A Family Conceived, Lost, and Resurrected by Gina Messina-Dysert

Gina and SarahGood Friday marks the second anniversary of one of the most significant dates in my life – the adoption of my daughter, Baby S – who by the way is no longer a baby (she will be turning 5 this May).  On Easter Sunday, 2012 I wrote about the resurrection of my family.  In the last few years that I have been blogging, this is by far my favorite post and I have been so grateful for the many wonderful responses I have received from it.  With today being Good Friday, it seems an appropriate time to revisit this incredible experience and once again, give thanks for the blessings in my life.  Continue reading “A Family Conceived, Lost, and Resurrected by Gina Messina-Dysert”

Having it All or Embracing What We Have? by Gina Messina-Dysert

Like thousands of other mothers, I found myself consumed by Anne-Marie Slaughter’s  13,000 word cover story, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All” for the July/August edition of The AtlanticAs a new mom with a Ph.D. and growing career, I have wondered if I can truly “have it all” or if something will eventually have to give in my overloaded schedule.  It has been exhausting and near impossible to keep up with my “normal” workload while being a parent and I have constantly been concerned about my daughter getting all she needs from me (and me getting all I need from my daughter!).

I had a long struggle to becoming a mother.  After ten years, multiple infertility treatments, many prayers, and even more tears, me and my husband decided to adopt.  We’ve been so fortunate to be blessed with our darling daughter, but becoming a mother has been nothing of what I expected.  I had fantasized about motherhood, imagined it as my true destiny, a spiritual path, the role God intended me to have.  Now that I am a mother, I find myself constantly falling short.  The laundry is never done, take out for dinner happens far too often, and some days I forget to pack my daughter’s lunch.  I’m late to work, I miss deadlines, I don’t return phone calls or emails, and I wonder if it is possible to get back to being organized and on top of life the way I was before.     Continue reading “Having it All or Embracing What We Have? by Gina Messina-Dysert”

A Family Conceived, Lost, and Resurrected by Gina Messina-Dysert

As I had written about in a previous post, my husband and I had a very long struggle with infertility.  After nine years, multiple failed rounds of infertility treatments, and much heartache, we decided to look at alternative options to grow our family.  Once we had made the decision to adopt, I felt new hope.  There was a light at the end of the tunnel and I knew a child would be coming home to us before long.  I had a dream that Mary, the mother of Jesus, had come to me and told me that I would be a mother.  She promised that a child was waiting that needed our love and would arrive soon.  I began praying to a shrine of Mary at a local parish near my home; she became my source of strength and solace.

Not long after we had been approved for the adoption waiting list, we took a family trip to Italy to visit my father’s hometown and meet our relatives.  It was quite an adventure and during our excursion I stopped in every church we passed to say a prayer to Mary.  Half way through the trip we received a call that a child had been matched with us.  To say we were overjoyed would be a complete understatement.  We tried to catch an earlier flight home but were unable.  A once in a lifetime trip to Italy was suddenly of no interest to us as we sat around our hotel room looking at baby items, reading parenting info, and preparing for the homecoming of our first child.   Continue reading “A Family Conceived, Lost, and Resurrected by Gina Messina-Dysert”

Robbed by Monica A. Coleman

“Life is robbery.”

I re-read this Alfred North Whiteheadquotation to my students in the last weeks as we read through Adventures of Ideas. We were taking a welcome break from the philosophically demanding Process and Reality.

I explained that this is one of Whitehead’s more frequently cited sentences because he succinctly and poetically describes his position that life entails loss, and you can’t go back and get what you lose.

I said the same thing to one of my girlfriends as we chatted in my kitchen a couple of weeks ago. I was cooking and catching up with a friend I had not seen in nearly twenty years. As we chronicled our lives from the intervening decades, my friend said: “I have a religious question.”

In moments like these, I curse the fact that even my closest friends think that I have some special kind of knowledge as a minister and professional theologian. I took a deep breath because that phrase usually precedes some difficult, heart-wrenching question that has no satisfying answer.

Continue reading “Robbed by Monica A. Coleman”

The Barren Woman Bible By Monica A. Coleman

As I mourn the loss of my miscarried babies, it’s easy to see that the Bible’s stories of barren women were written by men.

I know that men wrote the Bible. That’s no surprise to anyone who has had a brush with feminism or biblical scholarship. But there are times when one is more aware of this than at other times. As I mourn the loss of my miscarried babies, I think of how the Bible tells the stories of barren women.

When I read about Sarai, Leah, Rachel, Hannah and Elizabeth, the story is always the same. The woman cannot have children.

Like a choose-your-own-adventure novel, the story goes like this:

Option A: You give your husband your maidservant, who then gives him a male child or two or three, and then, later, God opens your womb so you can bear a male child yourself.

Option B: You pray to God about how much you want children, and then, later, God opens you womb so you can bear a male child yourself. Continue reading “The Barren Woman Bible By Monica A. Coleman”

I’m Back and Writing About Loss By Monica A. Coleman

The following is a guest post written by Monica A. Coleman, Ph.D., scholar and activist committed to connecting faith and social justice. An ordained elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Coleman has earned degrees at Harvard University, Vanderbilt University and Claremont Graduate University.  Coleman is currently Associate Professor of Constructive Theology and African American Religions and Co-Director of the Center for Process Studies at Claremont School of Theology in southern California. She is also Associate Professor of Religion at Claremont Graduate University.

This post was originally posted on the Beautiful Mind Blog.  Be sure to check in there and follow Monica’s journey.

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ve noticed that I’ve been really quiet lately. Like all summer lately. What’s up with that? Well, part of the challenge of writing about depression is that it’s hard to write when depressed, and, well, depression happens. Continue reading “I’m Back and Writing About Loss By Monica A. Coleman”

“Now Sarah, Abraham’s wife, bore him no children”: On Experiencing Infertility By Gina Messina-Dysert

Gen 16: 1 reads “Now Sarah, Abraham’s wife, bore him no children.” The simplicity of this statement fails to communicate the complicated and devastating situation Sarah faced. The woman who became the matriarch of the Judeo-Christian tradition was barren, unable to fulfill the one duty that gave her worth within her community.  While women were already devalued by society, the social status of a woman struggling with infertility was even further diminished.

Sarah is a woman I have come to identify with. I share her plight of infertility and feel a hopelessness that can only be fully understood by women in a similar situation. Like Sarah I have been desperate to become a mother and although it is the 21st century, as a woman I have felt pressure to do so. Feelings of inadequacy and lack of worth have been overwhelming at times as family members and friend have felt it necessary to not only acknowledge my struggle but also offer commentary on what exactly they think is wrong with me. Continue reading ““Now Sarah, Abraham’s wife, bore him no children”: On Experiencing Infertility By Gina Messina-Dysert”

%d bloggers like this: