I don't know exactly where all the time went between my last post and this one! Actually, to be honest, I do know. Things got really busy with clinical practice, and at the same time, things became somewhat challenging personally as well. For a long time, the act or writing seemed to require more emotional energy than I had to spare. And of course, there is the classic snowball effect. The longer you let something go, the more difficult it is to get back to it. So the months turned into years...and here we are.
Although I'd stopped writing about infertility and it's discontents, I certainly haven't stopped thinking about it, and there are so many times that I've had moments that I wanted to share in this blog. But to begin with, I want to relate this clinical vignette that recently occurred, which I feel best exemplifies my experiences in the meantime:
I was having a session with a client who does not have a history of infertility. What she does have is a long history of anxiety. She has lived her life constantly afraid; afraid of natural disasters, afraid of storms, afraid of criminals, afraid of car accidents, afraid of an airplane crashing on her head, etc., etc. We were discussing the recent changes in her situation, which of course have her feeling unsafe, when it occurred to me: she has the fantasy that there will be a time in which none of these threats exist, in which she will feel safe. Thus, she keeps trying to do whatever she can to make this possible.
Being the killjoy that I am, I waited for a pause, and then stated that I thought that there had never been a time in human history when things were safe, or went well. In fact, right now might just be the safest time, ever. And she was right, it wasn't too safe--but that perhaps complete safety was impossible.
After a pause, she asked me, "So what you are basically saying is, life is unsafe and it sucks. And there's nothing I can do about it." I replied, "Yes, that is what I am basically saying. And I'm also saying that you probably need to get used to it like that, because it's not going to change."
My client, who was gracious enough to have another session with me after this display of my charm, told me that although she found my words quite upsetting, she also found them liberating. With the possibility of achieving a safe world off the table, she had more energy to put into enjoying her unsafe world.
I think the same principle holds true for dealing with infertility; for so many of us, the loss of the fantasy of the easily-conceived baby and the the easy, adorable pregnancy is one of the most painful aspects of infertility. Only by allowing that fantasy to diminish in intensity can we experience any amount of relief. If there is one thing that infertility reveals to us, it's that our world isn't perfect, and it's never going to be.
I hope to be writing more regularly in the future, and as always, appreciate your comments, thoughts, and suggestions.