Yesterday, I was helping my seven year old daughter with her math homework. She is a remarkable writer and reads like an adult, but, like her momma, math is not her strong suit. Eyes were being rolled, feet were being stamped. I could see that we were veering toward dangerous territory and asked if she wanted to take a break. NO! she cried. I want to get this answer, but I can’t! And there it was, like so many other times, a teaching moment dropped right in my lap. I took her by the shoulders and looked through her eyes and spoke right to her soul. Hear this, I said, Believe this; If you want to, you can. Every time. No matter what.
Today, I sat with a patient for a few minutes who was feeling all the stress and doubt and guilt a woman who is having trouble making a baby feels. She cried as she watched another month pass without finding a seed planted in her belly. I’m a fossil. This is just a pipe dream, she whispered with tears . And I totally, totally got it. Because I’ve been there, and I know what it’s like to feel like you’re doing everything you can possibly do to bring a baby into your home. What I thought to say to her at the time was just You are not alone and I’m here for you and No matter what happens, you will be okay. I held her hand and I held her space. I hoped that I was helping her.
After she left I thought of this quote from Alice Domar’s Conquering Infertility:
“You will be happy again. Life will become joyful again. And somehow, some way, if you want to become a parent, you will.”
It is something that I believe in so whole heartedly, a truth I want every person to carry inside of them. It is amazing how just owning this outlook can totally change your perception of your situation. For my daughter, it meant that she needed to use her creative mind to find another way of approaching the work that was vexing her. For a woman struggling with the pressures of infertility, it might mean considering another approach. Donor egg, adoption, fostering a dog, volunteering at a children’s shelter, whatever.
As a mom, I will continue to speak this message until it is engraved on my daughter’s heart. As a doula and a guide for women who are creating families, I will remind anyone who might need it that, although you might have to take a different path to get where you’re trying to go, if you want to, you can.