Sunday, February 20, 2011

Defeating the Dragon...

"Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten."
G.K. Chesterton

I recently went out to dinner with five good friends who, like me, are also still on their journey towards motherhood.  To be honest, I was a little nervous going into the dinner.  Getting together with other women for whom the journey to motherhood has not been easy or quick is wonderful for boosting a feeling of camaraderie, but if you are not careful, it can quickly become an opportunity to flush yourself down the toilet of negativity.  You can convince yourself that things simply don’t work out for the people who deserve to be mothers…and that thought, if allowed to fester, can be debilitating.  Given the state of mind I’ve been in lately, I was very concerned about this possibility.

However, as happens to me more times than not, the thing that I worried about never came to fruition.  Instead, going to that dinner helped me to release some building negativity, and replace it with hope.  Everyone at the dinner, regardless of the length of their journey or the obstacles they had encountered had retained some amount of hope that their journey would end in “happily ever after,” in whatever form it may present itself.  Even those people who are taking a break in their journeys, to regroup and decide what comes next, still had some hope that something good was possible.  No one’s fairy tale had ended.  And there was a general consensus that, even if infertility had thrown us to the ground and kicked us while we were down, no one had been defeated by it.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what was said at dinner, and I realized that I took a lot of inspiration from my conversation with my friends.  So, I don’t think they will mind if I share some of what I learned (or knew but needed a reminder).  So here it is…some “veterans of infertility wisdom”:

-                     When people you are dealing with are nasty or obnoxious, it is most likely about them and not about you.  Remembering that fact when you are confronted with a person who is frustrating you or even demeaning you will change your perspective and take any power they had over you away from them.  You get to choose how you respond to adversity, and some responses are better than others.

-                     Surround yourself with caring and understanding people during this journey and limit your interaction with the rest.  This journey is simply too personal and too difficult to allow people in your life who are going to cause you to doubt yourself or make you feel badly about your choices.  And in line with that advice, remember that there are plenty of good and gracious people who will support you.  You just have to find them.  Keep an open mind and they will appear.

-                     If you need to take a break…take a break.  It is really easy to get caught up in the infertility journey, so much so, that you let the rest of your life fade away.  Sometimes, especially in the face of grief and despair, you need to back away and give yourself time to recover so that you can look at the journey more objectively…with a fresh pair of eyes.  It can be really hard, initially, to get yourself to take that break because it may feel like quitting.  It’s not quitting.  It’s allowing yourself to reevaluate important life-altering decisions when you aren’t crazed by hormone medications, fear and disappointment.  And no one ever takes a break and then says afterwards “I really wish I hadn’t allowed myself a breather so that I make choices more rationally.”

There are lots of other gems of wisdom that I took away from that dinner, but those are probably the three that spoke to me the most, looking back at my own journey.  There are many things about all of our journeys that are very unique to each person, but there are also some truths that are universal…some wisdom that can be applied to each situation.  Perhaps the greatest truth of all is that the dragon that is infertility can be slain, can be survived, and can be defeated.  Our own tales may have us coming up with individual ways to defeat that beast, and the dragon may look different to each of us…but we can all have the same fairy tale ending, if we don’t lose hope…if we keep believing in “happily ever after.”


New Year Mum said...

Great to take away such beautiful gems of wisdom from this dinner... I'm the same - nervous about going out the meet friends then find hope afterwards :) We'll all have our happily ever after :)) xoxo

Lindsey said...

I heard the quote about slaying dragons the other day and immediately thought of you! This fairy tale we call infertility may be a little longer than we're used to but it will end in a baby, our happily ever after!

China Doll said...

Hi.. here from ILCW. I really agree with your friend's quotes, particularly the last one. I was 'forced' to take a break after my IUIs, before starting IVF. I didn't want to, but I now I feel so much calmer and clear-headed and I still have a month of my break to go. I know I'll be ready by the time we start our first IVF cycle :)