A Glass Half Full

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. 

image: tieutrong

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.   

12 thoughts on “A Glass Half Full

  1. Very well said Mrs. X. I could’ve written it myself (although I’m not as superb a writer as you). You are a very wise woman and I’m happy to see what the journey of infertility has given you. Maybe some other infertile women who are struggling with what they don’t have, will witness your appreciation and value and learn from you. As my 5th grade teacher used to say “You are a smart cookie”.

  2. Probably one of the most touching posts I’ve ever read. You’ve brought me to tears.

    I often feel guilty for having lived on both sides. I never knew how lucky I was with my first pregnancy. Often, I think that trying for a second has taught me to appreciate what I had then, and have NOW. No matter what happens, the experienced learned has made me a different person. A compassionate person. And no matter what happens from here on out I will live the rest of my life changed.

  3. This is beautiful, Mrs. X, and a post I know I’ll return to once my hurt has eased slightly.

    I think, too, we don’t realize how damn strong we are. We can stand such pain, discomfort, emotional distress and still function fairly well. I know that I’ll come to appreciate the toughness and power this has given me.

  4. Thanks for the reminder. It’s so easy to get caught up in all this IF business. I frequently forget to enjoy the here and now. I needed the reminder, and I appreciate you reminding me so eloquently.

  5. Through suffering, we discover compassion at the end of it all. I met a couple in Amsterdam who conceived their child after 2 failed attempts at IVF. When I looked at this child, I felt such joy for them, such awe that this child was born. I now look at this amazing gift of life with such a sense of appreciation – even if I cannot have my own.

  6. Yes, indeed. The trickiest thing in life is remembering that every breath we take is a miracle of sorts … I know that if I hadn’t struggled with IF for the time I did, I would never have found the wisdom of all these wonderful women out here. And my life would have been less full.

  7. You really are a wise woman. Thank you for sharing.

    And for the record, I’ve not been avoiding your blog. I’ve been stuck in feeds for the last week.

    I am so sorry you’ve had to travel this road, but it never ceases to amaze me the insight you give. Bless you!

  8. Pingback: Bad Timing « The Big “IF”

  9. I’m here via bridges. It is true what you say. I know I appreciate each moment with our daughter more than I would have had we not dealt with IF. Perhaps I am a pessimist, but I would still trade in what I have learned to get rid of the unhappy memories of loss and failed attempt to have a baby.

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