Yesterday wasn't half as tough as this time

If you know me, you are probably well aware of the fact that I am a weeeee big of a "Type A" personality. I know I've mentioned it a time or two. Throughout the infertility treatments and testing, I felt helpless and out of control. Then, about 4 months ago we took a break from the meds and insanity of infertility treatments while I found myself again and gave Dr. S some time to dig up a good, new REI for me. I also started my new job, planned for 6 different classes in 3 different subjects, joined two new PLCs at school, graded approximately 234287239 papers, received a middle grades language arts certification, learned how to make a crafty thing (which is totally outside of my wheelhouse), became the writing team member for my school, made a trip to West Virginia and back and planned our summer outings... all while working on losing more than 15% of my body weight without weight loss surgery to make Dr. M look stupid.

So, in short, I've been busy-very busy- forgetting about being infertile.

But, therein lies the issue. I just can't forget about infertility. It is a part of me like any other struggle we, as humans, face. It shapes me and colors my perceptions of the world around me. I can't hang it up like a sweater or put it away like a heavy package. It's always there. I wish I could put it aside. I wish I could resume the naivety of someone who doesn't know about all of the ins and outs of high tech family building. I wish I could live life with the idea that a child will be a reality for my husband and I eventually.

Let's take today for instance. As you know, I teach seventh grade. Twelve year olds are no longer precocious. They are blunt and they ask things they shouldn't ask...and sometimes shouldn't even know about. A student who I only know in passing has repeatedly asked me about why I don't have children. I am an open book about my infertility... but not to my seventh graders. I don't want them to discuss reproduction in class, so I refuse to discuss it with them. However, this child insists that I hate children and it's "whack" that I could be a teacher and not have any kids of my own. She only spends a few minutes with me while waiting for the bus, so I don't really know her. But, I know that when she starts her tirades, my heart begins to break. I never let them see me crumble, but on the inside, I am breaking into pieces.

When I got home from school, I popped on Facebook to catch up with what's going on with my friends and family. There are lots of baby-related things there, and none of them really got to me-with the exception of one. Apparently the mother of 19, star of the TLC show, Michelle Duggar went to a "fertility doctor" to see about having more children. First of all, an OBGYN isn't really a fertility doctor. He or she is simply a doctor for women. They made it sound like she was all lined up for IVF or something, but it seems more like she was having a general check-up, which all women should have annually, anyway.  However, after reading this article, I realized these people are actually insane. I mean, somewhere around kid 8 or 9, they probably broke the crazy threshold, but this takes the cake. 19 isn't enough? You just long for one more, right?

Some sick, twisted part of me believes kids are like her heroine- she just needs one more hit. She's addicted to pregnancy, babies and parenting. Seriously, can't she get a hobby or something? I know she feels called by God to have as many babies as she can, but, seriously... fade into your middle aged life with some grace. You have 19 kids. Seriously. You're not infertile. You're rubbing your abundance of fertility in the faces of those of of us who struggle to have a child.

But, as I was digressing down the rabbit hole of Duggar bashing, I realized where so much of my animosity stemmed from. In my heart of hearts, I truly think this woman, who is pushing 50, who has 19 children to love and enjoy, will be graced with another child before I will ever get pregnant. I am jealous and I admit it. I am bitter and I own it. But, that doesn't mean I am wrong.

I spend so much time justifying my reactions to things that happen in my life- comments people make about fertility treatments, comments about my lack of kids, comments from... well you get it. Some folks would call it being downtrodden and submitting to failure before it even starts, but after years of trying for a family with no positive results, I feel like my admission that a 50 year old mother of 19 is more likely to have a baby before me is just dealing with reality.

I was combing my literary selections for words of wisdom that applied to this situation, hoping to convey my emotions through Dickinson or Wordsworth. But I actually found my muse from a 90's pop culture icon instead. While working out, those crazy, Canadian Barenaked Ladies graced my play list and offered me the following advice:

Record and play, after years of endless rewind
Yesterday wasn't half as tough as this time
This time isn't Hell,
Last time, I couldn't tell
This mind wasn't well
Next time, hope I'm...
Going to be good, and I would -
If I knew I was understood
And it'll be great, just wait -
Or is it too little too late?

The problem is that time is only linear. I have know way of knowing if it's too little, too late or just enough, just in time. I know this isn't my hell, but I know every month of my life I spend without a child is incrementally tougher than the one before. That's the problem with the supposition that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Most people eventually move past the hurdle. But, for those of us stuck in the purgatory of trying fruitlessly to get pregnant, it's like a car stuck in neutral, unable to move forward or backward, with all the knowledge of the past but the glimmer of hope we can see in our future.

Would I really return to the ignorance I possessed a few years ago? I don't know because it isn't worth thinking about. It can't happen. I can only move forward, knowing that each tomorrow isn't easier, that it doesn't hurt less when people make thoughtless or heartless comments, but knowing that I have the tools to survive it, and the ability to get off this ride if and when it gets too much... when it's all too little, too late.


  1. For the rude 7th graders, I think you should say "You know, I think you are right, if I had a 2 year old at home I probably would be more used to dealing with your behavior."


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