Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Auntie Seraphic & Auntie Seraphic Again

Dear Auntie Seraphic,

I love everything you write about the Single Life and I totally buy everything you say about living your life as a Single person and finding your mission as a Single person and never settling for Mr Almost-Good-Enough, let alone Mr Totally Wrong.

The one problem I have with what you write is that you don't talk about women who really love babies but don't meet Mr Right until they are too old, or almost too old, to have babies. I mean, I guess women who are over 45 or 50 are resigned to the idea that they can't make babies anymore, but what about the women between 35 and 45? How do they cope with people mentioning their future children, and people asking if they're pregnant yet when blogs keep posting articles about how fertility takes a nosedive at 35? How many times can you say you are familiar with Natural Family Planning until your head explodes?


Auntie Seraphic

Dear Auntie Seraphic,

First of all, I must say I am a personal fan of yours.

Second, I know exactly how you feel.

Third, you know perfectly well how happy you are that you married the right man, and you are glad you were blessed enough not to marry the wrong man again before you met the right one. You've met many unhappy Single mothers who love their children and would never part from them, but nevertheless don't feel that they are a perfect substitute for a loving marriage.

Meanwhile you have met a woman whose daughter was murdered. She was a shell of a human being, a living embodiment of pain. The pain of never having children is nowhere near the pain of having a child murdered. You can get on with life as usual; it's not so easy for bereaved mums.

Fourth, you can use your voice in the community to ask people to stop predicting to childless married women over 35 that they'll be pregnant soon, or to ask them if they are pregnant yet, or to envision them with little children eventually. People say or ask these things with kindness, and they have no idea that their words open up holes in your heart.

Fifth, this is a blog for Singles and not really for married ladies, so I don't think I can help you out that much. However, I think there is Biblical precedence for women who haven't had children yet demanding of God why this is so. So I recommend that you take this up with God.

I hope this is helpful.

Grace and peace,

P.S. You know your sister-in-law? The doctor? Email her.


talitha cumi said...

Dear Auntie Seraphic,
I'm going to say a novena for you. For one thing, my prayers seem much more effective when offered for people other than myself; and for another, doing so keeps me from freaking out about my own life so much - so it's a win-win situation. I hope my saying this doesn't cause you further distress. God bless you.

Seraphic said...

Thank you! I love it when people pray for me. I pray for all my readers--but especially the Single ones--at the Elevation of the Chalice on Sundays. I, too, think prayers for others are more effective than prayers for oneself! Yay, novena!

Med School Girl said...

Dear Auntie,
I will pray for you, too!
I'm only 3/4 of a doctor, and I know that you're aware of NFP, but there's a wonderful book on fertility, etc...that my budding obs-gyne classmate bought me. Just say the word and I'll email you the title.
I bought your book to lend to other Singles!

talitha cumi said...

Oh, good. And just to be clear - I didn't mean my first comment in that awful sort of "your life is so much worse than mine, I feel better now" way - not at all. We all have our crosses. What I did mean is that I'll pray for you (you do so much good for us single people, it's the least we can do in return); and that I learned the hard way that praying too much for what I want only stresses me out more when I don't get it, whereas praying for other people's intentions and needs instead helps them, and at the same time helps me not concentrate on my own woes so much. That is all :)

Sheila said...

Excellent answer! Yes, there's a precedent for women demanding of the Lord why they haven't had children yet -- and also for the Lord turning around and giving kids to women in their nineties. As I always do say, age is just a number, and no matter what age you are, God's will is sure to be done.

If it helps, my mom's last two kids were in her forties. I guess God really wanted those children around.

Andrea said...

Life certainly does carry with it some challenges. And ironies. Hypothetically speaking, of course, imagine being the only single girl at a research group entirely dedicated to promoting the benefits of (wait for it) marriage...
If protestant prayers are welcome, count me in.

Elizabeth said...

It all depends on God's Will and that is all there is to it! If God wants you to have children you'll have them and if not you won't. It recalls to mind someone I knew in high school, an acquaintance of my mother's. She worried about that (and a spouse) until she was 39 years old and at that time, her spiritual director advised her (corny as it may sound) to put a "personal ad" in the diocesan newspaper. Only one man replied and she married him after falling in love. The only sad thing to her after that was the child + 40 years old factor. She added some prayer to that and by the time she was 46, she had 2 sons and a daughter. Now, she is well into her 50's,and she can't help but marvel at God's plan for her in her life.

Ginger said...

I've been saying this 16 day novena for myself, but it ends tomorrow, and without going into the details of what I was praying for, and how things have unfolded the past two weeks, because it's very long, suffice it to say that I think it worked :), I will start it again for you.

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Precious Blood of Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in satisfaction for my sins and for the release of the soul of the most abandoned priest in Purgatory.

O holy soul, obtain for me the favor I so earnestly desire, if it be for my good and God's Will.

Say for 16 days and receive Communion three weeks in a row.

My mother had her last child at 38 without any complications and I know lots of women who've had children well into their 40s. Of course, I know you know all this as well, but please don't get too discouraged, Seraphic. You have lots of people praying for you.

Seraphic Spouse said...

The annoying thing is that there is this idea you can do something about if if you go to doctors, specialists, find some kind of therapy that is actually in keeping with Humanae Vitae, etc., etc. I'm not sure if all that is Pelagian or not.

