"It's just not fair," I said, swiping a stray tear from my face and hiding in my glass of wine. "Rapists and drug dealers and people who don't even want kids. These are the people that get them, and I don't! And it's just. Not. Fair."
This was a few hours into the New Year. The ball had dropped, and I was sitting on my sofa with my younger brother a few spaces over and my nephew beside him, painfully aware that another year had passed me by and I was still not pregnant. It seemed like it should be the easiest thing in the world. People talk about it like it's something that just happens, or something you can plan, but when it doesn't happen for you, you feel indignant, guilty, angry, possibly broken. There weren't enough adverbs in the world to sum up how I felt. For what felt like years I had been putting on a good face, being strong, being positive: just one more month, just one more try, this time will be it. All of my trying was in vain, though. Another year.
My brother, who had been trying to impart some sort of wisdom on me, took a swig of his beer and said what many people say, "You have to have faith. God has a plan, as much as I know you don't want to hear it right now."
Now I was sobbing. This felt like a gut punch. The lowest of low blows. And I had had enough to drink that something in me snapped. No more good face. I was fueled by the anger I felt over every wasted dollar spent, every uncomfortable procedure, every failed iui.
"Explain that to me. Explain to me how good people who would be good parents can't have kids and assholes who have no business even having kids have them. Explain that plan to me."
"Look at me. I'm... kind of a fuck up. I am one of those people who had absolutely no business having kids. But I can tell you that they saved my life. If I hadn't had them I would probably be in the ground or in prison right now, and you know that's the truth. And I know it's hard to hear. And I know that things don't feel like they're going your way right now. But you have to have faith. I don't know what it is, and you can't know either, but God has a plan for you. This is going to work out."
"I just don't know," I sobbed, wiping my red face again. "I just don't know."
This was how 2016 started for me. And I can assure you that I honestly did not know. My light had gone dark, and I was trying to force myself to come to terms with the fact that this may never happen for us. Like really come to terms with it. This house that would never have a nursery. This body that would never grow with pregnancy. So I did what any of us do: I just kept moving. Going through the motions. Just surviving... somehow.
"Just breathe. Any time your mind wanders, just focus on your breath. Filling up with positivity, and exhaling anything negative you've been holding inside."
I sank into my forward fold like it was the safest place in the world. I'd spent a little more than 5 hours per week since early December in this studio, on this mat, pushing my body and trying to let go. Once we'd decided we weren't spending anymore money at the fertility clinic, I used some of the leftovers to make a commitment to deepen my 10-year yoga practice, which had admittedly gotten pretty lazy in the past couple of years. There on that day in February, though, I was in my element. I was strong, I was capable, I was present.
"Turn your gaze inward. Really use this time to go inside."
When I first met Surya* (not her real name ;)), she overwhelmed me with a hug. I'd seen her class added to the schedule and, though I wasn't familiar with this type of yoga, I thought I'd take a chance. I had an hour to kill. What's the worst that could happen? Her green eyes were wide, and she was only inches from me with her hand on my shoulder, telling me how much that yoga had changed her life. Oh-kay, I thought. Somebody's been drinking the kool aid. But I liked the energetic way she conducted her class. And I liked the way she kept talking about the things that happen when you make a commitment to being present, to focusing on your breath, and opening yourself to positivity. I went back again. And again. She told me about how yoga helped her depression and taught her self-love, which she had always struggled with. Beautiful souls, she called us. Her class transformed my practice into a moving meditation. I was more flexible, I was stronger, and more than anything I was... lighter.
"It's amazing, these things our bodies can do. We just need to be present and be grateful. Always be grateful."
As a Catholic couple, we spent our lunch hours during Ash Wednesday attending mass in the church where we married. The message was similar to those that always begin the Lenten season: be humble, focus on penance, "Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return." I left mass with the same intentions I always do: to be a better person, to put more good in the world, to find peace. I didn't give anything ttc-related up for Lent this year, because I felt like I had given all of that up already -- albiet not by choice. I chose a few things, and then I made the added decision not to pray for myself this Lent. I wasn't going to ask God for anything. I would thank God for everything good in my life, and I would pray for others if they needed it, but I would not make requests. Instead, I spend time every night being grateful for our home and our health, our jobs and our vehicles that get us there, our families and our friends. The list goes on. I found new things to thank God for everyday: yoga and Surya, who had shared her struggles with me and dragged me from this dark place, one breath at a time; the way my relationship with my husband is so strong after this storm, in a way those people we know who were "just dating" and "accidentally got pregnant" could not understand; the way that I could finally appreciate the miracle of life now. I don't know that I ever had appreciated it like this before. And one day very recently it dawned on me: if this had never happened to me, I would be one of those people. One of those people who take it all for granted. One of those people who believe that they can try hard enough and make it happen just because they want it or deserve it. Even if it had been that third iui, I would have felt vindicated like that all of my perseverance had paid off. I would not have thought, 'What a miracle this truly is.'
I came back here to write this all out and leave it for anybody who is hurting, or questioning, or struggling, or who feels like their light is going dim. I have never been an overtly religious person, and it may have taken me 2.5 years of trying and failing, but I think I have finally come to a place where I have faith. I still don't know that I'll ever have children, or when, or how. But I believe that I am exactly where I'm supposed to be right now, and I have found peace in that. I wish each and every one of you the same as you go through your (sometimes long and trying) journey.
Sending all the light and love in the universe your way, you beautiful souls. Be open to positive energy and it will find you, I promise.