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Thursday, April 05, 2007


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Beautifully put Arwen. A blessed Triduum to all of you.

It was in your struggle to surrender your disappointment, heartache, and suffering to the Lord that I learned to love your blog; it was always such an encouragement to me as I take up my own cross. Thank you for this post, for the timely reminder. May you, too, have a blessed Triduum.

What a beautiful entry Arwen. I wish I could say things as eloquent as you do. Happy Easter to you. I'm blessed to know you.

This is a GREAT post! I only wish that you lived closer and we could talk about these things as friends. I believe it's the second option for picking up YOUR cross that is more important. have a blessed holy week!

I'm new here, and was reading through some of your earlier posts... and I must say, you are right.

About all of it.

The cross, OUR cross, the graces that come, no matter our unworthiness.

And motherhood.

I have 5 children now, and did not see the beauty of it until I had a miscarriage before #5 was born. You have a perspective I never did... I was dug so deep in the trenches of mothering, I could not see the forest for the trees.

Now I do, and have savored every moment with my fifth and look forward to someday doing the same with #6...

God bless you and your beautiful baby this Easter!

I feel so much the same way...after several losses, I have been blessed two-fold. Now there are just different crosses to bear. Somedays it's hard to reconcile all that has happened- the good and bad- with my faith. You do a good job relating it to our shared Catholic religion and putting the proper perspecive on it. Bless you and you family this easter season.

I wrote about something similar to this on my blog last Sunday - Palm Sunday. The focus of taking up MY cross has been near and dear to my heart lately, as I wait for my hopes to be fulfilled. Your blog has been a source of counsel and comfort for me, and I am so thankful for that.

A blessed Easter to you. The beauty is that in rising again, Christ overcame ALL our struggles - because ultimately, the struggles we face are against sin and death. Praise be to God!

When I was pregnant with my one and only, I did a lot of thinking about how motherhood is truly surrender. Raising a child has only confirmed that feeling.

Once I organized a bridal shower gift of a box of family recipes on pretty cards. One of the aunts included this poem which she had seen in an Ann Landers column; I've always remembered it. Your "crosses" reminded me of it.

Thank God For Dirty Dishes
(Author Unknown)

Thank God for dirty dishes;
They have a tale to tell.
While others may go hungry,
We're eating very well
With home, health, and happiness,
I shouldn't want to fuss;
By the stack of evidence,
God's been very good to us.

When my husband and I were undergoing marriage preparation, the wife of our amazing Catholic counselor couple told us that if, in fact, we were called to the married life, then our marriage would be our cross.

I suppose it sounds pessimistic, but somehow I knew exactly what she meant and I felt that I had been waiting to hear that my whole life. I felt called to marriage, I always had, and I desired it, and yet I knew that it would bring much suffering and that as part of my call I was being asked to embrace the good and the ill alike, and that both had value in God's eyes.

WOW. Amen and... WOW.

Actually, I'm not getting it. Why is Camilla the reason for your suffering? In 30 months, you could have had a child immediately, then had Camilla two years later, and you would have two children now instead of one. I know the feeling of realizing that your child is the result of a unique convergence of space and time and that they couldn't have come into the world any oher way. But for me, it doesn't follow that I HAD to wait 18 months for my first, and eight years (and counting), plus one miscarriage for another. I have heard people say that they are grateful for their infertility because it led them on a different path in life, such as adopting overseas or another calling or whatever. For me, I feel that having a successful full term pregnancy is a *resolution* to the suffering of infertility, but it is not the reason for it. That first 18 months was more painful than the rest of my infertility journey, except for the miscarriage, and even though I have waited much longer than that now, I am dealing with it better because in my suffering I have grown. I have realized that the pain of infertility is the pain of "not getting what I want," and have come to the place where I do not need to put it in God's lap every month, but that I can truly accept his will and take joy in what life brings to me, no matter what.

People suffering from infertility often find stories like yours frustrating. I know that you have found resolution, happiness, and meaning in your suffering, but many who experience infertility will never be standing in your shoes. What do you have for them? Can you contextualize in the same way should your life take the path that mine did--secondary infertility after primary? For me, I know it is not enough to know that there is a child(ren) meant to come into my life. I have to know that I am okay even if it never happens, which means putting the suffering in a different compartment altogether. I don't mean to challenge you. I rejoice that you can find resolution and healing in your child. So many hold onto that label of infertility and that pain, and are not able to move forward. But I knew you would, which is so good to see.

Ersza, I'm not saying that Camilla is the reason for my suffering. In fact, I don't believe that at all. Her existence was the resolution to the suffering that infertility caused me (at least for the time being) and it is certainly easier to appreciate the value of the suffering now that it is over.

