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Beating The No-Baby Blues
a blog by Suzanne Rico, December 2, 2012
Let’s face it. It is not that easy to feel thankful when you’re dealing with infertility. The big holidays themselves aren’t so bad, when the wine and food orgies combine to create a drowsy sense of well-being. But on those days in between? Feeling grateful for the loyal husband or financial ability to afford IVF can get kicked way down the list.
I know this because I lived it. I remember what it was like to walk around with an emotional pebble in my shoe all the time. The thought that I might never conceive a child would often overwhelm the holiday cheer: turkey, stuffing, tree, trimmings, carols, gifts, and even the miracle of the Baby Jesus himself. I remember wondering if there’d ever be a miracle for me.
Through five years of infertility, I spent a lot of time promising that if I just got my baby I would never feel ungrateful again. But in fact, what I have learned most powerfully since getting the infertility pebble out of my shoe is that there will always be another rock that makes you want to rail against the world. Neither the holidays nor infertility have a monopoly on misery.
Last June, when my mother was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer, the rock in my shoe came back—big and painful--a nagging reminder of impending doom. After several peaceful, grateful years, I had to re-learn how to see the light in the gloom of an uncertain future. Luckily, my mom has led the way; one night, as I left her house weighed down by grief, I noticed a quote by Buddhist nun Pema Chodron taped to her wall.
“Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation,” it said, “can that which is indestructible in us be found.” My mom, sick from the chemotherapy poison coursing through her body, smiled when I read it and shrugged her small shoulders.
The point is that there is no magic bullet that will destroy what is trying to destroy you--whether it be cancer, infertility, divorce, or loneliness. Without implementing positive strategies for dealing with adversity, sooner or later, we are bound to become undone. And so, in the spirit of the holidays, I share the things I’ve found most helpful.
1.) Go for a hike. Fresh air and exercise are a time-honored prescription for feeling better.
2.) Cry. Opening up to what hurts is one way of making sure it doesn’t take you down.
3.) Hug your ________ (husband, dog, sister, mom, dad, cat, best friend) and tell them you love them. I believe the energy you put out into the world is the energy you get back.
4.) Take charge of your life by mapping out goals and options. Is adoption feasible? Does your acupuncturist know of anyone who might surrogate for you? Can you begin a health plan that will better prepare your body to carry a child?
5.) Give yourself a break. Take the rock out of your shoe and put it in a mental box. Tie it up with a brightly colored bow and store it in a dark corner of your mind. When you unwrap it again next year, perhaps you’ll have a new perspective
Wishing you a warm, wonderful holiday season—and may all your dreams come true.