(sorry for the huge space above--i can't get it to go away)
I have been reflecting of late on what it was that helped me "turn the page" so to speak and become able to find joy and happiness in the deep abyss of infertility. I think it was a combination of a lot of things, but a few things in particular stand out.
1. My husband. He is truly one of a kind. He is kind, patient, and so funny. He is a true optimist. Not much fazes him. And while this could be aggravating at times when I just wanted to be so sad and keep crying my big hormonal crocodile tears, I always knew he would hold me for as long as it took and he would find some way to help me smile. At times I relied on him so much. I’m sure he can attest to that. He took the brunt of my hormones and lived to tell the tale. But he was with me every step of the way. We had some really fun times in doctor’s waiting rooms. Sure, there were some sucky times too, which is why I am steering clear of stirrups for the moment and not sure if I ever want my foot to touch one again. I can just imagine if I ever go to a normal doctor and she asks, “When was your last pap smear?” I’ll reply, oh about 20 yrs ago. She’ll ask why, and I’ll simply say, “I have a stirrupaphobia.” (fear of stirrups—not yet listed as an actual phobia for some strange reason. What is wrong with us, my infertile friends? Am I the only one with stirrupaphobia?) And then she will calmly write in her chart that I refused the pap smear and after I leave, her staff will talk and laugh their heads off about how crazy their last patient was. So, my husband’s humor and love helped me continue to try to find the joy. I realized that I’d rather laugh than cry about all of this craziness. And as a result, I do look back on my experience thus far with some happiness.
2. Humor. I love The Far Side cartoons. And in the beginning stages of my infertility journey I came across 2 of my now favorite cartoons. They still hang on the wall of my craft room to bring a smile to my face when needed. Due to Far Side's copyright laws, I can't post the cartoons. But I will try to describe them. The first one shows some devil in hell working people to the bone. You can see the fire and brimstone and everyone is sweaty and glum faced. Then here comes a guy whistling away as he is carting rocks in his wheelbarrow. One of the devil says to the other devil: "You know, we're just not reaching that guy." I decided I could be that guy. I wouldn't let the adversary and everything going on get me down. I would just whistle away down here in infertility hell.
The second one is awesome too. Two chickens are chatting in their house and one of the chickens is at the fridge. The door is open and filled with at least 4 dozen of her friend's eggs. So the chicken tells her friend: "Well, here's your problem Marge--if you and Bob really want kids, next time try sittin' on these little guys." I thought it was hilarious. And the other great coincidence was that this cartoon was on my far side calendar and the day it fell on was on Rob and mine's wedding anniversary. :) Humor has became my secret weapon at combating the sadness of infertility.
3. And then I would have to say that my religion and belief system helped me. I can still recall 3 key talks/quotes that helped me remember to view things in a different perspective.
I have always liked this quote that President Hinckley ( a leader in my church) shared in a talk:
"Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around and shouting that he has been robbed. The fact of the matter is that most putts don't drop, most beef is tough, most children grow up to be just people, most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration, most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. Life is like an old time rail journey...delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride."
“Come what may and love it” by Elder Wirthlin is another one of my favorite talks. Every 6 months the leadership of my church speak to the church via satellite. The talks are then put online to read or listen to again. So I enjoy listening to these talks on my way to work and stuff. Rob and I listened to this talk on the way to one of our infertility appointments and we were laughing so hard. In this talk he teaches that “The way we react to adversity can be a major factor in how happy and successful we can be in life" Here is the link if you want to read it. http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/lds_servlet/EmailArticleProcess?action=view&cmlId=613558&locale=0&emId=511691941
The other talk that really touched me during my first IVF cycle was: Happiness—Your Heritage. In this talk Elder Uchtdorf inspired me to keep trying and realize that while I couldn’t create a child, I could create happiness in my life. And because we are children of God, we inherited certain characteristics from Him that will help us be happy. http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/lds_servlet/EmailArticleProcess?action=view&cmlId=613564&locale=0&emId=271753958
4. And then the last time we did IVF in Oct, 2009 it was really hard. It took all of my courage just to try again. We were thrilled when we were told that we had a positive pregnancy test, but the joy quickly turned to pain when my HSG levels didn’t rise well, and then dropped. Oh how I cried. I was devastated. I also felt pain, depression, demoralization, anguish, sadness, and anger. I had assumed I could handle a negative IVF cycle, after all, I had done it before. But I hadn't counted on this scenario -- feeling the elation of success, only to come crashing down to earth. As I tried to pick up the pieces of my shattered dream a lightbulb went on inside my head. With determination I told myself: Forget it! I am just going to enjoy life from now on. I have been waiting and constantly putting my life on hold and thinking in terms of “nine months from now”. I cannot rely on having a baby to bring me happiness. And that helped me get through the holidays and completely weaned off my hormones so I could think straight and come up with my plan to find joy now.
I realized I couldn’t wait any longer. When I start to feel down I try to remember inspiring words, find something to laugh at, or try to create something. And then I feel as though I truly can succeed on my quest to find joy now.