In our world, so often our fertility chapters are not given the honour and love they each deserve and we can be left feeling afraid that we won’t know how or when to stop.
We grow up always reaching for the ‘next thing’. We are nurtured to finish school, go into further education, meet someone, get married, have children.
It’s as if life isn’t allowed to be still until you have done all of that.
There are very few people modeling the ‘I am not pushing for my next achievement’ life. People who are staying in their present mode are frowned upon for not moving things along, and so it makes sense that when you struggle to reach the next milestone it can feel very isolating. Everyone around you has boarded the next plane whilst you are still hanging out at the airport. Nobody hangs at the airport by choice, (apparently we are not supposed to hang around…) therefore you end up wondering how to do it and feel ok about it.
I truly have begun to believe that it is this underlying pressure which causes people to feel a much greater sense of being trapped and ‘on hold’. This intensity leads to an agitation that results in those other questions – should I be pushing forward in my career instead? There’s a deeply uncomfortable sense of wondering if one should ‘hedge their bets’ so to speak and start sowing other seeds ‘just in case’. This is our evolutionary system kicking in and trying to scaffold us. It doesn’t want us to ‘end up with nothing’ so it pushes you to seek out other things to provide some satisfaction and sense of achievement.
Thing is my loves, you ARE achieving. You ARE giving to yourself. You are investing energy, time, and most of all faith into a dream that certainly deserves to be chased, and you certainly deserve to get. It’s just that your move to the next chapter is demanding extra stuff, and it requires you to do something that we as human beings are not trained or encouraged to do:
Fly in the pants of uncertainty.
Commit to something you have to fight for, wait for, hope for even though you don’t know how or when it will end.
The reason we probably start trying to fill in gaps with stuff that actually we don’t truly want at that particular time is because we fear that unknown. We cope every day with the judgements (or the perceived judgements) of others who are waiting for us to make a move that will result in something tangible.
So the real question is, how do you put yourself out there? How do you stand at that airport and prop up the bar until the plane you hope is coming arrives to collect you?
The only reason I can even begin to answer this is because what I have witnessed has made me literally stop breathing as I try to interpret with absolute awe and disbelief the human body and spirit.
I have seen what happens to women when they actually have to face that stuff that you fear the most.
The women who are scared they won’t know how to stop having IVF if it keeps failing. The women who don’t know if they can even get through a pregnancy in case they have another loss. The women who are faced with the final curtain – the one they have dreaded for years. The news that they truly cannot ever carry their own child, or that time for them has simply run out.
Hand on heart I give thanks that for the most part my job is filled with the joy of healthy babies but that’s not all that I do. I am also privileged to share the healing journeys of these women and my God it blows me away.
What I have witnessed in all of these women is an incredible fear and pit of despair followed by this surreal moment when they just suddenly seem to ‘know’. They just know what to do or how they are going to close things. They talk about a weird sense of relief that they never expected to have. They find their minds start giving them new ideas and more importantly new feelings that fuel their recovery. They emerge like swans, ready to embrace their new direction with dignity and grace that is exquisitely innate. The fear leaves them and is replaced with a sadness that they seem to feel able to move through, like it can pass. It can leave them and fulfillment can be created in a new way.
I am not saying it’s easy, but I am saying I want you to trust you. You will find a way what ever happens. Your body will find it’s way to a light – and that light can certainly still be the baby you dream of.
These women of which I tell you, they have suffered beyond measure but yet they honestly are finding their way home. They all go different ways – some are adopting, some are finding a new way to enjoy their families the way they already are. One is using a donor egg, another a surrogate and another has decided to follow another passion of hers.
The point is that they all found their way and they don’t feel like it’s a consolation prize. It has become what they want most of all. They have each found an explanation for their path that soothes them. I tell you their stories not because I think that is where you will end up but because I want you to feel able to trust your path and commit to that uncertainty. I know it is treacherous. Just try to feel you do things from a place of choice rather than fear. Take the job because you want it, not because you are scared pregnancy won’t happen and you’ll have another thing to regret. It doesn’t seem to work like that. You don’t end up with nothing and then look back and wish you had at least achieved in your career. More often than not your needs, desires and dreams shift and grow and with it a brand new path opens up and for once it actually looks inviting, safe and achievable.
If your chosen path is to have a baby then you go for it, however you need to and trust that if and when it is time to change tack you will know, and it will feel like the right thing.
Enough with being in limbo. It’s more like you have enrolled on a course that hasn’t started yet. You are working hard to make the most amazing thing happen for you and there is nothing that is more worthy to be doing.
There’s nothing lovely or wonderful about infertility that’s for sure but nothing is forever. Fertility chapters move on. It’s ok for you to be working through this time without judgement from others, but most of all without judgement from yourself.
Back your horse. You can count on you.