No such thing as the real world

In these days of anxiety, deadlines, and pressure, I can’t help but look forward to my ‘real life’ starting.

Except I have no idea what that entails. And then I wonder if when real life is here, will I just look forward to something else?
(Despite your opinions on his interview skills/life decisions, his music is still catchy)
Are there some of us that are just never satisfied?  I don’t want to be in that group.  It doesn’t seem like really living.
I get excited about new things all the time.  But its a challenge for  me to focus on the here and now.  Especially this now.  But I’d hate to get to my real life and wonder why I squandered my fake life. We have THE great news, the same promise of salvation and eternal life always!  And the same strong support at all times.  I shouldn’t get so wrapped up in these temporary moments to lose sight of the big picture.
So I try to take a moment and see friends, put aside my pressures and care for the people I love things I believe in, even when I feel in over my head.   Like seeing family and helping with NFP teacher training and meeting Rebecca and The Man :)  Things like that remind me of why we work hard in the first place.
But I still have to get through the now by doing this work.  Now.
Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Lord, just help me tackle this batch of trouble right now.


I have many faults.  Like being too wordy.  Planning too much is not one of them.

But its always a comment I seem to get when the issue of sub-fertility is brought up, both in general and to me personally.  Oh, everyone wants to control and plan these things, sometimes it just doesn’t happen as we plan it. As if that is the sole source of frustration with sub-fertility.

Not to negate the difficulty of planning something you have no control of.  I agree that things “not going to plan” is part of the frustration of dealing with sub-fertility.  You don’t know how much it meant to me to hear from someone very close to me who was trying to conceive recently, how they never realized how much planning goes out the window when you’re trying to conceive and don’t know if you’re pregnant yet and/or will be soon.  Should I drink this cup of coffee?  Should I go to the dentist and get that x-ray?  Should I plan that international trip for 8 months away?

Practical questions that come up everyday and need answers, at least if you’re going to responsibly try to raise a child.  Attempting to answer these questions doesn’t mean you’re unnecessarily worrying or stressing, you’re dealing with reality and the gravity of potentially bringing a new life into the world.  You do lose elements of being able to plan your life when you’re not able to answer these questions.  And with that comes frustration.  She pointed out that its like living with uncertainty that may occur due to other life changes, new job or a move, etc., just, with no end in sight.

Yes, that is a bad part about sub-fertility, I agree, but that largely fades away with time.  As my husband says That was so 14 months ago.  But I feel like perhaps that is harder on the planning-type of personality.  I don’t know how much it applies to me.

I am not a planner.  I know many, many women who are and have many close friends who are ‘the planning type’.  But, on the American scale of “planniness”*, I feel somewhere towards the “unplanned” side and I’ve been inching closer there mostly on account of my extremely planning-averse husband (who really, makes even the mildest person look like a worry wart).  I’ve come up with a few examples to illustrate this, reaching far back into my history:

  • In fifth grade I bounced a ball off my teacher’s head, even though he told me I’d get detention if I did it.  Perhaps that illustrates impulsiveness more than planning, but I drastically neglected to plan for the very realistic consequences of my actions.
  • In college, I decided to spend a summer in China without any exchange program for the first 5 weeks.  It didn’t hit me until I was in the Japanese airport and I realized I was halfway around the world with no one and I wasn’t even sure someone was picking me up from the airport when I landed.
  • Growing up, I had no ideas how my life would go.  I didn’t plan to get married and have kids. I just didn’t think about it.  I never dreamed about my future and when I tried, I never saw it, which honestly used to scare me because I thought it meant that I would die young.
  • Our closest “plan” to wait to have children was cut way shorter than we “planned”.
  • I didn’t originally plan on getting a PhD.  I just knew I liked the subject matter and would go for a Master’s and if I had funding and my adviser liked me enough, I’d stay.
  • I never really knew what I would do with this PhD.  Embarrassing.
  • Who plans to have children in grad school?  No one I know even thinks getting married in grad school is a good idea. I just knew we had the resources to make it work if it happened.  We did know that we didn’t want to end up in the academic cycle of trying to plan for a baby during the summer or after tenure or any other mythical “perfect time”.
  • We just decided we would move to Mexico, even though we were trying to have a kid.  I remember a talk with my Dad who said we should think about what if we did get pregnant and where would the baby be born, would we be able to get medical care/immigration paperwork to bring the baby back.  We’ll figure that out if it happens, we thought.

