When I was young and in primary school, my teacher asked the class, “What is your ambition?” I wrote clearly in the blank provided – Housewife. I love children and I always saw myself as a mother. Fast forward to this day, I am now three years married.
Last year, I found out that I had Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. It is a condition that causes hormonal imbalance, making it difficult to conceive. I struggled with the revelation, asking God why? I looked around and I saw my friends conceiving. I was filled with envy. Receiving the news was a mixed bag of beans, I would be joyful and bitter all in one. I struggled to be truly joyful for them.
Each month, it felt like a mountain that I had to climb. I would go through the waiting full of hope, only to be disappointed by a negative pregnancy stick at the end of it. I blamed myself and felt unworthy to be a wife… I felt like a failure.
I wondered if I could trust God with my desires. How can my marriage be fruitful? As a woman, I am called to bear life. My body is meant to bear life. So what happens then when my body cannot bear life like it’s meant to? Am I less of a woman because of this? I share a desire to mother, to nurture, to love. Where do I direct these desires to? To whom do I give them to?
Statue of the Holy Family that brings Eunice comfort amidst her struggle to conceive.
I have a statue of the Holy Family at home, with Mother Mary cradling baby Jesus and St Joseph surrounding them. This image brought me great comfort because it wasn’t a typical family. It was a family that God had intentionally put together.
Mother Mary’s Fiat, her “Yes”, was to an unconventional family. I felt God asking me if I could be open to the life that He had for me. I was afraid of what my “Yes” would bring about. I wasn’t Mother Mary, I didn’t have her courage, but I desired to be like her! To be as courageous, steadfast and faithful as her. So I turned to Mother Mary and asked her to intercede for me; to intercede for me as a woman, that I would be open to life. Truly – any life! Not the life that I have boxed up for myself; to have kids at this age and have x number of children. But I felt God encouraging me to broaden my vision, with Mother Mary as my help and my inspiration. Because she said “Yes,” I said, “Okay, I’m going to try. God, give me new eyes, help me to see.”
I wasn’t Mother Mary, I didn’t have her courage, but I desired to be like her! To be as courageous, steadfast and faithful as her.
I’ll be honest and say that at one point, it was difficult to lift my prayers during the joyful mysteries, especially the Annunciation. I found myself saying, “Not fair”. It was her Fiat, her words in the Annunciation “Let it be done to me according to your Will” that lifted me. The more I prayed, the more I saw Mother Mary’s struggles.
Whenever the thought of being barren hits me, it was an invitation for me to enter into the cross of suffering like Jesus. When I felt most alone, like no one understood, I’d recall Mother Mary quietly walking with Jesus on the road to Calvary and I was deeply comforted. Mother Mary understood my pain intimately, as a woman. She shares my desire to nurture and grow life. She has been quietly walking with me through this. Her intercessions have strengthened me and has helped me to see life more clearly.
When I lift my intentions while praying the rosary, I see Her sitting with me, patiently listening to my requests. It is Her example of motherhood that I desire to follow. I want to mother like Our Lady – With gentleness and patience, quietly accompanying people.
In this season of waiting, I am finding creative ways to express fruitfulness in my marriage. Through praying for people and journeying with girls in my community, I have come to see that my marriage is already fruitful. When I am in conversation with a younger person, I’ll ask Mother Mary to help me to embrace them fully, as they are, to love them as they are, just as She has loved me. I want to look back at this season of waiting and go, “God I have lived this well.” I desire to live this out with joy and hope, not despair and resignation.
Through her prayers, I’ve also come to experience pure joy for friends who have conceived and I am so thankful for this joy because I know that it is not possible without Her intercession. I realise that my desires of wanting a child and of waiting can coexist with joy for another. They are not in competition. Mother Mary has helped me to discover so many truths that have enabled me to live a life that is truly more full.
Perhaps I’ll never have children of my own. Is that okay? On some days, by the grace of God, I say it is. With the image of Mother Mary accompanying and protecting me, I am safe and secure.
Mother Mary, I am deeply thankful for you. You are truly my Mother. I see you as a model I want to follow. I recall the words of my school.. you are simple in virtue and steadfast in duty. I want to grow up and be like my Mother!