Posted by: DD | June 7, 2007

no. 459 – Get Thee to a Support Group

A few months ago I noticed in the church bulletin that an abortion support group would be meeting every so many weeks. I mentioned to my husband that I thought they should have an infertility and/or miscarriage/pregnancy loss support group(every time I say "pregnancy loss" I think of another blogger who remarked on how she dislikes the term "loss" because, really, it’s not like you lost the baby because it fell behind the dresser or something).

He harrumphed in response and the conversation effectively ended.

Ever since I’ve been thinking about posing the question to our local church to see what they thought. Unfortunately, my whole opinion about God and the church has been slightly tainted and I really don’t want to feel as if I have to have the church’s blessings, as well censoring myself to prevent me from shouting, "That is so CRAP!!" every time someone in the group would make that ridiculous statement, "It’s God’s will."

Now again I’m feeling compelled to do something, but I don’t know what. It is possible that I could make a suggestion through my employer, but what scares me the most about being involved in something like this is trying to leave my Anger at the door and instead mentor and support others without just throwing up my hands and instructing everyone to just get a blog instead.

The closest RESOLVE is in a town/city three hours away (and not in The Metro, surprisingly). You gotta love the Midwest for its forward-thinking progress. BTW, if you live in one of the states that borders the Great Lakes or you are further south than Kansas, you shouldn’t be saying you live in the Midwest. Why humiliate yourself like that?

In a cursory web search for support groups, I found this little blurb. While I’m fairly tolerant with the views in not only Claire’s article and the responses, I felt my hackles rise while reading the responses from "Protect the Rock" (PTR). As the mother of 8 children she states,

Our house is perpetually messy, noisy, disorganized and underfunded. Of course, we know this is our calling, our highest good.  But there are things we can not do in our state in life, at least not at this time: like take a job for less money in Catholic education, open a Catholic book store and coffee house, write a book or screenplay, go on a pilgrimage, attend conferences, and so on. […] If He is calling you to support this group of people, then do it, but make sure you are being open to do His will. There are opportunity costs in our choices, even starting a support group.

REEeaaaallllllYYYY??!! There are "opportunity costs in our choices"?? OK, maybe I don’t quite know what the fuck she means by that, but I’m offended nonetheless by her statement that birthing and raising a big family is what she thinks is her highest good, and that because of it they have sacrificed getting jobs that they like instead of what pays better; or that they can’t hire a care-giver or leave the kids with the grandparents for a week so they can go to a conference.  In fact, I’m sure she meant to include "write a Catholic book or screenplay, go on a Catholic pilgrimage, attend Catholic conferences, …" What good Catholics they are!

And then in a later response, PTR writes,

Neighborhood Bible studies can be very good, but we should realize many Protestant groups deliberately design such activities to target and pull Catholics out of the Church. So it is wise to have strong sense of the faith and use the authoritative guidance of the Church.

Those evil bastards, the Protestants. Next they’ll be asking you to bring your cat or dog to the groups so they can perform sacrificial offerings.

Obviously I’m not in the stable mental place I need to be to provide guidance in a support group. But why does there have to be an ulterior motive when it comes to support groups following the doctrine of the church? Why can’t it be just about women (and men) who need a physical shoulder to cry on when most friends and family members just don’t understand? Blogging is great for the virtual hug, love, support and acceptance, but there is nothing – I repeat for emphasis – NOTHING like having someone who has been through this shit wrap their arms around your shoulder, pull in you so close you can smell the shampoo in their hair and feel the gentle but unyielding pressure of the hands, and tell you that they care.

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Responses

  1. I wish I could be that person for you.

    I can’t even talk about the Catholic church. That woman’s statements make my blood boil.

  2. Ugh – I’m sorry that you’re feeling such anger and frustration right now. I wasn’t raised with any religion (aside from the Christmas tree and my grandmother’s menorah, though we never could find candles that fit), so I haven’t ever sought support or solace in that arena. However, I know exactly what you mean about needing people up close and personal. Joining the online community has been incredibly uplifting for me, however, it would be so incredible to have these conversations and develop these relationships in person. I truly hope you can find or create the kind of support network that you’re looking for.

  3. Well, I realize it’s probably considered protestant and all, but have you looked at any of the interdenominational churches to see if they have groups? Some of the mega churches around here are so huge, you would think they’d have groups. If not, maybe just the general grief counseling groups would help? I completely understand being angry at God. Totally get that one. But could you talk to your minister/priest and see if they can recommend anything?

  4. I learned from third grade economics that I my son studied this year that opportunity cost is one’s second choice. Economically in examples for the elementary aged, if you go to the movie and was candy and popcorn, but can only pick one, candy, then popcorn is the opportunity cost.

    I guess she’s saying you can’t always get what you want, but I am too foggy today to say for sure.

