The short version:
I choose Hope.
The long versions:
I am a cradle Catholic. I received all of my sacraments on time and happily 'graduated' from CCD with confirmation. When I went to college I drifted away from the faith I had no real connection to or understanding of. I always believed in God but it wasn't until an ecumenical prayer group in my late 20s that challenged what I knew about Catholicism and then starting this blog that led to me really learning, understanding, and embracing the faith of my youth.
Today, I am proudly Catholic and I proudly profess and believe to be true all that the Catholic Church teaches. This does not mean I am perfect and that I live a charmed life. Quite the contrary. I am grateful for the message of mercy and hope that the Catholic Church provides, along with her consistent teachings on faith and moral living.
In daily life this means I share a home with Sugarbeet's dad, but we practice continence (abstinence) while we await the rulings of diocesan tribunals in hopes of marrying in the Church someday. For many, this is a difficult thing to understand. For us, we freely accept this and are grateful to our Church for giving us a firm guide to follow. We wait with reasonable hope for the day we are able to celebrate the sacrament of matrimony.
After 12 years of birth control, 15 months of using NFP to avoid pregnancy, 4 years of infertility (including 2 surgeries and countless shots and medications), and a failing marriage (that ultimately ended in divorce), I found myself staring at a BFP (big fat positive = positive pregnancy test) on December 8, 2014. In August, 2015, her Dad, R, and I met the baby that produced that positive result. Here, she is known as Sugarbeet, for now. Raising her and getting to know her over the past 18 months has been simultaneously the biggest challenge and greatest joy of my life. Being a mom is as hard and amazing as I always dreamed it would be.
This little person who has been entrusted to me inspires me and stretches me more daily. I always asked those who had experienced infertility and the motherhood to please share their stories. I needed to know that what I longed for so much was worthy of that longing. That all of the good and all of the bad combined together were a gift beyond understanding. The knowing of that somehow helped me to accept that that is why infertility is so painful - because it is a good, in the truest sense of the word, longing. It is because of this that I share about being her mother here. Not to push on the pain of others. I understand if reading here is not something you are able to do and I offer prayers daily for you if you find yourself walking the road of infertility. No, I do not write here to push on the pain of others, but to remind myself and process for myself what being her mother means.
Nearly 8 years ago I stared at my closet and found myself needing new jeans - in the next size up. Well, that wasn't an option. The only two options were to 1) eat less or 2) move more. I like to eat. And so, the choice was made. I would move more.
I started a Couch to 5k running plan. And soon ran a half and then a full marathon. In running I found a place to process my thoughts, to quiet my brain, and it saved my body image when facing infertility.
Currently (this is written in February 2017), I am facing a similar challenge with my closet. Sugarbeet is 18 months old and fully weaned. And so, I am reacquainting myself with my running shoes and will be running the Pittsburgh Half Marathon in May.
I am a die-hard West Virginia University Mountaineers fan. Football is my favorite, but I'll root for any team wearing the ol' gold and blue. I wish for a National Championship in Football every year when I blow out the candles on my birthday cake. I can (and will) talk football with pretty much anyone for any length of time. Sugarbeet will proudly signal "Touchdown" when we watch a game together.
I am a glass half-full kind of person (see above regarding WVU Football for evidence of this). This does not always work out well for me, but I choose hope.
While I am intelligent, I frequently crack myself (and everyone around me) up by doing something less than smart. If you witness it, it's ok to laugh.