Yesterday as I sat cozy by the fire with my little family; my husband, our dogs and cats, I asked Adam: “do you think we will have our baby by next Christmas?” He replied, “of course I do, I think we’re really close.”
I recall having a similar conversation last year.
As we pack up our decorations, roll up the lights, put away our presents... there it is; another Christmas gone, another year has passed.
Why does this time of year hold so much sentiment for the past?
Memories. One chapter ending, a new one beginning. Togetherness; family and friends.
It can be a sweet time, but it also can come with a lot of heartache and grief if you aren't where you thought you would be at this point in your life, or if you are missing the people you love, or for many of us right now, both.
This year has felt impossibly long and incredibly short at the same time. We are entering a time where it is common to look back and reflect as the new year approaches; finding recognition and appreciation for the things we are grateful for, that we hope remain and become more abundant in the future. It is also time to focus on what we can change and let go of as we move forward and start anew. While I set these goals for myself, some of them are easier said than done, even with the best intentions.
All year long I have avoided looking back. The focus has been: nose to the ground, one foot in front of the other. That seems to be the only way through this sometimes. Looking back is where time and pain and sadness hit you in the center of your chest like a thousand pounds of sand, slipping through your fingers while simultaneously weighing you down making it harder and harder to breathe. Or maybe it has been there all along; slowly building, growing, adding weight with every negative test, every failed cycle. Yet another reminder of how much time has passed; another birthday, another holiday season, another year.. gone.
Keeping your sanity during this experience is a fine balancing act - looking only directly in ahead, but not too far ahead. To the next day, the next week, the next two weeks, then stop. Believing the next time will be the time. One more doctor visit, one more prescription refill, one more swipe of the credit card, just one. more. round. I remember how naive I had been to initially refuse the sharps container with my first injection delivery - my thoughts being: why would I need a whole container when we will only need one round of this? What a waste of plastic, what a waste of resources. I had believed so hard and so genuinely that it was going to work, this one thing was all we needed. You can imagine the pain that ensued when it in fact did not result in pregnancy.. devastating heartbreak. I get this way every time our treatment protocol changes, every time something is different, which happens every single cycle; as each one is different from the last in its own way. This optimism is both wonderful and also what causes so much affliction. How do you remain hopeful and positive when it is the very thing that breaks your heart, month after month? You have to somehow keep your hope, your faith and believe this will happen without getting your hopes up or setting expectations. It is as impracticable as it sounds.
So much has changed for us this past year, and yet so many things have also remained the same. What is that saying? "Isn't it funny how day by day nothing changes but when you look back everything is different." (-C.S. Lewis.) This rings so true. We have had setbacks as well as great strides forward. It is hard to say that any one year has been “bad," even this one, since every day can be so different; some filled with joy and laughter and others filled with tears and disappointment, and some a mixture of the two. There is no denying that this year has had its challenges, its isolation, its sadness and grief. This year has also brought intense reflection, for which I am very grateful. I am not sure this would have happened had it not been for this years circumstances. This year has broken us open, and we are all still piecing ourselves back together, bit by bit. We won't be the same as we were before individually or as a whole, we will be stronger, different. This year has challenged me to look within myself, to ask myself - Who am I? Who do I want to be? What do I want to contribute to this world? How do I treat other people - both consciously and unconsciously? What part do I play in all of this?
There is so much in this world I still do not know, so many things still to learn, there are perspectives I have never and possibly will never experience in my lifetime. How can I make myself aware of them? An impossible task really, to be made aware of every single perspective. There are so many points of views that lead people to live their lives in the way they do, to react and feel the way they do, past, current and future experiences. We all experience this world differently, each situation is different to each person. We are all dealing with our own uniqueness that will shape us into who we will become. How can I extend love and a sense of belonging? What and how am I contributing? I want to educate myself so I can oppose hurting or alienating someone or contributing to the beliefs and injustice that is sewn deep into our society and within myself that wounds people and leaves scars. This is always a burden I have bestowed upon myself, my deep need to make others feel seen, understood and loved - most likely because this is what I search for for myself.
While infertility is not something I would wish on my worst enemy, it has offered me great perspective, even beyond reproduction. One thing I have realized in all of this is that a baby is not a right; conception, pregnancy, and the child itself is a miracle, a privilege, a gift. (If you want to feel really great about yourself I encourage you to watch The Great Sperm Race on YouTube. The fact alone that YOU made it to the egg is incredible.) As defeating and unbearable this heartache has been, had I not walked in the shoes I have had laid at my feet, had I not walked this path its hard to know where I would be, or who I would be. Where would my appreciation lay? My knowledge, understanding and empathy for others? This has all prepared me and pushed me to continue to work on myself: my mental and physical health, my frame of reference, my love, understanding and acceptance of others. I still have so much to learn and so much to work to do, but I can honestly say that I am proud of who I am and who I am becoming.
Thank you for reading along.
Wishing you love, warmth and contentment.