I spoke to my husband again last night. Bringing up this topic is so darn nerve-wracking for me because I know how much he hates it.
He might not be the best at talking about this issue, but he’s given me a really wide berth so I could work out handling it on my own. He’s taken Vince for much of the week so I could sleep off some of my depression. He hadn’t really grumbled about the fact that I’ve taken to sleeping in Vince’s bed just so I can cuddle with him since I miss him during the day. He hasn’t complained about the house looking like a tornado ran through, and he even ordered lunch when I didn’t feel like making anything. He might not do well with the verbal part of this process for me, but he’s been great making up for that in other areas.
But I did bring it up again last night because I want him to know that I named the baby. He still bristles at the idea of pregnancy – he physically bristles. But he didn’t say anything and probably swallowed the urge to huff and roll his eyes. He let me talk in the hopes that I’d get it over with as quickly as possible.
I asked him if he was interested in knowing what I named her. He said “No, not really, but if you want to tell me, go ahead.”
That sort of reaction hurts because I can tell he doesn’t believe I was pregnant. I could tell in his voice that he was simply humoring me by “hearing” her name.
I ignored the annoyance in myself and just said, “Myla Therese.”
He said nothing. I don’t even know why I bothered to wait for a reaction. He stared ahead, not even at me, blank-faced.
So I asked, “Do you like it?”
He looked at me with a level glance and said, “No.”
I’m not surprised. Myla isn’t a “normal” name. John likes “normal.”
So I said, “Well, what don’t you like?”
He said, “I’m not going to play that game. I don’t want to be naming anything. If you want to do it, I’m not gonna say anything, but I don’t want to be involved.”
The name “Mia” popped into my head. It’s similar to Myla and simple enough to be “normal.” So I offered that.
He thought for a quick second before shooting that down, too.
How do you tell your husband you want his input because you don’t want him to dislike the one and only thing you can actually give to her?
*sigh, sigh, sigh*
The wall went up and he was done with the conversation before it’d even hit the 2 minute mark.
What can I do? Nothing. And now I feel as though Myla can't be her first name because I don’t want there to be anything about her that her Daddy doesn’t like. Does that make sense?
I don’t know. I just don't know. Frankly, I still go back and forth with my own sanity. Was I pregnant? Yes. I believe I was. But I don’t have proof. I have nothing… now I don’t even have a name.
I feel lost and angry and hurt and confused. I absolutely hate this, and I don’t know what to do with myself. What am I supposed to do with myself? What do I do with any of this?
A friend suggested that maybe I’d just named an aborted baby. There can’t be harm in that, she said. But again, I get angry with myself for going down that road because I feel like I’m denying what actually happened.
I don’t know what to do with myself. I really don’t. This is such a messed up situation in my mind that I can’t fully wrap my head around it. Maybe I am just crazy. I’d like to think I’m too logical for that sort of delusion, but I guess the possibility is always present.
But the possibility of pregnancy is present, too, and it frustrates me to no end that I have no definitive evidence with which to convince John. How do I explain the changes of my body without him writing them off as inconsequential?
And that’s the point that really sticks me, I think. I guess I don’t care if anyone else believes me or not. I expect John to. I want John to. Denying his own child (or his wife’s mental stability) irks me to no end.
But again – what am I to do? What do I actually do to make any of this any better?
I just don’t know.
I hate this. I really, really hate this.
You guys must think I complain a lot. I wonder if you think I am constantly venting to random people about my personal life given how candid I am on this blog.
Truth is, I don't. Most people are completely unaware of my current struggles. My mom knows... three friends know... one coworker knows... and possibly a sibling or two depending on who my mom might've said something to. Besides that, I've been completely mum on the entire subject.
As I said before, I'd rather remain silent than cry. Talking about this, when I'm not in full control of the conversation, will inevitably make me cry. So I don't say anything and I pretend everything is perfectly fine.
That being said, I'm NOT perfectly fine. I understand that, and I accept that. I'm not a heaping mess of tears in the corner, either, though. Right now, I feel like an actor going through the motions of life.
It's not that I don't trust my family, friends or coworkers with what's going on. It's just... how do you bring something like this up? What's the point even if I do? Pity? No thank you.
So far, reactions thus far to my situation have been a mixed bag.
Some folks (my husband included) think I deluded myself into believing I was pregnant.
Some folks sorta roll their eyes and think I'm being a hypochondriac because even if it was an early miscarriage, it's not like it's a big deal or anything.
