Rachel, Hannah, and Me: Our “Great Anxiety and Frustration”

Apologies in advance for no house photos or renovation update. The house and I are at war today, and I don’t feel particularly keen on showing it off. What I feel like is burning it down.

I also feel like a fool.

Ever since Chris and I got engaged, I’ve been asking for people to pray for us to have a baby. Yes, I was 40 when we got engaged. Yes, I was 41 when we got married. Yes, I’m 42 now. But the fertility doctor I’ve been seeing this whole time (a NaPro surgeon for those tempted to suggest NaPro to me) has continued to assure me that all those things fertility doctors look for—hormones, cycle regularity, ovarian reserve—look great. I should be fine. No reason to think about my age. No reason to worry. Plenty of time for babies.

But, here we are, 14 months later, with every month feeling like a year, and still no babies on the horizon. And although I keep asking people for prayers, I am, again, starting to feel like a fool when I do that…and an old fool at that.

Back when I was still single, I wrote several news stories about infertility and adoption. I learned more about infertility writing those articles than most single people normally learn. That—combined with the fact that I was a single woman in my quickly passing 30s—made me think I understood much of what those struggling with infertility went through.

And I did…to some extent. Being single and 30 (or single and 35, 40, 45, or 50), wanting to be married and wanting to be a mother, while the biological clock steadily winds down, is a real and exceptionally heavy cross. It’s its own particular brand of suffering, and far too many women struggle through it these days.

But that cross, for as heavy and awful as it is, is not the same cross I carry now.

Back then, the pain was generic. I grieved the possibility that I would never be a mother.

Today, the pain is specific. I grieve the likelihood that I will never be a mother to Christopher Chapman’s children. That our love will never take human form. That it won’t become incarnate in a little redhead with curls and blue eyes…or a little brunette with curls and green eyes.

Likewise, back then, the pain was a dull persistent ache. Sometimes—on birthdays or at baby showers—it became acute, but more often, it was just there, a general sadness in the background of my life.

Now, the pain screams in my face hourly. It’s there in the morning when I wake up and take a vat of vitamins to keep my hormones in check. It’s there in the afternoon, when I’m downing fertility shakes and salads filled with so many superfoods that I don’t know why I’m not spontaneously reproducing on my own, with a child springing forth from my body like Venus from the head of Zeus. The pain is also there in the evening, when I really want a martini, but can’t, because someone on the Internet said it will throw off my adrenals…or something like that. (Nobody agrees on what you should and shouldn’t eat when you’re battling infertility, but everyone, sadly, seems to think martinis are bad). And the pain is there at night, when I’m taking even more vitamins and Progesterone and drugs and going to bed with my husband.

These days, infertility is my constant companion. It dictates my diet, what household products and cosmetics I buy, and even how I arrange my kitchen cupboards (it is embarrassing how much space is currently devoted to fertility vitamins and foods). Infertility also dictates my schedule. There are appointments with acupuncturists, appointments for blood draws and medical consults, and of course, appointments with my husband. Nobody warned me just how much time trying to get pregnant can take.

There are, of course, days of hope—days where the fertility signs are all there, when Chris and I are both in the same place at the same time, and when I start to let myself think that maybe, just maybe, this month is it. Maybe this month, the vitamins, walnuts, and flax seed oil worked. Maybe this month, we nailed the timing. Maybe this month, the egg was good and the sperm was swift.

And, for a little while, I live in that hope. I start to relax. For a week or two, the sight of pregnancy announcements in my newsfeed and random babies and pregnant women on the street don’t make me burst into tears. Because maybe this month, God heard those prayers.

Then, on Day 28, the bleeding starts again. And hope dies. On that day, barren isn’t just the state of my womb. It’s the state of my soul.

The days that follow are my worst days. Those are the days all my years of waiting and longing for a baby really never prepared me for. They didn’t prepare me for the cruel 28-day cycle of trying, hoping, and failing. Simply desiring a baby and not being able to have one didn’t prepare me for monthly mourning. And it definitely didn’t prepare me for throwing all our efforts, all our prayers, and all our hopes, into the garbage can every few hours.

The initial cold shock of grief, of course, doesn’t last much longer than the false hope. At some point, it too passes and becomes something else. I’m not sure what it becomes for others, but for this redhead, it increasingly turns into a hot mess of flaming rage.

