In Cana of Galilee…



Patience

With my eighth pregnancy, the question that people ask me most often has surprised me. No, not whether I’m rich – to which I always reply yes, I am, because anyone who has children is rich. Nor whether my house is a mansion – to which I reply no, it’s not, because we have a room for the boys and one for the girls, whatever their number. No, the question I hear the most is, “where do you get the patience for so many kids?”. I reply in a spirited tone, saying that patience comes with the child delivery kit.(…)

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When are you having an amniocentesis?

This question to a 46-year old pregnant woman is so common it deserves some attention here. My response is quite naturally that I don’t do amniocentesis. And then the surprise reaction, “but isn’t it compulsory at your age?” Amniocentesis is an invasive pre-natal diagnosis that holds a minimum risk of miscarriage (generally 1 out of 100 to 300, depending on the expertise of the doctor and the gestation period) and has a sole purpose – to detect genetic malformations in the baby, or to say it plainly, to check if the baby has Trisomy 21 (Down syndrome). There are diseases(…)

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Mothers on their knees

One of the passages that touched me in the Dorothy Day autobiography, The Long Loneliness, refers to an apparently insignificant episode during Dorothy’s infancy. Dorothy Day grew up in the USA in 20th Century, in a family without religion. Around her there were catholics, episcopalians and evangelists, and the churches with their hymns held a great fascination for the young Dorothy although she never went in. Her conversion happened much later, after a failed romance, an abortion, a new romance and a baby in her arms. And the leap to sainthood, an unquestionable sainthood, would start exactly there with the(…)

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Surprise

Dinner-time, end of May. I place a beautiful red box on the table tied up with a bow. A present for everyone. The kids come into the kitchen and take a seat. “What’s this Mum?” they ask. “Is it a box of chocolates?” But Frankie looks over at Clare: “Where have I seen a box on the dinner table before?! Clare, I think we’ve seen a few scenes like this before… Is it possible?!” I try to look serious. “No, it’s not chocolates. It’s a Christmas present:” “Christmas?”. Now curiosity is raging. “Sara will be the one who has the(…)

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Graces or disgraces?

Recently, on my birthday, my mother was here in my house telling me how she remembered the happy day 46 years ago when she picked me up in her arms for the first time. Beside her, in the maternity ward, was another mother, a mother of six children who were never born. Yes, that’s right, beside my mother there was a woman recovering from her sixth miscarriage… My mother still remembers today her face and the tenderness with which she looked at me. In life, and cost what it may to believe, everything is a gift. Both fertility and infertility.(…)

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