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Hope Is a Four Letter Word

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a blog by Jay Pal, May 20, 2011

Friedrich Nietzsche once said: “Hope is the worst of evils, for it prolongs the torment of man.” Leave it to a German to make hope depressing.

I think I can safely say that Nietzsche was probably not a lot of fun at parties; however, the man has a point. When you’ve been struggling with infertility for a period of time and especially when you’re about to blow your savings on your third in vitro fertilization (like I am), hope is in short supply.

This may be the first time that I’m literally bereft of optimism. Of course I want this to work, but am I walking around thinking it could? Well, OK — anything could happen. I mean, if Arnold Schwarzenegger (a.k.a. “The Sperminator”) could keep a love child secret for over a decade, I suppose anything is possible.

I guess the question really is do I think this is going to work? I hate to say it, but lately, I’m having a hard time believing it. A big part of me feels like if haven’t gotten pregnant after two years, three artificial inseminations and two IVFs, it just ain’t gonna happen. I hope I’m wrong, but from what I understand about the odds, I may very well be right.

When I try to imagine what it would be like to hold a positive pregnancy test, I can’t. I used to be able to, but these days, when I try to picture it, I just see one big fat line underlining what has been my reality for the past two years.

And then if I do ever get pregnant, after all the women I’ve met, the many sad personal accounts I’ve heard, it’s safe to say that I’ll have a hard time believing I’ll stay pregnant.

That’s the thing about the prolonged struggle to conceive. You start with an ocean of hope, and somewhere along the way you start to carry it in an eye dropper in your purse.

So, what do you do? It’s funny you should ask, because I’ve been thinking a lot about that. How do you proceed with fertility treatments when you truly start to wonder if you’re ever really going to get pregnant and stay pregnant? How do you endure the shots? The pain? The whole process from start to finish?

I think the answer is: You just do it anyway, even if your hope isn’t in it. You let life or faith or perhaps your spouse’s optimism (if he’s feeling more upbeat than you) be your motivation. You go to the fertility doctor’s, you follow instructions, and you take each day as it comes. Maybe your hope will return or maybe it won’t. Any which way, you do it. Even if for no other reason than you can say that you gave it your all. At least that’s how I’m approaching it this time around.

Another quote of Nietzsche’s is:

“There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.”

It’s hard to make sense of infertility since it is totally without logic, but when it comes to matters of the heart, you do crazy things like inject yourself with progesterone oil, spend thousands of dollars and cry when you get your period. You do it for the love you dream of one day holding in your arms. You just do it anyway.

Comments (4)

You just keep doing what you have to do. Even if you're just going through the motions. Even if you think it's a waste of time. You just keep doing it.

I read a sign today that said "Faith is holding on to something you can't see," and it reminded me of those times I've had faith and those times I haven't.

I posted about my own feelings of futility here: (if you're interested and haven't read it already).

That is the bottom line, keep moving and either the world will move with or it won't and all the attitude you can muster won't change it.

Hang in there.

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