  5. I wish I lived closer, my friend.

  6. PS – I started and led a support group for endometriosis for several years. It was very rewarding. It was a little stressful thinking of a specific yet general topic (and possibly having hand outs) for the meeting each month (they really looked up to me to lead/perform), but I really feel like I did some good – for them and me.

  7. You know I am so wishing we were closer so I could give you that hug you so dearly need.
    So I am not from the Mid-west? Then where the hell am I from? 😉
    I am here for you whenever you need me though. Please know that.

  8. To keep with the church references…AMEN.

    If I were not heading out to Canada, I would surely zip down to see you. Perhaps later this summer a road trip is in order? I can always come visit the Mid-west, since I am “not” from there?? BTW, where am I from…the Mid just doesn’t sound so good.

  9. A lot of churches will allow non-profit groups or support groups to use church space, as long as the mission is mostly inline with church values- eg, to Alcholics Anonymous, or Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or Compassionate Friends, or whoever. So I would think as long as your church would let you have the space, you could start a support group that didn’t have to be all “rah rah, God’s will”, etc. You could even see whether you could do it under the auspices of RESOLVE (eg, a RESOLVE miscarriage support group held at XYZ church).
    But no matter how you find a way to process this, it still doesn’t bring your baby back, and that’s just the suckiest part of all of it.

  10. I can’t comment rationally about hard-core Catholics. Just can’t do it. They drive me insane. Truly.

    Perhaps your doctor’s office knows of a local support group…?

  11. Just a sec, I gotta wash the cat blood off my hands…there. If I were closer, I’d give you a huge hug and bring candy and booze and chips and dip. Having a real life hug sure does make a world of difference.

  12. Just a sec, I gotta wash the cat blood off my hands…there. If I were closer, I’d give you a huge hug and bring candy and booze and chips and dip. Having a real life hug sure does make a world of difference.

  13. DD,

    My support group IRL has been wonderful and was my saving grace because my losses started long before the internet/blog world had all this. And you are right, there is a difference! I think your RE’s office or any local OB/Gyn department should be willing to post notices. In fact, ours started as a few women who wanted to find support and found each other in their OB’s office waiting room. The hospital helped host it, by putting up notices and giving us a room.

    My local branch now meets in the basement of a nursing home, and others meet in community centres. I’ll bet resolve or another support group would gladly share materials for you to use.

    As for your church, our Catholic diocese has it’s very own Catholic run fertility clinic where they do everything from labs and US to emotinal support, so please let your priest know that he sucks, oops, sorry that he has options if wishes to learn more, and read his fuckin’ mail from head office, oops I mean pray for guidance.

  14. You know, in college I once told someone I was from the Midwest & he insisted that Nebraska was *not* the Midwest. He was from Ohio. Apparently you live on the West Coast, DD and nothing exists beyond the Colorado border….

    As for support groups, certain people are always going to have their own aggenda. But I bet most support groups aren’t all holier than thou and might actually give a smack down to someone who utters the words “God’s will.” I hope you manage to find and/or start a good one.

  15. I set up a support group at work after requests from other people. IT’s been pretty hard to get it off the ground, but happy to share experiences if I can help. I don’t have the religious angle to deal with, though.

  16. Yeah, PTR’s statements are quite holier-than-thou, but I don’t think that’s a fault exclusive to Catholics.

    DD, if you truly feel called to start such a group, why does it have to be under the umbrella of your church? I have a feeling you might get limited support there (which, as a Catholic, I hate to admit) but not because the faith doesn’t have compassion for infertile couples. I think it has more to do with the fact that several of the medical interventions used for infertility aren’t in line with the church’s teachings on human sexuality.

    I’m giving you a link I think you should check out: http://www.naprotechnology.com/
    I’ve just learned a little about this myself, but it’s exciting stuff. We’ve used NFP for our entire marriage to track cycles, and it’s helped me pinpoint a few things to bring to the attention of my doctor that probably would’ve gone unnoticed otherwise. This NaPRO stuff seems like Super NFP ++ in comparison.

    You’re in my prayers. You sent me your cell # once, but I’ve since lost it. If you want to talk, e-mail me and resend your number, or I can send you mine.

  17. If I could, I would DD. Although you may not want to get too close because my hair doesn’t smell that great right now anyway.

  18. I so wish you lived near me. I started an infertility/miscarriage small group at my church. There are 4 or us now that meet every other week. We talk about a book we are reading but mainly just talk. I try to answer questions and be a source of wisdom, HA! I was in a good place to start it but soon after I had my failed IUI. I CRASHED! I felt so bad for starting the group and being so weak. But to them it made me human and real.

    Okay I know you don’t live near me but you could start a group. I posted in my church bulletin, doc office and a few websites. It was scary and still is. I only hope I can be that hug for others that you described.

    Oh I also have a happy hour friend. She has had 3 miscarriages in the past year and a half. We meet to talk and share our hearts.

    HUGS! I smell like sweaty little 2nd graders!


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