There is a metaphor I really like to use with patients in my work. It spoke to me very much in a time of crisis and it has continued to resonate to this day. It goes something like this:
When you jump into a deep swimming pool and you don't get all the way down to the floor of the pool, and you try to swim up, it's hard to do. Your body had momentum from the jump and reversing the direction to go up is very effortful. When you jump into the pool and get to the floor of the pool, you can push off and get back to the surface without much effort at all. Sometimes reaching the bottom helps you to get the momentum you need to get back up.
Now, don't think that I mean to say this is the actual rock bottom of my infertility and childlessness. I realize that things can get much, much worse from here. If nothing else, my experience thus far has taught me that lesson.
I was just having supper in my car a few minutes ago. Why? I was at work until 7:15pm and then wanted to spend time commenting on blogs and responding to email, so I had to visit the local mermaid-emblemed coffee chain that provides free internet when you purchase a very expensive drink. Why would I not just do email from home? Well, I had to find another place to board in FTT for the last 7 weeks of my contract, and this place doesn't have internet access at the moment. Gak. So, instead of going home for supper, I got something from the gourmet grocery store adjacent to the coffee shop and ate in my car. Lentil soup and bow-tie pasta salad. And REM singing about the end of the world as I know it.
It's been a hard week. 3 days of 11+ hours at work and some crappy sleeps. That seems like the new normal, but it was on the heels of yet another very crappy weekend. And then Mr. A who could not sleep on Sunday night (it's usually me or Chicken who can't sleep on Sundays). He told me in the morning that he had been up all night thinking about 'life'. In the hour that I was at home on Monday morning (5:45-6:45am), I didn't have it in my to explore what was up. I just gave him a hug and then I had to go. When I called on Monday evening, he told me it was about us having children. He wondered whether we (me) were just too tired for children, whether we (me) were too depressed for children, and whether we (me) were too irritable for children. Oh fuck. Yes we are. But I don't know what the heck more I can do about it right now.
To be fair, he wasn't saying any of this in a blaming way. He was just telling me what he felt worried and anxious about. And he was looking to me to reassure him that things would get better. Based on my belief in impermanence, I do believe things will change. But I can't see a clear picture of how things will get better. I just have to hold out hope that they will. That seemed to help him, somehow. But it left me with a horrible sense of failure. He is right. I am tired, sad and irritable. Pretty much all weekend every weekend. All the chipper I have has to be saved for my patients, their families and my team members. My livelihood depends on it.
This evening, sitting in my car, eating my supper in the dark, I felt like I did not belong anywhere. I can't stand going to where I board. I can't stand being at work anymore for today. I'm too far from my home and I am worried about what is going to happen at home, what is going to happen if Mr. A doesn't want to keep trying to have children because he's not sure about my capacity as a parent. He did call me at work today to check-in and worried that he had made me feel bad with voicing his concerns on Monday. It was reassuring to talk a bit, but what he was raising was a worse case scenario for me. Maybe IF will also rob me of my marriage.*
My rock bottom moment in the car tonight felt similar somehow to another rock bottom moment I had when I was 20. I was admitted to the psychiatric hospital on December 13, and so spent most of the Holidays in hospital. I remember Being the only patient on the unit that Christmas eve, since all the other patients had LOA passes and I didn't. I remember wondering what my life had become that I was sitting on a bed in a psychiatric hospital, listening to Simon and Garfunkel on a Christmas eve. And as awful as that sounds, I remember feeling like it was a new beginning.
It's not that I want to call it at this point. That would be premature. But things felt awful just an hour ago in the car. And at the same time, the memory of Christmas eve in the hospital came back to me very vividly. They say shit happens. New beginnings also probably happen.
*For you Ani DiFranco fans out there, it makes me think of the line in her song Done Wrong: "how could you take almost everything and then come back for the rest"