Finally, some folks (you readers included) have been kind and understanding.
Truthfully, I think I keep my mouth shut because most people I'd tell would likely fall into the first two categories. The first two reactions to my situation are very, very hurtful, so I don't bother opening myself up for that sort of emotional suicide.
I don't really speak much on this topic at all which is why the brunt of my venting happens through this blog.
The reason I bring this up is because one of the friends who knows made a comment that made me stop in my tracks. She's known me since college. While we were talking, she asked how this weekend went and I said, "It went better than I expected, honestly." She then said (and I'm physically cringing while writing this) "Yeah, I figured you were over everything from all the photos you posted."
I actually didn't know what to say.
It's true that I'd posted photos of a birthday party I'd attended. I had actually been contemplating NOT going on account of what had been going on, but my friend, Jay, was really looking forward to it. Plus, I knew that my other friends, Frank and Megan, would be there, too, and I didn't want to bail last minute on the birthday girl.
So I went. I'm glad I did because I was very proud of how I handled myself. It was like a test-run for how I could survive my own family or in-laws gathered together for whatever holiday comes up next. I was determined not to be a downer for Jay, and I was determined not to let on that I was anything but the happiest match-maker in the country.
Photos are a part of who I am. If I wasn't taking photos, my friends would've known something was wrong. So take pictures I did, and I made sure they were happy ones.
And truth be told, I did feel happy in some of them. I did enjoy my time at the party meeting new people and catching up with old friends. However, just because I appeared to be the pristine model of happiness does not mean nothing was hidden behind the smile.
Those pictures didn't capture the moment I walked from the dance floor because the image of a brother dancing with his little sister was too much for me. They didn't capture the temporary fumbling for composure I had when one of the friends who does know asked how I was fairing. They also didn't capture the five minutes I spent in the bathroom after being asked by a guest when my husband and I would be having more children.
I actually laugh thinking back at that adorable woman asking in a Polish accent, "But just one? You're young, you're young. Have many!"
So yes. Of course I looked happy in those pictures. I wasn't gonna go parade myself around with running mascara and a Mopey Mary complex. I was what I needed to be, and I actually took pride in my ability to compartmentalize my emotions. It made me feel stronger... ready for whatever family function I'd have in the upcoming months that might be a little tough.
But no - just because I'm able to plaster a smile on my face at-will... just because I'm able to crack a joke or dance with a friend during a party... none of that means I'm "over everything."
What does that even mean, anyway???
Did she think I was no longer emotionally raw? That maybe I'd finished grieving or that I'd finally convinced myself I wasn't pregnant to begin with? Or maybe I had accepted my circumstances and she'd never have to wait for the next awkward time it came up in conversation?
I seriously had no idea. So I asked. I said, "What do you mean by 'over everything'?"
She said, "Oh, I didn't mean anything by it. I meant that I figured you were okay with, ya know... what happened. You looked happy."
Times like this, I wonder how Jesus remained sinless, because you just know He had similar experiences with Peter or the other apostles.
"I look happy, Peter? That's what you've got? I look happy? You're supposed to be one of My best friends. Did you really think I'd just "get over" losing My cousin, John? Just because I'm enjoying a nice meal with you and these 5,000+ people doesn't mean I'm not still hurting for My cousin."
Oh sigh. He not only remained sinless and didn't snark back at Peter, He went ahead and performed a miracle and fed a bunch of people - all while He mourned the passing of John the Baptist.
I didn't snark back, but I was wounded. I just pointed out that while I was happy for most of the party, there were moments of struggle that I'm sure will repeat in the coming weeks and months.
So why am I share all of this? Why am I posting about it?
Because I've come to realize the internet (and society in general) has woefully inadequate information on this particular situation. No one knows how to talk about miscarriages - ESPECIALLY early ones. No one knows what to say or how to handle their friends who might be going through such an emotional free-fall.
So I'm going to document it as best I can. I'm going to chronicle my journey in the hopes that it eventually helps someone, somewhere, struggling to either endure this situation, or looking to help a friend endure it.
Plus, on a personal level, I just feel better typing.
As you may have noticed in my last post, I felt as though the child I lost was a little girl. It wasn’t any innate feeling on my part. I chose “pink” because of something John had said when, for a quick moment, he allowed himself to entertain the notion of another child.
He said, “I hope it’s a girl.”
