Something happened in the past month, something shifted. When we crossed from six cycles to seven, something just moved inside of me.
I got pregnant after six tries before. Sure, it was an ectopic pregnancy but it was still a pregnancy. The fact that I haven’t yet, after six cycles, just changes something deep within. Months ago I officially crossed the line of “having an easy time of it for the second go-round” and now I’ve crossed the line of “getting pregnant within the amount of time it took the first go-round.” Of course, if I could choose between waiting eleven months and having a miscarriage at six or just waiting eleven months, I’d take the latter in a heartbeat. Hopefully that is what is happening here.
But of course, it could be something else awaiting me, something much more sinister. Maybe I won’t get pregnant for another six months, and then I’ll lose it. Or maybe I’ll lose two pregnancies in the next six months. Or maybe I’ll get pregnant next month, carry it for six months and then lose it. The thing is, nobody knows. My story has not yet been written.
And unfortunately I am not the author of my own story. I think it’s coming face to face with this fact–that you are only vaguely able to shape your own life, that you are not the author of your story at all–that makes TTC so fucking difficult. We walk around with the impression that we’re affecting change in our own lives, and we may be, up to a point, but the reality is that the big plot points are totally out of our hands, they are dictated without our knowledge and consent. We can only wait patiently (or impatiently) for the next chapter to be written.
But I guess, the part of the story we can write, is the character development. I had never thought of it that way until I read a post by Pamela at Silent Sorority. We may not be able to direct the plot line of our lives, but we can determine how the main character–me, myself and I–deals with what she’s dealt.
And that is what I intend to do. The truth is, that shift I was talking about, it has been good for me. I am no longer waiting with bated breath for that second line. I’m no longer planning (or not planning) my life around its possible (but improbable) appearance. For some reason, reaching those thresholds, knowing my situation can no longer fit any description I had hoped would apply (like, it was easier the second time, or I’d actually get paid maternity leave this time), has triggered a paradigm shift. A weight has been lifted. It’s like the pressure of those determiners was stressing me out more than actually getting pregnant did.
Now, that’s not to say that I don’t still very much want to get pregnant. And it’s not to say that I’m still not having a hard time with uncertainty that awaits me. But there is something freeing about these uncharted waters. The fact is, after the expectations of having an easier time of it, or getting pregnant in time to enjoy end-of-the-school-year maternity leave died their slow, painful deaths, there weren’t any expectations to take their place. Except of course the expectation that I’ll some day have another living child. And I will admit, that one is still going strong, but my situation doesn’t warrant an attack on that expectation yet, so I have some time to try to conquer it before I have to worry about it turning on me and making me miserable.
So, in the absence of the desperation I previously felt, I find energy available for other things. Creative energy. It’s almost as if my body stopped trying to channel all my creative energy into creating a new life, and is just letting it roam free, and now it’s trying to get out.
Frankly, I count myself lucky that I have any creative energy left. After all the stress of the new house, the shit show that is work this year and the tantrum dodging at home, I’m surprised I have any desire to create anything. But I do. And it feels good.
So I channel this creative energy at new pursuits. I jot down ideas for blog posts. I try to iron out the many kinks in the plot line of my novel. It’s funny, whenever I feel overwhelmed by the uncertainty of TTC, I almost always find my thoughts heading directly to my novel. It’s like my mind needs something that it knows it can control. It needs a place where energy expended leads to a tangible result. I may not be able to determine when I get pregnant, but I can choose whether or not to write my book. And I can even decide what happens to the characters in it. It’s an amazing place to throw my energies and I desperately wish I had more time to focus on it.
The truth is, I don’t really have much hope that I’ll get pregnant again, at least not anytime soon. Actually, that is not quite right. It’s not that I don’t have any hope, it’s that I don’t have any EXPECTATION that I’ll get pregnant again anytime soon. I just don’t really think about it happening one way or another. It’s the death of the expectation that has set me free.
I don’t know how long this freedom with last. I doubt I can keep my expectation dead for too long. Surely it will resurrect itself and I’ll be forced to reckon with it once again. But for now, I revel in its absence. I concentrate on other pursuits. I count my blessings and am thankful for what I have.
And I focus on the plot lines, and the character development, that I can control.