Mistrust

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” Rumi

Somewhere in all of this I’ve lost trust in my body.  I have been fortunate enough to never go through what I saw many of my close friends and acquaintances go through.  As early as middle school, my best friend started putting smaller portions on her plate at dinner and then shuffling it around to make it look like she’d eaten, but in truth had barely touched it.  In high school I grew increasingly concerned about a close friend who no longer ate lunch with the rest of us, claiming she’d eat when she got to work that afternoon or home later that day.  In college it was a roommate who exercised excessively and severely cut back on calories. My first year teaching I confronted a colleague I was close to about her shrinking size when she was in a volatile relationship. As concerned as I was and as much encouragement as I gave, I was an outsider to their battle.

I still don’t understand it completely, having never walked in their shoes, but infertility has challenged my trust in my body.  I am working at regaining it and seeing my body for all of the wonder and beauty it possesses, regardless of the fact that it hasn’t done the one thing I’ve asked of it: nurture a life for nine months, keeping it safe and healthy.  In reading the self-help books after my miscarriage, I read the advice to not grow angry at myself and how I shouldn’t hold myself responsible for the loss.  At the time I didn’t. I was still working through the shock of having seen the baby thriving, his heartbeat chugging along at 115 bmp on the ultrasound still didn’t mesh with image only a week later of complete darkness and no evidence of life.  I was still working through how quickly things can go from truly miraculous to devastating. I wasn’t looking to place blame on anyone, at least not yet.

Now several months out from losing him, I admit that I’ve blamed my body.  Part of the reason I’ve stepped away from treatment was that I needed to heal, but I also needed to reconcile my relationship with my body.  For the first time in my life, I’ve loathed it. I’ve wanted to trade it for another one, one that would protect the life I want so desperately to bring into the world. I have a mistrust of it. How is it that I can create beautiful eggs and with the help of my husband, beautiful embryos, but my body won’t allow for them to thrive? Now with only three embryos left and one last transfer possible, I’m struggling to trust that my body will cooperate.

As part of my healing process, I’ve turned to other things I know I can do.  I decided to sign up for a race and start training.  I told my husband I needed something else to work towards besides baby making. I needed to work on trusting my body again. I needed to feel its strength. I needed to know I could rely on it to get me through a difficult challenge. I have also returned to my yoga practice.  Allowing myself to trust my body as I flow through poses and keep my balance. Working at getting out of my head and having my body to lead me. I’ve needed to see how beautiful it is, even if it is flawed. I’ve needed to appreciate it for all of what it can do and how it allows me to do things I truly love, instead of hating it.

I’m working at letting go of the fear and mistrust as we move closer to our next attempt. I’ll admit it is a daily battle.  Having gratitude and love for my body is hard when I feel I’ve been betrayed by it. It is wound that needs constant attention and mending. I’m working at making a choice.  In all of the things that I do, I can allow myself to believe the constant ticker of doubt that runs through my mind, or I can put my faith in my body to carry me through the last painful quarter-mile. I’m working at not allowing myself to strictly define who I am by what my body hasn’t been able to do, but by all of the possibilities it holds.

Perspective

I’ve been on a hiatus the past couple of weeks from writing.  The weeks leading up to winter break are some of the most stressful at work and then break came and well, so did life.  I also felt a little like I was throwing myself in this blog, reading other blogs, and becoming obsessed with connecting with others who are on this journey like we are, which also caused me to wonder if I was neglecting my husband and should be focused on making sure we were okay after the miscarriage.  In the middle of all of this, we got news that my stepfather has stage three lung cancer. Like I shared, I went home immediately after my D&C to be with my mom while my stepdad underwent a procedure to biopsy the nodules on his lungs. The tests came back positive for lung cancer and all of my focus shifted to them. He’s getting treatment and I get home to help when I can on the weekends. I am tossing around the idea of taking leave, but am waiting to see if things will get bad. So far they are able to manage the daily radiation and weekly chemo appointments without me being there and I’m continuing to work. Seems that the treatments are going well and my stepdad is feeling good. I pray that it will remain this way through his 43 days of treatment.

I went to church with my husband the Sunday before Christmas and as I sat listening to the story of Jesus’ birth, a story I have heard so many times before, it was as if I was hearing it for the first time. I’ve come to realize how different the world looks after IVF, after three failed attempts, after finding out that a loved one has cancer.  It would be easy to get down and allow myself to wallow in all of what has taken place. It would be easy to become bitter and angry, to question God, to get wrapped up in the impossibility of it all, because it can certainly feel impossible.

As I sat and listened to our minister retell the story, but focusing on the point of view of Mary and how she must have felt in that impossible moment, I came to see the miracles of the story in a way I’d never seen it before. As scared and frightened as she must have been, she faced her fears and kept faith.

I also recently read an article in the January 2013 Real Simple on how to come back from a crisis.  In it they suggest that you surround yourself with friends who know how to deal with various stages of the crisis. What I found most helpful for me and what helped me to keep things in perspective while I fought my inner battle with maintaining faith and hope in the face of all of the impossibility flooding my life was a quote towards the end of the article. “We cause ourselves more suffering when we tell ourselves that things shouldn’t be happening. ‘The truth is, there are wonderful things that happen in this life, and there are really sorrowful things that…life is like that.'”

We assume that pregnancy will come easily for us once we set our minds to making a family. I think I’ve struggled with accepting how easy it is for others and not for us. Now having had our last miscarriage, I feel like all I see are pregnant women and women with new babies. It hasn’t helped me accept what we’ve been given. In fact, I have probably suffered more because I’ve focused on the frustrations of  our journey in comparing it to others. I’m trying to remember that this is all part of our journey and to be grateful for how all of what’s happened has brought my husband and me closer together. He’s my rock and I know now that whatever we face, we face as a team.  Our journey may not be easy and it may not be what either of us imagined, but it is ours. Does keeping the faith become difficult? Sure. I got two baby announcements this week and guess what else decided to arrive? My period.  It’s been a really difficult week.  I just have to believe that for whatever reason we’ve been given this path, but I’m sure thankful we’ve got each other.