Life’s A Journey
A Regnum Christi Member’s Personal Reflection on being Pro-Life and the March for Life, 2023
The most critical moment had arrived—timed literally to the hour. My husband and I stood in a small conference room in the hospital. I was on the verge of tears from stress and hormone overload as the on-call doctor came in and gruffly pulled a long strip of black-and-white images from our file. “You only have five viable embryos, and none look great. I rate them all “a six” at best on a scale from one to ten, and strongly recommend we transfer three—you can always “reduce” one if necessary.” Now the tears had materialized, and my husband squeezed my hand.
Unfortunately, this was not the plan we had laid out with our doctor, who was off that day. With him, we had agreed on a single embryo transfer because we already had five-year-old twins from a previous round of IVF. That pregnancy was difficult and nearly resulted in a miscarriage. The doctor on hand stepped out of the room and gave us minutes to decide about his proposal. We chose to stay the course (much to his dismay), and immediately I was whisked off to the operating room.
The Lord blessed us with a third beautiful child. That was almost 17 years ago. As you can imagine, our road to parenthood was not what I dreamed it would be. When we couldn’t conceive naturally, I panicked, cried, was lonely and afraid, and felt envious of all those big bellies I seemed to see everywhere I went. Sadly, I never trusted that God had a plan for us. Instead, I ran frantically from one doctor’s appointment to the next. I was going to make this family happen. With the incredible advancements in science, man can certainly intervene in the miracle of life—and so it went, and our family was formed.
I believe with all my heart that God works wonders through our twisting and turning paths. Back then, I wasn’t practicing my faith. I had some vague notions that infertility procedures were not “Catholic,” but to be quite honest; I didn’t care. By the grace of God (and the gift of a solid Catholic upbringing), at least I understood that I had to take responsibility for the tiny embryos he had willed to life, and we weren’t going to “need.” With a bit of research, I found a Christian organization that arranged “embryo adoptions.” Anonymously, we released the embryos to be adopted by another family, and for a very long time, I tried not to think about it.
Several years back, I had a reconversion to our faith. A spark turned into a fire; today, I define myself first and foremost as a Catholic. I sometimes see my journey as a big, huge onion slowly peeled back to reveal God’s goodness one “layer” at a time. I imagine and hope this “unveiling” continues to go deeper until we meet him face-to-face. Now, I fully embrace (and understand) the beautiful teachings of The Church on marriage, natural family planning, and the sacredness of life from conception to natural death.
Once, during a Confession, a priest helped me grasp that God is infinitely merciful. If we are sorry, he forgives us for our sins—no matter the gravity. Yet, when we willfully go our own way, we can’t erase the consequences. Often, those become our cross to bear. In more recent times, I’ve allowed myself to think about those little lives we chose to give up. What happened to them? Are they suspended in time? Do I have more children somewhere in the world? Sons or daughters? Do they know God? Does someone else love them as much as I could have? Or are they cuddled up with Mary in heaven?
This year, as I joined the March for Life in D.C. for the third time, it was more personal than ever. Hope was in the air, and this gave me great consolation. Standing alongside the tens of thousands of young people who joyfully define themselves as the “Pro-life Generation,” we heard one inspiring speaker after the next talk about the value of life at every stage and our duty to protect and nurture both mother and child. In this new “Post Roe World,” supporting women who choose to keep their children and removing the stigma of adoption is more critical than ever. As Catholics, this is our moment to walk the walk in arguably the most crucial issue of our times regarding the most devastating scar on our nation. And there are many ways we can make a difference in the life of a mother and her child, whether through financial help or other donations, prayer, adoption, or hands-on ministry.
One day, I will know the answer to my questions, and God will show me how he gloriously turned my ways into his own. In the meantime, I’ve decided to pray for the souls of all my children—that their journey through life is happy and healthy, safe and under the protection of Our Lady. And that they, too, will internalize Catholic teachings on the family and uphold the dignity and honor of every life created by our great and awesome God.
For You created my innermost parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, because I am awesomely and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in secret, And skillfully formed in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my formless substance; And in Your book were written all the days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.
Psalm 139: 13-16