On my rage days, I’m angry at God, angry at my husband, and angry at every person on the planet who doesn’t appreciate what an amazing, beautiful, and almost mind-blowingly magical thing it is to be able to grow a precious, unrepeatable human being inside your body.

I’m also angry at myself—angry at my uncooperative body, angry at my inability to manage stress, and most of all, angry for agreeing to sell our home in Steubenville and buy this bottomless money pit, which is draining the life and fertility right out of me. At my lowest point in the hope, grief, rage cycle (which today is known as “last night”), I just want to douse the house in gasoline, strike a match, and burn the whole money-sucking, stress-inducing, fertility-destroying bitch down.

I know. I am not handling this well. At least not today. Some days, though, I don’t feel like the lead character in Firestarter. Some days, I actually do okay. And I really am trying to do better.

For starters, I’m trying to remember that babies are blessings—not rewards for good behavior or rights to which I am entitled.

I’m also trying to give thanks hourly for all the good things in my life—my husband, my friends, my family, my work, autumn leaves, roasted Brussels sprouts, and so much more.

I’m likewise trying to use this childless season to love extra on my husband, who is patient, good, and wonderful beyond anything I deserve.

And I’m trying to offer up my pain for all my friends and family members who are struggling through cancer, job loss, injury, loneliness, poverty, sick babies, and dead children. Everyone has their cross, and mine certainly isn’t the heaviest.

Lastly, and most importantly, I’m trying to focus on Jesus, who loves me and died for me and makes himself available to me every single day in the Eucharist. I know he understands the anger, the guilt, the sorrow, and the shame. I know he is with me in this, and I know he wants nothing but the very best for me. I also know that what’s truly best for me may look different from what I think is best, and that I may never, at least in this life, understand God’s version of that word.

I do know all that. And on the days when the rage burns hottest, I eventually manage to cool it by looking at Jesus, hanging on the cross, and then closing my eyes and hanging there with him. Then, for a minute or 30 or more, we keep silent company with each other on Calvary. That helps

But even doing all that, it still hurts like hell. It still hurts more than anything I have ever experienced. Even more than junior high. And my junior high years were pretty darned awful.

So, what’s next? Do I keep asking for prayers?

I don’t know. But I do need them. I need people asking God to give me the grace to carry this cross with more wisdom, patience, and love. And I need people praying for the gift of a child for us, especially when my heart is too broken and bruised for me to even dare to pray that prayer myself. And for those of you who have been praying for me—for us—thank you. I’m sure those prayers are one of the reasons I’m not in jail for arson already. Your prayers have brought me more strength than I’ll ever know.

So yes, please keep praying for me. And pray for all the women and men who are trying so desperately to bring life into this world. Many of us don’t need unsolicited  advice; the Internet is overflowing with that. Most of us don’t need to be told to be grateful and trust; we are and we’re trying. And none of need to be told to relax and it will all just happen; if only it were that easy.*

We all need prayers, though. There are so many of us carrying the cross of infertility—the cross that Hannah, whose infertility drove her almost out of her mind with grief, called “my great anxiety and vexation.” Many, if not most, of those people are suffering quietly, feeling forgotten and misunderstood in the midst of all their baby-having friends and relatives. For them and for me, the only guaranteed help is prayer.

In the midst of all this, I think often about Hannah, and how so many of the great women of salvation history besides her carried this cross: Sarah, Rachel, Elizabeth, and Mary’s own mother, Anne. Someone once said to me that infertility is a cross of biblical proportions. And it is.

We who are struggling to conceive are, in a sense, an icon of the whole frustrated human race, made to be bearers of God’s own life, and yet thwarted by the brokenness within us. We, the infertile, can’t do the thing we long to do, the thing our bodies and souls were made to do, and the tears the infertile cry for our empty wombs and empty homes, are the tears the whole sinful human race should be crying for ourselves, for our failure to be the bearers of God’s image and life that we were made to be.

But, the good news is that Sarah gave birth to Isaac. Rachel, who cried out to God, “Give me children or I shall die,” gave birth to Joseph. Hannah birthed Samuel. Elizabeth birthed John. And Anne eventually held a precious baby girl named Mary in her arms. God’s grace provided. It healed. It healed them, and it can heal me, maybe not of infertility and rapidly aging ovaries, but of something much more fundamental.

I guess, for that,  I’m willing to keep being a fool.