I just shook my head. I didn’t care either way, but I admit I’ve always envisioned John walking our daughter down the aisle for her wedding. He’d be the quintessential “Daddy” to an adoring little girl. Even he smiled at the idea.
As I thought on the child within me, I guess I began picturing her as a little girl… as the sweet little angel who would melt her Daddy’s heart.
Then when the flowers came last week, they were all pink. Pink carnations, pink roses, pink tiny flowers that probably have a name and I just don’t know what it is. The bow was pink, and even the balloon was pink. I took that as my confirmation.
Her name was given to me when I knew I had conceived. As I mentioned in a previous post, my entire body screamed “Miracle.” A miracle she is, so I named her for the painting I can’t get out of my head: Senor de los Milagros de Nazarenas – Lord of Miracles. I’ve written about this Peruvian painting before. It depicts Christ crucified while His Mother and Mary Magdalene mourn His Passion. God the Father and Spirit are also present.
So from this painting, which expresses the mysterious miracle of love, grief, and salvation, I found myself saying, "Myla." A shortening of "Milagros" or "miracle," my little Myla earned her name from my body's unconscious praise of its Creator. Plus, its Slavic origins translate "Myla" to mean "grace" or "favor" and I believe that's exactly what she was to us.
Her middle name sorta fell from the sky. I wasn't sure, at first, what it should be. Then, I realized that I kept wanting to call her my "little flower." Ah ha.
Myla Therese it is.
So, may the Lord bless and keep you, Myla Therese. Mommy cannot wait to meet you in Heaven. Keep praying for Daddy, your brother and I my sweet little angel, and please give kisses to your great-grandparents for me.
This weekend was a good weekend. I’m utterly exhausted, but my mind and body needed to be bombarded in order to help me out of my depression a bit.
Friday found me miserable. I woke up and my body had lost the last signs of pregnancy. I was almost frantic, then, because I had nothing – NOTHING – left either within me or around me that spoke of my little one.
I didn’t know what to do. I was angry. I was so, so angry. I was terrified, too, because I knew I’d officially lost something I could never replace. A friend of mine had said, “At least you didn’t deliver a still born.” Another had said, “Be grateful you didn’t miscarry in your 6th or 7th month.”
I just… saying those sorts of things, while true, are SO incredibly hurtful. It seems as if they were invalidating my emotions… invalidating my child. “Meh… a few weeks in and it’s not a child anyway, so why the long face?”
I mean, would they say that to a mother who lost her child to cancer at 5 years old? “Hey, lady, at least he wasn’t 18 or 32. Then you’d’ve REALLY been upset.”
I’m pretty sure a mother is going to mourn her lost child regardless of the age that life is taken from her. I admit it is likely much more traumatizing for mothers to endure stillbirth and late-term miscarriages, but making comparisons of any sort are just… they’re not helpful. Just because my pain is not the same or as terrible does not mean my pain is not present. It does not mean I can just wash my hands and forget.
Maybe that was my oversensitive heart reacting poorly, but I felt so hurt by those comments… so brushed aside by such tiny statements. I wondered at how many other women were dealt such callous blows by folks trying to soothe broken hearts.
Argh. So with those statements in mind, I was heartbroken and angry on Friday. While it’s true I didn’t suffer the same heartbreak as a mother bearing a stillborn nor a mother who went through pregnancy long enough to prepare nurseries and quilts and research on schools, I also didn’t have the tangible evidence they carried of their child. I have no ashes with which to place into an urn on a mantle. I have no locks of hair to gently touch when I’m hurting. I don’t even have a positive pregnancy test to hold as proof this miracle was granted to me. I only have my faith and the same maternal instinct that confirmed I was carrying Vincent before doctors could find any evidence of him.
So on my way home from work, I was angry and hurting and asking God why I couldn’t even be given some small piece of my child to hold onto. I have nothing, and that really bothered me. I wanted something – ANYTHING – to mark this little one’s passing. But nothing – there was no response.
But silly me, God had heard my bitter diatribe before I’d even uttered it. He understood that I’d have a longing in my soul for some physical memorial I could look upon with love while uttering a prayer of thanksgiving for His great gift. He had arranged to send the Holy Spirit all the way to the opposite side of the country so that my intense sadness could be looked after.
Over in California, a beautiful mother-daughter team was strolling through an antique shop. These women are full of Christ – I never cease to be amazed by their insight, strength and kindness. Being such beacons of love, the Holy Spirit must’ve thought to Himself, “Ah ha! Here are two souls I would love to unite more closely with. They are faithful servants, so I know this mission can be entrusted to them.”
