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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

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As my priest would say "What a hoot." It strikes me that God's plan for us is so much bigger than the identities we have planned for ourselves. I'm not saying they are bad, but I am sure your time in the desert will bring wonderful fruit over time and that the struggle with identity will continue to help you thrive for the rest of your life.

Thanks for sharing the journey with us.

Peace,
Brian

Arwen,
I can't wait until you have the baby. I have definitely found a new identity..Lucas' mom, Arwen's mom and Kylie's mom. I'll be walking down the hall at my kids school and I hear "Hi Lucas' mommy" I do sometimes go thru moments of wanting to be "BEV" not anyone's mom, wife, sister, friend and it is hard. I know you are going to be a wonderful mom. You have waited a long time for this and it's your passion.

Yes, as Brian said, it is certainly a pleasure to watch as you pass from this last phase into this one and see how it bears fruit.

Bless you and bless the child within you.

Almighty and everlasting God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, you prepared the body of the Virgin Mary to be a worthy dwelling place of your divine son. You sanctified St. John the Baptist, while still in his mother's womb. Listen now to my prayer. Through the intercession of St. Gerard, watch over Arwen's child and Arwen; protect them at the time of delivery. May her child receive the saving graces of Baptism, lead a Christian life, and, together with all the members of their family, attain everlasting happiness in heaven. Amen.

I honestly don't have the words, but this non-Christian girl was touched deeply by your entry.

If you're at all like me, it'll be surreal for well after Pahoehoe shows up. Even now I sometimes look at Daniel and for a fraction of a second think "That's my SON? No way." Part of me is still feels like I'm always the bridesmaid.

And we had friends like yours as well - clipping every coupon, not buying meat, sewing their own clothes, for God's sake, and turning out one adorable baby after another. I wanted to be like them. In retrospect, I'm not sure how well I would have done, or for that matter how much I may have taken my children for granted.

At some point I realized that I would never want to go back and change anything that would alter the arrival of my son. I can see now how every awful thing, bad experience, and disappointment - somehow lead to where I got him. It had to be that month, that moment - or he wouldn't be him!
(yeah, it sounds all Star Trek alternate time-liney, it's the best I can explain it!)

When he did finally arrive - I felt like I suddenly recognized that he had been with me all along, hiding somewhere behind my heart. I hope that feeling for you too!


Arwen, you are going to be a great mother!

Whenever I read your words I feel inspired on a completely different level. This is your time.

Yesterday as I drove home, playing on the radio was a Garth Brooks song - Unanswered Prayers. The line that makes me shake my head and say yes: "Some of God's greatest gifts, are unanswered prayers." Indeed.

Conflicting emotions are almost universal in pregnancy, as well as identity crises. The circumstances of who you are and the life you have led are unique, but what you describe here is a pretty typical part of the rite of passage of becoming a mother, whether you are twenty when you do it, or forty-five. I think that's the surprise of infertility. We think we are somehow marked for life, but then we get pregnant and become mothers and we lose that "Infertile" identity (well, unless you hold onto it very hard). Welcome to the club! You will laugh, after your baby is born, about some of the things that will make you cry in the next six months. Enjoy the ride.

The most basic reason I love this blog (and you) is that it's not the stereotypical infertility blog. There are so many more layers to you and your writing than infertility. I never once believed you were defined by infertility. Rather you are a mix of everything and all struggles people go through and I love every one of those things.

Your topics have always been so real and genuine, heartwarming and sould searching. It has always really made me think and question my morals and beliefs and opened my heart and mind up in so many ways...oh yeah and then it's been hard trying to have a baby.

I know that once your child is born and you get into the groove of being a mom there is just going to be another layer to add to your dynamic life and awesome personality. It won't turn into a mommy blog, or past infertile blog or any other stereotype, it will just be YOU with another more complex layer.

I will just enjoy your blog even more.

I remember you saying once you were called to wait- not to adoption or treatments- and that's what kept me coming back. I am also 'waiting' to have a baby (although a wait that doesn't at all compare to many of your readers', I'm sure), because my husband and I have such different ideas about what it means to provide. We're both Catholic, but from widely different cultures. Reading about your struggle has been so encouraging to me! I've watched my husband grow, but I think God has done more in me, actually. Very humbling. Thanks for telling us where you "are".

Arwen - I just stumbled on your blog, and really connected with this entry. I will be checking back to see how things go! Good luck.

Going ahead with your own plan is often so tempting, and often so wrong. How many times I've acted as if God were too busy to get to my problem, and I'd just take action myself.

As I told my daughter when she refused to give up the struggle with her jacket zipper this morning: "I can't get it together for you if you won't let go of it!" I wonder how many times I've ignored God saying that to me?

Oh, Arwen, I thought so many things while reading this. My blog, too, has never perfectly fit the "infertility blogosphere" because I'm not actually infertile; my husband is (as the result of his mom taking DES when she was pregnant with him, we think). So I got pregnant, as you know, twice. Then I failed the mode because I dislike the early part of pregnancy so, so much (this part I'm in now is SOOOO much better). Many felt I should be grateful for every icky moment...

