Tenacity, Resilience and Grit

There was a time when, like Scarlett O’Hara in a scene from Gone With the Wind, I felt trapped in a bad dream — lost in pea soup fog.

I knew I was off course, and it was far from clear how I would find my way forward. There was a visceral sense of being unmoored.  I carried with me an uneasy sense of aimlessness. IVF ‘alpha pregnancy’ losses and disenfranchised grief once hung heavily around me. Without a north star, a beacon, a light house — something discernible, I could not orient myself.

I recalled that anxious and uncertain time recently when I read a blog post by Sarah — a post prompted by early signs of spring. The sentiments have stayed with me.  Her words are poignant and familiar:

Seasons carry much variation but also a level of definition and certainty. Life after loss does not. So as I explore through my yard I wonder, how long will my March last? Another month? Years? Or perhaps this is just my life. Forward flinging sparks of passion and desire forever tugged on by what should have been.”

Eager to quiet her fear, I left this response:

While what I’m about to say does not diminish the emotional difficulty you’re feeling, there may be some intellectual comfort in knowing that the sensation of wandering day to day without a ‘working GPS’ will abate. In the days to come you will find that your steps start to feel more directed.

It is one thing to imagine a life where you can feel the ground solid and sure under your feet. It is quite another to actually feel it.

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That’s when hearing someone calling out reassuringly — even faintly ahead in the distance — provides some solace. That’s where Mali, Lisa, Loribeth, Jody, Jessica, Lesley, Tracey, Klara, Amel, Cathy and other ‘life after loss’ and ‘what I learned after failed fertility treatment’ bloggers provide a collective human GPS.  Now part of the ‘been there and survived generation’ we, too, once wondered how long the vagueness Sarah writes about would last. Mostly through trial and error, we managed to find a way forward.

To those still mired in fog, I hope you see in our stories and blogs tenacity, resilience and grit. Each characteristic serves to propel us ahead even when the path feels uncertain. It takes time and strength to recalibrate a life amid the loud echo of what might have been and without familiar way points.

It is in that vein that I have been working on a new editorial project, an ebook: ‘Finally Heard: A Silent Sorority Finds Its Voice.’ More to follow on this latest effort later this spring. It is fitting, is it not, that out of the cold, dark days of winter comes longer rays of sunlight washing over us, and with it new growth.

~~~

Honored to be included as a contributor to Medium’s ‘Human Parts‘ …  my featured post can be found here.

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8 thoughts on “Tenacity, Resilience and Grit

  1. Thanks so much for the mention Pamela, it’s a privilege to be listed here I really appreciate it.
    I do really hope that those still in the dark can take hope and comfort from what we write and know that it is possible to have a positive life without children.

  2. Those “calling out reassuringly” have helped me tremendously. Settling in to my tougher emotions, a crucial part of my story I’m not willing to defy, is easier knowing there’s an anchor out there somewhere. So, thanks, guys:-)

    Pamela, your post on Medium’s “Human Parts” is amazing. Thank you for the mention both here and there. I am SO EXCITED about your upcoming e-book – can’t wait!

    1. Pamela Tsigdinos

      You always give me much to ponder, Sarah. As you see, your writing provides a catalyst. Thanks for keeping my neurons firing!

  3. Nicely said, Pamela. I certainly remember feeling lost, asking”where to from here?” i am recently reminded though that the first step is asking the question, and being prepared to look ahead. Looking forward to the new project, and off now to read your latest writings.

  4. Love your analogy of GWTW & running through the fog :) and looking to other bloggers as a “collective human GPS.” So glad to have found you & the others while navigating my own way through the fog. There is definitely strength and wisdom and comfort in numbers. :)

    Learning to live with uncertainty and ambiguity and lack of control is one of the great life lessons infertility has taught me… when I think about it, in a way, I’ve been trying to deal with it all my life (before & since) — but it sure brought the message home in no uncertain terms!

    There’s a quote from the late great Gilda Radner (a fellow infertile) that appears on my blog that I have tried to take to heart: “I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity.”

    Looking forward to your e-book!

  5. I am honored to be included in the list of selected bloggers. Thank you.

    My husband and I both love your husband’s observation:
    “Infertility is one of those topics you want to bury, and then bury the shovel.”
    So true!

  6. To piggyback on what Sarah said, I echo the “thanks guys” sentiments as well as excitement for the new book. Also loved the piece on Medium. I’m so thankful that I have the example of a cadre of badass women to serve as a guide for me (and others). It is appreciated more than I have words to express.

    Feeling cheesy at the minute….I think we need Silent Sorority Big Sister and Little Sister shirts. I’ll take a size medium.

  7. Another IF gal piping up to say that the human GPS kept (is keeping?) me sane. Hey, all, shout if I’m driving on the wrong side of the highway again, will you?

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