We even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us. ~Romans 5:3-5
That was the scripture passage waiting for me when I opened my copy of Magnificat today, and it's very fitting given that I'm experiencing infertility and about to receive the prayers of this wonderful network for the month of June. This is certainly the most difficult affliction I've had to endure so far in this life. There is grace to be found here, and some days it's easier to find it than others.
I haven't always wanted to be a mother. Growing up, it was certainly part of my daydreams and imaginary play, but then I went through a "phase" where I didn't think about parenthood much. That changed when I knew I would marry my husband. I wanted the experience of parenthood with him, but we wanted it on our timeline. Unfortunately, we used hormonal birth control the first 3 years of our marriage. It still bothers me that we weren't truly introduced to NFP during our marriage prep work. We were both very ignorant about NPF and only had the unfair perception that mainstream society has about the efficacy of NFP.
About 18 months ago, we decided that we were ready to open ourselves up for parenthood, and I went off the pill. I'm still waiting to get my period 18 months later. I learned more about NFP, and we took the CCL class, but we still weren't convinced that seeing a doctor that adheres the teachings of the Church was the right move for us. However, after a terrible experience last April with an OB/GYN who refused to read my charts, put me on thyroid pills without running any tests first, and told me to come back only when I got a period, we were starving for a different approach. That's how we found our way to a Na.Pro doctor in the Kansas City area. We tried a few rounds of estradiol and progesterone to kickstart a period with no success, and I started taking T3.
The next step in our journey was an unexpected, unbelievable job offer for me that would move us to the Omaha area. I started seeing Dr. K at PP.VI, and within 2 months of starting my relationship with her, I was put on the waiting list for a laparoscopy. I had the laparoscopy in March and received diagnoses of endometriosis and PCOD. 3 weeks ago, I had surgery to remove the endometriosis and have a double ovarian wedge resection. After over a year of losing hope because I had no answers to what was wrong, I was able to turn a corner and find comfort in having diagnoses and a treatment plan. Still waiting for that period, I'm more hopeful than ever that I will get healthier and we will be able to conceive. If we can't conceive naturally, then I pray it's in God's plan for us to become parents for a child that needs us.
I try to focus on the positive things that we've experienced on this journey. We finally understand and truly appreciate the Church's teaching about marriage and being open to life. We see children as what they truly are: gifts from God. They are not a commodity to schedule into your plans. We are amazed at how awesome a woman's body is and how practicing NFP has added so many more layers to our relationship. Like today's scripture passage, through this affliction, I have found great hope.
When you pray for me this month, please pray for continued healing and continued hope. Please pray that I am able to practice patience. Please pray that my husband and I continue to grow closer as we travel this road together. And, if you don't mind, please pray that I receive signs that my body is returning to a healthier state. I am so grateful for your prayers this month and always, and please know that I'm praying for each of you too.
God, thank you for helping me find this caring community and being selected to receive this influx of spiritual support from this group. Please keep these prayers warriors close to You. Many of these people have struggles similar to me, so please help them experience hope, peace, and closeness to You as they struggle with their own painful afflictions. Help us all to be examples to the abundant good that comes from trusting in You and laying our trials at the feet of Your Son.