I was reading an article the other day about a woman who actually seemed to be thankful that she was a (recovering) alcoholic. By her reasoning, if she hadn’t been an alcoholic, she said, she would never have met so many other people who needed her help.
To me, this is like taking the glass, breaking it, gluing it back together with a few pieces missing, and putting in the water while it’s upside down. In other words, it’s freaking hard to understand how someone could see a silver lining out of being an alcoholic. But, see it – and celebrate it – she did.
image: Pranav Singh
I never thought that I would be able to find my Silver Lining with infertility and loss. What good could come from it? All I could see was disappointment, dashed hopes and a fertile world laughing at me like Carrie at the prom. These feelings fueled me through the next attempts after our first miscarriage and up to our IVF. But, then, I got tired of it all. I didn’t want to be angry anymore, I didn’t want to avoid people who had children.
But, it wasn’t until this last go-round that I fully embraced the idea that I finally decided to just let go and to see the beauty of what I have already. Infertility is often a testament of what you don’t have or what you’ve lost. You don’t have children, or as many as you wanted, and you’ve lost the opportunity for them, or you’ve lost babies. It’s hard to switch the mindset to see what you do have.
What I’m trying to say, probably rather inarticulately, is that my silver lining is that I have learned to value what I have. That’s it. I can still want to have children, I can take steps to have children, but my happiness cannot be defined by whether I have children. It has to be in the here and now.
For the first time – probably since we started down this road – I’m not focused on the goal of getting knocked up (or staying knocked up). The thought of doing an IVF right now is about as appealing as what I imagine going to a proctologist would be like. Both would be a pain in the ass.
If I hadn’t dealt with infertility, if I had gotten knocked up easily and had an uneventful pregnancy, I don’t know that I would ever realize how lucky I was to have an uneventful conception and birth or appreciate it all for what it was. I would probably complain mightly about a lot of trivial things and possibly never fully appreciate what I had. I would be blissfully ignorant, as I had been before we started, that anything could go wrong and I would probably take for granted all of the amazing things that have to happen to have a child and for them to even come into being.
I’ve seen so many women like this and I know that they wouldn’t trade places with me for all the tea in China. Maybe they would pity me for all that I have been through and I still have no living children. Still, I also know that I wouldn’t trade places with them. This experience has taught me how to find joy even in the dark and it has been a hard earned, hard learned lesson. It’s mine and I won’t trade it for anything.