Hey there, it’s me again (awkward wave).
What’s it been, three years, since the last time we really talked? I honestly cannot believe this much time has passed.
Three years may be a long time not to speak, but like Willie Nelson says, “You were always on my mind.” Like an old friend I haven’t seen for years, every time we meet up, we pick up right where we left off. Well, friend is probably too strong of a word. A companion is perhaps more accurate. We walked together for many years—a very long road. Sometimes hand-in-hand and sometimes, like the last three years, separate but still connected.
So here’s the thing, we have to break-up. I absolutely cannot avoid the cliche here, so I’m just going to lay it out, it’s not you, it’s me.
My time with you was so lonely. So gut-wrenching. I often wished you away because your mere presence was excruciating. You were merciless. Relentless. It felt as though I couldn’t escape you. You have been an ever-present shadow in my life. For a time, you influenced every relationship I had: my marriage, my family, my friends, and acquaintances. There wasn’t an area of my life that wasn’t colored by your existence. Your presence bore a hole in my soul—a hole so big at times it seemed impossible it would ever fill.
That hole I was talking about, it didn’t fill, per se, but it changed. It changed me.
I have changed how I look at things. I have changed how I talk about things.
I am more empathetic now.
I am more compassionate now.
I understand, better, the true meaning of grace. I can give it freely now to others but, most importantly, to myself.
I used to get jealous or resentful when other women would announce they were pregnant. Like it was a personal affront to me or something.
I used to get angry when someone would say something a little insensitive, like “If you would just relax it would happen” or “I wasn’t even really trying, and it happened.”
What I know now is that people, in general, are just doing their best. You are a tough topic for people to discuss. It’s uncomfortable for most. I believe people would say things without thinking about it in an effort to ease their own discomfort, which is a very human thing to do.
I recognize now, you were not my truth. For so many years I had conceded I was you and you were me.
You were not me.
You don’t define me.
I always blurred those lines. Like a profoundly codependent and toxic couple, I was inextricably tethered to you. Not for anything useful, I might add. But for my belief that this was it, that you were my destiny.
I know now that it wasn’t your fault. You were just you. You didn’t do anything wrong. But I also know that neither did I. I didn’t “wait too long,” I didn’t “stress too much,” it wasn’t my diet or my exercise plan. It wasn’t that I took the wrong supplements or didn’t take any at all.
It was that it was my journey. This was the path God planned for me. You see, I HAD to walk with you for me. I had to experience that pain. To be shaken to my very core in order to evolve.
You showed me so many parts of myself I never wanted to acknowledge—the darkest parts.
Don’t get me wrong, I could have stayed bitter. Some days, I still feel that bitterness, although nowhere as sharply. The bitterness doesn’t hurt like it used to, sting like it used to, and it doesn’t consume me like it used to. But I know now that is because of me. Acceptance of you was the most difficult decision that created my greatest peace.
Now, all this to say that I will still experience you. I cannot get pregnant spontaneously, well, it’s like a less than one percent chance of it happening anyway.
But I will not let you control me anymore.
I will not put you in charge of my feelings or my actions. It’s all on me, baby.
I still want more children. Later this year, my husband and I will go through our second embryo transfer, another little boy. I pray, daily, that our dream of adding one more precious baby to our family will come true. But if it doesn’t, I won’t blame you. And I won’t blame myself either.
The author Elizabeth Gilbert talks very openly about her fear. About how, for many years, she let it take over her life and kept her from doing the things she wanted to do. I think you’re that for me.
You are my fear. My fear that I was never going to be a mother. That even if I got pregnant, I would lose the baby. That even if I didn’t lose the baby, that something awful would happen. And that even if something awful didn’t happen, I would still be a terrible mother. I let you feed all of it.
Much like the extraordinary Ms. Gilbert to her fear—infertility, you can come along with me, but you don’t get to drive anymore.