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A Winding Road to Motherhood: What I Re-Learned about Infertility from One Woman’s Heart-Halting Story

By on May 18, 2017

This teaching story could’ve been my story.

The reason it’s worth paying attention to, is  because it can help us remember what’s at stake as we  keep putting one foot in front of the other on this winding road to motherhood and fatherhood.

It can help us get a bit more clear why we do what we do in this here Fertile Heart neck of the woods.

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There was something about the expression on the face of Teri Hart, a Canadian television personality, when she spoke about the six years she has spent in the infertility underworld enduring miscarriages, an adoption that didn’t pan out and an egg donation cycle at a clinic that got shut down– that lifted me out of my seat.

Watching the video of Teri Hart’s interview, I recognized an old  friend,

a woman I never actually met, but one who had a pivotal role in my own story. Listening to Teri recount the troubling twists of her journey, I instantly recalled a similar expression of pain I once saw at a support group I attended after the birth of  my inconceivable daughter.

I chose to avoid those meeting when I was still in the midst of my own battle, because my faith in my self-healing protocol was too fragile. The energy of defeat in the group I had attempted to join, threatened to shatter my emerging hope.

But after I gave birth, I needed a solid enough reason to sit down and write my story. Which is why I returned to the meetings I once fled,looking for something that would keep me writing.

And I found what I needed in the face of the first woman that arrived at that mid- Manhattan conference room, took her place at the massive oval table, and kept reaching for her husband’s hand the entire evening.  The expression on her face was that of deep disappointment mixed with equally deeply felt anger and utter helplessness.

At the time I recognized that expression as an all too familiar reflection of feelings I myself have wrestled with so many times in my life.

From then on,  whenever I doubted whether writing my book made any sense at all, since no publisher deemed it worthy of putting to press, all I had to do is recall the face of that one woman at the meeting.

Teri Hart’s face brought back the image of that mom-in-waiting I saw years ago.

Teri also put me once again shoulder to shoulder with my own sorrow-filled child. Yep, her voice still rises up. She wonders why after all these years she couldn’t reach Teri Hart or the many women with similar stories before the 5 years of failed treatments they had endured.

Then again,  by now I know I got to walk my talk and bow to what is.

Do my work as best I can with the women and couples I do get to reach.

I listen to Teri say, (about infertility): “It’s an epidemic, it’s all encompassing, the emotional and financial (aspect) were crippling. I couldn’t do anything to make the outcome different…You can do everything right, do everything your doctors are telling you to do and maybe you’re not going to end up with a baby.”

It’s true that we are not able to control the outcome of a fertility treatment. But we do have the power to choose how we move forward, we have the power to choose our companions for the journey; we have the power to choose the provisions we place in our backpacks; we have the power to build our inner resources and at some point recognize ourselves as co-creators of our lives.

Not creators, co-creators.

Not because we want to blame ourselves but because we want to claim whatever power we are able to claim.

Six years of treatments, an adoption that fell through, egg donation with a clinic that was shut down? What can we learn from this heart-halting story?

The readers of this blog know that I’m not “against” anything. Not against IVF, or surrogacy, or egg donation, or embryo adoption or anything else. But the manner in which these choices  impact our lives depends on how we use them.

We can see our bodies as adversaries that aren’t doing what they’re suppose to do,

in which case we will resort to any means to force them to come up with desired results. In that scenario, IVF becomes a self-punishing weapon.

Or we can view our bodies as allies trying to shield us and our future children from harm and trust that they have a good reason to behave as they do.

We are not the controllers of our lives.

Not controllers, not Gods, but brokenhearted, fragile humans. All we can ever do is be humbled, grateful partners with our bodies and some Mystery breathing through us. A Mystery that orchestrated our own coming into the world and if we can stay the course, will do the same for our child.

It’s not about the number of years we spend travelling this winding road to motherhood and fatherhood.

It’s about making sure we get the support we need in order to keep walking a road of self-discovery rather than a road of suffering.

Then we can reach our destination as did Sharmini, or Chaim, or Meghan, or Anna  through becoming our own and our not-yet-born child’s strongest allies.



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