OK, those are just some examples.  Maybe they illustrate bad planning or impulsiveness  more than anything, but clearly I don’t have an attachment to over planning or relying on great life plans.  I just have never been someone to say I will never get married before I am X old, I will have Y  children, but not until I am Z years old, at which point I will be well into my career of J. I have never even had soft answers for those questions, outside of Y equaling more than 1.

I do feel like never feeling in control of my surroundings and moving frequently as a kid, yet still with the security of my family, has probably made me adverse to making plans.  I have a general, life will take care of itself attitude, probably because my life has been pretty normal and fairly predictable.  This has been a privilege and I’m thankful that my life and reality has been so secure that I haven’t felt the need to try to control it all.

I’ve noticed that the desire to assert control usually motivates people who like to plan and that equally ‘fluid’ people who aren’t attached to reality are usually ambivalent to planning for a situation, perhaps in part because they lack the ability to predict reality.

Yes, not all planning is bad (its clearly serves some purpose) and planning something and having it dashed to pieces isn’t really fun but its part of the game.  And while it is a difficult part of sub-fertility, I maintain that it is not the most difficult part.  In fact, to pretend like that is why this is so hard, belittles the really hard part that comes more in the form of a question.  The question evolves from:

How can I deal with this uncertainty?

To the more serious question that every sub-fertile must ask:

How can I live without ever having children?

I can understand why people run from that question.  Its a scary question.  My husband wrote that that’s one of the scariest things he’s had to confront.  I know it definitely is for me.  Most people with children I know always announce that Oh, I just can’t imagine my life without them. Probably because it hurts too much?  Or maybe because that’s just their reality.  Maybe previously I was someone who could afford to not plan, to not think about these issues based on my circumstances, but my reality has changed.

For me, what made this so hard in the very beginning (fully aware that I am still in the ‘beginning stages’ as we speak) was that I was desperately trying to run from that question.  I didn’t have enough information to feel that question was really a question for me, and I didn’t  want to answer that question. That wasn’t a reality I wanted to think about.

I feel like I can now at least have a stare down with that question.  It still makes me cry sometimes.  And I still don’t have an answer (neither does my husband) but I can stare it down like no other.  This is my reality whether I planned it or not (who plans sub-fertility?) but I guess that’s progress.

Sometimes I envy those people in my life, who can just go on living their lives with their totally different reality, and just pop in every so often to say “Oh you’ll have a baby one day, I just know it!!”, thinking that everyone ends up with their cookie and I’ll get a baby somehow.  I understand being optimistic, but there’s also ignoring reality.  They get to conveniently ignore the reality that faces every sub-fertile and infertile couple, the reality that statistics provide that show, Well, if you haven’t had a baby by now, it doesn’t look good. To put it nicely.

But more importantly, they get to ignore that hard question.

That question that points to what is ultimately optional, yet that so many of us take for granted.  That question that challenges your existence, your purpose.

It has been such a tricky balance, to having a life that I have not need to plan for, to avidly not wanting to have my plans include this, and then to forcing myself accept to that I need to plan for a reality that I didn’t think was possible.

Yet the hardest part remains that question.

How can I live a life without biological children?

Have you been able to ask yourself that?  Have you found a suitable answer?

* – Yes, I’m making up words.  And I put American scale because my experience with other cultures is that acceptable levels of planning vary greatly.

Somewhere out there

Am I the only one that saw this story about the perigee moon and thought of this song?

Those little kids voices are even cuter than I remember…

And even though I know how very far apart we are

It helps to think we might be wishing on the same bright star

And when the night wind starts to sing a lonesome lullaby

It helps to think we’re sleeping underneath the same big sky!

Too cute.  You know what I’ll be doing tomorrow.

