Healing for Catholics who have been sterilized?

My question is a difficult one for many reasons, but is important enough that I think it needs to be addressed. I am a cradle Catholic who loves Our Lord, who loves His Church, and who loves the Truth. I am also a sinner. When I was 28 yrs old (10 years ago) my wife gave birth to our fourth beautiful child, after being on bed rest for 3 and a half months. Afterward, we made the dreadful decision to “get fixed.” To be emphatically clear on this point right from the start, this was the worst, most hurtful thing that we have ever done… Please, please understand that I have no desire to justify or rationalize this act. My question is in regard to how you, the “question answerer,” probably just reacted when you read the sentence above that says we “got fixed.” Because this is where we are at.

Like I said above, both my wife (of 16 years) and I regret with all our heart and soul our decision. I look at my 4 beautiful children everyday and am astounded at the work of our Lord, both in their lives, and in ours because of them. And then I think of those other ones… the ones that God planned for us to love, to hold, to cherish, the ones who would change this world. And I can hardly breathe the sorrow is so overwhelming. We long to go back and change the past, but we can’t. And I will regret it everyday until I stand before my Jesus, when I hand my heart over to Him trusting in his Justice, and in His Mercy.

We moved to our little town about 8 years ago, and found a wonderful Parish with parents our own age! In our previous college town, anyone with more than one kid was at least 20 years older than us, and even then, they never had 4. And usually, their kids were younger than ours anyway, and we were in our mid 20’s! So we found some great, faithful Catholic friends with as many kids as us in our new home! Such an amazing blessing!

But now, these friends’ families are growing. We have been open about our fertility with them in the past, and while they certainly didn’t condone our decision, they were able to get past it. One of our friends, though, got pregnant with their 6th child about 2 years ago, and went into a deep depression. And now she is lashing out at us. Some of the things she says are beyond hurtful. This horrible choice we made has made her despise us. She calls us hypocrites, speaks about us as if we aren’t even parents, talks about how because of her obedience she has to suffer, while we are out just “living the high life,” which I assure you is not true. We have our crosses, and they are heavy. I won’t get into the details, but I cannot even begin to tell you how painful it has been for my wife and I. We have for the last couple of years done nothing but take it, and do everything we can do to love her back, pray constantly, and support her anyway we can. I know, I know. It’s really easy to say, “Well, you deserve it. See what sin does?” In a way I am grateful to be able to suffer this affliction while I am still here on earth, but it’s still, I think, a dangerous issue for many Catholics who struggle with being judgmental.

That’s my issue… I know that there are apostolates for, for example, women who have gone through having an abortion. Is there anything like that for us? It hurts me to say it, but it seems that this is a very easy thing for “faithful Catholics” to judge in their brothers and sisters in our situation. It almost seems like the lung cancer scenario that generally goes something like, “He has lung cancer.” “Well, did he smoke?” “Yes.” “Figures. Than he deserves it.” Like, because he made a bad choice it is now ok to treat him without compassion when he is suffering. And if we talk about how much pain we feel over what we have done, it just seems like words to the listener. Meaningless words. Like rationalizations.

I dunno what I’m looking for… I guess I was just wondering if you know of any support groups that relate to this specific issue.

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