Through them, Divine Providence found its path of least resistance. This duo spotted a small music box. Its color is blue – the shade I always refer to as “Blessed Mother blue.” They thoughtfully picked that out and promptly shipped it to me. On Saturday, just before I went out to a party I was dreading on account of me being a miserable wretch, the box appeared on my doorstep.
I can’t possibly convey the feeling of gratitude I had upon realizing what the surprise was. The source did not surprise me as this family has routinely showered love and prayers my way. However, I wondered if they realized just how special their choice of gift was… how divinely inspired it really was.
I couldn’t choke back the tears that freely fell in appreciation for this little box. This would be my memorial. Instead of carrying the ashes of a child I never physically held, it will carry a set of special charms I’ve created just for my little one.
The process of creation was healing, and now I have something tangible to carry with me (or wear) wherever I go. The Miraculous Medal / Precious Feet charm will stay within the box as my memorial to her. The other two I'll carry around with me much in the same fashion as I take a little charm of Vincent everywhere I go.
So again, I thank you so much for your prayers. I appreciate them so much and know they have been instrumental in helping the wound in my heart heal. I understand that this is a process, but it's a process I feel thoroughly supported through.
I thank you all, and in a special way, those two beautiful souls who acted as such perfect circuits for Divine Providence.
Me: “I’m just not feeling very well.”
John: “Why do you think you’re sick? Did you catch Vincent’s stomach bug?”
I stopped myself from angrily retorting, No, John, I did not catch a stomach bug. This is not a cold, this is not the flu, and it’s NOT my imagination. This is our CHILD, and she is being unceremoniously taken away from me… from US.
Instead, I just shot him a look that shouted, C’mon, you’re not this dense, John. To hit home the point, I said, “It’s only been a couple days, John. I’m still bleeding, and I just don’t feel well.”
Immediately he took his hand from mine and recoiled into himself. Here he was trying to have a fun, cute time talking about our upcoming “honeymoon” to the Bahamas, and there I go bringing up things he’d rather pretend didn’t exist.
This is going to be a long, long road. I just don’t know how to handle things right now. I don’t know what to say or do, so I mostly remain silent. For the most part, I think I’m okay. I’m certainly sad when I think on my child, but I’m also buoyed by my faith that this child is happy and praying for us.
That being said, I want to talk about this. Problem is, I don’t want to talk about it with just anyone. I want to talk to John, but John absolutely bristles at the thought. The last time we spoke about this was Sunday night, and he was itching to be done with it throughout the brief moments we discussed things.
In his mind, I am just wrong. I’ve been so desperate for a child that I tricked myself into believing I was pregnant and got my period early. All the other signs were just coping mechanisms. In a nutshell, he closed himself off to the possibility that I was pregnant.
I’m not sure if he fully believes that or if it’s his way of coping with the possibility of a miscarriage. He said the idea of a miss is upsetting, but he also says that since there’s no way to prove a child existed, I was probably just wrong.
I admit… I almost want to believe that because the thought is comforting. I’m now going back and forth on whether or not I want to believe it was all in my head. But I don’t believe it. In the deepest part of my soul, I know I held a child.
I’ve been yearning for children for YEARS. Why, all of the sudden, would I start developing symptoms now? What would have changed in the last month that would have suddenly set my psyche off balance enough to delude myself (and the physiology of my body) into believing I was pregnant… only to then suffer the heartache of losing that pregnancy within the month?
I just… no. I don’t accept it. I want to. I really, REALLY want to, but the more I try to rationalize that as my situation, the more my heart revolts and says, “No. You shall NOT ignore this gift you’ve been given. You shall NOT forget the life you briefly held that now beckons you, through prayer, to Heaven. This child was made through love in the Image of God. You shall not write her off as some mistaken illusion.”
Chided by love, I’m back to square one. I’m struggling to handle these feelings but I don’t know what to do with them. At times, I’m perfectly calm. I’m able to move about my day as if nothing has happened. Other times, I need a moment to recollect myself in private… a tiny moment to remember what it is to breathe.
Roller coaster implies highs. I don’t feel as though I have any highs. Plateaus of “okay” might be more appropriate. Plateaus of “okay” interspersed with dips in the road. I don’t believe I’ve spiked down into depression, but the hurt and the sadness and the utter hopelessness of my situation does drag me down some dark alleys sometimes.
