My Hardest Infertility Lesson
I love a good plan! And I love the execution of a good plan even more!
I love organizing thing, and I love getting things right.
I find so much satisfaction in knowing that something went according to the plan I created. Whether that something be a work project, or a volunteer activity or even just a dinner party with friends. I love the big accomplishments like defending my master’s thesis and accomplishing two years’ worth of work. I love the small accomplishments like following a recipe and having the end result taste like something you’d actually want to eat,
I feel great when my hard work turns into great success. I take pride in my accomplishments.
So, then Recurrent Pregnancy Loss happened. And I lost sight of this. I struggled to understand what success really was.
I worked so bloody hard, harder than I ever have in my life. And yet, I could not make things go according to my plan. I could not sustain a pregnancy. I could not manage to work a high stress job and manage the grief of losing our babies and our dreams. No matter how hard I tried, I could not do it.
I felt like a failure. For the first time in my life I saw myself as a failure.
I also struggled to understand how I couldn’t control the outcome. It seemed so natural that after an egg and sperm meet, a baby comes along 9 months later. I couldn’t rationalize my way through an unexplained diagnosis.
I couldn’t understand that my efforts wouldn’t make a difference to the outcome of a pregnancy. So I did everything perfectly, to nauseam. I avoided all the bad foods at all cost, I wouldn’t eat anything undercooked, I didn’t exercise, I gave up sushi (my absolute favourite food), I obviously stopped drinking alcohol and steered clear of even regular Tylenol. I even gave up my career with the intent of having a completely stress free pregnancy. Yet, nothing worked.
I lost countless hours of sleep worrying, trying to figure out what I could do better with our next try. At my craziest I thought maybe I should eat more pineapple. Or maybe I need to only use organic cleaning chemicals. Or maybe I shouldn’t pick up after my dog, because they say not to pick up after cats.
And yet again, nothing worked.
So, what does all of this mean? It means, I took the slow and hard route to learn one of the most important infertility / recurrent pregnancy loss lesson:
Learning to let go.
Maybe even the hardest lesson I’ve ever attempted to learn.
Clearly, I’m a slow learner. My stubborn nature stood in my way many times in the last few years.
I wanted to control the outcome. In fact, I think part of me needed to try to control the outcome. My need to feel like I was doing something to protect my babies was paramount.
And in the end, that same need, drove me crazy. At some point, I think I started to understand that this was beyond my sphere of influence and power. And most days I am able to remember that while I am responsible for my actions in any situation, I am not able to control everything in my life and that life might just truly be messier then I ever thought (or wanted).
There are times in life where I have to accept what is and continue on. Even when the very thing I have to accept is the very last thing I would ever want to live with.
Learning to let go has been a hard lesson to learn.
I hope in my future life trials and tribulations I am able to remember this lesson. And move forward with acceptance and a little bit more grace.
Thank you to Head Above The Waves for helping inspire this piece.
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