How did Mary Vitamin begin?

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I wanted to be a saint.

I’ll wait for you to stop laughing….No, I’ll join you!  I need to indulge in a hearty laugh. Nowadays, when asked, “What made you adopt six kids?”  I say, in a timid way, “I tried to be a saint,” followed by an uncontrollable wry, sardonic huff. A real laugh might purge some of my sarcasm.

I’m not going to lie…it has been a long, rough, tiring, humiliating road to live life as an adoptive mum and a biological mum.  While struggling with under researched and few remedies when it comes to creating an attachment bond between adoptive mother and child from another’s biology, I also contended with an internal struggle with infertility.

My infertility took the shape of every aspect of infertility. A honeymoon baby during a year in which I had no menstrual cycle; pregnancy which humbled me physically through pre-eclampsia and hyperemesis; 15 years of no pregnancy not even miscarriage; another baby at 42 with a medical condition; and finally, four miscarriages. My internal world of struggle with the overwhelming desire to have a child led me to call out to heaven for relief. I found solace in strong women from the Old Testament such as Rachel who says,

 “Give me children, or I’ll die!” (Gen 30:1)

[The rest of Rachel’s story doesn’t fit mine.  But, that is better saved for another post.]

Other biblical words that I favored came from Hannah, the mother of the prophet Samuel. She says, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord.” (I Sam 1:15-16)

Hannah suffered greatly within her heart when not able to have a child and she spoke to the Lord from that place in her heart.   I love the way the biblical author subtly explains that this prayer of Hannah’s was not about lip service with no connection or meaning to the interior life:

“Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard.” (I Sam 1:13)

I found Hannah’s and Rachel’s lives and experience inspiring. When they finally conceived, not only did they each have a child, the child was an important part of God’s plan. Hannah’s son was the prophet Samuel.(I Sam 1:28 ) Rachel’s son was Joseph who became the Viceroy of Egypt and played an important part in averting famine during seven year drought. (Gen 37-45)

While I struggled internally with infertility, I also had children who struggled externally. The combination nearly tore me apart. During this time, I began a systematic Marian meditation each day. I woke up very early to turn to the Mother of God in reading. I found a quote about her that fed me with spiritual strength. I resolved to remember this quote to get me through a day, I expected to be fraught with intense friction. I discovered, through God’s grace, that a common gesture with my body, helped me to bring Our Lady into my day.

Each of the original Mary Vitamins were the result of prayerful interaction during difficult days. I shared them for eight years at Yahoogroups. I am bringing them back.



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Helen McFeely

I'm Helen Mcfeely. When I came to New Mexico, my eyes unexpectedly opened in discovery. I am now in the untamed, wildlands of a brave new world.  On this website, I weave my thoughts about literature, scholarship, Catholic teaching, education, and strange tangents into written expression.