Saturday, April 23, 2016

Note to myself on Infertility

I've been spending the last few hours cleaning out old clothes to donate or sell. The ideas of Marie Kondo's book have reached me even though I haven't actually read it. While I was pushing back an under-bed box of old shirts I looked up and saw some of my old notebooks on the bottom of the nightstand. I started flipping through them, amused by my past musings. Most of them were filled with notes from General Conference talks, random sketches of bunnies and food, and quotes from novels I was reading at the time. In one of the books I had written a single journal entry dated August 2009.  It in I had put down a list of things I wanted improve on. The last item on the list read: "Think more seriously about having a baby." Reading that sentence made me pause. 2009 was the year before we found out we were infertile. It was a couple of years before the many years of constant medications and doctor's appointments. I started to silently chide my past self with a "If only you knew." I thought what a luxury it was to worry about having kids and how naive past me was to the trials and heart ache she would face in a few years. I began to wonder what I would tell myself if I could go back in time. The first thing that popped into my mind was "Don't waste time! Start IVF right away! Don't waste money on other treatments!" I'd also add advice for those IVF cycles to avoid having to do so many of them! And then I stopped and thought harder for awhile. Was that the right advice to give? Would John and I be the same people we are today without the trials we have experienced together? What happens to your character when you get everything you want when you want it? How would my personality be different if I hadn't been teaching the past 7 years? What would I be like if I didn't have the opportunity to be in the Young Women program and serve for as long as I did? What interactions, lessons, and development would I have missed? I look back and wonder now at all that has happened in those 7 years. I know infertility has been hard, but sometimes I think the hard parts of life teach us the most about ourselves.

Early on in this experience, John and I learned how to grieve together. We've found some very large differences with how we cope with grief and now know what to expect of each other and also what we need to ask for from each other during these times. We know how we both act after long periods of emotional stress. These things, while not pleasant, are things I am very grateful for and I feel that our marriage relationship is stronger because of them. 

I don't know that I would tell past me all that I had originally thought I would. I think instead I might tell her that some hard times were coming ahead, but that they wouldn't be without moments of joy. I think I would tell her to continue to build a strong testimony, that there will be people there to support her, that John will be with her every step of the way, and to go easy on herself. 

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