Sunday, July 13, 2008

Apples and Oranges

Today I listened to a good friend of mine speak in church. She spoke about the longing to have a child and how for years, she and her dh had tried to get pregnant - only to never see it come to pass. She struggled with her emotions as she talked of how her sister, unwed and much younger and less settled, became pregnant. She grappled with the feelings this brought up as so many of us do. We who are trying to do everything "right" or the "right way". I felt the emotions and tears welling up within myself as well. She and I fall on the "other side" now - no longer in the thick of battle with our respective IF struggles and trying to get on with life afterwards; but yet we still can be moved to tears by the memories.

Somehow, achieving the prized goal of becoming pregnant is often expected to erase the emotions, the disappointments, the frustrations and the pain. For those who have lost a baby (or two or more) along the way to stillbirth, miscarriage, preterm labor, etc - the ultimate arrival of a living, breathing baby should instantly replace whatever sorrow we carried with unending joy and gratitude. A pregnancy going well somehow must make up for all the pregnancies gone wrong or the ones that didn't go at all. Adoption a resolution. We must stand up, a stalwart beacon of hope and courage and proclaim loudly "I am healed! It was all worth it! " The reality is - there is joy and there is still sadness. I was not allowed to own my discomforts or my fears - they were not understood by others, and sometimes not even by myself. "a different pg." Yes - a different pg; and there in lies the hope and the fear and the reminders and the acute knowledge, that yes, this one or that one, or the next one is/was different. What I once had, I cannot have back. You cannot be wounded so profoundly and not forever bear the marks. There is a set of words we often hear over and over again - sometimes posed as a question. "Aren't you over that yet?" Sometimes they are hurled at us in frustration "Get over it!" Sometimes we say these words to ourselves. We know we will never get over the losses we have endured - yet, somehow, we almost join the ranks in the same deluded ideal that somehow we can - with enough time, with enough distractions.

Emotional healing is non-linear. While there is definitely a beginning - or rather, an injury that requires healing to begin - the middle and the end are somewhat oblique. I am done - I am so done, and yet I am not over. I have been through, still grapple now and then but never over. I couldn't even go around. Under? Not an option. I somehow expected to arrive at some point in my life - done and maybe over? Yet, even years - YEARS later - those losses still hurt. The disappointments still prick, the frustrations still gall. I can listen to a dear friend who is even further through than I am - see her tears and feel the same things. I am not overwhelmed or consumed by them like once I was - but they are there, always there - bubbling to the surface, on certain days; bidden to the forefront by a certain song, a memory - never forgotten, never over. An undercurrent of experience that is so much a part of me and who I am that I cannot deny its existence anymore than I could deny my own DNA. Sometimes a subtle stream of unconscious thought - other times a raging torrent, the emotional soundtrack to my life. Most of the time I am okay - I've learned how to hope again, smile again, laugh again - live again.

I could dye my hair blond - but I would still be a brunette. Apples and oranges.


loribeth said...

Well said, as usual!

MrsSpock said...

Popped over from the Roundup...How very true. I've never experienced the loss of a child, but I often, now that I have a child, am expected by friends to forget my IF struggles. "Why do you still have an IF blog? You got pregnant, so you must be fixed..."

CappyPrincess said...

Round Up drop by.

Each little life (born, unborn and wished for) is special in unique ways. I think it's very normal to feel joy for what we have, sorrow for what we lost and hope for what we wish. And pppfffftttt to the ones who just don't understand that having a living child doesn't erase the memories of the little lives lost.

nikole said...

I have *really* been struggling with this as of late. For some reason, finally having my daughter has made all of my old wounds feel fresh again. Thank you for such an honest post.

nikole from