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When a Catholic Couple Faces Infertility
26th June 2024 • Detroit Stories • Detroit Catholic
00:00:00 00:33:13

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In a Church that celebrates big families, infertility can be an isolating cross; how married couples found beauty in God's plan

(0:02) Ann Koshute discusses the vision she and her husband had of having children after they were married. Like many Catholic couples, they longed for a big family. However, as the years went on without children, the couple slowly began to grapple with the cross they carried: infertility.

(3:28) With few resources available for Catholic couples struggling with this lonely cross — apart from natural family planning or adoption resources — Ann and a close friend who also faced infertility felt called to create a new peer support ministry, Springs in the Desert.

(8:50) Ann discusses the unique challenge of infertility in the Catholic Church, in which big families are celebrated, cherished, and even encouraged. For a Catholic couple without children, Ann says, parish life can be isolating and uncomfortable. Christina Heidemann, who volunteers with Springs in the Desert, agrees.

(11:42) Christina explains her experience with what’s called “secondary infertility,” or infertility that takes place after one or more pregnancies. Christina and her husband desired to expand their family, but after two children and multiple miscarriages, they began to lose hope. Christina talks about discovering Springs in the Desert, which gave her and her husband support and hope as they pursued other options, including international adoption.

(14:15) After adopting one daughter, Christina became pregnant again. Given the complications she had faced in the past, she and her husband had a lot of anxiety, but she was able to successfully carry the pregnancy to term and gave birth to her “miracle,” a daughter, Theodora.

(16:10) Dawn and Joe Pullis discuss their journey with infertility, which began before the couple married. After a battle with ovarian cancer early in life, Dawn knew she wouldn’t be able to have children naturally. The news, while devastating, allowed Joe and Dawn to pray and discern their future together, including their eventual adoption of three children.

(20:07) Dawn and Joe discuss not having their own children, but also the beauty of the plan God did have in store for them. Over the years, their experience has helped them share wisdom with other young couples going through similar challenges.

(21:26) Ann and Christina talk about how Springs in the Desert seeks to be a community for those suffering from infertility to find peers to help guide them, resources to help facilitate conversation and prayer, and advice for pastors and lay leaders to better understand the road such couples face.

(28:01) Ann and Christina emphasize the need for a re-framing of the conversation around infertility in the Church. All married couples — regardless of family size — are called to be fruitful and holy, and there is space in the Church for every family. The women emphasize God’s love and urge couples facing infertility to place their whole trust in Him.

Reporting and narration by Gabriella Patti; script by Casey McCorry; production by Ron Pangborn

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