Entering the Wilderness - Personal Reflections - - Articles - IVF.ca

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Entering the Wilderness

This infertility journey is moving my life into a new direction. It has cast me out of my habitual comfort zone and into the wilderness. This journey has confronted me with questions that I haven't seriously considered for almost 20 years.

Who do I want to be and become in this lifetime?

Does my work define me?

What do I believe in; what is the source of my faith?

Am I the person now at almost 40 that I expected to be when I was 20?

What would I do differently if I could turn back the clock?

And although I didn't consider it at 20, who am I if I can't be a mother?

Sitting here tonight, I don't have answers to any of these questions. And don't expect that I will anytime soon. But I am thinking... As DB charmingly said, the hamster is running! For me, perhaps after sleeping a little too long!

It occurred to me today that the failure of my cycle may actually have been a blessing in this respect; if the pregnancy had been a healthy one, I might not have asked these questions. I probably wouldn't have written 8 or more journal entries over the last 7 days trying to better understand myself. I know that there would have been other questions; perhaps just as important, but maybe I am exactly where I am supposed to be right now.

I started seeing a therapist mid-stream during my last IVF cycle and have continued. Although we talk about IVF and the challenges of managing the cycle, mostly we talk about who I am now, how I got here, and where I would like to be tomorrow.

Last week, part of my homework was watching the movie North Country. If you haven't seen it, this is a fascinating movie about a woman whose life is full of drama. On the surface, she is part of a small group of women who are amongst the first women to work in a mine and who suffer gross sexual harassment. On a personal level, she is dealing with the legacy of personal abuse and betrayal. While I don't love all of her behaviors, I love the spirit this character shows in standing up for what is right and in encouraging community amongst women.

Over the last day or two on these blogs I have seen examples of this spirit. Mollygirl's passionately articulate political activism; DB's discussion about not letting worry dominate; Ceska's ode to butterflies. Dreaming's Life as a Girl hit a real cord and spoke so beautifully about the making of girls and women. I have also seen thoughtful reactions on the forums to articles in the press about infertility and IVF that fail to recognize our voices.

In my experience, women don't always easily form community. But I see it here and feel its embrace. Just as importantly, I find role models here and learn something each time I visit. Here are women who despite the hardship and fear inherent in this process strive to do the right thing, for themselves and for others. Women who in their own grief can extend a warm helping hand to others who come in pain and feeling broken.

The questions of who I am and who I want to become are complex - I am sure that I will grapple with them long after the beta on my next cycle has made itself known. This is a good thing; I want to live my short life consciously - even when it is painful. I know at least that the person I want to be is one who stands up for what is right.

I feel blessed to be able to contemplate these questions in this place full of role models and compassion, in a place were community thrives.

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