Also, there is a bit of that "hole in the donut" syndrome that happens when a big change occurs. It's so totally normal. You can imagine how bizarre it was for me to get sober after 15 years of being the crazy party girl! LOL.

Also, I relate to the fears so much... Something that helped me with that is knowing that despression during pregnancy is NORMAL. In fact, it's more common than post-partum depression. So your fear could be amplified by that.

I'm not sure if this helps, but I just wanted to say I related.

Ten weeks! Wow! Just a few more weeks and you'll feel better...

God Bless you. Your faith and witness are a joy to behold, even if only in words.

Thank you for sharing this part of yourself.

Cecily,

I just wanted to point up your comment because many infertile women don't realize they're at increased risk for postpartum depression due to the inflated expectations created during a difficult period of trying to conceive. (I would be money that it also increases your risk for pregnancy depression.) So many infertile women believe that they will be able to hold onto that feeling of appreciation and gratefulness, but don't realize that there will be times that they have negative feelings toward pregnancy and motherhood. The passage to motherhood is a period of hugely rapid personal growth, and as we all know, growth can be painful. The important thing to remember is that you are human. Struggling with infertility doesn't make you a great mother (a rationalization that many infertile women make and then can't live up to later). Being there when you don't want to be, caring for your child even though you really want to strangle him--those are the moments that separate great moms from merely adequate ones.

Really, I think that's one of the most unfair things about infertility--that parenthood itself is a struggle, and that we must struggle before we can put our foot on the very first step toward it. Kind of wears one down, it does.

Isn't the Church's way of thinking about having children so very different from the world's? The point is to be open to God's will, to give him the gift He gave us, our fertility (or infertility!)

There's a line in the catechism I love: "No one has the 'right' to a child. Rather, it is the child who has all the rights in the relationship." Including the right to be born in God's time. (Sometimes that includes a little help from an ethical fertility specialist, mind you! :-)

I struggled with generosity to God with this pregnancy. It was unplanned, and even though we use NFP and have been obediant (we thought!) to the Church's teaching, I was resentful.

And then God allowed me the gift of a cross -- I developed hyperemesis gravidarum (morning sickness times a million -- was hospitalized and am currently on several drugs). When that happened, I really appreciated the gift of my first daughter, and have fought for her.

The illness set me straight about openness to life -- it means openness to surprises, and sometimes openness to suffering.

God bless you and Pahoehoe.

As an Orthodox Jew, I identify. Here we've moved twice in the past two years to new communities filled with religious and very large families (the same issues about birth control) and had to face the question, "Do you have kids?" I sometimes felt self-conscious that when I said no, (or rather, "not yet") people might assume us to be less religious than they. After all, married 5 years, what else could it mean? I wanted to explain that having cancer slows those things down a bit, but instead I learned to notice that they hopefully weren't judging me at all. I was just judging myself.

Still, "Aren't you lucky?" from a mom of three when I said I didn't have any kids was shocking and hurtful. Good thing I know better than to judge her too harshly myself.

Beautiful post... I am a cradle Catholic but my formation was lacking. I've said it before but I commend you and your parents for your a strong Catholic formation! Your quote:
"The decision to start trying was one of obedience more than anything else; Bryan and I both felt strongly that now that we had the means to provide for a child, we had the responsibility as Catholics to be generous with our fertility, and to let the children come if that was what God willed"... this statement is so wise and your witness to all on this blog is tremendous. All the best to you and Brian and your sweet babe.

Gorgeous, well written post. I've had some of the most hurtful comments ever about my large family this week from my sister, so reading this, and knowing that there are others out there who feel the same as we do, helps me today.

God Bless You!

I've never really thought of your blog as an infertility blog. I just think of your blog as "Arwen's blog". And I have loved reading about all the different aspects of Arwen.

We married relatively young as well (22), and avoided pregnancy for the first year as well. Then my dh had his first job and insurance, and we allowed whatever to happen. In our case, we already knew I had a fertility problem, but still, we were open and happy to let the babies come.

It's hard to be young and challenged in the fertility arena. You are right that people don't really think it's a "big" problem, because after all, you're young, right? But it's the same issue nonetheless. and hard at any age.

Your blog will remain your blog - it will change as you change. And I hope I will get to keep reading!

Thanks for this beautiful post.

Hi Arwen- so many thoughts came to mind as I read your post.
Your comment about identity really stands out to me.
The scariest part about infertility, to me, seems to boil down to "identity".... The fear that "I will never be a mother...And if I'm not a mother, how will I define myself?"
Thanks for sharing these thoughts. And I agree with your other readers... I have never thought of your blog as *only* an infertility blog, but also a spiritual and welcoming place.
Keep on writing! :-)

Arwen,
I just wanted to tell you how inspirational your blog was to me. I'm almost 21 and in just about the same space you were when you were that age. My husband and I have been married for a year, and every cycle I keep hoping, and every cycle I keep getting told "not this time." I feel so tired, thinking that next year I'll be going to grad school when all I really want is to be a mother. It's a wonderful thought that waiting and hoping could be so powerful. Many times I've wished I could turn off my "baby-wanting switch," but there is no relief. So I suppose for the next few phases of my life, I will just be waiting and hoping.

Thanks,
Rachel

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