I was watching television on a Saturday night, thinking “is this all there is?” and the loneliness enveloping me. It’s what’s made me eat when I shouldn’t, that numbing food addiction that made me say to myself “tonight I’m going to fuck over my body with unkind food choices.” And I get sick and I cry to myself, because it’s not what I want. It’s not who I am…is it? Most days I’ve not been this way since ending the barrage of hormones that is DEIVF, but it’s still sitting there, watching me from the corner.
The dark tunnel of infertility has gotten narrower and narrower and while we think we are just fine because we have each other, my back and eye injuries made me feel like I was even more defective than I already felt, as I could not sit comfortably for so long that dinners out, drinks at the pub, and other situations around other human beings became unthinkable. I’ve not been to a movie since the fall of 2016 and don’t have any motivation to try, as just getting back into the dentist’s chair for a cleaning required a special setup. I’m healing, but my heart feels locked away, to be protected at all costs.
“Blessed are the hearts that can bend; they shall never be broken.”
You see, I am terrified. Terrified because I can’t handle it when people ask me if I have kids, because I am nauseous at the possibility that someone might say something ignorant about what we’ve been through. I was full of anxiety going to my ob/gyn last week because I knew I’d have to re-tell my entire fertility history, so much so that I almost didn’t go. Hell, even at the dentist they said “oh last time you were here you were supposed to come in sooner” which was because I was pregnant last time I was there and they recommend pregnant women get cleanings more often because of gum sensitivity. I had to tell the new hygienist that I was pregnant at the last appointment but that I’d lost the baby. No one said anything. They literally kept on working. I didn’t know whether to be offended or relieved.
And lately I’ve been running into people I haven’t seen in years, whether it be in person or online, and I don’t know what to say. I keep it all on the surface, afraid to be vulnerable, afraid of looking weak or being told “oh, it’ll happen” by people who have no fucking clue how to show empathy. So I don’t dig in, and I don’t go into new situations, and I hibernate alone or with my husband. So much so that it doesn’t matter what city we are in. Why not be out in the woods if we wouldn’t be missed anyhow, right? But then again, I’m old enough to know that there’s no such thing as escaping hurt. It will always shadow you until you deal with it.
In many ways, I have been very open. I blog about it under my real name. I mention lack of infertility benefits at my husband’s employer when posting relevant articles on LinkedIn. But my life is much, much more quiet than it used to be. I just can’t go over to someone’s house and be around them with their kids. With a couple of rare exceptions, I don’t even want to hear about other people’s kids. All that I have been denied.
“You cannot acquire experience by making experiments. You cannot create experience. You must undergo it.”
While I’ve never been a “party girl”, I’ve always appreciated the friends I had and being able to go for a drink and shoot the breeze. I’ve always appreciated getting out amongst people and learning something new, whether it be improving at my yoga or taking a new class. And yet, my stomach now turns to think about starting over, making new friends, and approaching life anew, again. When I got divorced in 2005, I threw myself into my social life, and had people around me at work who helped me get my groove back. But when you work from home, and the people who were your rocks when you got married are long gone? When so many your age have school-age children and can hardly remember what it’s like, or are in IVF land and still optimistic and go-team-go (which you need to be when you’re going through it, don’t get me wrong)?
“I know of only one duty, and that is to love.”
So as I mentioned in my last post, I’m thinking. Thinking about what the next step looks like. Finally returning to, finishing, and publishing my book for job seekers. Taking a class in something new and biting the bullet in preparation for all-too-standard conversations about their children and such. Risking pregnant bellies in a town where they literally seem to be coming out of the woodwork everywhere you go. Or going after our dream of buying a plot of land and building our little cottage in a smaller town, somewhere near the coast…
“All great deeds and all great thoughts have a ridiculous beginning. Great works are often born on a street corner or in a restaurant’s revolving door.”
Over the next two weeks my husband and I are doing a LOT of talking about the future. Taking day trips to places we have contemplated for a long time. He’s digging in deep with my friend and colleague on career aspirations (I’m not objective, clearly). I’m committing some hours to my words and seeing if, who knows, it could be a revenue source. And we’re thinking big picture. Long term.
Career – family – home – planet (in any order. The next fifty (or sixty?) years.
What’s going to tick off those boxes on our bucket list and what’s simply chaotic background noise to be avoided at all costs?
That’s what is ahead of us. I’ll let you know how it transpires, as I always have since I started this blog just under nine years ago. Nine years ago. Almost a decade of writing, soul-baring, creating, figuring shit out.
I was a thirty-something woman preparing for the death of her father the day I kicked off blogging. These quotes here throughout this blog post, all from Albert Camus, mentioned on that very first post in the fall of 2008, just before the election of Barack Obama, A week after that post I announced my father’s death and shared memories of him in a series of posts. The year I began my blog was, unbeknownst to me, the beginning of the unraveling of my biological family, and would also be what brought me my husband, my true family. Today? I am 43 and change, not even close to the same as who I was then. And still muddling through the best I can.
“Men must live and create. Live to the point of tears.”
Southwest? Northwest? Right where we are? It’s all up for debate.