I just keep chugging along, though. I keep telling myself it’s normal to feel this way. It’s normal to have bouts with these emotions throughout the day, especially given I’m still at ground zero.
But sigh. I just don’t know what or how to say things right now. So I keep silent because I’d rather stay silent than cry. I’d rather stay silent then go off on an angry tangent that only masks the guilt and feelings of failure that I have.
Really, that’s all the anger is there for. I’m not really angry. I’m hurt. Dear God, I am so, so hurt. Sometimes I hate my heart for its ability to keep beating. At least my lungs forget to breathe sometimes, but my heart... What a nasty little contraption to keep on beating – thump after painful thump – when everything else within me wants to crawl into a corner and die.
No… maybe that’s a touch dramatic. I don’t want to die so much as leave this world to see my child. To tell her that I love her and to let her, for even a moment, feel my fingers on her cheek.
Cruel, cruel heart with your rhythmic taunting. I’m grudgingly grateful that you are deaf to my soul’s plea for solace. Keep marching, for though you don’t march for me, you march for Vincent. Maybe that’s enough right now.
Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.
Carnations, stargazers, roses and daisies!
I received these beautiful flowers at work today.
They came around 2:30 this afternoon, and they were delivered to the Archdiocesan building. The card that came with them contained a quote from this blog (Mother's Day 2013), and a sweet (but anonymous) signature.
These flowers were a complete surprise and really brightened my mood (which my coworkers probably appreciated given I've likely been terrible the last couple days).
So if you would like to remain anonymous, that's okay. I'm thanking you anyway because I just cannot possibly express my gratitude (and surprise!) that you went out of your way to get these over to the Archdiocesan building for me today. And the quote you chose... it made me feel at peace.
So thank you so, so much. And to all of those who have offered prayers, sent me messages, given me hugs or even just silently lifted their minds to God for even a moment with our intentions, you have my sincerest gratitude.
I truly do feel so blessed to have such beautiful spiritual friends in my life. Without a doubt, your prayers and love have given me a great deal of peace.
God is good. You are all proof of that.
I was pregnant this week. And last. My body told me so.
My breasts were swollen and tender (still are). My fluids were thickened and relentless. My body was utterly exhausted and every instinct I have within me screamed "Miracle."
I lived the last 12 days or so in the grasp of euphoria and bated breath.
Could it be? The timing was right. Circumstances aligned themselves in my favor. Had God finally answered my prayers?
I kept this to myself. I didn't want to jinx the little life within me by telling folks before I got confirmation. Unfortunately, it was still too early. The same was true with Vincent. Back then, my body was ticking off sign after sign, but I suspected too early to show positive on a home test. Heck, when I went in to the OB, even she couldn't find proof of Vincent's existence!
But us mothers... we just know. So I waited. I prayed and I waited.
Until Friday. On Friday, I was darn near about to burst, so I reached out to two friends. I felt I needed to have the talk with John to prep him for the results I was so sure I would have when I could finally test for pregnancy.
After speaking with them, I had the talk with John. He reacted as expected - shock, disbelief and a firm conviction to schedule himself a vasectomy.
He has no idea how hurtful that is, so he couldn't understand the tears I promptly shed at such a reaction. Even knowing that he'd react in this manner did nothing to shield my heart from the sledgehammer he took to it with those words.
But even that reaction could do nothing to quell the tidal wave of joy I felt at the notion of once more housing a tiny soul within me with outstretched hands longing to remind the world that God isn't ready to give up on us yet.
Through indignant tears I said that I was happy to finally give Vincent the sibling he deserved. I was joyed to give our parents another grandchild... our nieces and nephews a new cousin. A child... our child... is a blessing to be welcomed with nothing but the most rapturous bliss.
He countered with his normal litany of fears... finances, time constraints, parental adequacy. The flames of my heart swallowed those fears as if they were droplets of mist - nothing in comparison to the boundless gifts a new child would bring.
By the time our conversation came to a close, John had done his best to see the good. He acknowledged he'd love and support this child and he even acknowledged he probably would love him or her as much as Vincent, but I could hear in his voice that doubt and fear still lingered. He didn't wish to continue the conversation as he was hoping I was wrong. As much as I prayed a child was growing within me, he was praying to whatever higher power he sometimes thinks there is that I was wrong.
