Sunday, March 8, 2009

I need your help

A dear friend of mine has been invited to an international women's conference at the Vatican next week, sponsored by the Pontifical Council on Justice and Peace. Before she leaves, she has asked me if there are two or three points that I would most want her to share concerning infertility and adoption. She doesn't know if she'll have a chance to share them, but just in case, she wanted to know my thoughts.

So, before I get back to her, I wanted to know your thoughts. What are our main issues?

Here's what I've come up with so far...

-Greater understanding at a parish level of the Church's teachings on infertility treatments, including what ARTs are illicit, on the part of both priests and lay persons

-Spreading the word about NaProTechnology, to the point where information is available in every parish and couples don't have to happen upon it years into their infertility struggle

I'm really tired (must be the springing ahead!), so that is all I could come up with tonight. And I couldn't think of anything to do with adoption at the moment. But I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Personally, I truly feel like the Church sees us, supports us, and has our backs, so to speak. It has been outspoken on the topic of infertility and has always explained its teachings in a beautiful way, always recognizing the great struggle we face. How blessed we are in that respect!

Let me know what you think...


  1. i definitely think that naprotechnology information needs to be in every parish. it's frustrating for me to think that so many parishes around the world are teaching marriage preparation classes and are unknowingly keeping information away from their parishioners!

    before i heard of napro i was pretty depressed because i didn't think that there were any catholic-friendly alternatives out there. i can only imagine how much further ahead we would be right now if we knew what we know now!

    i agree 100% that we just need to feel supported as well. i don't expect my parish priest to give me a hug every month when my period comes, but knowing that the church recognizes our struggle would be a comfort.

    what a great opportunity for your friend! wow!

  2. Wow! What an amazing opportunity! I don't have any specific ideas for you right now... but I will keep thinking and get back to you. What does your friend do? How was she chosen to attend this conference?

  3. Lurker coming out of the wood work for a short time...

    I think that this is an amazing opportunity and I'm in the process of working on some things at my parish/diocese level to do these things, but a movement from the top levels of the church would be a wonderful thing.

    I've noticed that there are a lot of priests who don't understand IF. I don't expect them to know the true pain that it causes every month, but I've been told by more priests than I care to think about that if my DH & I just relax we'll get pregnant. There is a lack of understanding that IF is a realy & diagnosed medical condition.

    I personally think that an IF discussion needs to be a part of every marriage prep course --- because let's face it, IF affects 1:6 couples. We were one of 13 couples going through the course so the chances are good that there were 2 of us who dealt with it. (Lucky me!)

    I'm currently dealing with an extremely insensitive priest right now so maybe that is clouding my judgement just a bit. He seems compelled to make insensitive comments about adoption (calling one couple's DD adopted from China a "foreign exchange student") and ask my DH & I if we're adopting at really inopportune times (like at Mass dismissal), but that's another story.

    I guess overall I just wish that there was a greater understanding. I know a lot of people who have left the church because they don't feel supported in their journey with IF.

  4. Don't have much time, but I really think the Church needs to emphasize the beauty of adoption.

    I have found that many Catholics, including myself, struggle for a long time to really be even remotely excited about adoption. It is not held up by the Church as a calling, or as a beautiful option.

    People see it instead as a lesser alternative.

  5. You are right on point with -
    Spreading the word about NaProTechnology, to the point where information is available in every parish and couples don't have to happen upon it years into their infertility struggle.

    It is sooo important for two fold - womens health and then infertility. So many docs wanted me to take the BC pill. If I didnt know about Napro - what more could I have done?

    I really enjoy your blog

  6. I think your two points are the two most important to me, too. Definately educating the parish priests and laypeople.

    How cool that your friend gets to go do this :)

  7. I agree with all of the above comments and it just affirms what I am discerning in parish/diocese ministry right now. It is hard to make yourself vulnerable to teach priests how to be compassionate, like being the guinea pig for them. I agree with lifehopes about teaching catholic families everywhere that adoption is beautiful. God commands us to care for the orphans and widows. Adoption is not second place. It is a gift from God. There is a huge movement in protestant churchs that is supporting Steven Curtis Chapman's organization called Shaohannah's Hope. It's goal, as I understand, is to put lonely children in to loving families and mobilize families to have the resources for adoption. Check it out! They give out adoption grants and you can get prayer updates on families/children in need of prayer.
    What a fantastic opportunity your friend has to bring this to the Vatican. May the Holy Spirit fill her and give her the words to speak!

  8. Yes!

    Your ideas are GREAT, I think it would be a truly wonderful blessing if your friend can get this message across!

    God bless you.

  9. Your ideas are excellent!! I also agree wholeheartedly with the other posters -- esp. what Jen J. said about adding a section on IF to the marriage prep. courses. At least it would give couples a reference point if they find themselves dealing with IF. And also what a few others said about making the parishes and parish priests -- the "frontline" people more aware of what IF is and how it affects a couple, so they can be support systems and sources of information on things like NaPro and adoption.

  10. Your ideas are great. I am about to go to bed and very tired, but off the top of my head:

    -train priests about IF and ART's and then the Catholic alternative in Naprotechnology

    -help fund more clinics like PPVI so that there are more resources closer to people who can't afford to travel

    -explain to the lay people WHY ART's are morally unacceptable so that Catholics struggling with IF don't have to feel so alone

    Truly, what a great opportunity. I feel compelled to help spread the word in whatever capacity I can as well. Sorry I am so tired right now I can't think of much else either!

  11. I feel like I can't say anything since I'm not in the "in-crowd" (Catholic) BUT I just wanted to say that I'm thinking about you and almost died last week when all of the HPT craziness happened. I was so mad and heart broken right along with you mama!

  12. teresa we still love you! You have to be the coolest Protestant I have ever met! hahahah ;)

    AYWH-When is your appointment scheduled with your doctor? Here is me on the phone with your Dr.--Hi this is AYWH, I need to schedule an appointment with Dr. So-n-So, for ASAP!! :)

    Gotta run, there is a wood pecker pecking the side of my house!!! WHAT do I do????

  13. love the ideas you've received :)

  14. Thanks for all your great thoughts! I'm not sure exactly how my friend was chosen, but it probably has something to do with the fact that she is an amazing human being and Catholic mother and extremely intelligent and I could go on and on. She's actually the mother in my documentary, for those of you who saw that.

    Teresa - thanks! That was crazy, right?

    Sew - No, no doctor's appointment yet. I'm a wuss. But Jeremiah goes to the same office as me, and she was told that testing for it is against office policy.. so I'm waiting until I have an appt (which is still to be scheduled) to ask in person.

  15. What an amazing opportunity! I hope that she will be able to share some thoughts on infertility and adoption. You have some great ideas - I would add that perhaps parishes could start incorporating prayers for families going through these struggles more regularly during the Prayers of the Faithful - especially around Mother's and Father's Day.

    Also, I am passing an award onto you. I have been enjoying reading your blog for the last couple months - you have a great perspective.

  16. I'm wondering if it might be helpful to tell teenagers and engaged couples that they can't assume that they'll be fertile WHEN they want to. That perhaps they only have a few years in their early twenties to have children and after that it will be exponentially more difficult.

    Because there is infertility from disease such as PCOS, but then there is the normal decline in fertility that women start to experience around age 27. I wonder how many women would plan their lives differently if they knew just how limited their window for having a family could actually be.