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I Am More than My Infertility (I Think)

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a blog by CGD, May 13, 2011

I need a new hobby, something else to focus on and pour myself into, aside from my fertility treatments. I feel kind of boring and stagnant, as essentially my life pretty much looks like this:

    Get up, work out, go to the office, stress about infertility/make infertility related phone calls/go to infertility-related doctor’s appointments, come home, repeat.

Clearly, it's not very interesting or exciting.

I have been struggling to answer even simple questions from people about how I am doing. I can actually feel myself growing anxious when I know I am going to be in social situations. How am I going to keep up my end of the conversation when I have nothing to add or anything that I really want to talk about? This is especially true when I am with my husband’s friend’s wives, all of whom are stay-at-home mothers. We obviously have a lot in common.

So this brings me back to my hobby idea. A few years ago, I was between in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles and had an extended break while I was waiting for state grant funding to come through to cover part of our costs (an amazing thing I know). On a whim, I decided that I was going to train for a half marathon. Prior to this, the longest distance I had run was about 5 miles, so I knew that I needed a lot of training to complete a 13.1 mile race. I also knew that there was a good chance that my funding would come through before race day and that I would not get to run it. I decided to give it go anyway.

My training experience was great. I loved it. I felt powerful and strong. My infertility basically forced me to focus on all the things my body wouldn’t or couldn’t do, but this was totally different. This was something that my body could do and do well for that matter. My training was a bit consuming, since I needed to run multiple times per week and fit in longer runs. When people asked me what was new, I could tell them that I had run 10 miles that morning or about my new training protocol. It was something different and interesting, and it was something I could easily talk about without turning the conversation to a topic that is heavy and uncomfortable, like infertility and trying to conceive.

In the end, I never got to run my official race. My funding came through earlier than expected, and I needed to cut down on the training in preparation to start my cycle. But, I ran my 13.1 miles anyway. Alone, on a random day, I just ran my own race, no spectators or numbers on my back, just me. It took me about 2 hours and 20 min, not a fast time or anything, but a huge victory for me nonetheless. With the timing of my IVF cycle it would have been easy for me to just give up, but I did not let infertility stop me. I am proud of myself for that.

I am not sure why I allowed nearly two years go by since that race. I have often wished I could do something like that again, but my treatment schedule has not allowed me enough time to train for anything major. While this is true, I also know it is a poor excuse. After all, I never ran the official race that I trained for, yet I view the entire experience as completely successful. I can do better than this. I know that.

I often say things that imply I am aware my life is about more than my infertility. Well, if that is true — and it absolutely is — it is about time I started acting like I really believe this.

So here is my new motto: Do more, think less — or, in this case, make fewer excuses. I would love to just run another race, but with my frozen embryo transfer cycle set to start in the next few weeks, running is not a possibility. But no excuses, I am on a new quest now to figure out what my next non-infertility related focus will be.

So I suppose this means I am off to scour the internet for interesting classes and group meetings. Hey, I live in New York City, there have to be like billion options here for that kind of stuff. (I'll keep you posted ...)

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