Monday, September 25, 2006

Hazard Zet Forward

This is the motto of my alma mater, which also happens to be the oldest diocesan Catholic university in the United States, was founded by Archbishop James Roosevelt Bayley and named for his aunt, who was the first American-born Catholic saint. It was a great place to spend my university "career".

I had a wonderful experience there. Among the highlights is meeting the lovely Sean in the Corrigan Hall chorus room as a 17 year old freshman. I also met some amazing people there, got to be a part of theatre and music programs, pledged a sorority. Yes, I did things other than party, drink my face off and.....other things- I also somehow made it to classes and managed to graduate, so it can't be all bad.

Hazard Zet Forward, translated into English means "through adversity we will move forward". Some of the religious community on campus also used to say "Forward Through Faith", which is also nice, but I like the literal translation better. I never thought that it would apply to my own life, but, circumstances being what they are, it aptly parallels my life at this point in time.

I've been thinking of a lot of things for the past two weeks or so, since the FET didn't work. I've thought about whether or not this IVF path will ever work for us, if we should just give up. If, perhaps, I'm meant to do other things besides being a parent. But, mostly, I've thought about faith, and if it's possible that I'm starting to lose mine.

What has been fueling this is because, for the past two weeks in church, the readings were all about putting your faith into God and to trust that you'll be cared for. Of course, it was getting me a bit teary-eyed at one point, since I feel that lately I have so little faith in anything, let alone God. One of the pieces the choir sang at the Communion Meditation was "O Lord, Increase My Faith", which was written by Orlando Gibbons (there's an audio link here, in case you want to hear it):

O Lord, increase my faith
strengthen me
and confirm me in Thy true faith.
Endue me with wisdom, charity and patience
in all my adversity.
Sweet Jesus, say Amen.

At rehearsal, A usually starts everything off with a prayer-he's got this great book on "choral prayers", and it was so appropriate to the text of the Gibbons piece-it spoke about how, no matter how bad things are in your life, or whether or not you think that you can bear any more, to just say "Amen" and leave it up to God. It frightens me to even have to give up any semblence of control that I think I have, because it means putting my faith in God to help me through this. But, what if it doesn't happen-is it God's will? Do I just accept that? Does it make me a better, more spiritual person for it? I really don't know anymore. It's scary to give that burden up and leave the details to God (or fate, destiny, karma, whatever you believe), because I'm so afraid that He's not listening anymore. That the reason He's not given me children is because I'm not meant to have them. I've prayed, begged, pleaded, visited shrines, you name it. Up until now, my faith has remained. So, why now is it starting to waver?

Well, let's add into the mix my upcoming 34th birthday. I know that, in comparison to many in our world, I'm a young'un, but with each passing year I feel like my window of opportunity has gotten smaller and smaller. I have no fears about being an "older" mother, but my greatest fear is that, since we've not had a successful pregnancy in the four years we've already been trying, my age will start factoring into the mess of my infertile life, and tip the scales hopelessly against me.

I've been so discouraged lately-I hate that I can't think about anything else but infertility. I hate that it seems to intrude with every part of my life. I hate that I don't feel "normal". I hate that it's affected my physical relationship with my husband (because, let's face it, there's no such thing as "fun" sex anymore). And, I hate that I feel that I have nowhere to turn, that even God isn't listening to me anymore. It's like God and I aren't speaking anymore, much like two teenage girls who are in a snit over a Justin Timberlake poster. How do I change this? I don't know. It's not like I can to talk to a priest or religious about this, since what I'm doing is against Church Law ("Hey Father, can I unburden myself to you about my failed IVF cycles and fertility treatments? Oh.......I'm committing a mortal sin, huh? And I'm going to Hell? Okaaaay.....well, thanks for reminding me-sorry to have bothered you...."). I feel trapped, like I have nobody to listen to me-I mean, if even God isn't listening, who will, right?

Hazard Zet Forward. But, where exactly will I end up?


AFC said...

Hi, I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to tell you that I so relate to this post and you are so not alone in your questioning of God through infertility. Some days it's like he's my best friend and I just know He is going to see me through but some days I wonder how much He really does care, is His comfort just a figment of my imagination? Everything feels so complex and painful (with infertility) that you begin to question everything about who you are and what you believe. Sorry for my rambling - your post touched a familiar chord with me. Just know that you are not alone and there are people who understand.