Saturday came and found me spotting. Implantation bleeding? Possibly. Sunday's continued bleeding assured me that no... it was not merely implantation bleeding. In fact, the onslaught of cramping, nausea and back pain only assured me that I was, indeed, pregnant. I was pregnant, and I was losing the gift I'd been given.
Currently I'm still sore and cramping. On top of this, my heart is broken. It is broken, but it's beating, and I still have every faith that this situation has altered the path John and I had been taking.
I do believe I am in the throes of miscarriage. They call it a chemical pregnancy, but you and I, readers, we know better. I was blessed to carry life... even if briefly. It's why my body is still showing signs of this life.
And for as sad as I am that I didn't get to meet this little life, I am joyed that God gave me the chance to harbor this little saint for even a moment. A new intercessor to help melt her Daddy's heart, maybe.
In all things His Will be done.
At this point in time, I ask prayers. Please no comments about John or his decisions or even mine at this time. I have no energy to defend either myself or my husband. I just ask that we be placed in your prayers, with one of thanksgiving to God that such a sign of Love be granted to us.
I took this video about a month ago.
Last night was a repeat performance, but instead of crying about letting them go, he just told me the fireflies were going with their "mommys and daddys."
He's growing up. But lucky for me, not all at once!
So I found a new church to snap photos of tonight!
I was told a parish near me offered a 6pm Mass on Sundays. Given I typically travel over an hour to get to my normal 8pm Mass in Philly, I was excited by the prospect of an evening Mass closer to home.
St. John's at Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Parish in Collingswood, NJ fit the bill!
This parish reminded me a lot of St. Teresa's @ Holy Child Parish in Runnemede. Architecturally, they are very similar. Both are smaller churches with beautiful wooden baldachiums. Both have similarly styled stained glass windows. Both parishes also present themselves in a simple, down-to-earth way making newcomers like myself feel right at home.
Everything was very clean and the smell of fresh flowers was evident. They kept their marble altar railings (which I loved). A very talented organist was providing soft music from the altar of St. Joseph from about 20 minutes before Mass began.
When I entered the building, I noticed the priest was within the congregation, shaking hands and greeting parishioners. Obviously he was well known and well liked by his flock. I took him to be the pastor given his evident "ownership" of the church. He walked around in an alb and a stole. His chasuble was draped over a seat in the sanctuary.
I took a seat and waited for Mass to begin. A beautiful family of 7 soon took their seats in front of me. I couldn't withhold my smile. A beautiful little girl and two adorable little boys bustled into the pew. They were followed by their glowing (and pregnant) mother who was followed by her husband. On her husband's shoulder was a sleepy boy a shade younger than Vincent.
My heart melted into my shoes every time I took the sight of them in. I admit that several times during Mass I lost track of prayers because I was joyfully repeating to God "Oh bless them, bless them, bless them!"
I'd then look at each one in turn with what must've been the dopiest grin on my face and I'd silently ask God to bring them each boundless joy for being such beautiful witnesses to love and life.
Anyway, Mass soon began and I noticed that Father did not put on his chasuble. In fact, he said the entire Liturgy of the Word without it. When it didn't go on right away, I figured he'd don it for the Liturgy of the Eucharist, and I believe he put it on at the Offertory.
In fact, something interesting happened at the Offertory.
Father snuck into the sanctuary and turned off all the lights. The only light remaining was coming from votive candles in front of Our Lady and Blessed Teresa and the lighting within the baldachium. I actually snuck a photo of it because I was so surprised. I really liked that such focus was being placed on the altar in anticipation of Consecration.
The lights didn't go on again until after the Eucharist was placed back into the tabernacle.
Homily was nice. Announcements were put smack into the middle of the Mass. You folks know that bothers me, but I can understand why some parishes do it. It just completely pulls the rug out from under your prayerful meditation of the Mass. Ay. I really wish parishes would either do them before the Mass or after Mass. Heck, I don't even mind hearing them before the final blessing - just don't go from prayerful reflection on the Homily / Intentions into "Oh, BTW, can you make sure you register your kid for classes? Oh, and we've got a food drive, and next week's bingo is up to $5,000, and we're already looking for Christmas volunteers, etc, etc, etc."
It drives me bonkers.
That aside, everything else was really nice. Their cantor sang beautifully and their altar servers were very attentive. The congregation was pretty amazing, too.
I'll likely be back again to get a better feel for their way of doing things, but upon first glance, that was my impression!
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