Last night, after an emotional day trying to decide when/if/how/what around my aunt (and, I might adding, failing miserably to come to any type of decision.), combined with PMS and eventually, alcohol and a migraine; I declared a moratorium on noise and kicked everyone who was making noise out of my room.
This meant my lovely child took YouTube on the iPad to a different room for 30 minutes (I set a timer and said it was bedtime when the timer went off. Which worked way better than I expected.) and left me and my husband alone. I curled up next to him, cuddled his arm and said, “I’m not okay.” and started crying.
He held me and said, “You don’t have to be.”
It felt so freeing to be able to say that and have that statement be okay. No arguments, not telling me how strong I am. No, “buck up,” “stiff upper lip,” “you got this.” Just a simple acknowledgement that there are times when it’s okay to not be okay.
It’s okay to not be okay.
In my post, Sisters, I talked about my aunts and their aggressive cancers. One aunt passed away, as described, shortly after that post. It’s likely my other aunt will pass away shortly after this one.
I am no better at saying goodbyes now than I was then. This time I am further away and I have no idea where I need to be.
I feel like I should be approaching this day with a more mournful, less selfish attitude. I should be focused on the families in the process of recovering from hurricanes Irma and Harvey. I should be focused on the families still recovering and morning their losses from the World Trade Center 15 years ago.
But instead, I look at my new cousins and feel profoundly, deeply, sad for me that I won’t get to hold my newborn baby to my breast. I mourn the babies I conceived but never birthed together with the ones that were never conceived at all. And I just feel deeply sad. I know from the fertile soil of sadness comes profound transformation. As the Psalmist says, “I have transformed the barren, into the joyful mother of children.”
I read something this morning in one of my support groups. A woman was talking about the empty feeling she has post miscarriage and someone chirped up (I don’t know how she meant it, but I swear, I can hear the chiping) that a bit more than a year after her miscarriage, she got pregnant again and was able to carry to term that made everything better!
And I know she didn’t mean it like that. Because if she were completely healed of her heartsickness, she wouldn’t be in this group. But it struck me as so completely minimizing instead of the validation it was supposed to be. First off, if someone said to me, “Don’t be sad that you can’t have this now. In just TWO YEARS, you might be able to have this! And then you’ll be happy!” I might have to slap them. I’m not normally a violent person, but, I might have to, because I’m having trouble coming up with a verbal replace that expresses quite the scathing attitude I would have. And more importantly, no one can promise you a baby. I know we think that doctors can, and they do, but they can’t. They can improve the odds, but in the end, nothing is promised. Only chances. And what do you do when all your chances are gone, and you still haven’t succeeded? What of your empty promises then? Where are the children? How can I feel joyful without them?
A girlfriend sent me an image of a brochure of some type that she came across. It reads “Chronic Migraine is my inspiration!” Chronic migraine is not my inspiration. Unless it inspires me to headbutt things. But infertility, to some degree, is. I contribute to infertility support groups, advocate for infertility coverage and support; giving both my time and my money in the hope that fewer people, including me, experience less of what I’ve gone through.
We live in an imperfect word and I think it’s our job to use our passion and our pain to make the world better. I just somedays wish we had less to do to improve it, you know?
Really feeling this subject line this morning. Following a week of births, pregnancy announcements, countdown clocks, and baby crocheting; I’m quite sure that the only people who aren’t pregnant are the people who have just had their babies.
What does it all mean?
I met with a woman this weekend who I’m sure, although she didn’t say it, was pregnant. I feel like the evil step-sister. Does that make sense? Probably not.
When you’re hoping to have a baby, that moment you know it worked, becomes so magical. And I can understand, especially when you’ve been surrounded for years by people effortlessly popping out babies right, left, and center, that you would want your moments to be extra special, planned with extra care….
I do understand, I really do.
But not every time you tell someone has to be some rehearsed prepared cutsie speech in which you start in one place and casually drop in, Oh, by the way, I need this because I’m “growing.” and when I say “growing,” I mean, “a child. In me.”
So you get that moment of squee as the conversation turns from where you originally started it to where you actually want to go. Like a low-budget bait and switch. It’s just unnecessary. If you don’t walk into the room screaming, “I’m pregnant,” you can certainly interject it in that moment when the person you’re talking to asks, “What’s new?”
It doesn’t have to be a scripted moment of surprise. Any moment is a moment we can be happy for you. The cutsie thing…it’s not as cutsie as you think.
When you see G-d’s blessings all around you, touching other people, but not you. When you see your prayers for the health of a loved one fail as their health fails. When you pray for a baby, and watch as the people who pray with you are gifted, one-by-one, with a child, while you can only watch.
What happens to those unanswered prayers? Do they have a purpose? Do they elevate? Do they enlighten? Are they the tools of such fools as we are? If prayer doesn’t help, who are we praying for? Why are we praying?
Every day I try to devote my life to helping to improve the lives of others in some way. Some ways are small. Others less small. But. But. Why is there a but here? I don’t regret what I do. I only regret that I lack some of the benefits I help others enjoy. I want to be out there feeling like I’m overcoming, winning wars, pushing back the darkness. Instead I feel consumed by the darkness. Helping other people push back their darkness while nothing holds back the tides that engulf me.
I know it sounds narcissistic in a world where Napal, Bangladesh, India, and Texas dealing with the very real, very physical aftermaths of very real flooding. But I’d probably just send money and goods for that. I’d hate to have them receive the affects of my prayers, because they’re clearly not worth a damn thing. Or as Lupe de Cazaril would say, “I do not hate any man in this world enough to inflict the results of my prayers upon him.”