*(As an aside, most of us also don’t need to be urged to adopt. Adoption is a good and beautiful thing, but it’s not a cure for infertility. Infertility is its own particular pain and adoption doesn’t just take that pain away. Besides that, adoption isn’t always an easy solution. It can be just as difficult or even impossible as conception. Chris and I would love to adopt, but for various reasons, it may not be possible, and that makes our struggle with infertility all the more painful. That’s true for many others as well.)


152 thoughts on “Rachel, Hannah, and Me: Our “Great Anxiety and Frustration”

  1. Jill VT says:

    I am praying for you Emily. I’m 43 and would love another child but it isn’t happening. I know you don’t want advice, but I’ll give you mine anyway: take two cycles off. That is not long in the scheme of things. Eat what you want, drink what you want, and just give yourself a mental break.

    • Emily says:

      Thanks, Jill. We did that for a while…so now, we’re back on it for a few months. We’ll probably take another break in December though…longing for those martinis.

  2. Jessica says:

    I met you when you came to Houston in 2016 when you spoke at the Together in Holiness conference. In many ways, you told my story. Now, it seems we’re both walking this journey of infertility. Please know I’m praying for you and Chris. May God give you comfort.

  3. Theresa says:

    The cross of infertility is so much heavier than can be imagined. I often say that I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

    I think it’s especially challenging in the U.S. where our culture stresses that our value comes from what we do and accomplish, rather than who we are. Remember that you are “fearfully and wonderfully made” in His image in the way He wills. You are valued, dignified, and loved not because of what your body can do, but because of who HE is and who He uniquely made YOU to be.

    I will spare the public specific details, and I am sure you are in the thick of it: the spiritual warfare experienced through this cross can attack your marriage in unfathomable ways. May St. Michael defend the fruitfulness of your Vocation!!

    You are ever in my heart and prayer. I am nearing my 60th married CD1; I still rage and I still pound chocolate and red wine on that day, and I especially identify with Hannah in her “drunkenness”. If she were still in the flesh today we would be besties. I doubt I’ve said anything that you don’t already know or haven’t already wrestled with, but I wanted to take the time to express sincere solidarity and love. We are with you; this (invisible) cross feels like it’s made of lead, but you’re not shouldering it alone.

  4. Kate says:

    This may be difficult, if not impossible, for a redhead to do, but – please, relax. I hope this doesn’t come across as flippant. But really, isn’t that what it really means to accept God’s will and develop a peaceful heart? As an above commentor said, take “time off” from thinking about having a baby. Eat well, take your vitamins, make love, but don’t think about babies. I’m not going to tell you that relaxing will get you pregnant; what I am saying is that it will bring peace and uniformity with God’s will in sorrow.

  5. Cassandra Ursu says:

    I will add you to my prayer intentions as I am having a surgery next week with a NAPRO surgean. Your book about single life brought me comfort in my single days and I’ve started reading the Catholic Table as I struggle with my relationship with food as I too try to eat the “right” things for me PCOS and endo. Thank you for sharing your cross with the internet. To write so beautifully and capture the emotions that many of us don’t know how to express.

  6. jkuebbing says:

    This might be the best thing I’ve ever read on infertility. Thank you, Emily. I’m offering up the stupid little aches and pains of this pregnancy for you and Chris.

  7. Kelly Bobak Smith says:

    Thank you for being my voice. I’ve never been able to put into words how my husband and I struggle with the cross of infertility. This is perfect. Be assured of my daily prayers for you and all of us!

  8. Amy says:

    First, I want to hug you. Hug you to comfort you, and hug you for putting into words all that I went through in my three year fertility struggle, and more that you articulated that I wasn’t profound enough to think. You are wise and beautiful! You are not a failure, although I know it feels like that. Please tell yourself that you have not failed, each month. You are not foolish for asking for prayers. You are wise and brave. I will keep praying for you.
    Love in Christ,

  9. Er in says:

    Honesty, I think you should go to a fertility dr. and see if it is medically possible for you to conceive. You then have the knowledge of your chances. I am not telling you to do traditional fertility treatments. That is up to you completely. It is not a sin to find out you medical chances. Children conceived by fractional medical fertility means are still loved by the church. It is up to your own conscience.
    I believe that knowledge is power, it may give you hope or closure.
    I will pray for you, your choice is yours.