Tri-colored Hat

Our lab cleaning lady saw me wearing my first hat a while back….I think it was December…and asked where I got it.  When I told her I made it she asked how much to have one made for her.  I told her freeee because I was dying to make knitted things for anyone who wanted one!

It took me a while to make it, as I was making all that other stuff, but I finally finished this sometime at the end of January.  I made it tri-colored because she said she couldn’t decide and let me choose.  And I couldn’t decide either!  I thought it might look a little funky/schizophrenic, but I actually might make a multi-colored hat for myself so I can wear it with multiple things.

I snapped some pictures of it in lab before I gave it to her, and I wanted to get a picture of her in it too, but I chickened out at the last minute because I thought it would be creepy.  Unfortunately, I did get it to her after the last cold snap of the year (we think) so she’ll probably have to wait until next year to wear it.  Oh well.

Oh, and its actually the same pattern as the first one I made, but I knitted it in the round instead of…what is it called…linear knitting?  So no seam! I also had the needle size too big in the beginning and when I switched to a smaller size at about row 5 it rolled up nicely to make a little brim, for a slightly different style.  Happy mistake!

Anyway, posting it now so I don’t forget because I probably won’t be completing any projects any time soon.

Lenten Purging

The priest of our university chapel this past Sunday mentioned that Lent is like taking our car to the car wash.  There’s a layer of grime and dirt covering the car (especially now, during pollen season!) and when the car emerges it is bright and shiny and you remark Wow!  Is that the real color of my car?! Like our soul, emerging from Lent.

This has not been my lenten experience.

My husband asked if I had any thoughts after Mass and we talked about the homily and readings, as we usually do, and all I could think was that I rarely say Oh, how pretty and shiny when remarking on myself or my soul but rather Wow, how ugly and gross.  Perhaps this is because we are only 1 week in.  Maybe I’ll be singing a different tune at the end of Lent?  But I think the Father left out a huge detail of how painful the Lenten car wash is.  It is not so much a quick jaunt through some sudsy water so much as a deep, scalding scrub with an old pummus stone.  Ouch.

The things I struggle most with (or at least the most obvious things)  are addictive things, refreshing my email, checking Facebook, little mindless clicking games to fill the time, and yes, checking my blog reader.  I recognize the frequency that I do these things as just being there to fill the time and not intentional.  So part of my agreement with myself has been to only intentionally do these things, unlike last year when I gave them up completely.  I guess this practically amounts to only doing them on the weekend, my designated “free time”.  Like last year, I reserve the right to write my thoughts on my here, and unlike last year, I’ll probably take advantage of that.

(Well, except for Facebook, which I am once again convinced is the closest thing to innately evil that I can believe in and so am giving up for the whole 46 days.  Especially after watching The Social Network, I’m convinced I’ve unwittingly bought into Mark Zuckerberg’s plan to take over the world! Drat.)

Anyway, to say this has been difficult is an understatement.  I sit in an office/lab all day with little human interaction, my thesis does not talk back (or write itself), and my roommates are out of the country.  So I get lonely.  Just taking these things away leaves a cranky Alison, frustrated because I can’t click but I don’t know what else to do.

So I’m taking a page out of last year’s book and whenever I get really frustrated, or get that click-y urge, I’m going here:  Universalis. And I will pray the most relevant prayer.

And I’m offering it up for my Prayer Buddy  (amongst other things).

I guess this car was dirtier than I thought.

Empty arms and empty nets

Last spring we happened to share with the priest who witnessed our marriage that we were going through some issues trying to conceive.  This was still fairly early in our “attempting” so I just happened to mention in passing if he could include our desires to grow our family in his prayers (he was actually over to bless our house), especially because he had some formative spiritual direction for us when we discerned we should be open to our fertility.  Being the thoughtful and involved Father that he is, he mentioned that he had recently heard of several couples who were having the same issues and asked if we would all like to get together for mass and dinner.   A few weeks later he followed up with an email, asking if a date three months in the future was OK for us to get together. 

Sure, I thought. But I’ll probably be pregnant by then. Then I’ll probably feel really silly for agreeing to all this.

