Most weeks come and go without much fanfare. They’re filled with work, exercise, meals, appointments, chores, gardening, a weekend hike, coffee with a friend, a movie, or cleaning out that one drawer that always seems to hold everything because you once wanted to get something off the counter.
And then there are weeks like this. The week that you turn 50. The week that marks the five-year anniversary of your infertility disclosure in The New York Times. The week film-makers show up in your living room to tape a segment for a documentary project. The week that you realize that decisions large and small made years earlier have all added up to something truly remarkable.
I went back to read some blog posts where decisions came up in the search field after reading that fellow blogger Kathy chose decisions as the theme for this month’s Time Warp Tuesday blog hop/writing exercise. The idea is to revisit and share some of our favorite blog entries from the archives and reflect on our journeys since we wrote or read them. I dusted off four posts from my archive that took me back to difficult and life-changing decisions.
How Did We Know We Were Done? … is a post from 2007 that explores our decision process to end fertility treatments.
Failure is Not an Option … described my decision to push forward with writing Silent Sorority even though the publishing world told me the book had no market.
What is it About the “I” Word? … is a post that reflects on why I decided to go public about my struggle with infertility in June 2008.
Dreamer or Masochist? You Decide … relates my decision to keep blogging after I’d made peace with my decision to stop infertility treatments.
These entries brought up lots of emotions and realizations. They convey disbelief, passion, anxiety, dogged determination, frustration … and hope for better things to come. In contrast to my life today, those days when the posts spilled out of me were EXHAUSTING. During that tumultuous period of my life it felt like I was pushing on a rock, feeling the weight threatening to roll back over and smash me like the Wile E. Coyote in a roadrunner cartoon. I craved a sense of clarity and some assurance that the road we were on wouldn’t always feeling like such an uphill climb. In the dark. Zigging and zagging with no end in sight. There was no rest for the weary.
With each step — ending treatment, searching for a way to make meaning out of our losses, coming out of the closet to share our story — we encountered resistance and new hurdles to healing. There was society telling us that we had to be parents to lead valuable, meaningful lives. Fertility clinics promoting their latest high-priced solutions. Family and friends posting non-stop images of their pregnancies and adorable children as my egg shelf life expired. There were sleepless nights. Fear of the unknown. Bottles of wine consumed. Angry moments.
Battle hardened and fighting bitterness, I knew that I couldn’t go on in a state of chronic angst.
I made a conscious decision to pursue peace and happiness. Little by little, the efforts paid off. I found my words. I engaged people who hurt me. I converted the negative energy and used it as fuel to light a brighter path. I challenged society’s ignorance and in the process discovered a network of smart women who shared my passion to enlighten and move the infertility dialogue to a new, more productive place.
In answer to Kathy’s question: What have you learned about yourself, your family and your life since you wrote or read the original post(s)?
I’ve learned that nothing worth fighting for comes easily. I’ve learned to celebrate small victories, to value the marathon over the sprint, to measure time not in minutes, hours or days but in years. I’ve learned that I am shaped by each person I touch — in words, behavior, online, or in person. I’ve learned how important it is to hear, with the heart, another person’s story.
As I mark my half-century on June 12, I know I have much more to learn. I’m eager to embrace what lies ahead. Care to join me?
14 thoughts on “Time Warp Tuesday: Decisions”
OOHHHHHH FASCINATING stuff!!! HAPPY early BIRTHDAY to you, Pamela! THANK YOU for having spent time and effort to write your book. It’s helped me a lot in my IF journey – just as your blog posts. :-)
And they’ve started doing the documentary, eh? COOL stuff! I DO hope it’ll open up many people’s minds and hearts towards the world of infertility. :-)
So glad you decided to join us for Time Warp this month! There is so much to chew on and celebrate in this post! First off, a very Happy 50th Birthday to you!!! Also, congrats on the documentary!
I really appreciated reading through all four of the posts you chose to revisit/ reflect on. As you said in your comment on my Time Warp post about decisions today, though our circumstances/stories/outcomes are different, we did both ultimately make the decision to move on, instead of continuing to try or live in a state of limbo related to what our future family might look like.
I admire all that you have done through your experience with IF and living child-free to give voice to an experience that not many understand or even realize exists. I am typing this on my phone and thus can’t highlight/quote some of the passages in this post that speak to me the most. But I will tell you that I love what you shared about what you have learned and how you chose to “convert the negative energy and used it to fuel a light to brighter path.” Thank you so much for doing the Time Warp with us this month! Please join us again in the future!
I am soo excited about the documentary. We need a fantastic project like this.
Also, I’m so glad I read your post about moving ahead anyway with “Silent Sorority” in the light of what publishers said. Because…I’ve decided to go ahead and self-publish a book based on “Faces of ALI” (which tells the stories of all different facets of our community.). I was tired of being told infertility was an “oversold” category while I watched big publishers bring out the usual sideshow carnival books (like the egg freezing one). I’m inspired by you, and Lori and Leah and Mel who have brought quality, needed books to the market that help people to feel they are not alone.
A very happy birthday to you too!!!! Hope you have a great year :)
Glad you’re going to move forward with your book project, Jjiraffe!
it is already 12th of June in Europe, so: Happy Birthday!!!!
Congratulations for the documentary.
We are celebrating 5th anniversary since I found you (I found you in the New York Times).
And – I am so happy that you are part of my life!
Happy birthday. And thank you for your before and after blogs – both very, very helpful.
Happy Birthday! I think you will help people more than you know. But why you have to be on this path is a mystery. Glad that you continued blogging!
Happy Milestone Birthday, Pamela!! SO appropriate that all these things would come together at this time for you. I can remember how excited I was to go to the NYT website that day & find your photo at the top of the homepage. :) And I am so looking forward to seeing that documentary someday too.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! I’ve been doing some musing about life, the universe, and everything of my own lately – but not from the vantage of such a big milestone (nor such achievements. Some day!). You continue to be an inspiration to me in living a worthwhile life!
I’d love to join you! I’m currently “on the fence” regarding the decision to be childfree or adopt. I have definitely given up on the infertility treatments, but can’t decide if I want to totally give up on being a mom. But, I enjoy your writing and find that it helps me ponder everything much more easily.
Happy birthday to you!!!!!
I have finished reading your book in March, and it certainly helped me feel less alone, and that we’re all human. I do so look forward to the documentary!!
Although I am wondering- how did you engage people who had hurt you? I might have to do that sometimes later this year..
Definitely joining you, though hoping for gentler bumps on the road for us all. :)
Happy 50th Birthday! This is a great milestone. I am new to blogging and commenting, but I have been reading your blog for a couple of years now. Thank you for writing “Silent Sorority”. It was a book I needed! There are no other books out there that so honestly speak of the real emotions and decisions that go into choosing to live childfree after infertility.
I’m a bit late reading this… I hope you had a wonderful birthday and that you are still celebrating!
Thanks, all, for the warm birthday wishes. Glad you’re joining me in the next half century!