At that time, my soul had been troubled for about 3 days with the woes of infertility. It’s the longest I’ve had to deal with it since 2006 when we were diagnosed. Those woes cut deep to my core and no matter how I tried to explain it to those who seemed to want to understand …most couldn’t because of their fertility. It was impossible for them to grasp the depth of the ache and the significance thereof. In that way, their fertility is their weakness as infertility is mine.
There were many private tears.
I longed to be with my species–people who understood what I was trying to, inadequately, express with words.
That week I had been suffering and feeling sorry for myself. The endless stream of phone calls, texts, baby announcements on Facebook and in the mail seemed to be pressing me down to the point of feeling less than. There were literally hundreds of friends and family members who were expecting or delivering (springtime!) …and I seemed to find out about all of them at the same time.
I am not expecting the world to revolve around me, although it would be nice. Babies must still be born. Families must grow even if mine is not. As Shakespeare put it in Much Ado About Nothing, “No! The world must be peopled!” In all honesty, I wouldn’t wish the pain of infertility on my worst enemy even in my most spiteful moments, but as my friend and author Kerstin Daynes put it, “Couldn’t it just be hard for them for like 6 months or something?” Indeed. But no. Unfortunately the world does not revolve around me. LOL (Again, I wish.)
For the last few years, I have always dedicated the entire week of National Infertility Awareness Week to a myriad of posts on the topic. This year, I just didn’t have it in me.
There is something to be said of being with one’s community.
Let me share with you some gems that stuck with me from this year’s event.
Infertility has as great a psychological impact on women as someone dealing with a life-threatening disease.
“The problem is that infertility affects every aspect of a woman’s life. It affects their relationship with their husbands because men and women don’t respond to infertility in the same way. It affects their sex life because they’re told when they can and can’t have intercourse. It affects relationships with friends and family because everyone else seems to be getting pregnant effortlessly. It affects jobs because they have to miss tons of time for doctor’s appointments and procedures. It can send them into a spiritual crisis. They feel cruddy because they’re going through all these invasive tests and procedures which hurt. And it costs a ton of money.”
–Alice Domar, health psychologist, Director of the Mind/Body Program for Infertility at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School
“If you can find humor in anything, you can survive it.” -Bill Cosby
Afterward, a group of us went out to lunch to debrief. Little did I know that, again this year, this luncheon would provide some much needed insight into my own soul.
That lunch was full of raw emotions for me. It turned sacred. I love you Christine, Carrie, Aubrey, Candace and Mr. R. Thank you for listening to me rip out my own heart and lay in on the table for you. Thank you for being the kind of people I can trust with that kind of deep experience. Love you to the moon and back.
My final thought it this: Community can heal you. If you are struggling in silence with infertility, tell someone. Confide in someone who knows the struggle. Give them the opportunity to find purpose in their own suffering and let them love on you.
It continues to work for me.
(Bring on another hundred baby announcements. ;) I am ready.)