(In case anyone doubts I have the power of positive thinking).

Anyways, turns out I wasn’t pregnant, but we did have a lovely night of Mass, dinner and socializing with 3 other couples who were also experiencing difficultly conceiving.  There were two “older” couples and two “younger” couples – relatively speaking.  There was a range of “time trying to conceive”, basically ranging from almost a year (us) to 8 years.  Yes, you can bet that I felt like the weakest person in the world being there alongside couples that have carried this cross for much, much longer than I have.  At that point I was used to having my anxiety and fear being blown off for not trying long enough by fertile friends and was a little anxious at being blown off by these new infertile women.    However, it was a great experience and most of the couples understood that not conceiving is not conceiving and we all share a common bond, no matter the length of time.  They had supportive things to say, even if for part of the night I did feel like their ‘project’, with them telling me words of advice like relax because there is nothing else you can do, take one day at a time, and to have faith because that first year is the hardest.  I did start to feel a bit of a “pain Olympics” (or where infertile women like to compete over how ‘infertile’ they are), which was probably only apparent from my view, but this was to be expected I guess and minimal.  After all, I was just starting the journey as they were able to tell me about significant mile-markers and scenery changes along the way.  As with most things, it really helped having examples of other couples facing this hardship and surviving, “mentors” of sorts that could provide concrete examples of hope without diminishing the pain I felt. These couples gave me hope for my future that these tears would eventually dry up when talking about sub/infertility with strangers.

Perhaps the most miraculous moment came during Mass when the Father did a semi-introduction of us all to each other in the homily (after we had officially met but before eating dinner) and revealed the most amazing news yet – that the couple who had been married and open to life for 8 years, after at least 3 surgeries and multiple adoption failures, was yes, finally pregnant with their first pregnancy.  Praise the Lord!  They conceived sometime after the first email was sent and the date of our gathering.  They hadn’t actively tried anything in over a year, and there they sat, shedding tears of joy after waiting so long to receive this gift from God.  The whole room was in tears at this miracle.

I realized then that this was not a short term journey and the longer I counted months by days, the more I was setting myself up for heart-ache.    My vision of thinking well, at least I’ll probably conceive in the next few years suddenly stretched to a decade.  Am I strong enough to endure a decade of this – or even more? I admit I was terrified, but I’m glad I got that reality check early on.  Heck, when I would express doubt in us being able to conceive around the 6 month mark my husband used to jokingly threaten me with “Do you want to go to that Loving Embrace group where real infertile women are so you can feel embarrassed for being so sad?”  I knew then that I was weak.  These women were warriors and their faith, so solid.  At least in hindsight.  I was so, so weak.  I am so, so weak.

Perhaps the second “Ah ha!” moment of the night was during the homily again, when Father talked about his history and involvement as director of vocations.  Some of you may wonder what a celibate priest has to say about yearning for children, but the similarities were more than obvious.  As director of vocations in a small Italian order, he moved to Texas to expand more than 25 years ago.  The house they owned that he longed to be filled to the brim with young men exploring their callings sat mostly empty.  He could count the number of vocations on one hand and they were much, much less than he desired.  That he prayed for.  He often begged God to tell him that if He desired such a good thing and was there willing and ready to serve and mentor these young men, why did He not send them?  His empty nets mirrored our empty arms.  But even our 8 year empty arms paled in comparison to 25 years but luckily, its not all about the ‘pain Olympics’.  He reminded us that our desire for children and his desire for vocations both pointed to a similar longing, a longing for God.  A love of God so strong that you want to share it with others, no matter your vocation.

They were beautiful words to help me realize that longing for God IS universal, even if the specific cross of infertility is not.  Now, whenever I pray for those empty arms out there and the parents longing to fill them, I also try to remember those empty nets and pray for God to fill them as well.

Planet Pregnant and the Cosmic Pregnancy Balance

For real this time.

It occurred to me the other week that pregnancy seems to shoot women into another planet’s orbit where an entirely different realm of worries govern their daily life.  If its strange what things you think of on Planet Childless, the questions that seem to occupy a pregnant woman’s time seem equally foreign.