    • Emily says:

      If you’re suggesting IVF or IUI, that’s not on the table. Can’t and won’t do it, although I certainly understand why people resort to it. Regardless, as I mentioned early in the article, I have been working with a fertility doctor for some time now, who thus far sees no problem. I also had exploratory surgery last November. We’ll continue to test and see what the problem could be, though. Thank you for your prayers.

  10. Meg says:

    I just watched your episode of the Journey Home this morning and it spoke to me so much. Then I got online to look you up and found this…which spoke to me all the more! I cried. My husband and I are going on three years of trying to start a family. So much of what you said really struck a chord (vitamins and supplements, should I/shouldn’t I alcoholic beverages, even down to wanting babies with my husband’s red hair!). Thank you for writing so beautifully and honestly about this painful struggle. You’re in my prayers!

  11. AME says:

    You have described infertility so vividly and so well. I’m in tears here as one who knows the cross of infertility (after marrying in my late 30s), but also knows the blessing and joy of children (while once again carrying the cross of infertility). Prayers for you and your husband that you may be able to know that blessing and joy, too, (and soon!)!

  12. Donna says:

    I cried as I read this. It brought back so much – heartache and hope – both at odds with each other. The only thing I can tell you is that you get through it. No matter the outcome, you do. It hurts like hell and it’s not fair and there seems to be nothing that makes sense of it all. But, yes, you keep asking for prayers. Because God is good, even when He is quiet.

    Prayers for you!

  13. Colleen says:

    Infertility is the worst thing I’ve ever been through. By God’s grace, I came through to the other side, but not without scars; my four-year-old daughter asked me recently if I would pray for her to have babies someday, which tells me that my scars are even visible to her at her tender age. We pray every night for those battling infertility, and I will consider you specifically. 💔❤️

  14. Bea says:

    This is beautiful, yes to all of it (even the home renovations struggles). We’re going on 3 years of marriage here with no children and I am going through a particularly rough patch, spiritually. The hope, grief, rage cycle is so exhausting, sometimes I pray for God to take away my desire for children just to make it stop. Thank you for this, I will remember you in my prayers and offer these difficult days up for all women struggling under this cross.

    • Emily says:

      You’ll be in our prayers as well, Bea. There are definitely better months and worse months. It’s funny, though. I even’t even tried praying for God to take away my desire for children. I used to do that all the time with marriage. Maybe I should try that for this as well. Opposite psychology on God. 🙂

  15. Kathy schluter says:

    You are so beautiful. I’m so so sorry for the suffering you are going through. I’m praying for an answer to your prayers and your patience in the form of the cutest, curliest, reddest headed little baby you and hubby could want. Hang in there. He is the God of the 11th hour…and it may be only the 10th.

  16. Ari says:

    We experienced infertility and miscarriages for the first 2 years of our marriage. Now I’m pregnant. This is not an “everyone gets a happy ending” comment, just to say, I feel solidarity with you, and fertility is a cross, whether we conceive or not. A gift, and also a cross. And I really hate the flippant attitude and culture of death I see all around after going through what I have. After going through this, we definitely don’t take it for granted, even the suffering of pregnancy. Because…what if this is it? This line of yours sums it up –> “…angry at every person on the planet who doesn’t appreciate what an amazing, beautiful, and almost mind-blowingly magical thing it is to be able to grow a precious, unrepeatable human being inside your body.” Bless you.

    • Emily says:

      Yes, it’s all a cross, from trying to conceive to watching part of your heart walking around outside your body. Being on the older side, I know it’s not all baby smiles and giggles…which makes it feel extra odd sometimes to be praying so hard for the very thing that I know could break my heart the most. All blessings on your pregnancy.

  17. Erin says:

    I will pray for you! A beautiful reflection on such a difficult cross. May God give you peace during this difficult time.

    On a different note, I have found your reflections on the single life give me so much comfort as I carry that cross. I hope you know what a great blessing your writings have been to so many women.

