For a while, I was picturing my movement away from the depths of the darkness of infertility, where I've spent the last three years, as moving toward the light at the end of the tunnel. Then I realized that infertility isn't like a tunnel. There's no straight shot from Point A to Point B. Early in my journey, that's how I saw it. I thought I would move down the continuum of infertility treatments and eventually get to end of the tunnel: a BFP. Well, I never got there, and I have since learned from some of my infertile friends that, sadly, a BFP isn't necessarily the end of the tunnel anyway.
So instead I've come to see infertility as an enormous black cloud constantly overhead. It was its own weather system, visible on radar, affecting everything I did, every decision I made. Sometimes I was under the deepest, darkest part of the cloud and I didn't see the sun for days and weeks at a time. During those times, I couldn't imagine that there would ever be sun again, unless I got pregnant. I forgot what the sun felt like on my face. I thought I would always live in darkness. Maybe I even started to think that I wasn't worthy of light-that I deserved to be in this sad, miserable place. I didn't realize that I didn't deserve the unhappiness of infertility any more than someone deserves bad weather. And I had no more control over being infertile than I had over whether it rains or the sun comes out tomorrow.
Every once in a while there were breaks in the cloud and the sun came shining through. Maybe it was because I was taking a break from treatment, maybe it was because I saw a new RE and had a new plan, maybe it was because I came across a post about an adoption conference in my area. I thought, "Ah, yes this is what it feels like to be happy, to feel hopeful, to live again." It took more than a few of these moments before I began to think that perhaps I didn't have to live under the cloud, even if I never did get pregnant. I couldn't move the cloud, but possibly I could move myself. Maybe I could walk out from under it. Maybe pregnancy wasn't going to be my deliverance-a thought that was unthinkable, or at least unacceptable, just months before. I came to that revelation through necessity when our last IVF failed. But really I was starting to get there before then, when I began to think that adopting might be better than hurting like I was, when I began to wonder which I wanted more---to be pregnant or to be a parent.
I don't really know how or when it happened, but right now I feel like I'm living right at the edge of the cloud. Most of the time I'm in the sun. Once in a while, the cloud casts a shadow over me, but it passes. I don't panic anymore or sink into the depths of despair because I know the darkness is only temporary. Even my hatred toward my body will heal, I believe. I don't feel angry at fate for its capricousness or at ignorant fertiles for their ignorance. What I am starting to feel is peace. Now that doesn't mean I don't feel hurt, when others squeal over my colleague's baby bump or my friend shares all the glorious details of her ultrasound. But the pain isn't as deep and doesn't last long. I know that--- the squeals, the bump, the ultrasound---won't ever be mine and I'm beginning to be OK with that.
I came across this quote here, and it resonated with me:
A woman in Barbara Eck Menning's classic study Infertility said, "My infertility resides in my heart like an old friend. I do not hear from it for weeks at a time, and then, a moment, a thought, a baby announcement or some such thing, and I will feel the tug---maybe even be sad or shed a few tears. And I think 'there's my old friend; It will always be a part of me. . .' "Perhaps I'm not quite at the point of seeing infertility as "my old friend", but I can live with it always being a part of me. I never, ever thought I would say that.