While infertility can be an intense, life-altering, and physically, spiritually, and emotionally exhausting experience, it’s important for all of us who struggle with it to remember that infertility does not define who we are. Jesus shows us that no matter what we struggle with, how many times we sin, or how our lives appear externally, the truth is that we are defined by love: the immeasurable love God has for us, and the love we are called to give to others so that, like Him, we can transform the world around us. May this post serve as a reminder to you of His love!
The Truth of Who You Are
Banker, painter, athlete, police officer, doctor, chef. We are often identified by what we do. Neighbor, sister, friend, cousin, coworker. We can also be identified by how others relate to us. However, none of these quite pinpoint our true identity: child of God. It’s easy to look past that identification as cliché or vague, but think about how many times, after introducing yourself, the question is asked, “are you related to ‘so and so?’” Imagine your answer if instead, the question was, “are you an heir to the King of Kings?” or, “are you a daughter/son of God?”
While it’s unlikely that the next introduction you make will include the latter questions, we can certainly ask ourselves those questions each morning. No matter your profession, your relationships, the size of your family, or where you are in your journey of faith, you will always have one identifier that can never be altered or taken from you: child of God. If we allow our decisions and conversations to be guided by this Truth, our lives will bear fruit beyond our wildest imaginations.
The Truth of Your Marriage
When we are struggling with infertility, our marriages might appear totally different than we had anticipated. We might feel as though we are not contributing to growing the Culture of Life in the world, and therefore, we may feel inferior for not being able to fill a church pew with our progeny. Our desperation to bear a child might lead us to question our vocation or whether God has any good in store for our marriage. These kinds of thoughts are not from God; Satan wants to cripple and paralyze us into believing the lie that our marriage is worthless. The truth is far from that. The truth is that God needs holy marriages to be a beacon of His love and truth to the world. In claiming the truth that in our gift of self to our spouse, our marriages are good and holy, we do contribute to growing the Culture of Life. We do bear great fruit when we give of ourselves to those in need around us and when we place our marriages at the service of life.
Bearing Witness to Christ’s Love in the World
Every person we encounter in this world has a deep longing for the love of Christ, though it may not be obvious from the outside. As couples struggling with infertility, we know what it’s like to experience a deep inner yearning that often goes unnoticed by others. This awareness can make us particularly perceptive to the hidden suffering of those around us. While our eyes are not watching over our own brood of children, they are available to see God’s other “little ones” who might otherwise be overlooked.
Our very small Catholic families, even families of two, may also bear a powerful witness to Christ’s love in a way that we don’t always realize. When we intensely desire children, yet are not willing to grasp for them in a way that would violate their rights and dignity–even before they are born–those around us do notice. It is a sign of contradiction that points to the love of Christ, which always wills the good of the other, even if it requires great sacrifice.
Each one of us is defined by Love personified; the infinite, almighty God, who is Himself a communion of love. Our identity as human persons (women and men, wives and husbands) derives itself from the Love that created us in His image and likeness. The language of love speaks the truth about our identity: of our personal dignity and the gift of our femininity and masculinity, our ability to make gifts of ourselves, and, most powerfully, of our capacity for fruitfulness.
Regardless of our ability to conceive a child, to give birth, or to expand our family as we wish, infertility describes a circumstance of our lives, but not who we are. The language of Love speaks only Truth. To say that I, or you, or any couple “is infertile” is to misspeak, and to misidentify. The language of Love, of our true identity as icons of that Love, makes clear who we are. We are not “infertile people,” but beloved daughters and sons of God. We have been given a painful and mysterious cross. Yet it is in and through the very mystery of that pain that God can make us fruitful in ways we could little have imagined. The gift He gives in the pain is that, through us and our marriages, Love speaks a powerful witness to the world.
Know that wherever you are on the path of infertility, you are not alone. Our team loves you and wants to walk with you – please reach out to us for prayers and support (firstname.lastname@example.org or DM us on Facebook and Instagram)! And most of all know that God loves you, that He loves your marriage, and that through this experience of infertility, He is calling you to incredible, self-sacrificing, powerful, fruitful, and transformative love in the world.
This post, written collaboratively by the Springs in the Desert Team, was inspired by a recent talk on Understanding Love by Fr. Spitzer of Healing the Culture. Healing the Culture is an international leader in pro-life advocacy, delivering respect life education to millions of people by advancing universal principles of logic, ethics, and justice. Through their online resources, K-12 curricula, leadership training programs, and media productions, Healing the Culture has helped countless individuals reject abortion and euthanasia and become effective pro-life advocates.