  18. Adie says:

    This definitely hit home for me, right down to the red hair! I’m in the earlier stage of this journey (30, unmarried, and long-term single), but I was diagnosed with infertility at the age of 24, so this is a cross I fear I’ll have to bear if I’m ever blessed to be married. For me, seeing other women get pregnant or attending baby showers has never been a burden (I rejoice in any new babies that I can vicariously enjoy, and also I am still removed from the daily struggle of in-your-face infertility with a husband that you express). What I find frustrating beyond tears is the contraceptive mentality that’s pervasive in the world today (even among faithful Catholics using NFP). I hate hearing my sisters-in-law and friends complain about practicing NFP (not for health reasons, but because they just don’t want a child right now because motherhood is difficult or because they don’t want more than three children because they don’t want to buy a mini-van or for other, in my opinion, ultimately trivial reasons). I just want to shake them and tell them don’t they know that another child is a gift from God himself?! How lucky they are? That they should want as many children as God will grant them? But I keep silent because I’ll just be told that since I don’t have children I can never know how difficult parenthood is, so my very cross is used as a weapon for silence. Thanks for this vent and encouragement. Prayer for you and your husband to St. Rita of Cascia, St. Anne, St. Elizabeth of the Visitation, St. Zelie Martin, and St. Therese of Lisieux!

    • Emily says:

      I know how hard it is to listen to those conversations. It’s all I can do not to scream at times. But then I remember their cross is not my cross and that helps. And don’t get me wrong. I LOVE babies. My friends and siblings children are one of the greatest joys of my life. When I burst into tears at a pregnancy announcement, it’s not for the announcement that’s being made; it’s for the one that isn’t being made. And when I cry at the sight of a bunch of beautiful children, I’m not crying that those children are there; I’m crying for the one that isn’t. It’s like grieving a ghost. Anyhow, many prayers on your situation. Oh the crosses Christ asks us to carry.

  19. Cally says:

    Oh Emily, my heart breaks for you. I’m so so sorry sister. I wish we were friends in real life and I could hug you, cry with you, and listen to you. I’m the woman who offered up our hospital days for you a couple months ago (my 2 yr old has cancer) and I’m so honored to have prayed for you that day. The Lord has placed you on my heart many times since then and I continue to pray for you. I have learned and I can see you have too that some people just say hurtful and not helpful things when trying to comfort you. I’m so sorry on behalf of those that have hurt you. The most I can say is I’m praying and I’m aching for you. I’m so glad you asked for Simons, Veronicas, and weeping woman to journey with you: I’m honored to walk with you and carry you in prayer. May our Mother intercede for you!

    • Emily says:

      Thank you so much, Cally, for your continued prayers. I know I don’t deserve offerings like yours, but, then again, most of us don’t deserve anything, so I’ll selfishly take what’s offered. Continued prayers for you, your family, and your little one!

  20. Adie says:

    All that being said, I often reflect that being truly open to life and God’s plan means being open to the possibility of having 12 or 15 or 20! children, but it also means being open to the possibility of having zero children, and knowing that God knows what is best for my holiness and working towards my salvation and to put all of my pain and sorrow and longings in his Sacred Heart and in the Immaculate Heart of Mary. And just as you so perfectly expressed, remembering that is consoling, but it still hurts.

  21. Caitlin E says:

    Thank you for sharing your heart. As a Creighton Practitioner, I’m always looking for poignant, well-written posts to pass on to my infertile clients… if only so that they know they are not alone. The devil loves that isolation. Offering it up today for you and everyone else with this cross.

    • Emily says:

      Thanks, Caitlin. I wrote this more for others than for me, so happy to see it spread far and wide. And thank you for being a Creighton practitioner. I know that’s some seriously demanding work! But so needed!

  22. MG says:

    Well said, there is nothing more I could add. We are the same age and face the same heavy cross. I just had a miscarriage with our first and hope is hard to resurrect but not gone. Thank you for putting this struggle into words, especially since I see more beautiful friends married “late” (as I was too) and dealing with this pain when they were single and now married. It’s not something we can share with many but it helps to read your words. Don’t let anyone tell you how to feel or to relax. You’re emotions are real, valid and alive. but you are placing these difficult moments right into the hands of Our Lord, just as a faithful servant of His is asked to do. Some days are simply harder than others but we always make our way back to Him. Blessings to you and your husband. Thank you for being strong enough to write this.

  23. Jane Stack says:

    Praying for peace. Regardless of God’s plan. Peace that surpasses all understanding. Peace when it makes no sense to have peace. Peace deep inside when the outside is in tears. Peace to not watch the calendar. Peace to just be. The grief, sadness, and fear are still there. We don’t escape them. Peace is our fuel to survive them. Blessings to you dear one.