KIMMER said...

I just wanted you to know that you aren not alone and I so can relate to lastest entry on faith. Thinking of you!

Heather said...

We are here listening, your Sweet IF community! We love and ready you.

Shelli said...

S, you know I love you.

I know you know that I know that it sucks.

I do not have answers - other than you ARE meant to be a parent.

And when you're ready, talk to me. I can share all that we've gone through for Malka, if you were to choose that path...

love oyu,

Anonymous said...

S, you are not alone. (((hugs)))

Lut C. said...

Alice Domar wrote a chapter in her book 'Conquering Infertility' about faith and IF.
I skipped that one, so erm, no advice from me.

There are Catholic hospitals that offer ART to their patients. Some even do research on untransferable and unfreezable embryo's.
Now and again the Vatican tuttuts and slaps them on the wrist, but that's all.

Watson said...

Hi S,

Like everyone else said, I can relate! It's hard to keep the faith given such heartbreak and so many challenges. It's hard just to keep putting one foot in front of the other sometimes!

We're looking into our first round of IVF, and even exploring that option has made me question if this is meant to be. I can't imagine how much more painful it is to go through multiple rounds.

I just keep on the path, waiting until I just can't take one more step. At that point, I am hoping other options seem more appealing.

Until then, I drink lots of wine, thinking that's one SMALL benefit to not getting pregnant :-)

Hang in there, we're here for you!

Nickie said...

this part could have been me typing:
I've been so discouraged lately-I hate that I can't think about anything else but infertility. I hate that it seems to intrude with every part of my life. I hate that I don't feel "normal".

Seriously, I'm having the same thoughts, what if it never works? What in the hell will I do with my life and time if I stop trying to get pregnant? I'm realizing that there isn't much else in my life right now and it makes me sad.

To make matter worse, I'm not religious (although my mother is and keeps praying for me to see the light) so I don't even have any real faith to lean on. I have nothing to give up control to really. I guess I could give up control to fate but that's so hard to do when you care about what the outcome should be. If I didn't care so much it wouldn't matter so much.

Anyway, I hope you find peace with whatever the outcome is. I hope we all do.

Anonymous said...

Hi. I just wanted to let you know that I say a prayer for you every night. I know that isn't much but I don't know what else to do and I wanted you to know that I think about you often.

Carol said...

hi - I've never posted to your blog before - but like many others I wanted to say that I can relate to everything you're going through. I have just had my first failed FET. After 4 failed fresh cycles we managed to scrape together two frozen embryos. So 5 failed cycles in all. I don't understand why any of us have to go through this. Good luck to you. I will keep watching to see what you decide to do next. We will probably move to donor eggs.

Isabel said...

I too can understand where you are coming from: waiting for God to answer prayers and wondering why they aren't getting answered. IF itself seems contrary to the 'go forth and multiply' idea.

I have always found great comfort in the belief that not all things that happen are God's will. God doesn't punish us, he grieves with us.

I hope you can find some comfort in the faith you have, however diminished it may be from the faith you've had in the past or the faith you wish you had. If you can, pray for faith: faith is certainly God's will for you to have.

Anonymous said...

Hi. I'm a dad so I can't do any more than massage your feet. I'm sorry. Your post is September, this is April, I hope things have come around for you, and that you're feeling less frustrated. FWIW my wife gave birth to ours when she was 3 years older than you were last September. I was surfing for the text to the Orlando Gibbons piece you cited, because I too, for my own reasons, was seeking a reminder of the strong truth in those words. I was wanting to incorporate it into morning prayer. I wanted to mention the version of the piece that I grew up with ends "in all my adversity teach me to say Amen" (not "Sweet Jesus, say Amen"), FWIW. You could take this to mean that wise Christian leaders have been standing shoulder to shoulder for many generations understanding our basic need to have our faiths fortified and that asking for it is perfectly appropriate (i.e. Gibbons was born in 1583 :). People in the choir get to have this excellent light shed on their relationships with God? Sometimes there can be nothing more calming than that couple hours at rehearsal. You go in harried and you come out at peace. Keep singing! God be with you, girl.

Alena said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Anonymous said...

7 years too late to leave a comment, but it's so nice to know that others can actually relate to such a crisis of faith that can come with IF. Thanks.