Skip to content

I’m neither brave nor strong; I just am

December 30, 2009

I feel like a phony.

I’ve been praised by others for my strength, bravery and readiness to stand up to infertility and fight dirty, gloves off, no-holds-barred. From the second I heard the bell ring at the start of this fight, I’ve been doing everything I can, researching, paying close attention to my body, recalling the long-forgotten past and mapping out a path for the future.

None of this feels brave or strong. It only feels necessary.

In all my doctors visits over the years, I’ve always been hard-pressed for a solid diagnosis. Unless it was an obvious illness (sinus and respiratory infections, bronchitis, pneumonia, strep, etc.), my token diagnosis was, “It’s something like _________.”

My mother lost her battle with leukemia when she was only 24. I like to blame that on why I’m always convinced my newest ailment will be the one that will surely kill me. It doesn’t help that the battery of tests often included those for Very Scary Illnesses.

I do not like going to the doctor. I feel like I walk out with more frustration than answers – and always less money.

Maybe it’s because I wasn’t expecting a death sentence – I was looking for a life sentence – but seeking medical attention for whatever it was that kept me from ovulating (and who knew what else) was something I never once questioned.

There are difficulties to digest while sitting idle, and there are difficulties to digest while on the run. Starting a family isn’t something I felt deserved to sit on a shelf while I thought. When we decided we wanted to start a family, we wanted to start a family. We didn’t want to start a family only if it was going to be easy. In fact, learning that it was likely going to be a bumpy road made us that much more determined.

After so long of feeling helpless because my body doesn’t work on its own like it should, it was empowering to know that, despite what my body intended, I could at least try to do something to make things right. It actually became essential and kept me from drowning in helplessness. I could wonder all I wanted about what the problem could be, how difficult it would be to overcome or even if it were possible to overcome, but my wondering doesn’t come with the credentials of a medical degree and the experience of treating similar cases.

Despite my doubts in a real diagnosis, I wanted the unknown defined as the unknown, if that’s what it was. It actually means more to me if doctors wonder as well.

It sucks. It’s difficult. It’s easy to be envious when I look around and see so many new babies that are made with little to no effort. Despite all that, this experience is mine. I’ve learned compassion and patience and have stopped to pay closer attention to others whose journeys have been much longer and much more difficult. I’ve gained new heroes, and I hope to play even a small role in teaching the world about fertility,

I read somewhere recently that the biggest problem/fear we ever face is the one we’re currently facing. (I wish I could remember the exact quote and where it came from, and if it comes to me, I’ll report back.) Isn’t that the truth? How many times have you been met head-on by something and wished that problem/fear was as easy as one from your past – or any from the past, for that matter.

Even those people I envy, the ones who seem to sail through life on easy street – even they face life-altering difficulties that set up roadblocks in their life. Everything is relative.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned through all this, it’s that someone, somewhere – probably closer than you’d ever imagine – is feeling the exact same thing at the exact same moment. You are never alone.

I don’t know if that’s so much a comfort as it is a simple reality check.

One more subject for you to think about, dear readers, something that’s been gnawing on my mind: What is a blessing? If children are a blessing, what qualifies some to receive that blessing while others are left without? Is it accurate to label people, relationships and experiences as blessings when it’s quite possible that the actual blessings are the impact each have on our own life?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. heirtoblair permalink
    December 30, 2009 8:50 am

    I think challenges are a blessing, m’dear. & it’s so hard to see the silver lining when you’re going through them (no matter how petty or massive), but on the other side, there is always a benefit. It’s why the current problem/fear is always the worst – it is the unknown of how it will resolve that chokes you with fear.

    & I think the bigger blessing are those relationships during your challenge. A relationship standing on it’s own is not so much a blessing — how narcissistic to believe that just by being your friend, I have blessed you? (although I’m sure I really am that fabulous, right?!) No, the blessing comes in how we support each other, listen, comfort, advise, & lift each other.

    That’s why you are such a blessing. Not by simply existing, but what you do with that existence.

    • Jenny permalink*
      December 30, 2009 11:26 am

      Wow, Blair. Yes, you are a blessing to me, over and over and over again. Today, you’ve blessed with me with a different perspective on these questions.

      I’m amazed that, while I always say Bitter Infertiles are wrong to resent others’ pregnancies because it isn’t about the pregnancy – it’s about the child and the life they will lead, I’ve forgotten that very advice when it comes to where blessings lie.

      Thank you, love.

  2. dandj06 permalink
    December 30, 2009 2:19 pm

    How true is this.
    the biggest problem/fear we ever face is the one we’re currently facing

    I don’t have anything as profound as what heirtoblair wrote (which is beautiful by the way) but just know that you have a group of people who are behind you and support you no matter what.

  3. RachelG83 permalink
    December 31, 2009 12:44 am

    I love this entry. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: