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The Parallel Existence

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a blog by Pamela Tsigdinos

It’s maddening trying to live two lives at the same time – the life you always thought you’d live and the one you’re actually living. I know because looking back on my time in the wake of that special hell that is unsuccessful infertility treatments, your heart and your head are pitched in a fierce battle to reconcile what you so deeply wanted to create and . . . what you didn’t.

As I’ve spent time online in the infertility blogosphere, I’ve been witness to other women (and their partners) trying to square their lives. Their blog posts are eerily reminiscent, offering familiar refrains. I want so much to help alleviate their disquiet and their ache but I’ve come to appreciate that it’s the kind of experience that can only be helped with time and friends willing to listen and be there – not fixing, not judging – just being there.

Just this past week I came across two women, each in varying stages of disbelief:

“There have been so many coulda/woulda/shoulda-beens over the past year. It's sent me on a real emotional ride from time to time. I expected the due date to be difficult, when actually the anticipation of it was worse than the actual day. After it passed I thought that was it -- the pregnancy timeline was complete and I could move on. I didn't expect to feel the way I'm feeling on these days one year post-IVF-disaster. It has been surprising how I'm reliving it, day by day, and finally taking in what occurred last summer. Today was beta day. I was kinda-pregnant-but-not-really last year …
Anyone have a map? Because I think I'm a little bit lost.”

“Why? am I standing in this kitchen feeling so sad and very alone in my battle against my body’s pitfalls?
Why? after 10 years, am I the only one in this kitchen, for whom parenthood still seems so far out of reach that no amount of stretching or ladders will help me reach it?
Why? can I not be happy with my lot in life?
Why? am I standing here wishing and wanting for what 'they' have?
As the laughter surrounded me and the smiles flowed freely, I stood there willing myself to come up with answers, even just one, to these Why? questions and yet not one answer was forthcoming.
I was a spectator to my perfect life. I'm not greedy. All I've ever wanted is a baby.”

I lived the surreal parallel existence longer than I’d like to admit.

The what-might-have-beens haunted me in ways large and small, with the toughest emotion-laden reminders coming in the form of my friend’s children who were born the same time mine should have been. Thoughts that were once pain-inducing demons became more like friendly ghosts as I slowly came to accept and get comfortable with my real life.

I want to help those attempting to navigate two worlds so I hope some words of understanding will help them feel less lost.

It's a small consolation, I know, but take it from the savvy veteran of the parallel existence:
There will come a day when you'll reconcile the two lives and your new world will start to take on more clarity and peace.

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Comments (3)

Living two lives at time would only be possible if you are seeing both things as pleasurable. I know that is quite complicated but anyone who is in a situation would realize what's that all about.

The funny thing is that even those who are adopting have those moments as well. The lawyers, the letters, the mountain of paperwork still ahead..... and I stand by the kitchen sink and think, am I crazy or what?

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