Will it be a girl or a boy? How will I balance my time? I hope I don’t gain that much weight. What will people think? How and when will I go back to work?  What will I wear to Jim-Bob’s wedding when I’m 7 months pregnant?

It amazes me that people get to think about those questions, those questions that I forbid myself to think about every month!  In one second (well, more like one month) I can go from completely understanding and speaking clearly with a non-pregnant friend and the next, its like she’s blasted off to a different planet full of thoughts and worries that I only thought existed beyond the deep horizon.  People actually go there?  It sometimes feels a little like learning that Martians exist.  Phenomenal.

But yes, trips to Planet Pregnant are very frequent and people go there a lot, often they make multiple trips!  In fact, as soon as you’ve announced your next voyage to Planet Pregnant I’m sure it seems like women who you’ve barely spoken too as long as you’ve inhabited Planet Childless offer you their travel tips.  Its such a life-changing experience I’m sure there’s no way not to talk about your last trip.  Its like that time you went to Europe, only the souvenirs are way better.  I’m sure this experience is not only for those without children yet, but the unmarried could feel the same way.  And perhaps Planet Marriage or Planet Wedding-Day seems equally as foreign a place with related worries as odd as another language or something you only dream about.

I just wish I had something to add to these conversations about Planet Pregnant, but sometimes it just feels like a country I’ve never been to, I can only ask what was the food like, did it make you sick, or, did you meet anyone fun? And I do try to relate, after all, I got sick on a trip once.  But to be honest, that’s when I get concerned about myself.   I want to go to Planet Pregnant because of the joy it would bring and how it would change my life after I return. I do have to remind myself of that.  I don’t just want to go because other people are going, although I’m sure people decide to book trips based on the fact their friends are going so they might as well go too.  But truth is maybe I’ll get to make a more unique intergalactic journey, to somewhere like Planet Adoption, Planet Foster Case, Planet South American Mission or even Planet Full-Time Student-For-The-Rest-Of-My-Life (OK, so maybe people won’t really want to hear stories about my journey to that last destination).  Maybe I won’t be able to share stories with as many people since those places are less visited, but we’ll have our own experiences which will be invaluable to us.

And the Cosmic Pregnancy Balance…I have a whole other post coming about The Pregnancy Announcement Reaction (dom dom dom, well, at least in my head) but I was wondering if I’m the only one who somehow feels a superstitious belief in the Cosmic Pregnancy Balance.  That perhaps somewhere in there I believe in another physics law, totally unprovable but as strong as the law of gravity, that conserves the number of pregnant women on Earth, nay, the Universe, at the same time.  That maybe there can only be a certain number of pregnant women at once.  So when you hear of another one, you’re happy for them but at the same time realize that your chances of being on the numerator of that Pregnancy Ratio just went down.  It makes no sense by any laws of conservation or math that I’m familiar with, but man, in the moment it always makes total sense.

The Cosmic Pregnancy Balance, that’s why I’m not pregnant.  Of course.

OK, this was my lame attempt at humor.  I’m sorry if I failed miserably. It was not meant to be blasphemous or disrespectful, its just sometimes easier to joke about a Cosmic Pregnancy Balance than to believe that God has hand-selected me to learn patience this way while seemingly everyone else doesn’t need to learn patience at all.

Oops! Trigger happy

Turns out I should just stick to writing posts when they come to me and not try to begin something before I have time to publish it!  Because then I accidentally end up hitting publish on an empty post :P

Tempting title though, huh?  I’ll just save that one for later!

Round-up #2

The IF Cross asked these questions a few days ago and I’m just now getting to it.  The point of her Round-ups is for us all to get to know each other a little better :)

I answer some of them below.  The reasons I can’t answer all of them are two-fold, 1) I don’t have an answer for all the questions, and 2) I don’t have a good enough memory to remember the answers.  I don’t remember a lot of things from my childhood (does that mean something bad?).

Ok, onto the answers!

