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  • Writer's pictureJenna O’Farrell

Learning to love my childless life

I love my childless life.

That’s a sentence I never thought I would say! 

My husband Donovan and I have been trying for a baby for almost five and a half years, and I’ve spent most of that time grudgingly carrying my cross. We’ve tried everything we can afford and that the Catholic Church permits to try to welcome a child into our family. We’ve even contemplated things that are considered a moral grey area by our Church. All of it to no avail. I’ve felt plenty of emotions about our infertility during these five long years, with the most common being anger and envy. (Hi! The seven deadly sins are calling and they want my soul!) I was furious with God, because His perfect timing wasn’t lining up with my own. 

Intellectually I understood that God is a good and loving Father, that He’s merciful and only allows things that give me the opportunity to get to Heaven! But I didn’t feel that in my heart, at all. I would see pregnancy and birth announcements, see the word “Mama” on clothes, jewelry, in social media posts, etc. and it always felt like a personal attack. I was so envious that even when I was happy for people, I still felt jealous that I didn’t have what they have.

I had a particularly hard time with the posts that praised God for their babies, saying that children make life worth living, that they change the way you view the world and that everything is better when you have kids. I started to look at my life in a very negative light. I understood (again, intellectually) what parents sacrifice when they have babies, but I longed for that sacrifice on a cellular level. I longed to drop the cross I was given and pick up a different one. One that looked so shiny and beautiful.

Then we went through some incredibly intense spiritual warfare. I don’t think I’ll speak publicly about what we went through, but I can say with certainty it was true spiritual warfare. It was one of the most difficult things I’ve gone through in my life, and I found God in the midst of it. He was so clearly present in the Catholic community that we had built over the last few years. They held us up in prayer and walked alongside us through some extremely dark days. Feeling Abba Father so acutely through the love of our community, especially in this particular time of our lives was when the shift in my heart really took place. I finally had my eyes opened to the fact that my suffering is mine. It’s my personal path to heaven! The bitterness I felt about our childless life melted away, and with it went a number of vices.

I’m now able to see clearly the beauty in our childless life! I could list out all the reasons why our life without children is shiny and beautiful, but comparison is an ugly thing that I don’t want to feed. My purpose in sharing all of this is not to make you feel unhappy with your life, it’s to hopefully help you understand that God is there too. God has allowed your specific cross because we all have a different path to heaven. God loves variety! 

When you want to throw down your personal cross, think of the St. Therese quote “If every flower wanted to be a rose, nature would lose her springtime beauty.” Your soul is unique and your path to heaven is too! There’s beauty in that, even when it’s hard to see. I’m going to praise God for the beauty in our childless life unless or until He chooses to change what our blessings and crosses look like.

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