Guilt and regret often surround infertility.
I know I started listing all the bad decisions that I made when I discovered that I was not conceiving and might never.
I went all the way back to the fourth grade. I was not nice to a girl in my class. I was most definitely not nice. Actually, I was downright mean.
Was that why I was being punished? Was it for every bad decision that I made after that?
Every time I had an opportunity to be kind and I blew it?
Did I have things entirely too easy and it was my turn?
If I had been nicer to my mother when I was a teenager, kinder to my sister, friendlier to my neighbors?
Was it because of these things?
I wondered if there was just one thing that tilted the scales towards my being infertile.
Or if it was just simply a culmination of an early lifetime of making bad, insensitive, unkind choices.
It didn't help that my infertility was unexplained. That just caused me to look for answers that went past my uterus, fallopian tubes and eggs.
Maybe I just wasn't meant to have kids.
Only, who decided that?
I wondered what I had done so bad to have deserved infertility.
I knew there were worse things to have. Cancer, strokes, heart attacks.
It was hard to feel grateful.
Mainly, I just felt miserable, alone, guilty and ashamed.
And I was never quite sure how I got there.
I’ll be on vacation for a little over a week. Seems like a long time right now, but I know that time will fly once I actually get to the beach.
Time switches things up that way, doesn’t it?
I was noticing facebook postings last week and saw that several of my friends were struggling with the passage of time. Time was moving so slowly that they thought they would never get through to the other side.
Right underneath that, my close friend was posting about her vacation in Santa Fe, and how was it possible that it was already Wednesday? That when she would like to have time slow down, to savor the time away, the time off, it flew and swooped as swiftly as an eagle.
Same day, even same time zone and some were suffering through a day that felt never-ending and some were wishing time would relent and slow down.
The worst part of fertility treatment is often the dreaded two week wait. That's the time period between a transfer of embryos and the pregnancy test that tells you whether the IVF cycle has worked or it has not.
There's not as much to do then, except wait.
On a smaller scale though, even waiting for test results can make everything seem so much longer.
Then there's the opposite side of things, isn't there.
There's that sense of time that it's running out. That we're too old or our eggs are. That sense that if it doesn't work now, it won't ever work. That time is not our friend with each month that passes.
I just read a fabulous book that addresses this subject thoroughly and eloquently.
The title of the book says it all.
The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating.
By Elisabeth Tova Bailey.
It's a true story, written by a woman who spends decades of her life, desperately ill. So ill, that her activity for an entire day is often turning from one side of her body to the other.
Time becomes a whole other creature for her. Literally and figuratively. She watches her friends come and visit who feel that time is slipping through their fingers and that they never have enough of it.
And she, has so much of this precious commodity and very little way of truly appreciating or indulging in it.
Until she meets her snail.
More to come.
Listening to the birds this morning. I’m wondering what it is they are saying. I’m wondering that a lot lately. They wake me every morning, strident in their calls. They are outrageously loud outside of YogaSpace. So loud that last night while I was teaching, I turned off the music and we practiced with the sound track of starlings.
Right now there’s a male cardinal, bright red, sitting outside my living room window, balancing on a bush, as if to prove my point.
The male birds are brightly colored. To attract the females. I like that.
In our culture, we females tend to do the attracting, the dressing up, paying much attention to the superficial.
When I teach at the studio, I get there early to take advantage of their wonderful book selection. Lately, I’ve been reading Mark Whitwell’s, “Yoga of the Heart”.
Meandering through the book, or through the book collection. How do we choose a book? Not by it’s cover? Yes, often by its cover, at least to look at initially.
Don’t choose a book by its cover is what we are told. But haven’t you noticed how often you are attracted to another human being because of how they choose to present themselves? What they wear, how their hair is or is not, make up, jewelry.
Something about how they present themselves appeals to us or does not.
I’m not talking about attraction because someone is outstandingly beautiful. I’m talking about the little things that attract us or make us feel instantly connected to someone else. The little things that make us feel that we have something in common.
It is after the initial attraction draws us in that we see and experience more. That we look beyond the surface. That we hear what they have to say or feel their energy when they speak. Do they mean what they say or is it at odds with how they are saying it?
I know the birds are not calling to get my attention. I know that they are not speaking directly to me. I know that there is no personal message that they are trying to deliver.
I also know that there is a message coming through anyway. I’m choosing to listen.
More about this and book covers tomorrow!
I'm off on vacation this week. Once I get on the plane, it'll be real. Now, it's just preparation, making sure I have everything I need, anticipating what I might want while I'm away. And as always, everything is timing.
Don't want to and in fact, can't pack so early that I pack things that I need at home. Don't want to leave packing until the last minute and feel stressed out and unprepared.
Kind of like infertility. Timing is everything here as well. When you go for a consult with a fertility specialist, when you start infertility treatment cycles, when you take your medications, when you have a retrieval and transfer. Timing is everything and everything is timing.
Take another step back and consider the timing around the decision to have a child. We all have different ideas on what needs to be in place, yet those different ideas certainly have similarities. Most of us don't want to be 14 and pregnant. Most of us do want to have some financial security, perhaps have a solid education behind us. Most of us do want to have a partner with whom to parent a child.
Wouldn't it be nice if those things happened along a time frame that was predictable? We would graduate college (or not), meet the right person, set up house, settle down, have a child.
And doesn't it really stink when it doesn't happen that way. When it takes longer than we think to meet the right person or find the right job or life just steps in and hands us obstacles that delay having a child.
Then we come to having a child later than we would have liked, perhaps vastly differently than we would have liked. We've made compromises, we've delayed, but now we're finally ready.
And it doesn't happen. Maybe we never had a clue that as we were getting prepared, there was a problem or going to be a problem. Maybe we're unaware that as we move into our 30's, mid-30's and older, that in of itself can create problems. Maybe we make assumptions that our sisters, mothers, friends didn't have problems, so neither will we.
And yet here we are. Timing is everything. If you have been trying to become pregnant for a year and are under 35, see a reproductive endocrinologist (a fertility specialist). If you are over 35, try for six months and then see a reproductive endocrinologist. Something that we know for sure about timing and infertility, waiting will make it worse. The statistics are very clear around this. Our chances of becoming pregnant as we become older, drop.
Timing is everything. Under 35, try for a year. Over 35, try for six months.