  24. Jean @ Howling Frog says:

    Yes, I’ll continue to pray for you. I’ve been there too, the desperation to get pregnant, the inability to think of anything else…there was this very nice family that used to sit in front of us in church (and they always showed up after us so I couldn’t just not sit behind them). They had a new baby and I would just sit there, in church, and hate her. Not one of my better moments. :p Anyway, I hope you get your wish and I hope you get peace either way.

  25. Luana Lienhart says:

    I could’ve written this. You’re not alone and we are not ‘infertile’. That word literally means ‘fruitless’, and our marriages yield other types of fruit; they still glorify God and His Kingdom. I’m praying for all of us. xoxo

  26. Renee says:

    Thank you for this post. I hope and pray and wish that you have the family you long for. For those married, it’s nearly maddening (“Lord, why did you give me the blessing of a spouse only to seemingly withhold the gift of a child?”) And for many post-menopausal single women, it’s “Lord, why did you create me at all?”

  27. Mary B says:

    Firstly I am so very sorry you are going through this. Secondly whilst we have two children and the first was conceived first time of trying like dropping off a log ( English expression) the second wasn’t. My husband had been diagnosed with a nasty incurable progressive illness about seven months after I had suffered an early miscarriage of what would have been Baby No 2. Had that pregnancy gone to term I would have been giving birth just as a devastating diagnosis was dropped on us out of the blue. In the intervening period between miscarriage and diagnosis we had tried to become pregnant again but had failed. Once he was discharged from hospital and we settled down a bit ( incidentally twenty years later he is still here; almost totally disabled but still some how hanging in in work and family life) I remember thinking “Sod it! ( another English expression ). If it happens it happens. I’m leaving it up to the Lord”. Obviously that was much easier for me to say already having one child but I do still remember the relief of putting it all to one side. Thereafter I didn’t check or monitor anything and I even stopped counting Possibly unsurprisingly five months later I found I was pregnant nearly two months pregnant. I’m not saying that will happen for you and I’m certainly not saying that the agony of infertility which you have articulated so brilliantLy can simply be shelved but there is something to be said for simply letting go and trying to embrace acceptance. So I would try your very best to stop stressing even to stop constantly thinking about it if you possibly can because what is definitely known is that tension and stress does not aid conception. And have that Martini or even a couple. Prayers anyway of course.
    PS. one way or the other whatever the outcome you will come through to the other side of this and you will be able to live with it whatever the outcome even if it still hurts. People generally do come through even the most terrible things. And by then the house will also be finished.

    • Emily says:

      Thank you. And while we did ease up for quite a few months, we’re not back in the full speed ahead mode. I’m sure will take another break soon enough. No one can keep this up indefinitely and stay sane!

  28. Suzanna says:

    After years of IF, years of NaPro, one child, and now secondary infertility with multiple miscarriages… this strikes home – so much.

    I recently received The Anointing of the Sick during our second miscarriage and I have to say I’ve seen incredible spiritual benefits. I am oddly at peace, more trusting. More OK with God’s plan. We are still trying with NaPro, but the grief is less acute and the rage almost non-existent. I have no explanation other than God’s grace. Highly recommend this sacrament…

    • Emily says:

      Thank you, Suzanna. I just was discussing this with my husband, and you’re right, we are going to talk to a priest friend soon. So sorry for your loss, and we will be praying for you.

  29. Chrissy says:

    I have not suffered from infertility but I have had several early miscarriages over the years….and I can understand the cyclical nature of the whole thing. Ovulation….2 week wait…period….no period…..etc etc. It is maddening. There isn’t much to say except that . THAT SUCKS. I found that was the reaction I found most helpful from the people around me. An acknowledgement of the crapiness of the situation. Praying your you. I love your writing.

    • Emily says:

      Thank you! And yes! The best possible response is “This totally sucks. I’m so sorry. I will be praying for you.” Definitely the most consoling.

  30. Ciara Ferry says:

    Dear Emily,

    I have been reading your blog posts for a while now and have never commented or written back. I just wanted to say (a very short) thank you so much for all your honesty and vulnerability in sharing your Cross with your readers. I doubt you’ll know in this life how much your words mean, in ways I can’t even fully express yet. I wanted to let you know that I am indeed praying for you. If you’re ever in Ireland, do get in touch! There are many women here who would love to hear you drop your wisdom bombs about the Theology of the Body and healthy attitudes towards our bodies. Anyway rambling aside, your Irish sisters in Christ are praying for you that God may bless you and your husband.

