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?