Thinking Forwards and Backwards

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.

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3 Responses to “Thinking Forwards and Backwards”

  1. tara Says:

    we are seriously thinking of finding another church but i have decided that either way, i need to tell p that when they do all saints day they could easily be inclusive by adding a line about miscarriages, etc.

  2. Grad3 Says:

    It’s hard, I feel the same way sometimes with the people in my life. For a long time there were very few church services I could sit through without crying.

    I am not sure the church community, as a whole, realizes how isolating IF/ Preg. Loss is and what an opportunity it would be to open the lines of communication. Often we are the ones who feel abandoned and are left holding the bag.

    I am so glad that things are going well for you though and hope it continues!

  3. Rachel Says:

    Church is tough because it can be a very tight knit community. It may be freeing to talk to your pastor about your struggles and see if he would be willing to put you in contact with others in the congregation who have been there.

    You could also talk to whoever is in charge of classes and see if they would be willing to do a class on modern “events” and the church. We did a series like that and talked about a lot of different stuff including stem cell research and a ministry that goes into strip clubs and provides meals for the dancers. They chose people sometimes from our church and sometimes outside the church to present on the topics in an objective way. You could very easily talk about infertility in that setting.

    Since you go to church with your in-laws, so it may be uncomfortable, but sometimes it is helpful to find a new church. We attended a church for over a year and I never could get connected. I finally visited another church, thinking I wouldn’t like it. It was so inviting that even though it wasn’t the denomination I was brought up in, I loved it. My grandfather thinks I’m going to hell, but I’m OK with that since he doesn’t get to decide. 🙂

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