(Originally written on February 9, 2009)
There are four ways you can handle fear. You can go over it, under it, or around it. But if you are ever to put fear behind you, you must walk straight through it. Once you put fear behind you, leave it there. ~Donna A. Favor
I came to a realization during my Saturday morning acupuncture session. For those of you who've never had acupuncture--I was in this category until a few weeks ago--once the practitioner inserts the needles, you basically just lie still and relax for 20-30 minutes once they're in. You really can't move around because you'd dislodge the needles. Because of this forced inactivity, it's easy to relax and to meditate (or cogitate) during acupuncture.
I have been growing increasingly more unhappy every month that I've been off the pill and have not gotten pregnant. This month things finally got to the point where I spent a good portion of Friday crying off and on. (I *rarely* cry. Normally I can go months and months without crying over anything.)
Because this type of reaction is so unlike me, I found myself analyzing the reasons behind it. Trying to conceive and being unsuccessful month after month is frustrating, to be sure. Frustration is usually not enough to make me cry, though. A huge part of trying to get pregnant is completely outside my control. Really, all I can do is take care of my body, have sex at the right times, and pray. But although I hate not being in control, especially over big things feeling out of control also isn't something that I'd generally cry over.
As I lay on the acupuncture table relaxing, it finally came to me. I am upset because I am afraid. Afraid that I won't ever get pregnant. Afraid that I will never bear a child of my own. Afraid that I will never be a mother. And afraid of the toll that this may eventually take on my relationship with MM.
It is fear, not frustration or impatience, that has made me cry. Fear and uncertainty. Fear that has developed over the past ten months that I have been off the pill and not gotten pregnant. Fear that seems less unfounded with each passing unsuccessful cycle.
It's not the waiting that's getting to me. Hell, I have already waited many, many years to even TRY to get pregnant. I waited years to meet someone I could marry, someone I loved enough and with whom I had a healthy enough relationship to have a fighting chance of success in marriage. I am experienced at waiting for things. I may not like it, but I'm accustomed to it.
If I knew for sure that I would get pregnant someday, so long as we keep trying, I believe that my fear would subside. But in this arena, there are no guarantees for any woman who is almost 38 years old and has never conceived. There is no way, short of divine intervention, for me to ever KNOW that I will eventually be pregnant.
I don't know that there is a way to walk through this fear. Certainly I have visualized a life where I never have a child of my own. . . . but deep down inside, I never thought that it would be the life I'd ultimately live.I will say that it's been a recurrent theme in my life that few things turn out the way I thought they would. Each time life has taken an unexpected turn, I've ended up being happier with the life I have than with the life I had planned.
I can't imagine, though, that I would ever get to a point where I'd be truly OK with never being a mother. But maybe I will.