Aleteia

These 7 Catholic women share about infertility on Instagram so other women know they’re not alone

INFERTILITY
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Dealing with infertility can feel so lonely, but these women bring a needed dose of support and authentic understanding.

Facing infertility can feel very isolating, so it’s an enormous help to find other women in the same situation. Their stories bring needed solidarity and deep understanding.

Katie Wood, the author of Waiting with Mary: A Seven Sorrows Devotional for Catholic Women Facing Infertility, told Aleteia, “I spent a lot of time feeling very alone and ‘special’ in my cross, but really there are so many women out there carrying the same cross of infertility, and knowing that has helped pull me out of my grief. It’s a sisterhood I never wanted to be a part of, but I am so glad it’s there.”

These 7 Catholic women use Instagram to share information and support for others facing infertility. If you’re carrying this cross in your own life, you can turn to these wise women for the spiritual companionship you might be craving.

@thejoyfulleap

Katie Wood has faced both primary and secondary infertility. She shares spiritual reflections as well as practical, funny stories of daily life. Her devotional book will be the basis for a weekly online gathering for prayer and reflection for women facing infertility, starting October 6 (more details and registration information can be found here).

@findingphilothea

Claire Couche has been dealing with secondary infertility and polycystic ovarian syndrome for several years. She shares her story with candor and grace.

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When I found out from my doctor that I was experiencing secondary infertility, my entire being filled with sorrow and anger. I felt foolish for all the pregnancy tests I had purchased over the past two years. I felt like I had wasted time each day wondering when I would be pregnant, keeping a room open for a nursery, and daydreaming about Peter as an older brother. The diagnosis sounded cold and harsh. I told God that I knew it is completely in His power to allow me to become pregnant, and it is a good and beautiful thing that I want to become pregnant. So why, why God, wasn’t it happening? Secondary infertility is a deep wound. It’s a wound that pierces who I am as a person. It has affected every aspect of my life and has led me to moments of overwhelming sorrow. And it can totally consume me if I allow it to. It’s brought heartache and heartbreak. It’s left me empty and lonely. Secondary infertility is a cross. Yet precisely because of this—the penetrating pain, the sorrow, the cross—it’s led to joy. It took me four years to enter into the mystery of the joy of suffering. By a miraculous gift from God, I was able to understand the truth that everything God allows to happen in my life He will use for my salvation. Everything He permits is for His greater glory. Knowing this truth has allowed me to trust in Him and His plan for my life. It has brought joy. If you are experiencing infertility, know that your life is bearing fruit, and you are called to be a Christ-bearer. We may not all be called to carry our own children physically within us, yet we are all called by Christ, by name, to live out His mission of discipleship. We are called to bear Christ just as Our Lady did—in all we think, do, and say. When we do this, when we surrender to His plan for us, we will flourish, we will be free. Say yes to all He has in store for your life, say yes to His will for you. Do not be afraid of His answer.

A post shared by Claire Couche (@findingphilothea) on

@melissagracetablada

Melissa Tablada is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and in the process of becoming a Creighton Fertility Care Practitioner. After struggling with infertility for a year and a half, she recently announced that she is expecting her first child.

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Let’s talk about infertility. Something AJ and I have been walking through since early last year. Us along with about 1 in every 8 other couples. I am an open book and this is part of our story. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I find it funny when people think my life is perfect based on what I share online. Please know that the vast majority of the difficulty in my life will never be shared online. I don’t keep it to myself to try to fake you into thinking I have a perfect life. I try to be very clear that I am not perfect, my family is not perfect and my life is not perfect. The most difficult parts of my life intimately involve other people and out of respect & love for them I do not share most it. But this infertility thing is ours and we’ve prayerfully decided to share our journey with you. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I’ve been frustrated at myself for the reasons I haven’t shared up until this point. It was because of lies that I told myself about our struggle being less valid than others because I am young, or because it hadn’t been long enough to really count. I am fully aware they are lies but they still held me back from sharing. I’d never want anyone to believe those lies. Your story is valid and important. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I choose to share now for a few reasons. This month we are starting to do some more testing with a NaPro doctor and I’d love your prayers. I also want to make sure anyone going through infertility knows that we are walking with you and praying for you daily. I didn’t want to wait until we do, God willing, become pregnant to share this part of our story because God is here too. He is not only in the joy but He is also in the sorrow. He is faithful right now in this moment. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Our friend Father Tran lent us this statue of Our Lady of La Leche. She has been my favorite for many years and now especially I am drawing closer to her than ever. While this journey can surely be hard sometimes, I have absolute confidence and faith in God’s plan for our family. I am thankful in advance for the children He will bless us with. I can’t wait to see His glory revealed through our little story.

A post shared by Melissa Tablada (@melissagracetablada) on

@takingbacktheterms

Mary Bruno is a Creighton Fertility Care Practitioner and Catholic speaker. She and her husband have a daughter through adoption, and she shares about both infertility and adoption with a focus on Catholic teaching and trusting in God.