Tell us about a childhood injury. I have several, since I was a very clumsy child.  I had learned how to climb higher in the neighbors tree from my older brother and my neighbor.  I was so excited to try it that I came home from swim practice and climbed all the way up there.  Unfortunately, I hadn’t learned how to get down, so I just jumped.  And I compound fractured my arm and dislocated my elbow.  Apparently my mom, well-versed in non-emergency screaming/crying children, was able to tell that I was seriously injured right away.  I want that talent when I’m a mom.

Name something you did as a child that your parents don’t know about. I ate a cupcake before we were supposed to on July 4th one year and let my parents think it was my little brother.  Mom, it was really me. 

Worst roommate you have ever had. Would definitely be the one that would hot-box our room on a routine basis and then have the nerve to get upset when we burnt the popcorn.  Umm, right. 

How many times have you changed your hair color? I got a little crazy with the sun-in in high school and then moving to a place with no sun-shine meant I had to fix it by dyeing it.  I would do this ‘cool thing’ (so I thought) and dye just the tips red or orange with henna.  The worst was when I had my little brother help me one time and it ended up being not the tips but half my head.  I ended up just slathering the rest of the henna just all over my head and I had uneven orange hair for winter pictures and honor band.  I haven’t touched hair dye (or sun-in) since.

What was your best Halloween costume? I was a turtle and used a laundry basket for my shell one year in high school.  I walked around really slowly and cracked myself up. 

What was your first car and what do you remember about it?I didn’t drive until I was 18 and didn’t get a car until I was 20.  It was my grandpa’s old car with a v6 engine.  I had only been driving for a year when I met my husband and one of his first memories of me is peeling out in the car after dropping him off after a bubble tea date.  I totally didn’t mean to, the gas was just really sensitive.  But apparently I looked really tough!

What was your first job? My sister and I ran a “Kiddie Kamp” for the local neighborhood children during 2 weeks in the summer, so that was the first time I made money.  Officially, I worked at a fireworks stand over the summer after 8th grade.  I had to check people’s ID to make sure they were 18 to buy fireworks, but I could be 14 and sell them.  How does that work?

Do you have a favorite TV show? I admit it, I’m a 16 and Pregnant/Teem Mom watcher.  And I have no shame in the game.  I honestly watch it because sometimes I need the reminder that while every child is a miracle, not all pregnancy situations are ideal and some are far from it. It is easy to start to idealize every pregnancy when you’re sub/infertile.  If you can watch that show and walk away thinking “Lucky, even those girls can get pregnant” I think there’s some serious tunnel vision going on.  Those girls are facing their own set of problems much, much different than mine.  I don’t, however, advocate for the reunion shows that start to push more sex-ed policies based on these girls experiences.   

Do you have any OCD tendencies that you feel comfortable sharing? Other than not putting wet towels or luggage on the bed, I’m pretty OCD free.  However, I have some great ones on my OCD husband.  I guess I’ll just keep those to myself :)

Ok, if anyone else wants to join, here are the questions!

My battle with “natural”

I may be a secret hippie at heart.

I use many ‘natural’ products. I’ve made my own laundry soap, shampoo and conditioner.  I don’t shave my legs nearly as much as is appropriate – and not at all in winter (does it still count as winter?).  I use reusable feminine products.  I avoid buying unnecessarily packaged food.  I prefer the idea of using less over buying more.  I want to knit my own everything.  I dream of having a garden and a compost when we ever have a house together again.    I’m learning more about the truth behind what foods I eat and I’m trying to change my decisions daily (although old cravings die very, very hard).  I’m not over the top on this by any means and I try not to talk about these things, but I do try to make those small changes if its possible and more importantly, I enjoy doing these things.  I like to feel as self-sufficient as possible.

As a Catholic, I think natural law is the coolest thing ever.  As should be obvious by now, I am a big proponent of naturally spacing children and avoiding hormones to control healthy, naturally occurring reproductive processes.  I love the idea of having a natural birth and breastfeeding.  You know, doing what your body is supposed to do and feeding your child as it would happen, naturally.

Are you sick of that word yet?

I am.

