So where have I been?
There’s a simple answer, but it leads to a complex one.
I have been, simply, spending time with my family and friends, playing P.laystation, starting a new semester in school, reading books, taking photographs, cooking, finalizing my license, starting S.outh B.each again, and beginning a job search.
I have not been online.
And like so many other women in my position, it has led me to rethink why I’m keeping this blog. When I started, it was to gain support, to find others out there who could commiserate with me as I went through treatments. It was a place to vent, to say out loud all the things that were rattling around in my head, to sort through what I wanted to say and what I wanted to mean, and figure out what the best words were to convey my thoughts. For nine months (strange how that happened), it was exactly that. But when we decided to stop treatment in October, I started to lose steam. There is so much that goes on in my “real” life that has nothing to do with infertility that it was easy to stop writing about IF, but I find I have nothing to replace it with. Without the shared experience of IF, everything that I have to write about suddenly seems too personal, too private to share with the internet.
“Becoming” (in quotes because I was all along, I just didn’t know it) an infertile has changed me. I keep going back to the quote from Laughter and Forgetting (? I think, I’m too lazy to look it up right now) where she talked about how this kind of grief can be like hearing a dog whistle — the sound was always there, but suddenly you have the ability to hear it. Reproductive issues abound in our day-to-day lives, but I never noticed them before. Now, I can’t help but stop and think about the woman that’s affected each time I hear about someone who spontaneously got pregnant at 44, or so-and-so who “lost the baby”, or worry when my friend announces to the room on New Year’s Eve that they’re going to start trying in July. Because I’ve been there. Whether in person, or vicariously through you, I’ve experienced that pain and that grief and I know how BAD it hurts. I can’t turn it off, I can’t filter it out, those statements strike straight through all the static and hit home with me.
Choosing to stop trying has taken that pain and turned it down a notch. I read the other day in someone’s blog about how there’s been research done that shows that letting go of hope can speed the recovery process. That’s been true for me. Accepting that there is only a minute chance that I will ever get pregnant, giving up the hope that this month might be “it”, has helped my very wounded psyche start to heal. At the same time, the process of changing to a child-free mindset has its own set of pitfalls that can drag you back down, and sometimes it’s like having a half-healed wound ripped open again.
In on of my first entries in this blog, I quoted Frank Herbert: A beginning is a very delicate time. This second beginning, the beginning of a childfree life, is just as tenuous and as fragile as my first beginning as an infertile. And because of that fragility, I feel the need to pull back, to protect myself a little more. I need the time and space now to be silent, to let go of the struggle, and to immerse myself in what I do have instead of fretting over what is missing. I need the time to find my footing again, to learn how to walk this new path, to navigate life as it’s going to be.
Am I going away? Not entirely. I have come to know so many of you so well, be it in person or through pixels on the screen. Many of you are happily pregnant or adopting now, and I want to continue to be with you through those journeys. But much as I am now the childless aunt in the background, I am going to be less visible here. I still read through all your blogs at least once a week, and I will continue to do so. I’m going to leave comments and cheer you on and be available by email if you need me. But I am going to be much quieter here. I will continue to post as I feel up to it, as things come along that I want to share. They will just not happen as frequently as in the past.
I’ll see you soon.