Recently, my family encountered a health diagnosis that wasn’t what we wanted to hear. The health issue is serious, but fixable. It will inconvenience us and take some time and patience to resolve.
Hearing this unexpected diagnosis brought me back to my infertility journey, and I vowed that this time I would face the challenges with a bit more perspective. During my infertility years, I was willing to feel sorry for myself. It was hard to see friends having babies and doing it for free and with joy. Like so many couples that experience infertility, my husband and I were all about the “right” time of the month and lived our lives from one cycle to the next. As months stretched into years and one disappointment became a mountain of them, I became cynical and disengaged from everything child related.
It wasn’t until I had the fulfillment of my heart’s desire that I was able to get in touch with my gratefulness. I can look back now and see all of the good things, such as patience, selflessness and delayed gratification that the journey taught me. The road was hard to bear but it is in the things we work so hard to have that we place the most joy. I often tell individuals with whom I speak at Donor Egg Bank USA, that infertility is boot camp for selfless moms and dads of the future.
The recent Malaysia airline crashes have given me much to ponder about perspective. No one boarding those two planes had any idea what the future held. There was no discrimination as to who lived and who died. When I consider the statistical odds, it is likely that there were men and women on each plane who grappled with infertility. Who walked the same journey that I had. Like you, my heart goes out to the loved ones left behind and the talents, dreams and hopes of the people that were lost.
When I look back at my infertility journey, I see how much time and energy I wasted focusing on what I didn’t have rather than what I did. I see how many people I shut out and opportunities I dismissed because I wasn’t willing to be around children. I lost perspective that the journey could one day be accomplished. That one day I would be a mother with a child of my own and that I was missing the present in hopes of a brighter future.
Among the endless medications, appointments and tests, perspective is easy to lose. One becomes single-mindedly focused. It is easy to put life on hold with the single pursuit of family building. Marriages undergo strain and sometimes end in divorce.
It never fails to amaze me how resilient we are. The strength of the human spirit is truly enduring. When I think I’ve seen the worst, I can always find someone challenged with a more difficult situation. We talk with so many individuals at Donor Egg Bank USA and hear some truly heart-wrenching stories. We sympathize with every one of our clients. We wish we could wave a magic silver wand and make all their dreams come true.
But with time comes perspective, and I see now that the magic wand would not have been good for me.
The journey is tough and for some, overwhelming. It is life shaping and will mold you in so many ways. You will not be the same person at the end of the journey as when you started. If you look in the mirror you may see yourself at your best, or perhaps you see yourself at your worst.
As I face these new challenges in my life, I’m trying to be grateful for the journey and how it will change me. Life is too short and unpredictable to worry about the future. My goal is to persevere with each day and enjoy the blessings I’ve received. And just like my infertility journey, I know that when I reach the other end, my life will be blessed for having traveled it.