Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of February 3, 2003
Childless, but still joy-filled
Focusing on each other keeps the Habetlers content
By RENATO GANDIA
WCR Staff Writer
Love conquers all, may be an old refrain. For Sandra and Rob Habetler, this sentiment rings true and runs deep within their lives.
"We are talking about growing old together," Sandra told the WCR.
As good Catholic individuals, when they got married, having children and raising them in the faith was one of their dreams.
But it has been nine years now and this dream has yet to come true.
They've been trying to have a baby since they got married. True, Sandra had been diagnosed with endometriosis when she was 24. But it was successfully treated with ninety five per cent of the endometriosis cleared up.
And nine months after they were married, she became pregnant. But she unfortunately miscarried at the sixth week.
"I always believed that I would get pregnant again," said Sandra. "I was never told that I could not have children, even to this day."
The doctor uses the term "unexplained infertility" to describe Sandra's condition.
Another blow struck them when at 37, doctors discovered an ovarian cyst in Sandra, resulting in the removal of one of her ovaries.
The doctor assured her she has a healthy ovary and could conceive.
But they still have no baby.
It is an ache in their hearts, but the Habetlers keep their infertility in perspective.
"We could never let our infertility problem become more important than our love for each other," said the couple.
A musician who now works for a finance company, Rob said, "Sandra is the most important (part) of my life without a doubt in my mind. My world would be nothing without her."
They believe that the heart of their marriage should be centred on each other. And not being able to have children should not be a hindrance from getting married.
Sandra said, "If a couple falls in love with each other and decides to work hard at spending a long life together, why not (get married)?"
As the Catechism (1652) teaches, "By its very nature, the institution of marriage and married love is ordered to the procreation and education of the offspring and it is in them that it finds its crowning glory."
On the other hand, it also teaches "Spouses to whom God has not granted children can nevertheless have a conjugal life full of meaning, in both human and Christian terms. Their marriage can radiate a fruitfulness of charity, of hospitality and of sacrifice (1654)."
For most couples, having children and raising them is the main focus of their marriage. But Sandra, a banker formerly from Blue Sky, Alta., and Rob, 40, originally from Prince Albert, Sask., zero in on their relationship in maintaining love and respect for each other.
Focus on each other
"We focus on being able to communicate with each other using humour and laughter to keep things in perspective."
They believe nurturing a good marriage and long-term relationship is a significant challenge. It takes hard work to make sure the relationship between each other is fulfilling, emotionally gratifying and totally supportive.
Another significant move the Habetlers did was to surround themselves with wonderful people who accept them for who they are and allow them to be part of their lives.
They also attend the youth Mass each Sunday evening at St. Patrick's Church. "It gives us the feeling of fulfillment and makes our life complete. We thank God for the faith we have."
Support from their immediate families is also crucial.
"We try to stay up to date with what they are doing in their lives at all times."
Every year, their holidays are booked around spending time with their families and they eagerly look forward to that familial space.
Although the Habetlers experience moments of emptiness, they often remind themselves of how fortunate they are to have each other and how much they have to be thankful for - health, families and most importantly, faith in God.
If you ask them, "Is a good marriage possible without children?" they are sure of their response and quickly draw from their own experiences.
Maybe they will adopt
Someday, when the time is right, Sandra and Rob are considering adopting a child. But for now, they feel their life together is fulfilling.
They believe marriage is complex and takes serious planning and commitment.
"As a couple, we must confront and master the inevitable crises life has to offer. We believe you mature each day as you work to maintain the strength of a marital bond," the Habetlers emphasized.
"We try to remain positive at all times and work hard at keeping our marriage strong."
They always do things together. In fact, when the WCR made a follow-up interview with the couple, Rob was waiting for Sandra to pick him up so they could have a late lunch together.