Ahhhh…. waiting. If you battle infertility you know a thing or two about waiting. Waiting- Part One detailed the many milestones a couple must pass in the quest to become parents through IVF. The type of waiting discussed in Part One is a tactical type of waiting. One procedure, medication, or result leads to another, then time passes and its time for another, then yet another. Tick Tock. Tick Tock. You wish you could sleep through all the steps and just wake up blissfully pregnant. This type of waiting is torturous, but worse exists.
This worse type of waiting is on a higher level, its more big picture. Let’s call it a strategic sort of waiting, even though that word feels too business like to describe it. For the couple that does not have a child of their own and desperately wants one it can feel like they are waiting for the life they were meant to live to begin. At least that is how we felt.
During the years we were trying to conceive Spork, I distinctly remember feeling like life was on hold. I could see what our life could be like, what kind of parents we would be, how much fun we would have. But we didn’t have our child and weren’t sure that we ever would. We were reasonably happy, but something crucial was missing in our lives. There was a giant void sitting between us as we drank wine and watched movies together, threatening to suck us in forever.
I know we did more than drink wine and watch movies back then, in fact for a large chunk of time I didn’t drink at all. We were extremely active and on the surface must have seemed to be completely content. We trained for and ran a marathon together. We travelled. We sailed and motor boated all over Northern Michigan. We entertained. We developed successful careers.
However when I think about that time, I remember it as a few years of sitting around, barely talking, drinking wine and waiting. I felt as though our lives, our marriage, lacked purpose and that if we could just have a baby our life could be vibrant and full in a way I felt it may never be without a child.
We are lucky, we came out of the holding pattern and our life is exactly what I had envisioned. I am confident that many couples who don’t succeed in having a baby also find purpose and happiness. Perhaps not all couples, but many. Likewise, not all couples that do have children find what they are seeking. Ultimately it is all about moving beyond infertility and its hold on you either through having a baby through some means or through accepting a life that is childless and discovering fulfillment and purpose within that life. For healing to begin, with or without a child, it is important for this waiting to end.
Interestingly, my experience in the quest for baby number two has taught me about a new kind of waiting. Please understand, I want so much to once again be pregnant. Other than the health and wellness of Bill and Spork, there is nothing in this world I want more than another baby. However there is a growing part of me that also just wants to get beyond all this. More and more I find myself eagerly waiting to start my life again. Not just our life. My life.
I thought about this while running my three measly little miles on Sunday morning. I am itching to go long, to train for distance again. But logging double digit miles is not particularly good for building life sustaining fat stores. Oh how I miss my running and exercise. As much as I tease Bill about being a member of the cult of CrossFit, I long to join in the fun and get tone again. Not female body builder ripped, I just want to see my abs and have a little definition in my arms and legs.
My desires go beyond exercise and vanity. I fantasize about having a cup of coffee, some chocolate, or a glass of wine when I want without having to worry about how it will affect my uterus or ovaries. I dream about waking up in the morning on a weekend whenever I feel like it, not to an alarm set for a shot that has to be taken at just the right time.
My most profound and clear vision of the future involves me being free from infertility and able to be fully available to my family. I want to feel good again, not always affected by some hormone or another. I need to have energy again so I can completely enjoy the daughter and husband I have. Hopefully I will need even more of that energy to take care of a fourth member of the family when all this is behind us.
Sometimes I worry that allowing this longing for the future me is sending a message to the universe that I don’t really want to be pregnant and that maybe the universe is listening and giving me what I want. I have to believe, however, that is the universe is indeed paying attention, it understands and it hears my cries to experience motherhood just one more time. It is possible to want a baby and a life after babies at the same time. I do.
All of this waiting has taught me the importance of enjoying the moment and being fully present in the now. I have been doing a lot of work with being mindful and it has been rewarding. When I eat lunch, I eat lunch and pay attention to the flavors and colors of my food. I put my phone away and take a moment to breathe. When I am driving I take in the scenery around me and experience the trip, rather than multitasking. When I am with someone I focus on them, not what I have to say or do next. I only check email twice a day so I can interact with people at work on the phone or in person and have real experiences. When I am home, I engage in activities with my daughter and husband. Or at least I try to do all these things and its helping me get more out of all areas of my life.
If life had a fast forward button before we were blessed with Spork, I probably would have used it, even if it meant losing precious time and life experiences. While its tempting now to wish my life away so I can make it to that next step, I can’t do that. My little girl is already growing up too fast and I don’t want to miss a moment of her precious childhood.
So I will be patient and I will suck every bit of goodness out of this time that I am in right now. Its something I wish I would have understood back when I was waiting for Spork. I can only hope that this story may help one person try to find the joy in life, marriage, friendships, and work that exists even before you have a baby. It was always there for me, I just couldn’t see it through the blinding light of my burning desire.