This past weeks’ events and recent reading, as if added to blender, poured forth some new insights.
In the days and weeks leading up to a busy set of family festivities (June birthdays and both a niece and nephew’s high school graduations), I received several warning emails from GoDaddy informing me that my Coming2Terms blog — all 279 posts and 5,033 comments generated since February 2007 — would go up in smoke on June 25 if I didn’t find a way to move them from a product they were discontinuing to a new blog platform. To add insult to injury I had paid in advance to archive it through 2017, and oh yeah, there would be no company support for this mandatory technically intensive endeavor.
After a brief panic — and just before my 75 and 80 year old parents arrived from Detroit for an extended stay — I secured the talents of our next door neighbor’s tech savvy college-aged son (who shall be known going forward as my knight with shining coding skills). As a result of his intrepid problem-solving software acumen, theComing2Terms blog has been relocated in its entirety to a new platform. Talk about a terrific birthday gift.
In the process of saving me from a few more gray hairs, my knight also got what can only be described as an immersion course on infertility. Can you imagine the conversation he had with his friends over beer, “yeah, so I’ve been coding the past few days in order to move this, uh, blog…”
With Coming2Terms safely backed up and in its new home, I’ve had a chance to catch up on some of my earlier most read posts, many of which range from self-conscious (Hi, I’m an Infertility Blogger) to searching or emotionally charged. You’ll find a few of the most read entries linked below:
- Join Me in the Infertility Twilight Zone
- What is it Like to be Someone’s Worst Infertility Nightmare?
- What is it About the “I” Word?
- The Ultimate Test
- Can A Six Foot Tall Woman Be Invisible?
- In Search of Peace and Strength
- How Did We Know We Were Done with IVF?
The last post in this list had particular significance when I read The Fertility Diary hosted by The New York Times Motherlode. Amy Klein shared the heart-wrenching outcome of a conversation with her doctor and husband about my whether to pursue more IVF treatments titled: “You’ve Done Everything You Can.”
Those of us who have faced particularly devastating treatment outcomes know how difficult it is to confront whether to continue or cease IVF. I also appreciate her confession:
In the past, I’d never understood people who said they were done, who gave up on their dream of having their own genetic children. But as I thought of the future, I could not picture myself taking any more shots. I could not imagine pumping myself up with more hormones. I couldn’t see how we would freeze more embryos for testing, only to find they were all chromosomally compromised.
There are the usual calls in the Motherlode comments beseeching her not to give up on her dream of motherhood. To those commenters I say in the nicest possible way: You are not helping. You can no more prescribe or guarantee someone else’s happiness than I can. Only Amy and her husband, after grieving their loss, will know what’s next in their lives.
To further amplify why we can’t let our myopic perceptions color someone else’s life, consider this description of the four stages of perception in Carolyn Hax’s Washington Post Q&A column:
Stage 1. When all you know or notice is yourself;
Stage 2. When you think everything that you have felt applies to others as well;
Stage 3. When you realize that others can go through the same thing as you but not feel the same way as you did;
Stage 4. When you can put yourself in other’s positions and understand what they feel.
Hax goes on to say: Everyone knows Stage 1 is obnoxious, but people stuck in Stage 2 can almost be more so, because they think they know something about you.
Well said! And that’s why you won’t find those of us in the family-of-two-after-failed-infertility-treatment category actively proselytizing our way of life. No, what we want for anyone at the traumatizing crossroad following failed IVF or prolonged infertility is what we wish others had held out to us: supportive wishes of healing strength and sufficient time to grieve. Following that, we hope for a return to joy and in the best of all worlds, peace.
My heart goes out to Amy and the many others in her shoes as they wrestle with what comes next. As I said in my very first blog post
…not a day goes by that I don’t wonder what our child might have looked like, what longstanding family traits we might have passed on and how our lives might have been different.
The early days of coming to terms with a life different than the one we planned for were particularly difficult, but with each passing year we’ve found strength and, yes, even a sense of humor in the face of even the most ordinary awkward moments.
To wit, this past Sunday Mr. T. and I took our 15-year-old nephew out for a round of miniature golf. The young man in the concession stand not only enthusiastically wished Mr. T a “Happy Father’s Day,” he comped him a game since on that day, we were informed, all dads golfed for free. We three looked at each other, bemused, shrugged and said, “why not?”
The silver lining in the frustrating and headache-inducing blog shift was that I was able to see how far I’ve come (with the help of many of you, dear readers) since I first sat down, nervous and a bit nauseous, to create Coming2Terms. If I could climb into a time machine and meet with 2007 Pamela, I would say with certainty: while there is no way to alleviate the pain of letting go of a dream, new beginnings and the peace you long for do indeed await.