Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Yes - merry infertile Christmas. (Why does my auto-correct want "inferrt..." to be corrected to "intertribal"?)

I have a link on my sidebar to an article on being childless at Christmas, which has been there forever but I want to draw attention to. It's brilliant. It's important. If you haven't read it, read it. I need to read it again.

And - also - with reference to the pain management lecturer I mentioned two posts ago - there is another side. We all carry crosses. Some people's crosses are large enough to define their lives more or less entirely. But they never have to. You can understand how someone could be "that poor woman undergoing chemo," but you can also understand how the same woman could be, "the lady who makes those delicious cookies. Oh, yes, that's a wig! She has a bunch of different ones. She's undergoing chemo right now." And I'm pretty sure you can imagine "that poor couple with no kids" versus "the people who take the crazy RV trips" or "the folks on the corner who throw the BEST parties" or "you know, the Smiths - they're at the soup kitchen bright and early every Saturday morning." If you cry, they'll assume you have reason. If you smile, they'll assume you have reason for that, too. So, have a reason. Live the hell out of your life. 

I know (believe me, I know) that this really is not possible in the middle of infertility treatment. In that stage, you're buried in a grueling schedule of drugs and appointments and timed relations. If you weren't already crazy, that burden would push you over the edge; and if you manage to hang on by your fingernails, the hormone supplements will kick you right off the cliff. That's the road to Calvary, truly; ain't nobody smiling there. But let me offer a word (well, many words) of unsolicited advice. Don't live there any longer than you have to, OK? Figure out what you want to do, how aggressive you want to be, knock it out. I promise you, if you have a rigorous 18-month treatment plan, it will still take you five years - that you can't have back. And maybe in that time you'll get pregnant, in which case the time will all seem worth it. But maybe you won't. And if you don't, that article raises some excellent points. As long as you (and the people around you, on your behalf) look at you and see the empty space for the baby you wanted, nobody has much of any hope for a joyful life to offer you. But there IS hope. You just have to step further on. 

Remember that you had a life before treatment - and that was just based on five or ten years of being your adult self. And there are DECADES more. Be you. Be everything you want to be - and if your response is "but ALL I want to be is a mother," then you need to have a word with yourself (it may take a year or so), because that isn't true, and there are doubtless lots of women (and men) you admire for reasons having nothing to do with parenthood (and plenty of people whose parenting you do NOT admire), and you have a whole life and lots of good things to do with it. Do them. Carpe vitam. We all only get one. And for those who also receive the blessing of new life - that isn't your life, but somebody else's (as I'm sure all healthy parents - which doesn't include mine - keenly understand). And unless you decide to squash that person's healthy development, the dreams lived out in that life will be someone else's. The only life you have for living out your dreams, big or small, is yours.

This year, I decided I would be the gal who made stockings (and dozens of cookies, and decorated excessively, and made two Christmas dinners - one fish for Vigil, and for today, lamb. It was on sale). I also took pictures of my decorations to share in the blog tour of homes and the evil camera and/or evil computer would not load them. Maybe I will post them still. I don't have any pictures of empty cribs (because I don't own a crib. Don't make your life needlessly difficult), but I have a picture of a tinsel wreath in the bathroom, and of my sister getting the dog to wear a dog-shaped stocking on her paw. (The dog's, not my sister's. My sister doesn't have paws. This is where I would type "#funwithpronouns" except that even after dozens of TV ultrasounds I still have some self-respect.)

The bottom line? Handel put it well (though of course he didn't come up with it. Hey, I'm not that original, either):

EVERY VALLEY SHALL BE EXALTED, AND EVERY MOUNTAIN AND HILL MADE LOW: THE CROOKED STRAIGHT, AND THE ROUGH PLACES PLAIN. AND THE GLORY OF THE LORD SHALL BE REVEALED, AND ALL FLESH SHALL SEE IT TOGETHER.

That's you. Merry Christmas. 

5 comments:

  1. I love this post! Merry Christmas!

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  2. This is primarily why we stopped medical treatment, we wanted to just live our lives. When people mention that I am young and can still do medical treatment in the future, I shudder at the thought because right now I don't ever want to do it again! Yesterday I had a dilemma of whether or not I was going to have some wine because I am a couple days away from aunt flow and I "could" be pregnant but then I remembered that I am not in medical treatment anymore so I went for a nice big glass of wine. It felt so freeing just to do what I wanted to do and not think that I may be screwing up our chances of conceiving. I am looking forward to this next chapter in our lives as we close the book on TTC. Thank you for your reflection and I think I want to be known as the person who makes great tasting food and baked goods :)

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  3. I've read that post (about being childless at Christmas) a few times (always linked from your blog) and it is always a good read. The realization of the author that there is not necessarily an answer is refreshing.

    As I read your post here, I found myself nodding. I am so scared that in 10 years I will look back and realized I missed a decade of my life. And yet, I don't feel like we are done pursuing medical treatment. I realize how all consuming this process is, but my stubborn nature makes me also determined to live my life - to be known as "the one who throws an amazing Christmas Eve celebration." It took every ounce of energy I had this month to keep it all together, I'm ready to hibernate now.

    Thank-you for the reminder that this is hard. Truly hard, but that I must live my life.

    Merry Christmas!

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  4. Thanks for this post and for the encouragement. I love this line "If you cry, they'll assume you have reason. If you smile, they'll assume you have reason for that, too. So, have a reason. Live the hell out of your life."

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  5. What a great post. Wish I could say more, but my brain is fried from the percocet. I'm very thankful that we never went crazy with the medical treatments. It was a crazy enough roller coaster ride with just the minimal things I was doing (like acupuncture, diet, etc). Yeck.
    Merry Christmas to you!

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