Monday, July 23, 2007

False Promises.

Well-meaning people, people who love me, people I love, have a common refrain that really, truly rubs me the wrong way.

It will happen.

My mom, I love her, but that's her refrain when there's another failed cycle. And we've had our differences about how to communicate lately, but finally last month I just had to stop her.

I know this will work out in the end, she said.

And she meant well. But.

No, mom, I said, you don't know it. You hope it. That's the thing. It may not happen.

It's hard to explain to anyone who hasn't dangled at that precipice, that panicky realization that it really truly may not happen. Yeah, we're using IUI right now, and that may happen, and there are other options, the next step is IVF--but that's expensive/risky/just may not happen. Adoption (oh, boy, is THAT a topic for a future Oh The Things People Say!) is expensive/intensive/just may not happen. And while the fact that Nothing In Life Is Guaranteed is a truism, no one ever thinks it applies to them, not about having children. Until suddenly it does. Some ART-folks maintain their optimism, and my own optimism rises and falls (usually in concert with the levels of clomid in my system, odd, huh?), but personally as I keep going, pragmatism and realism (some might say pessimism) creeps in.

It Might Not Happen. We might not get lucky. That's not me inviting pity (much) or even self pity (well, a little). That's me acknowledging a truth that really honestly kind of sucks, but it's a truth, along the lines of "Actually, no, I never WILL be a supermodel" and "I really wasn't meant to be an athlete". We'll still keep going, try again next month, and probably the month after that, et cetera and so forth, because I want this more than I've ever wanted anything and I will keep trying until we've exhausted ourselves. But that doesn't mean it will happen.

And I can't help at getting irritated at people (usually women) who got pregnant by, of all things, having sex, telling me that I should be patient, it'll happen.

There are two things so very very wrong with that statement. First of all: Look, we've been seeing doctors on and off for almost four years now, and steadily, monthly, bimonthly, almost weekly and sometimes biweekly, for over a year. This is just a drop in the bucket to some ART couples, I know, but seriously, you don't think I know about patience by now? If I could have hurried things up, don't you think I would have by now? I don't have a choice about patience.

Second, you don't know it'll happen. Last I checked, your ESP didn't include reading the tea leaves. That's just an empty empty Thing to Say, comforting you far far more than it comforts me. It's all very well and good to say that from the easy place of having had your child/children, but every time you say that, no matter how difficult your own process was, it is a reminder that you are on the other side of a bright shining line that so far I've been denied.

What could you say instead, you ask?

Most likely--and here's the sucky part for you--nothing. Each failed cycle is a little less carefree than the last, you see, so it hits a little harder. Being there and listening is the best possible thing a friend could do when another cycle fails. Or, being there and distracting if I don't want to talk about it.

If you find yourself in that place where the words are on the tip of your tongue, no matter how firmly you believe it will happen or is meant to happen or God whispered in your ear one night or the chicken bones aligned or whatever!, keep it between yourself and your chicken bones. I'm glad--for you--that you feel that way, but that's your faith. I have my reality to deal with.

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