Litany of NFP Saints

Today is the last day of NFP awareness week. You’d think as a fertility care practitioner, I’d have been all over it, making all of my dear readers very aware of NFP. The only problem is, I couldn’t think of anything to say. I’ve been teaching Creighton for almost two years now and I have seen and heard things which have challenged my faith and filled me with tremendous joy. It has also humbled me beyond anything I could have imagined when I began.

I swung the pendulum from an NFP skeptic to a true-believer and cheerleader. My experiences with using NFP have been varied. I used one method I hated, and have been basically happily using another method for the last seven years. In the eight years we’ve been married we have experienced a surprise pregnancy, miscarriage, infertility, secondary infertility, and a high risk twin pregnancy. Through it all, using NFP has been annoying at times, but never truly a burden. I realize how lucky I am that this is the case. I know now especially that this is not so for most others, and I stand in awe of the burdens that many of you carry with such grace, to continue staggering under their weight when many others would set them down and walk away.

So I’m not going to tell you my story of NFP use. I’m not going to tell you how if you do x, pray y, or give up z, you too can love NFP. I’m not going to tell you that if you were holier it would be easier, or that if it’s too hard you should give up and have another baby. I have no interest in telling you what to do, or why you should be like me.

Instead I’m going to offer a prayer on this concluding day of NFP “awareness” week. A litany of saints, of sorts. A litany of burdens, being carried with grace.

 

Good and gracious God,
May we have eyes that are open to the burdens of others, ears that hear their cries for support, not condemnation, and may we have hands open to aid in carrying them, never adding to their number.

All you holy men and women, pray for us.

Sister in your habit, offering your fertility to God each month, and the children your womb will never hold, pray for us.

Daughter with cramps so painful you miss school, work, sports on every cycle day 1, pray for us.

Mother of a ten-week old baby, holding him in one hand and two pink lines in the other, pray for us.

In line for confession, hips straining under the weight of #6, begging God for a hysterectomy so the uterine revolving door can finally close, pray for us.

Married ten years with five lost souls, never to be held in your arms, pray for us.

Hanging on for one last NaPro surgery, one more ultrasound series, can barely stand the touch of your husband, pray for us.

Staring at your chart on your 43rd birthday, fearing what 20 days of bleeding might mean, pray for us.

Tears of joy and terror when you see two sacs, two heartbeats, hear twins, pray for us.

Holding the child that love and suffering brought sleeping into your arms, pray for us.

Watching your church family count heads and cluck disapprovingly as your family slides into the pew, pray for us.

Every time you’ve been asked, “Why don’t you just adopt?”, pray for us.

Long cycles, continuous mucus, endometriosis, PCOS, pray for us.

Listening to and staggering under the weight of post partum depression’s lies, pray for us.

Expecting another and he’s packed his bags when you wouldn’t abort the last one, pray for us.

Obsessing over every twinge in the two-week wait, pray for us.

Explaining over and over again that yes, you’re happy with “just” the three children you have, pray for us.

Just found out you’re pregnant and this time the blood clot might kill you, pray for us.

Every time you’ve been told “Relax and it will happen”, to “let go and let God”, and “every baby comes with a loaf of bread in his arm”, pray for us.

Applying for food stamps and being asked if you’d like to be sterilized, pray for us.

When you want to give up, pray for us.

When you do give up, pray for us.

When you try again, pray for us.

All you holy men and women, pray for us.

 

 

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