Because the problem is I’m staring down the barrel of an ideological crisis.  I’m realizing what I would really want more than anything is a natural conception.

And if that’s the most important thing for me, then at this rate it may mean never conceiving at all.

Yes, if I do ever conceive it will be the ‘old-fashioned’ way with an act between my husband and I (as a Catholic, what I consider ‘natural’ and ‘moral’ are separate ideas – the latter being a non-negotiable, the former being, well, what I’m trying to figure out) but ideally I’d want it even more natural than that.  I’d love nothing more than the truly natural ‘Hey look honey we didn’t abstain this month and weren’t pumped full of fertility drugs and no doctor was monitoring my blood and look just what happened naturally, we’re pregnant!”

Oh, how hard it is to let go of that dream.

Equally hard is accepting that while for some couples, it is as simple as that, for others it isn’t.

I realize that so many of you are so far beyond this that you’re probably rolling your eyes right now and thinking “Natural or not, I just want a conception. Period!” Maybe there are others saying “Maybe if it doesn’t come naturally, you’re just not meant to have children.”

I’m stuck somewhere in the middle.

I imagine this is similar to those women trying to decide what matters to them in the delivery room.  There’s so much thought and preparation that goes into how to deliver a baby and its a very important decision.  Keyword:  decision.  It appears it is a choice.

I know that not all women want to have a natural birth.  That is their decision.   Some women do and they fight tooth and nail to get it.  More power to them. I know that many women do want one and end up for one reason or another (usually life threatening) having medical reasons and needing help either through pain medication or a cesarean.  Other women get pushed into it by their doctors for less serious reasons.  I’ve talked to several friends who associate such trauma with birth precisely because when it came down to it, they had no choice in the matter.  What happened had to happen because lives were at risk.

At the end of the day you’ll say “All that matters is that the baby is healthy” anyway, right?

If I thought I was that woman who would fight for a natural birth, doesn’t that mean I’m that woman who would fight for a natural conception?

I don’t know if ‘deciding’ on a natural conception is the same because it does not seem to be an even choice.  It’s not that I have a fair choice between having a ‘natural’ or an ‘aided’ (is that the opposite?) conception in the first place.  That decision seems to be taken away from me already.  The choice is rather between, ‘aided’ or potentially, none and really, let’s admit that that’s not even a choice I get to make either since pursuing fertility treatments doesn’t guarantee anything.  But the choice I do get to make is if I go down that path at all.  It is a choice to wait indefinitely.

And it’s not really a life or death situation,  so I don’t know if it’s the same ‘non-choice’ that a woman in a life threatening situation in the delivery room has.  Unless we consider it as a life or death situation for our future biological non-existent children (which I don’t believe in a pre-existence so, I can’t).  Or the life or death of my biological motherhood which at the end of the day isn’t the death of an actual person – I am still alive, it’s just the death of an idea or a dream (as painful as it is).

I don’t write this to upset people but because I’m truly trying to figure out why I have this attachment to the “natural”.  I know that regardless of my moral beliefs, it would be impossible to allow myself to do IUI or IVF on this idea alone: that we were being stripped of such a naturally occurring process of our love literally making a baby.  I think many fertile couples take for granted how spectacular that is.  I couldn’t and wouldn’t let anyone take away from me that most intimate detail of the miracle of conception even if I had no religious guidance on the matter.

Ultimately, infertility in most cases is what is unnatural.  I guess I say most cases because I feel like in my case, what has given all illusions to be unexplained infertility, this just may very well be our natural state.  If you’re using modern medicine to help you conceive and overcome a disease or a known problem, then that would be restoring health.   But if all those processes are already happening and you just can’t conceive?  I don’t know what I would do next.  Could I just give up and accept that?  If I decide that natural conception isn’t important, well then natural birth or breastfeeding wouldn’t be either.  Can I have it both ways?  I know despite my efforts, there are many things I do in my life that aren’t natural so I find it curious that I seem to have drawn the rules at reproduction.

So this is my battle with the “natural”.  It’s horribly inconvenient given my situation.

But I don’t know if I can bring myself to believe that convenience is what matters.