After a long discussion and sharing STI testing status (I just got my next round of tests this week) my latest beau and I decided not to use condoms together. The only thing I didn’t think about was where exactly I was in my cycle when we made that decision. Ooops!
So this week, waiting for my period to arrive, I had some feels. I tried to get pregnant for years, so I knew that the chance of me actually getting pregnant this time was practically none. But that didn’t prevent me from having a little hope, a little anticipation. Ha! Wouldn’t that be a big fat joke on me if I were to finally get pregnant the days leading up to my 47th birthday! Long story short, I write this with cramps and period pain, no pregnancy here.
All of this made me think of a post I wrote a few years ago on my former travel blog. I thought it might be appropriate to share here on this blog now that I don’t write on that one any longer.
The Price of Admission
One morning, a few weeks ago, I was sitting in my living room, very relaxed, in the spot where I sit every morning for my meditation practice. As usual, the coffee was brewing behind me in the kitchen, the small lamp on the counter was casting its yellowish glow over me, and the room was quiet, except for the occasional sound of the workers on the roof. I was listening to a Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey meditation from a series about creating a limitless life- “Getting Unstuck Leads to Fulfillment.”
As I sat there, quietly breathing in and out, focusing on my breathe, noting my thoughts, and gently pushing them back for the moment, I started to fill up with tears, with sadness. My chest felt so heavy, I moved both my hands over it in a sweeping motion, trying to push the weight off of me. I kept my eyes closed, took as many deep breathes as I needed to center myself again, and thought to myself, “What the heck was that?”
At that thought, the tears began to flow for real, because I already knew the answer. I always know the answer to my random tears, because they are often with me, usually unshed, sitting dormant waiting for a quiet moment, when I am able to allow them to flow. So I let them flow for a few minutes before pulling myself together, chest STILL feeling unbearably heavy.
I sat there and thought, I should blog about this. I haven’t talked about this very openly or publicly before, maybe it’s time for some transparency. If you used to read “The Curvy Life” you may remember, I often wrote about my life and feelings in a much more transparent way. But this blog, it’s been difficult to find my way with this one. What does this blog want to be when it grows up? Maybe today it’s growing up, because today I am going to tell you…
I want a baby.
It is the one thing I can think of in my life that is still “unfulfilled,” hence the outflow of emotions in a meditation about fulfillment. I cannot control this thing. I control everything in my life. I live where I want, I travel where I want, I make my own work schedule, I am even learning how to design relationships that fit my needs, not to try to fit my needs into a relationship, but yet… I still don’t have a baby. I am 45 years old. See the issue here?
I have wanted children my whole life, and like most of us, I just assumed I would have them. I mean, of course I knew that the older I got, the worse my chances. The old eggs, being overweight… so I had the gastric by-pass. Yes, that was my primary motive. Being thinner was healthier and increased the likelihood that I could have children. Also, I choose gastric by-pass over other weight loss surgery options because there is research that shows it can “turn off” PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome- one of the leading causes of infertility in the US) and I also have PCOS.
I do have a blog that I never publicized, about my journey and experience with infertility. (If you want, send me a message, and I will share the URL.) It was pretty raw and cathartic, though it could have been more so had my ex-husband not been reading it. I didn’t always want him to know how I was really feeling. Interesting because it also involved him, yet the feelings were too much, too raw, too painful.
From months before I got married, when we were deciding whether to go off the pill already or not, worried that I would get pregnant before the wedding (fat chance) to fertility treatments, shots, pills, surgery for cysts on an ovary, vaginal ultrasounds, and 11 or 13 IUI treatments (I can’t remember how many for sure- I just know I convinced the doctor to do two more than she really wanted us to do). We tried for more than two years to get pregnant.
After I left him, and we divorced, I pretty much thought that was it. It’s over. I tried to make myself be ok with it. I mean 43?! Who gets pregnant after 43?! I would be exhausted, I would be too old to want to be up all night with a baby, I couldn’t do it alone anyway. I was only kidding myself.