KimP said...

Praying for you!

Seraphic said...

Thank you for all prayers! As you see, Auntie Seraphic does not have all the answers. It's good for my humility to remember that.

Fritha said...

Ditto on the praying for you.

Med School Girl said...

Auntie Seraphic,
I see what you're saying about possible Pelagianism.
The way I see it, going to specialists and reading books does not guarantee pregnancy. At some point, we do have to know that ultimately God is in control. However, just like how wearing frumpy clothes, talking too much on dates, being too aggressive in pursuing men, and sitting at home watching T.V. don't help our Single cause, neither does not knowing about our own reproductive cycle help our Fertility cause. Now, you may already know what you need to know regarding ovulation etc...and in that case, I am not trying to beat a dead horse. I simply think it's important to really know one's body. My very good friend didn't realize that she only ovulated every 2 months or so until she started charting her cycle. She finally got pregnant after 5 years of trying.
P.S. Not trying to give false hope or to tell you only sunshine and rainbows stories, because that can get annoying. I simply care that you are wanting something like I do (to get married) and that I understand the pain we have at times!
Peace and prayers.

Random NFP Instructor said...

Dear Auntie -

You can see that this post has touched many readers for many reasons. Allow me to add another to the growing list... As an NFP teacher, an RN, and a single - it greatly disappoints me to see couple after couple learn NFP solely to check a wedding requirement off their list. It is the people in situations like yours that motivate me to stick with it. This post reminded me of that - mere hours after I dealt with one of the most disheartening couples I've ever encountered. So thank you for that.

My prayers will be added to those of your other readers. And though you obviously know this already, remind yourself that God has a more fascinating and perfect plan for us than we make for ourselves. Repeat this reminder as often as needed. ;)

cat said...

Dear Auntie Seraphic,
First, I just want you to know that I am in the same place you are-- married, no babies, and inevitably asked why, with all the heart break that brings (I read your blog because it helps me know what to say to all my single girl friends :)
Second, you need to check out this website :
http://www.naprotechnology.com Good Catholic doctors have taken NFP to another level- they are using charting to diagnose and fix problems. I wish someone had told me about it sooner.
Regarding the Pelagian aspect- one person who had been (unsuccessfully) treated for infertility with this method said she felt at peace because she knew that she had done everything medically and morally possible to make her body receptive to a new life. She never stopped asking for a miracle, she just made sure she was as ready for it as possible.

Nzie (theRosyGardener) said...

I've seen this and thought about how to comment, and I just haven't known what to say. I'm still in my 20s and single, so I worried that I can't fully appreciate this struggle. In one sense, I certainly can't - it's beyond the realms of my experience. I was told as a teenage it would probably be hard for me to have children, and I basically let it sit in my mind and ignored it (what does that mean to a 14 year old? and I think my 'fortunes' have changed, thank God). So, basically, that's a long way of saying, I felt awkward, but still wanted you to know I'll keep you in prayer and hope.

Anonymous said...

A few things. One: apparently there is a researcher in the US who pioneered a method to help women to get pregnant *without* resorting to means illicit in the Catholic context; the method is practised in Canada at the Marguerite Bourgeoys Family Centre. I read about this on Lifesite just the other day.

Second, I've prayed for this favor for you and will continue to do so. Third, female various in-laws of mine have gotten pregnant and carried babies to term more than once, well into their forties. Fourth, remember Amy Welborn - last child born when she was 45.

Such women may be exceptions, but they are not *that* exceptional, though I wouldn't advise any young woman who wants children to count on being one of the lucky ones.


p.s. The name of the method is NaPro technology; the piece on it appeared in the Monday Jan 17th issue of Lifesite News.

Mary said...

Praying for you dear Seraphic! You would be such a beautiful mum - I so hope and pray it will happen!! (Come on Lord, I know you can do it!!!) I am going to say a novena to St Gianna for you. My mum had three babies after 40 and a lovely Catholic lady I know had her first baby at 38 and she has just had daughter #5 at 46! P.S. A great book I recommend to my girlfriends is Fertility, Cycles and Nutrition by Marilyn Shannon - it has heaps of good practical advice based on sound science. We truly are "fearfully and wonderfully made". :)

Seraphic said...

Thanks for all the kind comments! I have consulted a Catholic-positive doctor and will do all that she suggests.

The Chaste Divorcee said...

Seraphic, I am older than most of your readers and so have more life experience. I have known women in your position who were blessed to become mothers in their late 30s and into their 40s. I have also known women who never had children despite undergoing many medical treatments. I will pray for you and your husband.

CC said...

Fertility problems are not limited to women over 35! I am only 26, but I have been married for three years and people are starting to ask if we'll have children soon. Most of our friends married right out of college like we did, and some have had two or three children in four years. But we and one other young couple of our acquaintance have no children. The other couple have begun the adoption process. We're still waiting, but might adopt if we find that we cannot have children in the ordinary way.

I have also known wonderful couples who never had children. One couple in particular would have made perfect parents by my estimation, but God had other plans for them. They ended up becoming surrogate parents to a small community of college students, and gave us much wise and good advice. Just as you once learned that you could be happy in your singleness, you might now be called to learn to be happy in childlessness. Whether you have children in the ordinary way, adopt them, or do not have any, I will pray that you will have joy (the same prayer I say for myself).