Rachel’s post about her baby dedication got me thinking. I haven’t been to church regularly for probably almost two years now; my participation was already waning previous to that, but when I started grad school again in the fall of ’06 I made a definite decision that I would not go to church again until I really wanted to. Forcing myself to go was mostly making me feel resentful.
For the first time in a long time, this week I started feeling like I kind of want to. I’m thinking of checking out the Quaker meeting on campus. I’m not sure how much of the desire comes from being pg, vs. meeting the parents of a Quaker friend here and really connecting (especially along the lines of their peace/justice commitments).
Meanwhile, I’ve been mulling over the baby dedication question. Not so much whether, but how. Specifically – does a conversation about IF come into it? Our church in VA seems to kind of ignore the whole realm of IF/pregnancy loss. Recently I came across an old Christmas newsletter from the three pastors and each piece of it was like a stab and twist of the knife, as the meditations focused exclusively on birth and parenting. I think there is zero awareness of how painful that could be for some people. I think it’s also an issue in the larger congregation, this taboo, because out of 400 members, a 12.5% statistic would suggest that around 50 people there have had their lives affected by infertility or loss. Or have those 50 people just stopped attending?
In all fairness, my issues with the church predate my difficulties conceiving; it’s possible if I had been in a better place faith-wise to begin with I wouldn’t have become so alienated. But what does it mean that we’re in a small group with our pastor and I haven’t felt able to talk about it even there?
I have a tendency to take on Causes. Part of me wants to make a potential baby dedication a platform for opening conversations in the church about infertility. But I’m also a pretty private person – we haven’t told our in-laws about our struggles, not even a hint. They attend the same church, so obviously if I shared some of our story in church this would be a big Reveal to them too. The thing is, I really don’t want to have that conversation with them at all – I don’t want to be subjected to a lot of personal questions, judgements, “why didn’t you”s, or the hurt they would feel knowing that we hadn’t told them, and being made to feel guilty about that.
So who knows. It feels like a long time in the future yet, anyway. But there’s still this niggling desire to want to educate people about IF.