Tuesday, May 17, 2005

A Hole In My Belly

Well, I've admitted to y'all that I'm cruising the parenting blogs. And now I'm cruising the infertility blogs, since I was feeling a bit silly in my voyeurism. But, frankly, I'm more comfortable with the parents. It's odd.

I may be the only infertile woman around who, though not seeking any alternative form of fertilization or baby acquisition, knows all the words to Barney, Blue and Veggie Tales (I really like Veggie Tales). Everyone suggests (ad nauseum, actually, and sometimes to the point of rudeness) that we should keep our minds open to adoption. I don't think that's in the cards - for lots of reasons that I'm too weary to outline today. (Gimme time, though, it's one of my favorite soap boxes to stand on.)

Maybe I'm more comfortable with the parents' blogs because they seem to be dealing with concrete, here and now, stuff. It seems to me, as someone who really has been in their shoes, that the infertile community often is displaced, by themselves or by society - who knows, from the real world - living every moment in anticipation of a maybe. It's not that their situation isn't real - God knows I know how REAL that agony and pain and disappointment is - but it seems that all too often infertile women allow their lives to be entirely shaped by this thing: infertility. We are, once again, allowing ourselves to be defined by our biology. It's a dangerously slippery slope backward.

It seems to me that before IVF, IUI, etc. women were forced to come to terms with the maybe, which often turned into a no. It's not that these medical advances are bad, but I think they often string us along and string us out. Reading these infertility blogs reminded me of how consuming the quest for a child can become. And this is not always a good thing. It's not that hoping for a child, even working toward conception, is a bad thing. It's that it seems so often to drain joy out of the creation of life in a way that can be scarring and can make you look back on that part of your life with only memories of the negatives of the experience.

Sure, those negatives can eventually be replaced by the ecstasy of motherhood, but what if they're not? What are you left with? Bitterness, anger and a wasted year or two years? That would be a pity. I say, let's embrace our bodies and work on accepting them. This doesn't mean we can't use the wonders of medicine to try to change our course, but do it with joy, do it with peace - then the whole experience will be creative and reflective of the extraordinariness of the whole of life.

For me the bittersweetness of the failure to conceive shaped my life - in ways I would never have expected - in wonderful, painful, tender and searing ways. I am a better person because of it. I might have been a good mother, I like to think I would have been. I am, though, definitely more of a woman because of the hole in my belly.


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