For anyone who takes it for granted, please trust me when I say that pregnancy journeys are not always black and white – not all of them start with a quick check of the stick and cute baby announcements on Facebook… some of them are dark and mucky.
For some of us, these journeys include things like surgeries, needles, constant bloodwork, biweekly ultrasounds and sterile rooms. I thank the beautiful women in my life who shared their closely guarded stories with me, almost like taking my hand through the process. There is something to be said about strength in numbers and easing the load through connection and shared commonality…
My husband and I tried a round of IVF in July. It actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be – I dreaded it forever, but the experience itself was manageable (yes physically uncomfortable with the constant pokes and prods, and yes emotionally up and down) but manageable nonetheless. Having a Doctor with an amazing sense of humour sure helped a lot too. There was a lot that came out of the process, huge invaluable realizations I might not otherwise have ever come to. Maybe it was the hormones? The heightened state of sensitivity I was in? Or maybe it was the acute awareness of the potentially life changing measures we were taking…whatever the cause, this is what I learnt while taking hormone injections:
1. Life isn’t conventional, and the expectation that it should be poses a huge barrier for those of us outliers to accept and live out our realities. Even just getting to a point of accepting fertility intervention was a tall task for me. The thing that most held me back (ironically) was myself!! It was my attachment to the “natural course of life” and my perception of the way things were “supposed” to be that kept me from moving forward. At the heart of my beliefs was the driving expectation that babies are conceived in bedrooms (or backseats….just kidding) not hospital rooms. I believed that if I were intended to be a mother, it would have happened without me having to take such inorganic and peculiar paths to get there …But true enough, life isn’t conventional. There really is no norm, and the only things our expectations produce are barriers to living out our lives with more ease than harm. There is no definitive so-called “normal” way of life. There is just life. And it is up to each of us to live out our own realities and our own lives the best way we can.
2. For the last at least twenty years of my life, unbeknownst to me, I have mistaken control for love. Okay yes, I am definitely a Type A kinda gal, chalk full of lists and organized schedules. Being in control has always felt somewhat natural for me. And sure, that’s fine and dandy when it comes to my day to day living activities…but not fine when it comes to matters of the heart.
I had become so entrenched in my way of doing things (my choices, my decisions, my way of living) that it was almost impossible for me to relinquish all of it to my Doctor. It was almost paralyzing trying to imagine giving someone else control over my hormones, my body and my future, I was petrified of the transition! I hadn’t realized how far and how deep I had gone in my need for control, it felt irreversibly engrained. What had once served me so seemingly well, had become hugely debilitating when it mattered the most. It baffled me! How had this happened? How had my Type A personality morphed into this unhealthy control freak way of being?
Somewhere between prayer and reflection, the origin of my misguided desire for control started to surface. Many many moons ago, I had experienced the dissolution of a relationship I had been crraaazzzzzyy attached to at that time. That ending was beyond my control and choice, and that separation at the time had felt like it had happened to me (not for me, not with me) but to me. It was in that state of perceived “helplessness” that I first felt unloved. So somewhere over the years, from that point on, the mistaking of control for love started to mutate deep down inside of me. Somehow I began equating a connection between control and love. Kinda like subconsciously believing that if I were to lose control (be too vulnerable) that it could lead me to feeling unloved again – so conversely, I think I sought maintaining some level of “control” to ensure the feeling of “loved”.
I don’t know how this has impacted me and my relationships or friendships over the years, but realizing these things resonate with me – not to say of course that I haven’t experienced real love, because I definitely believe I have and do now– but I can admit that while looking back, it hasn’t been often that I feel truly vulnerable or allow myself to be truly at the mercy of many things….but that saddens me, that I would have been coming from a place of seeking control instead of love – I guess so much so that I might have stopped really recognizing the difference between the two.
3. Despite being Christian, despite having been a part of a great Church community and an amazing Church family…despite so many levels of growth and maturity I had thought were taking place in my spiritual life…despite thinking I was almost ready to eat solid food instead of the milk I was so accustomed to drinking (1 Corinthians 3:2); I didn’t realize until it was crunch time, that deep down I’ve been recklessly holding onto the lie that life is ironic and God doesn’t work for us.
I came to realize that this is what I’ve actually been believing! I’ve been believing that His will is to test us and that things happen in life to make us ‘stronger’….but this isn’t a proper reflection of the God I’ve been seeking relationship with, and this certainly isn’t the outlook I want to have on life! Talk about a negative lens to look through! The revelation stunned me because I’ve always believed myself to be a positive and hopeful person. When friends and family have problems, I’m always the wiz problem solver, the hoper of all things possible and good. But when the chips were down, I surprisingly found myself coming from a place of doubt and disbelief.
It’s easy to allow fear and worst case scenarios weed and suffocate the fruits of patience and process. All of a sudden quick answers and need to knows became more important than trusting, waiting and letting it all unfold. What started off as a peaceful process became chaotic and commotionary because of the fear that made me jump ship on faith.
But I recognize that, if at the end of the day I have been holding on to this belief that life is ironic and God is not for us, then that must mean that I am living from a deep place of insecurity and fear without even realizing it. But why? When did I stop trusting the process? When did I stop believing in God’s goodness? When did fear replace love? Where was love when I was seeking control? Where was God when I was supposedly in control?
Big stuff! Big eye opening, heart bursting stuff.
At the end of the day, we were “unsuccessful” in the process….the fruits of our labour were many things but conception….and vulnerably speaking, probably won’t ever be… And though this outcome is entirely unconventional, and completely out of my control – I oddly feel unusually and supernaturally hopeful….