But what I am *not* saying is that it was worth it because it brought me Camilla, as if her existence were good enough to balance out the bad of the wait (although it is, if that were ever the issue). What I am saying is that the suffering of infertility can be, and was for me, valuable *in itself*. And that would be true even if it were still going on, even if I had never had a biological child or any child at all.

I brought it up now because we are remembering the Passion and death of our Lord, because all suffering has a chance to be - and mine was insofar as I managed to let it be - a participation of the suffering of Christ and a unique and valuable chance for conversion.

My infertility was good for me not because I wouldn't have become a mother without it, not even because I wouldn't have become the mother of the child I have without it. It was valuable because it helped me grow, because as a result of it I became closer to the person God intends me to be. In my humanity, I naturally felt at times during the process that whatever God was doing in my heart was not worth the pain. But now I realize that it was. That's what this post was about.

I think this is profound: "Fortunately, the unworthiness of a recipient of grace does not make the grace itself any less stunning; in fact, I think the opposite is true."
Right after I read it I then got to say this to someone who really needed to hear it. In her situation it was in dealing with a family member who repeatedly messes up every chance my friend offers him.

I've read your blog for quite sometime, I think since about right after you found out you were pregnant with the little lady. I must have I have enjoyed reading your posts very much. I read a bit of this particular post and decided to write and say I liked it. Oh and your picture with Maggie is adorable, you look fantastic!

Dear Arwen,

I just want to let you know that your blog is so inspirational. I love the way you write, and always look forward to a new post from you.

Pax Christi!

I am delurking because what you said has resonated with me. I lost my first daughter when she was five months old and am now pregnant with our second child. (I realize that infertility has a different kind of sorrow, and I am forever greatful for those five months.)

Easter has been such a different experience this year for me. When pregnant with my daughter, the joy of Christmas was so real, but resurrection seems to be the best metaphor for this pregnancy.

God has taken my suffering and turned it into something different. (I'm hesistant to use joyful because while I can't wait to meet this baby, I will forever miss my daughter). Not that I am comparing myself to Jesus, but I, too, have been transformed into a new (and hopefully) better person. The joy of this baby will not overshadow my daughter's life, and in fact, her life has transformed what this joy is.

I, too, wear a cross around my neck. I have a necklace with a butterfly, and the body of the butterfly is a cross. On the back are engraved my daughter's initals.

(Sorry to post such a long message for a first time, but your post really resonated with me).

Arwen- thank you for this post, and for the reminder that our human suffering does have meaning, and that there is One who understands.

I can't believe you had a post about suffering up the whole octave of Easter! At least put some more cute pictures of the Billa up ;)

Thanks for your post. I am going through a lot currently and it makes me realize we all have crosses to carry in life as Christ carried his cross. So glad you are enjoying motherhood.

Arwen -
This was a beautiful post. Thank you.
I also want to say in response to the person who made some negative comments above, specifically "...but many who experience infertility will never be standing in your shoes. What do you have for them?..." that this is Arwen's blog. She gets to write anything she wants about her own personal feelings. This is not a self-help website. She is not here to make you or anyone else feel better.

Thank you for this post, Arwen. I have read and been so encouraged by so many of your old posts, written back when you were in the furnace of affliction. I'm in that same furnace myself, and I constantly battle discouragement and bitterness, and the fear that God's will for my life may not include motherhood. I've wondered how your whole experience of waiting so long for your baby affects you now: how you look at it from your new perspective as a mother. It is so encouraging to know that you thank God for all those many monthly disappointments He brought you through.

Anyway, I don't know what else to say through my tears except *thank you*.

I just looked at this and realized that somehow the computer got the names mixed up. So in the first one is me, Steph and in the second it's (I think, considering that mine got mixed up, maybe it's not hers!) "A different Arwen". So flip the names and you got it right.

Posted by: A different Arwen | Saturday, April 07, 2007 at 06:13 PM

I've read your blog for quite sometime, I think since about right after you found out you were pregnant with the little lady. I must have I have enjoyed reading your posts very much. I read a bit of this particular post and decided to write and say I liked it. Oh and your picture with Maggie is adorable, you look fantastic!

Posted by: Steph | Saturday, April 07, 2007 at 06:48 PM

Dear Arwen,

I just want to let you know that your blog is so inspirational. I love the way you write, and always look forward to a new post from you.

Pax Christi!

uuhh, that is weird, and embarrassing, :) the computer got it right after all. I didn't realize that it put the names after the post!

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