Let me tell you. It sucks. It still sucks. It is something I carry around with me, every day, all day, every hour, every minute. This grief. The literal weight I gained back because, well, fertility drugs permanently ruin your hormones, and more than one doctor told me I will probably never be able to loose the weight again. The figurative weight of this dream, this lifelong hope of holding my child in my arms, is still not a reality. The knowledge that at 45, it probably never will be. It all sucks sometimes.
I have this awesome visualization meditation. My Soul Circus pals from South Africa taught me how to do this. I picture this “moment in time.” It’s beautiful. It’s me, standing in front of a room full of people, in a bookstore. I am talking about my newly published book, and a baby cries. It’s an intimate crowd, so it’s ok when I reach out and take this amazing tiny human from the arms of the talk, dark and swarthy man who loves me and is holding the baby. I finish the reading with this incredible gift of life in my arms. I picture it, I feel it, I smell it, I taste it. I make this visualization a memory in time, so that someday, it can become reality. It’s satisfying to do this. It feels good and it feels real and this IS a moment in time that would be so perfect for me!
Then I let it go.
Some days I do this “letting go” better than others. Most days, I feel strong and I truly mean it when I say, “If this happens, WOW AMAZING AWESOME, but if it doesn’t, I am very ok.” There are those other days though, when the weight of denial presses so heavily on my chest, I break down while meditating.
Please do NOT say, “Oh but you have this amazing life, you travel, you…. you…” Because yes, of course, I freaking love my life. I know how blessed I am. I am thrilled to be able to have all these amazing experiences and live this life. It’s just that the price, the cost, for this amazing life, has been very high. Loving a beautiful thing you purchased for a lot of money, doesn’t change the fact that the item came with a high price tag. It is still something you love. It still cost a lot. One does not negate the other, and one does not mean the other is less valid.
I love my life. Believe me. Loving my life does not change the fact, that the price I paid for entry into this particular lifestyle, was my lifelong dream to have children.
This past spring, I finally admitted that I still wanted children to my BFF and my counselor. They both kind of gave me blank stares, as if to say, “Uhm, You are JUST figuring this out? We’ve been waiting for you to get here!” Ha! You have to love the people who know you best. I made the decision to try again, to get pregnant, this time on my own. The support from my family and close circle of friends is unconditional.
I have changed what that looks like since first making the decision, it’s all part of the letting go. I went from planning to do fertility treatments again and going for insemination, to waiting to see if it will happen naturally. I hit a pretty big age milestone this summer, which actually made it easier to “let go.” Realizing the odds are truly no longer in my favor, means reality is setting in, and letting go is a smart thing. I DO still have some hope. It’s a very small shimmer of potential, and every month when Aunt Flo comes around, I wonder, will this be it, finally?!
But honestly, since I have been in this space again, this time of hope again, there hasn’t really been even one time, that I have cried when I got my period, realizing it hadn’t happened that month. I AM letting go and most of the time, I HAVE let go. I can look at this and say, I am doing my best, the rest is up to God.
I really don’t understand it. I know I would have been an awesome mom. I think I will be an awesome mom. It makes no sense, when I know my body is doing, and always has been doing, all the right things, but nothing ever comes from it. There are so many mysteries in this world, and my inability to have a child is just one of many questions I have, but I suppose it is one I will live with until I get to ask in person!
As I wrote this, I felt the weight lift. I am reminded that even though I have heavy days, (more than I would like) I have more “free” days than sad days. I have more days that I’ve let go than days when I am still clinging to the dream. Time really is a healer. Knowing that I have choices in my life, knowing that I am making the choices that best suit my needs, helps too.
I really did feel compelled to write this. I am not sure why. We have been going right along on this blog, without me opening up quite so much, but it has stayed with me since that day, to write this, so I did. I was so sad that day, maybe it will help someone else, who has been or is currently dealing with infertility to know that they are not alone.
As I write my book, a memoir, a lot of this is coming up for me. A lot of this story and oh so much more will be in there, so maybe this feeling of needing to get it out here today, is just a by-product of working through all these things as part of the book writing process. Either way, here it is.
My life is freaking amazing and it came with a very hefty price tag.
Can you relate to having something amazing that cost you dearly?
Have you dealt with infertility? How are you doing?