It has been a while since my last post, Summer of ’69. It’s actually not because I have run out of stories to write about. On the contrary, when I had first come to the decision to tell my story, a whole storyboard began to formulate in my mind. Almost chapter-like, all these emotions and thoughts started to automatically slot themselves into subjects. The subjects began to create titles. All at once, I had this indescribable urge to note down the million thoughts, each fighting to get noticed. It’s as if the sheer act of making the decision to tell my story instantly prompted my brain to override and overflow with information. I had to keep a notebook to record all these thoughts; often jumping out of bed – just on the verge of sleep – to pen them in my shorthand.
However, I was thrown off-guard as soon as I published the last post. I was not quite prepared to have a surge in emotions once I had actually written it all down. It felt like a release; as if all the emotions I was bottling up finally came to the surface and overran.
And then someone said something, which threw me over the edge.
They casually but strongly explained that couples going through IVF should go through at least nine embryo transfers before they should ‘give up’. According to ‘statistics’ that their doctor mentioned, by going through nine ETs, you should end up with at least one baby. Their reasoning is that for fertile couples, it takes 1–12 months to conceive a baby. So for those having difficulty, nine ETs are recommended.
Now, give yourself a moment to take it all in. We have been through three rounds of IVF and have only produced two embryos, which resulted in two ETs. It’s not rocket science to work out how many rounds of IVF this person expects us to trudge through to get to the ‘optimum’ nine.
How did I respond? Exasperated! But, I did keep my cool and was cordial – again, credit to my nerves of steel! (For someone who is generally short-tempered, I can actually be very patient. A paradox in itself.)
My next ‘planned’ post in my storyboard is quite light-hearted, with some dry humour. I have not managed to pen it yet. I was an emotional wreck in the aftermath of the comment said above, right after my last post. I just felt like life was so unfair and everything appeared to be going wrong at the same time. I was just no longer interested nor inspired on all fronts; life, work and family.
Having released all the pent-up emotions of our conception struggle through writing, the uncertainty of it all suddenly became stark. For someone who thrives on control and planning, I do not know how my life is going to be next year. (I know no one knows the future; but at least we can all plan certain things – simple things such as holidays, things we wish to do and achieve, many plan when they want their babies, etcetera.)
My only plan involves deciding if we want to try IVF again. I simply cannot begin to comprehend beyond that. Usually at this time of the year, we start to wind down and reflect on the past 11 months. But it is also the time to plan the strategies for the new year; work strategy, life strategy and individual strategy. For the first time – as far as I can remember – (I was going to write ‘as far as I can remember in my adult life’, but as children, we also have a sort of plan since we know what the next year will bring in terms of schooling and goals), I have no strategy or plan in place.
I came across this piece of text by Jeff Foster that completely resonated with how I’m feeling:
If you are lost.
If nothing makes sense anymore.
If all your reference points have collapsed.
If the old life is crumbling now.
If the mind is foggy, tired, busy.
If the organism is exhausted and longs to rest.
This is a rite of passage, not an error.
You are healing in your own original way.
Contact the ground now.
Breathe. In, out.
Make room for the visitors:
The sorrow, doubt, fear, anger.
An ancient emptiness –
They just want to be felt.
They just want to pass through.
You are a vessel, not a separate self.
You are a sky, not the passing weather.
An old life is falling away.
A new life is being born.
Others may not understand.
But trust anyway.
Contact the ground.
Life has thrown me a curve ball.
And as of a few days ago, I have come to accept it.
Was my last post a trigger to initiate the recovery? Was it the defining moment to create a cathartic release, rippling through my very core? Are all these circumstances pre-determined, so that a rite of passage can be established? Do we have to ‘feel’ and go through these emotions of uncertainty to achieve clarity? Maybe having no plan is for the best. No more planning for ‘When I have a baby…’ No more planning for ‘How to be successful in work…’ Maybe having no plan is the key. The mind can rest.
Or perhaps, I’m in a better place today, a I write this, than I was during the last few days?
Or perhaps, I’m excited as we’re going on holiday soon.
Or maybe, time is the reason. The tolling of minutes into days plays a large part in how we perceive things.
Whatever the reason, it has worked (its magic!).
I wrote to a friend and mentioned that I literally want to ‘bum around’ for a while. “For once in my life, I want to stop trying too hard and I just want to be. Is that wrong? And if it’s not wrong, how long can I do that before it is wrong? As in, how long can I bum around for before I need to be productive?”
‘Rest and Digest’ mode – no more in the ‘Fight or Flight’. For I’m tired. For I deserve this.
My friend’s response was encouraging, and along the lines of: “It’s perfectly fine for you to bum around, for it’s not in your character to be a bum for life!”
I guess that settles it then.
And so, this post is ‘off schedule’, but timely.