When my husband and I were blessed with our first baby, only three months after we were married, I did not think we would ever “struggle” with conceiving. (I use the term “struggle” loosely as we have had our share of ups and downs this year of trying due to medical issues but nothing compared to several couples we know who have tried and waited years to conceive.) Once we decided to go ahead and try for a second, it took about three months after weaning our first before God blessed us with another precious little soul.
While I was pregnant with our first I heard story after story, from several different woman who struggled and suffered greatly with conceiving. These woman have varying family sizes and some have added more precious little souls to their family over the years but not with out loss. Again, I didn’t think we would ever “struggle” conceiving since it didn’t take long the first two times.
Boy were we wrong. Since the beginning of this year we prayerfully felt God calling us to expand our family. So we decided to just see what happens (since that’s what has worked for us in the past) and figured we’d be pregnant by the time our youngest turned two. Nope. It begins to get really disheartening when month after month you get a negative pregnancy test. Again, I cannot imagine trying for years on end with the same result. Satan loves to play mind games with you when this happens. Horrible thoughts crossed my mind and for some reason in my mind turning thirty (which happens in December for me) means the end of my fertility. I know this is irrational but it felt (still does sometimes) very true. Thanks Satan for those heartwarming thoughts.
Then in July our world was rocked when we found out I finally needed to have major dental work done as a result from an accident 18 years ago. It needed to be done under IV sedation (for the pain and for me mentally) which meant, abstaining from trying to get pregnant for several months. At first I was shocked and mad at God but than forever grateful since this surgery needed to take place before it could possibility be an emergency. Anyways, this was crazy hard for me to wrap my mind around and much more difficult on our marriage than I ever imagined. I mean abstaining postpartum is one thing but abstaining after previously trying to conceive is a completely different ball game. On one hand, I knew and still know God’s plan for our family is the perfect one and He knew I needed this surgery while not caring for another little one or while not being pregnant. On the other hand, thoughts about how we may never add to family have continued to grow.
The worst thought I had (still do occasionally) is “we aren’t ‘Catholic’ enough” since we only have two kids. I mean there are couples who have more children than we do and have been married as long as us (five years) or less. I follow several Catholic bloggers who have “big” (to me big is 4 or more children, probably because I only have two younger siblings) families. It appears to me that most families at our parish have four plus children. So seeing all these big “super” Catholic families through my tiny telescope was tearing me down. Perception and the story I make up in my head are buzz killers. Now, I know this is completely irrational but no matter how I tried to bury these thoughts, they kept surfacing.
Mind you I’ve never once thought that my family growing up, was not “Catholic enough” or my friends who only had one sibling. Nor do I think, or ever thought, that my friends who only have one or two children are not “Catholic enough.” However, Satan was making me think this and it takes so much prayer and will power to not let these thoughts bubble in me. Almost daily I fight these thoughts in one form or another.
Every family has their own ups and downs when it comes to fertility. Every family has their own story that is not visible to those on the outside. Family size does not, what so ever, determine holiness. Ever.