When A Control-Freak Struggles With Infertility
The story of our miracle baby and why Saint Marina is a powerful intercessor for infertility
IMPORTANT UPDATE – JULY 2023 (scroll to the end)
Gold is refined through fire; so are control freaks, a mythical fire, a slow-burning one that induces patience when that virtue was not an objective in the first place. My name is Mireille, and I am a Control Freak. Or, as I affectionately like to refer to myself and my colleagues in the Control-Freak-Squad: “Misunderstood Perfectionists with an excellent plan”.
My Family plan was traditional and fairy-tale friendly:
- Fall in love: check
- Get married to the man I love: check
- Have my first child by my third wedding anniversary: FAIL
- Have my first child by my fourth wedding anniversary: FAIL
- Have my first child by my fifth wedding anniversary: FAIL
- Have my first child by my sixth wedding anniversary: FAIL
Panic: Will I ever have a child?
The realization of infertility and chasing medical consultations:
After accepting the obvious, we resolved to consult the experts. We live in Canada in the 21st century, so I reasoned that there has to be an answer and a solution. It turned out that there was an answer, but the solution came with a risk that my husband was not willing to entertain. We had to sign a release form absolving the hospital from my potential death. There was a 6% chance that the hormones could cause my untimely demise. Not the most encouraging release document for a couple looking to start a family.
Try as I might, my husband would not sign. “There is a 50% chance a car can hit me while crossing the street.” I reasoned. That argument was not convincing. He would not sign. In retrospect, that was the most romantic gesture ever. He wanted a baby just as much as I did, but he wanted my safety above all.
Enters Saint Marina: a powerful intercessor for infertility:
While amid this emotional turmoil, a dear family friend gave me a book about the life of Saint Marina, the Martyr. It was in Arabic and as I had left Egypt when I was ten years old, reading the book was a challenge (it was in literary Arabic). The book recounting her life and martyrdom concluded with a request that she made to our Lord prior to giving up her pure soul.
She prayed our Lord grants the prayers of those longing for children and who had sought her intercessions. There was one proviso, those seeking her intercession were to visit her relics at her Church. And so, we went on a whirlwind search for any Church, in North America that would have her relics. My father must have called everywhere. Nothing.
Calling Egypt for help:
I called my beloved sister-in-law and mother-in-law to enlist them on our mission. As they both live in Egypt and Saint Marina’s church is in Cairo, I devised a plan where I would ‘visit’ her church vicariously through them!
I asked them to visit her church and call me while there. I would then pray while they placed their phone next to her relic. A digital pilgrimage, so to speak. Which is what they did for me.
I got a call early one morning telling me to pray as they had placed the phone next to her relics and icon. That call took place in 2007. I prayed and prayed and prayed, but this plan also failed.
Saint Marina and our miracle baby:
In 2009, we visited Egypt, and I made the pilgrimage to her Church and to the Monastery of El Amir Tadros, where her relics are also kept. I must have stood in front of her icon forever. I simply remember crying rivers of tears and imploring her for her intercessions, often aggressively, reminding her of her request to our Lord, reminding her of my messengers and my prayers. I left her side feeling serene and exhausted.
That visit took place in April 2009.
I found out that I was pregnant on June 9th, 2009.
Since that day, my church in Canada received a fragment of her relics and I have had the chance to visit my heavenly friend as often as I had longed to visit her before!
My plan had failed (most of them do) but God’s plan was so much better (His always are).
Our miracle child brought us closer to God and to one another.
Our miracle child came at the best time in our lives and marriage.
Our miracle child gave us a lifelong friendship with Saint Marina.
To all those struggling with a similar challenge, remember this:
Saint Marina is a powerful intercessor for infertility
Today is her feast day. May all those longing for children have their prayers answered,
and may her blessings be with us all.
Our miracle baby, in 2010
In 2015, we visited Saint Marina, in Egypt with our miracle baby, to give thanks!
We recorded the miracle in their roster.
Other articles you might enjoy: Saint Philopatir
Additional Coptic resources on this topic: The Absence of God in times of trouble
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