It takes courage to be with, to really be with someone who is suffering. Difficult conception (infertility, though it’s not the same) is an unfamiliar condition for most people to understand, even for those who love us. If you have good support from friends and family, it’s a real blessing. The words ” what can I do” or “what do you need from me” are gifts straight from Heaven. But it seems that we don’t often hear those words, but rather words intended to provide comfort, though misguided or suggestions that tear at the flesh of one’s already open wound.
It’s hard to blame others for not understanding. Especially when we don’t quite understand either. It’s all part of “The Process” or “The Journey”, an overused but accurate label for describing a life changing diagnosis. We try to understand what’s happening in our bodies, what isn’t working right and what to do about it, while wrestling with how we feel about it. It’s confusing and complicated. One of the ways, in which women in particular, make sense or try to understand is to talk about it. Thank God for girlfriends, right? Usually that’s the case. But sometimes not. Or our Moms. But again, sometimes not. There’s no question that they love you. But can they sit with you?
This reminds me of Oriah Mountain Dreamer’s poem, The Invitation, where she says “I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it.” In this community of like-minded individuals, we sit together. We make room or space for exploring and discovering this unfamiliar interior landscape. There’s much to explore because we haven’t been here before. In the past, we simply set our minds to accomplishing what we want and we did it. Infertility is new territory. It’s not a matter of working harder or more hours. You can’t just pay to have it fixed. We can see our destination, exactly where we want to be, but there’s no map. Others have been down this road, but their map doesn’t work in our territory.
The truth is, is that this process is going to take you places you didn’t want to go and demand things of you that you never imagined. And you can’t do it alone. Just as in Homer’s Odyssey, there are challenges and obstacles along the way for which you need help. You will meet people who are helpful and and others, not so much. You need all of your resources and will discover strengths and assets that you didn’t know you had. You will also make friends and find guides along the way that you wouldn’t have met under other circumstances.
This is not to romanticize the fertility journey. There’s NOTHING romantic about it. But this is where you are. Now, what what will you do? HOW you choose to do things is sometimes more important than achieving the ultimate goal. That’s why you have to create your own map. You have to do the right thing for you. It’s like the infertility diet. There isn’t one. There is figuring out what nourishes and energizes your body and feeds your spirit and also what makes you ill. You explore and experiment. You meet with Kindred Spirits.
The monthly gatherings at Heal from Within, Fertility Road, is a circle of belonging. It is not a support group, though it is very supportive. It is not a stress reduction workshop, though those who come feel much more grounded and peaceful when they leave. We sit together, sometimes quietly. We talk. We share our stories. We begin to heal our selves by listening and sharing with others. Healing happens in community, not in isolation. We make space for whoever shows up. We’ll walk your jagged landscapes with you. And we will sit with you.