    God bless you always, and thank you again. Ciara Letterkenny, Co Donegal, Ireland.

  31. Patricia Pilon says:

    Yes you should continue to ask for prayers and we should all continue to pray for you. I’m an older mom whose children are all grown now and am watching some of my young coworkers struggling with fertility issues after being on the pill for a long time. One young woman just went through a whole bunch of tests at a fertility clinic and just before meeting with the doctors, discovered she is pregnant. Of course we are all beside ourselves at work with joy for her. The reason I mention this is that for one of the tests she had to have her uterus and Fallopian tubes flushed. I read that this sometimes helps with conceiving. And in her case doctors believe it did. Perhaps this is an option? God bless you.

  32. dianne979 says:

    Emily, your sentiments are difficult and powerful and painfully familiar. I pray that you will find comfort and strength on this journey.

  33. Margaret says:

    Thank you for expressing this so well. We have been married for two and a half years and, even though we knew that conceiving would probably be difficult (we were 27 when we got married, but I had had cycle issues since they began at age 13), nothing could have prepared me for the “hope, grief, rage cycle” of the last 2.5 years – what a terrible rollercoaster! We’d put the brakes on for a bit while I dealt with some mental health issues, but we’re starting again with a new doctor (NaPro, again, after moving), so I’d ask for your prayers, whatever our outcome, and will keep you in mine.

  34. K says:

    This post is so raw and real. I can relate to so much. We’ve been TTC for 2.5 years and I’ve watched countless friends conceive one after another and have no idea what people with infertility deal with and then have the nerve to make comments. We’ve kept our journey very private. Every pregnancy announcement stings a little more as days and months pass by. We see a napro doctor and trusting her and the Lord is my biggest struggle. She doesn’t seem to be in a hurry and it’s been so challenging. I’m having my second surgery in 4 months and praying this is my fix to pcos. Prayers for you and your husband on this journey.

  35. Cherie says:

    I have never read anything that so perfectly and heartbreakingly expresses the all pain of infertility. The exhausting cycle of renewed hope and crushing disappointment every month, and everything else that goes with it. (I was also an older bride, and we have been married for two years now with no pregnancies.) Thank you for writing it, and please know that you and your husband will be in my prayers.

  36. Amy says:

    Oh, Emily. This DOES suck! And I’m so very sorry. I suffered from years and years of recurrent miscarriages, and my heart goes out to you.

    If it is of any encouragement at all, I personally know quite a few mothers who have given birth to beautiful babies well into their forties, even late forties, without IVF or IUI. Forty-two isn’t “young,” but it’s definitely not too old, and it’s not too late.

    I have been and will continue praying for you and Chris.

    • Emily says:

      Thanks, Amy. And yes, I have lots of friends who’ve given birth well into their 40s, some for the first time. I think that, combined with all my good numbers and whatnot, made me a little over confident going in. Lesson learned. But not too late yet! Anyhow, I appreciate the prayers very much. God bless you and all those little babies you lost. That is a heavy, heavy cross.

  37. Amy says:

    I will pray for you!

    Thanks for being candid.

    I recently learned that in order to become a saint, two miracles need to be attributed to a person (one to get the title of Blessed, then another to move to Saint.) So I will pick some Servants of God and some Venerables and ask them to pray for you because I think there’s a bunch up there just begging for a chance intercede and MAKE IT RAAAAAIIIIIIINNNNN.


  38. Katie says:

    I also struggled with infertility for 4 years. Somehow we were able to conceive a little girl and now I am dealing with secondary infertility. My heart goes out to you and your husband. I too have regular Cycles and all signs point to ovulation every month . Did you know that 50% of and fertility cases are due to the male? We always assumed it must be the female because we are the bearers but half of all cases is pretty significant. I know for Catholics that requires an sa which many Catholics are unwilling to do (although there are provisions allowing for it for health reasons). Also, any defect found in an s a can usually be corrected by the husband simply popping some vitamins for two to three months. I strongly believe that is what helped us. Sure it didn’t make our infertility go away knowing that my husband played a part in it, but it took some of the burden off of me and he begin to own and understand Mayan fertility pain, which helps the both of us tremendously. At least with the emotional part. I truly do wish the best for you and will be praying for you.

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