It’s the shortest day of the year today, winter solstice. I’ve tried to start this post for months, but with no luck in getting any words out. I don’t often share this type of personal detail, but this project is one of my greatest accomplishments with no shortage of failures along the way. I think some of you might find it helpful so I’m putting it here as an offering to peace and well being.
Three years ago this fall we set out on what we thought would be a short path to a long journey. Well, as it turned out, the journey of becoming a parent had other ideas in mind for us. Plan after plan and attempt after attempt (attached to slightly higher stakes since we are two women and needed to out source an essential element) passed us by and left us in need of reassessing our plans.
There’s a song by Patty Griffin that cushioned monthly devestation over the span of this hopeful time, When It Don’t Come Easy, from her Impossible Dream album. This song played in my mind, when we ran out of money for one path and had to figure out another path, and when once on the path that led to where we now find ourselves (despite all the things being supposedly right) it still didn’t happen right away.
Mention you are not having any luck getting pregnant and everyone rushes in to offer advice, oh acupuncture, this or that treatment, something someone’s friend of a friend swore by. I stopped mentioning it after a year or so since I tried it all and the only thing that needed to change was me; all these external applications were helpful, but not the key that fit the lock. Yet I continued to call in all the troops, the flower essences, acupuncture the cranial sacral therapy, the eastern medicine approach to balancing imbalances in my body, the very symbolic 9-month herbalism study, yoni steams, Mayan abdominal massage, progesterone cream, more exercise, a psychologist, cutting out most alcohol and all caffeine, spells and sacred stones, oh, I did all the things and with devotion that faltered many times. We started to discuss alternative paths to parenthood (like adoption) with just as much enthusiasm, though not without some apprehension about the costs of doing so in this country.
I know everyone’s body and experience is different, so I don’t claim to have any answers on what finally unlocked this dream of mine to birth our baby. I do know that I had to shut out the urge toward commiseration and focus on what was going to happen, that ‘something so much better is on its way’. A little fairy of a friend, a doula and birth goddess, picked me up off the ground and sprinkled me with her water of life for the last 6 months of the struggle. We walked in the park and I took her talismans and links to talks that at first seemed a bit off my usual beat, but made so much sense when I really listened or received the power my mind needed to grant those things for them to work. I put notes all around the house to keep my mind buoyed and not sunken into the depths of what I did not yet have. In putting words to this tender time, I see it was all so fragile, but it was precisely the unraveling I needed.
I sit on the other side of this gateway now as we are expecting a baby in early February of next year, but the road we travelled to get here now makes so much sense. I had to dismantle my expectations of being in control, unravel my work life and expectations of myself, and stop thinking of my body as defective or broken.
I know some folks will need other types of interventions and solutions to medical problems, but for those of you out there without answers or physical reasons why it hasn’t happened yet, I hope you won’t give up hope. It’s so easy to break into a million pieces every month when the blood comes again.
This exact day last year we had our first positive pregnancy test ever, our solstice baby. But as I continued to test blood levels with our midwife, my levels dropped and 2 weeks later the blood came again saying, nope, not quite yet.
Every time I look in the mirror I am shocked and grateful that after persisting and keeping the fire of hope burning it finally happened, we did it, I did it. Six months after the devastation of buying and not getting to give the little gifts of announcing to parents they finally get to become grandparents, my wife was pulling out those same gifts she had stashed out of faith and we were plotting delivery of the most joyous news to the grandmas and grandpas to be. My heart goes out to all of you on this path right now and I know you will find the right thing for you.