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.