A few weeks ago, when I returned to my car after work, I found an unpleasant surprise. The passenger side window of the car was smashed in, and glass was everywhere. The contents of the car were tossed about. The thief had apparently tried, and failed, to steal the built in DVD player (although he/she did succeed in breaking it--so probably trying to steal one of those things is not a good idea). Nothing was stolen from the car in the end--not my electronic toll pass, not prepaid parking vouchers, not my daughter's wallet with all of her life savings in it. It did create, however, a big mess, an expense, $2800 worth of damage to the car, and some discomfort and work for me.
During my rather cold, windowless drive on the expressway to the repair shop, it struck me that this situation felt very similar to the realization that I was infertile. When I first arrived at my car, I was in a state of disbelief. Even though what had happened was obvious, my mind did not want to accept that someone had broken into the car. "Perhaps someone just accidentally bumped the window in a freak accident," I kept thinking. However, the preponderance of evidence to the contrary forced me to accept the fact that yes, I had just been robbed, and that yes, people can be not-so-nice sometimes. The latter is a fact that even though I know it is true intellectually, I have always struggled with accepting it emotionally. I think the same is true for my infertility. Even when a preponderance of evidence suggested I had big fertility problems, I could still entertain the fantasy of somehow miraculously getting pregnant anyway--which obviously never happened, and isn't going to happen, either. I think it's taken me over a decade to accept that fact--and as those who know me can attest, I am not exactly Suzy Sunshine. Optimism is not my game. I am not a denial-prone person, and could probably use a little more denial in my life. So if even I have struggled long and hard with accepting the finality of my infertility, I think it has to be a pretty common-place event among those who naturally have a sunnier outlook.
Another facet of the break-in situation that felt similar to infertility is that it created a lot of work, delays, and expense. Despite my medical problems, I am lucky to have two wonderful children. However, those children were not easy to come by--both the adoption and IVF journeys they required involved a lot of hard work, physical discomfort and suffering, time, and money. Just like the car, it was doable. It wasn't the end of the world--but it did require marshaling a lot of energy and resources that could have gone to other things, I suppose--like my career, or learning to cook food without burning everything. But we must play the cards we are dealt, and placed in the same situations again, I would make the same choices again, even though they required hardship and sacrifice.
Once I accepted that my car was burglarized, I realized I needed some help--because I had no idea how exactly to manage the situation. I tromped to the parking garage office and told the lady working there what had happened. She sprang into action, filling out forms, and letting me use her phone to make the police report. Two other garage employees worked for a long time in the freezing cold to clean the glass out of my car. The worked endlessly on taping garbage bags to the window, which was an incredibly sweet gesture even though it blew off as soon as I had to drive 30 mph. They all introduced themselves, hugged me, and told me to come by and visit them every week at the office--they were going to "take care of me". They were all such lovely people, and I never would have met them otherwise. To be shown such kindness, after experiencing some of the less desirable parts of human nature, was wonderful. That struck me as the other thing that is reminiscent of my infertility. Because my infertility happened, I have had the good fortune to meet and work with wonderful people whom otherwise I would never have known. I include my blog readers among this list--it's been a pleasure to read your comments and blogs and get to know you a little bit.
Okay, so maybe that doesn't completely make up for getting your window smashed in, literally or metaphorically. But it really does help soften the blow.
Now, if I could just get my car back from the repair shop.....