you meet again. If you have not yet lost your baby, but are struggling to come to terms with a bad prognosis regarding your child and/or pregancy, click here.

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Have I Miscarried? Signs to help you know.

Today I came across this article online that identifies the signs that you have miscarried. 

Recently Tina at “Antique Mommy” posted about her experiences with infertility, and put together a helpful list of things not to say to someone who is having difficulty trying to conceive. I hadn’t considered before that suggesting adoption might not be appropriate.

My husband and I got married knowing that having a child of our own would be highly unlikely (though we would have been thrilled had it happened). So for us, we enthusiastically embraced adoption as a wonderful way to share our love with kids who might otherwise never have a home.

And yet, Tina’s article reminds me: It’s all about timing. Each family needs an opportunity to grieve their loss and frustration in their own way before they can be open to other possibilities. Those in the throes of grief don’t need an easy fix, but a listening ear.

Merciful Father, when one of your daughters is grieving,
Let Your gentle Spirit flow through through me,
That I might be a source of healing and comfort.
Teach me not to push, but to embrace. Amen.

Should I Try IVF or Surrogacy?

By our very nature, women are called by God to nurture new life. Children are true “gifts,” the fruit of total self-giving, sown in the protected arbor of married love. When children are conceived in this way, we become co-creators with God – a human reflection of divine love that is the Trinity.

So then, what is a couple to do when, after giving of themselves as generously and totally as they know how, they still do not conceive? Continue reading