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When I first experienced infertility, I experienced a loss of purpose; a lack of connection with my perception of what it means to be woman and mother. But perception is not reality. This perception was derived from what I witnessed around me and, specifically, within our Church – although its focus on the sanctity of human life is quite beautiful and unrivaled, it often lacks the balance of inviting the infertile into communion and reverencing the gift of spiritual motherhood which our world longs for. Infertile men and women are called to minister to humanity in ways that reflect their unique gifts and abilities. Fertile men and women are called to minister to the beautiful new lives created by the couple, and to humanity in ways that reflect their unique gifts and abilities. Pope St. JP II’s brilliant Apostolic Letter, Mulieris Dignitatem, speaks to this truth: “Thus, by considering the reality ‘Woman – Mother of God’, we enter in a very appropriate way into this Marian Year meditation [1988]. This reality also determines the essential horizon of reflection on the dignity and the vocation of women. In anything we think, say or do concerning the dignity and the vocation of women, our thoughts, hearts and actions must not become detached from this horizon. The dignity of every human being and the vocation corresponding to that dignity find their definitive measure in union with God.” Our dignity is not measured in our ability to procreate. It is measured by union with God. The more in union with Christ we are, the better we communicate his Divine love into the world; the better we live out our purposes; the more we receive consolation regardless of the crosses God asks us to carry. . . #infertility #infertile #purpose #spiritualmotherhood #spiritualfatherhood #motherhood #woman #dignity

A post shared by Mary Bruno (@takingbacktheterms) on

@emilystimpsonchapman

A prolific Catholic writer and gourmand (here’s her cookbook!), Emily Stimpson Chapman and her husband are parents to two young sons through adoption. Her Instagram posts offer profound and witty reflections on marriage, infertility, adoption, and the joys and trials of motherhood.

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We went for a walk earlier, just before putting Toby down for a nap. It’s sunny for a change, so neighbors were out, tending their gardens and taking in the light. As we passed them, one after another, they called out, “Happy Mother’s Day.” Every time it happened, it took me a minute to realize they were talking to me.⁣ ⁣ This is the second Mother’s Day where I’ve been a child’s mother. Before that, came years, decades actually, of waiting and longing and desperately hurting. Back then, Mother’s Day meant only pain for me, a reminder of everything I wanted to be and all that I wasn’t. It was also the day where I hid from the world. Far from my own mom and with all my friends spending the day with their families, I was always alone. So, I’d garden or paint or organize closets to pass the time. But all the while, my heart never stopped crying out to God. “Why, Lord?” I’d ask. “Why? And for how long?”⁣ ⁣ Now, here I sit, sipping tea and listening to music, while my baby sleeps upstairs. It feels blessedly right…and yet still strange. The house, the husband, the baby—they’re all still new to me. And like a new haircut that catches you by surprise when you see yourself in a mirror, this new life still catches me by surprise. I love it. I’m grateful for it. But I can’t quite believe it’s mine.⁣ ⁣ I don’t know why I am sharing this. Maybe to let those of you who are hurting know that I’m thinking more of you than myself today. That you’re not forgotten. That my heart is in solidarity with you. But also, to remind you that for as long as this day and this season of waiting seems, it can disappear in a blink of an eye.⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ Life changes fast. Prayers are answered. Babies come. And then they’re not babies anymore. It’s all so dizzying, and I don’t know if anyone ever catches up to themselves. So hang in there. Hold fast to hope. And keep crying out to God.⁣ He hears you. He sees you. He loves you.⁣⁣ And He has a plan. I don’t know where that plan is taking you. But I do know, if you keep your hand in His, He will eventually lead you to a place, whether in this life or the next, that fills you with wonder, gratitude, and total surprise that such a life can be yours.

A post shared by Emily Stimpson Chapman (@emilystimpsonchapman) on

@catholicwifecatholiclife

Annie Deddens is a writer and producer, and works with her husband to operate Pray More Novenas. She shares on Instagram about faith, family, style, and living well, as well as her story facing infertility through eight years of marriage.

@warriorlifewellness

Malori Mayor, BSN, RN, tells the story of her journey through infertility and using NaProTechnology to conceive her son. She shares information about Natural Family Planning on her podcast, Restoring Fertility Naturally.

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This may be one of my most vulnerable posts yet. This week I was listening to some audio journals I kept during our infertility journal. If you’ve gone through infertility, you know how agonizing it is month after month, getting nothing but negative pregnancy tests. I was also trying to lead a healthy lifestyle. But it was demoralizing when it didn’t produce the result I wanted: getting pregnant. Below are things I actually said in my journals. If you’ve dealt with infertility, I know you’ll totally be able to relate. If you haven’t, I hope this gives you insight into just how emotionally exhausting infertility can be. It can nearly make you question your sanity. . . “If I can get to Wednesday morning and no period has happened, I will take a pregnancy test.” Then the next day: “I couldn’t help myself. I took a pregnancy test this morning and it was negative.” . . “Am I stressing myself out too much? Am I causing stuff to go wrong with my uterus and my uterine lining? I’m worrying about the worrying, it’s so dumb.” . . “Does that mean that implantation is happening right now?” . . “I probably just have line eyes, I’m probably just imagining it because I want to see it so badly, but I thought I saw just the glimmer of something.” (It was nothing.) . . “It’s day 27 of my cycle, and 15 days past ovulation. Took a test this morning and it was negative, once again. I should’ve been counting how many negative tests I’ve ever taken in my life.” . . “Maybe this is the last month of nothing.” . . “I had this positive outlook [last month] that I just don’t have this month. I’m still mourning over the fact that I didn’t get pregnant last month.” . . “I guess I’m just dreading of going through all the motions again.” . . “I was drinking matcha and I was like, but wait, matcha has caffeine in it. What if that’s enough caffeine to cause a miscarriage if I’m pregnant?” . . “I’m doing liver, I’m taking collagen, I’m not under a ton of stress, I get 7-9 hours of sleep at night, I do dry brushing, I buy high quality meat and fat and try to buy organic produce when I can. I’m doing all these things but it seems like it’s not working.” . . I get it. I feel your pain. ♥️

A post shared by Malori Mayor, BSN, RN (@warriorlifewellness) on

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