Tuesday, April 24, 2012

don't ignore, augusta

It is National Infertility Awareness Week, and although I am not of the Nation, I still have something to say about it. I've seen the blog post titles pop up all week: Don't Ignore this, Don't Ignore that. I usually keep a remote and/or apathetic stance towards these things, but this one worked its way into my brain like an ear worm.  So here is my submission to the Don't Ignore Infertility campaign.

This post is addressed to me. You are welcomed to read it, and by all means comment on it if you'd like. But my 'Don't Ignore' is going out to moi.

Stop ignoring the rest of your life. Stop ignoring it right now. Pay attention to it. Please. Your life is about so much more than this horseshit infertility. I know it doesn't seem like it on most days, that everything you do or don't do revolves around coping with, surviving, or digging yourself out of infertility. I know that it is what you experience as the thread running through almost each experience. I know that it aches so much and so often that it itself cannot be ignored, but I implore you to stop ignoring the rest of your life.

Infertility is tricking you into thinking that you are completely adrift on a sea without land borders, an endless sea that won't ever bring you to shore. It makes you believe that there is no way out of this situation, that despite people resolving their infertility crisis in one way or another, that for some reason, it will never be resolved for you. It will. And when it does, you will certainly be looking around to see where you've put the rest of your life. If you don't tend to it now, it might not be there when you are finally ready to live in it.

It may be harshness you detect in my tone, dear woman (had to put it in there), but I am in fact trying to convey a sense of urgency. I am gripping you by both shoulders and shaking you gently, lovingly so that you are pulled away from your stupor.

Don't ignore what you love. Not on the count of this soul-sucking thief of a disease. Don't ignore how much you love spending time in nature, how much your enjoy your friends, how great you feel when you connect with others. Don't ignore the signs of spring bursting just a few feet outside your window, in the form of daffodils, young leaves on the birch trees, or the blooming forsythia in the front yard. Don't ignore music, or art, or literature, or reading the paper on Saturday, or the taste of a warm tea. Don't ignore what's around you, what is begging to be noticed.

Don't ignore your suffering marriage and your beloved husband because the ever-hungry infertility has cored you like grated apples. Don't ignore the difficulties that come up and that can be looked after in the moment, instead of putting them away to be solved later. Later, there will be a whole pile of unresolved difficulties that may feel like too large a mess of problems for any two people to address. Don't ignore your precious marriage.

Stop ignoring the rest of your life, Augusta. Live it with a broken heart. Live it with all the sorrow and all the fear you hold, but live it. Don't ignore it. Don't ignore all the moments that offer themselves to you, even if they seemed bruised or lacking because you do not have a baby in your arms. Stop fighting with reality. Stop ignoring what is. Just go into it more deeply.

Don't ignore the rest of your life.


On this topic, I'll end with a favourite poem of mine: Everything is Waiting for You, by David Whyte

Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. As if life
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden
transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely,
even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you freedom.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.

Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into
the conversation. The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last. All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you. 


  1. Augusta
    as always, this post is truly perfect. what a wonderful reminder for all of us. I hope you can take this all to heart and live your life fully, you deserve nothing less then that
    On a personal note, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your sweet comments on my blog. Your support and wisdom mean so much to me.
    so much love to you.

  2. This is a lovely post, dear lady. How easy it is to be in the play and fail to recognize that this bit is not the main arc of your story. Subplot, albeit an important one, but this is a wonderful call back to beautiful, wonderful you.

  3. Lovely post, lovely sentiment. You are wise in the ways of the heart and mind. I admire you so much for understanding that you can't ignore the pain and live a cheerful life, but that you can perhaps reengage and live the life you have. Which I imagine will take tremendous courage and strength. Good thing you've got 'em.

  4. Wise words for all of us, and something I really struggle with when the life I want to be embracing is one with a child. Not to be a debbie downer, but I watch even my IF friends graduate into the world of play dates and visiting the grandparents and experiencing everything new through their child's eyes. And I just feel stuck, stuck between worlds. Boo hoo, okay enough pity party, gotta keep our eyes open to all the other things in our lives, and nurture the love we already have. I'm trying too.

  5. Soooooo true Augusta. To this day I feel anger at just how crazy IF made me and how it sucked some of the joy I had in my life prior to LN10. Would give anything to re-live those days again with full furvour (spelling?). But again that would have required super human strength to do that and so at best try and live a balance between living in the moment and allowing yourself time to grieve as you need to. Take care...

  6. These are wise words, Augusta. Even if it is so very difficult to heed them sometimes. But it bears pointing out to the self, once, twice, and a hundred times.

    There will be a time after this. And there will be happiness. But fully living now is a wise, wise move (even if it's altogether impossible to live every single moment of now).

  7. This is a lovely, and wise post. I think the majority, absolutely the vast majority of people out here, WILL become parents, through one route or the other, if we are willing to open every door we can.

    If that is so, the only question is how long it will take, and whether we let all joy be robbed from our lives during that wait, or whether we continue to live our lives as fully and joyously as possible during this period, without that tunnel vision of infertility taking over. You can find that happiness, and I hope writing this post out has taken you one step closer.

  8. Wow Augusta. What an impact. I hate to imagine the fight you are in. Been there and hated it. What a great expression to keep yourself focused.

  9. oh augusta these are such powerful words. They hit me and made me stand up and take notice. I think, although you were aiming it at yourself, we can all learn a little from this so thanks for sharing.