Ahhh…a week at the beach, amazing what it does for the soul. I had a great week on vacation and away from technology. It also was full of lots of observations and realizations, many difficult ones which made me all the more thankful that I was on vacation and had some space to take it all in. Several of these observations came as a result of an unfortunate incident on vacation, so below I will share with you Today’s Metaphor.
Ways Infertility is Like Your Husband Losing His Wedding Ring in the Ocean:
1) Oh, crap. Really? That easy? It was just here, within grasp, and now it’s gone!?
We assume all our lives that we will have a biological child, and yet seemingly so quickly the idea of that happening (or happening easily and naturally anyway) can slip away. Seriously? We’ve tried almost everything already?
2) And there’s a sting ray in my face?!
And yes, a sting ray appeared right after he lost it. Turns out you don’t just get dealt one bad card in your life, or in a month for that matter, like I used to theorize. None of the other things this year have been dire, but I’m kind of ready for the poopy stuff to quit happening. Don’t kick me while I’m down!!
3) This search is even more serious than “finding a needle in a haystack.” It’s a gosh darn vast ocean, after all — that moves. And titanium is light as all get-out. This feels entirely impossible.
I will say it again, this feels entirely impossible. That feeling of searching the water, the sand bars, the shores, the shells, it really was useless. And felt all too familiar, too similar to our infertility journey. Just standing there, searching feebly, getting hit by waves, sad and helpless. If this is going to happen, it’s going to be completely the Lord.
4) “Nephews, we will give you whatever toy you’d like if you find the ring!”
Bargaining. Third in the stages of grief, typically occuring after denial and anger. Wishful thinking bordering on superstition, but it feels like it’s worth a try. There was also something really comforting about having our family involved, everyone jumped in (literally) and helped with the search. This, too, is what we need for infertility. For folks to say “we’re in it with you,” to ask us about it, to not be afraid of our feelings, to get wet and maybe even knocked around in the waves with us a bit.
5) I’m grieving but it seems like everyone around me is frolicking happily along.
What an odd feeling to be searching for that symbol that has been a part of his everyday life in a physical way and a central part of our vow for so long, panicky and sad, but looking 20 yards over at people laughing and enjoying a beer and playing in the ocean. It’s just an odd part of infertility, going along in your day and operating normally with grief close within reach all the time, but most people have no idea.
6) You could just stare at the ground the rest of your life and miss the beauty around you.
It was hard to not continue to keep one eye out even after we’d given up the search, and I would catch everyone else doing the same. I’m trying so hard not to be obsessed with trying to conceive or all that I feel daily about it being so difficult. I think there’s a real balance between glancing down occasionally, doing our part, but also remembering there’s a great big world out there for us to enjoy and engage in — the sun setting on the water, the enormous horizon seemingly all around us, family there, other things to talk about. We don’t have to deny, but we also don’t have to let it rule us or (dare I say?) be an idol.
7) It could ruin your day (or vacation or life) if you let it but at some point you just have to accept it and say good-bye.
I wish I could say we found the ring, but no such luck. There was something peaceful about accepting it was gone and that we could stop the search, say our farewells to the vast ocean that contains it, and mourn it. (And I personally liked to imagine dolphins playing with it along with the four pairs of sunglasses, power ranger, headband, and goggles we also lost that week.) Good-bye ring, and good-bye anguish with it. No, we’re not there yet with fertility, we’re still hoping against all hope we will get pregnant, but I do continue to see the need for accepting where we are and even that conception likely won’t happen for us without IVF. We are having to say good-bye to that picture we had in our minds. There is something different for us and no matter how hard we fight it, we can’t make that easier path be true.
So those are my musings on those terrible moments, but really I felt like I was seeing a ton in them about infertility and about myself.
Other highlights of vacation, however, included riding waves on the sea kayak and toppling several times in front of hundreds of people on the beach. I like failing when I don’t care, not to mention Hubs and I laughing a ton together. We needed that. I also got to talk to my dad more about what we’re going through and it was a really sweet moment. I rarely in my life have cried or been very vulnerable with him, so it was good to let go and also to be comforted by him.
Perhaps the best moment, though, was taking the kayak out really far off the coast and Hubs and I screaming at the top of our lungs to infertility. Don’t judge. A hearty “F— you, Infertility!” or two works wonders. I highly recommend it.
And finally, I put this label on myself about a year ago, but it is official: I am a severe pre-mourner. As my sister and I planned the meals for vacation a couple weeks ago and we talked about our Friday meal, I started to feel sad already about the vacation coming to a close. That was TWO weeks before the vacation even started! I have a problem!! She was kind to point out to me that there’s no wonder why I’m a pre-mourner as an (in)fertile woman. Expecting you probably won’t get pregnant two weeks before it’s even possible — that’s the name of the game! I guess to counter-act any potential hope crash. So as I’m awaiting Thursday and the likely negative news (especially since we didn’t do an IUI this month), I’m trying not to feel sad about that yet or frustrated by all that’s ahead of us the following month. The bigger deal is not pre-mourning a “no” with our final IUI and having to decide about IVF vs. adoption. I want to strike the balance of thinking ahead enough to know where we’ll go next but also not borrowing feelings from tomorrow that do me no good today. We’ll see how that goes.
So today my vacation is over and it is time to mourn that, but it’s also nice to be back to the pup, a warm fire in the fireplace, and the return of fall. Maybe #6 is already sinking in!