This morning I treated myself to breakfast at one of my favorite restaurants. A true hole-in-the-wall kind of joint in an undeniably quirky part of town. A place so tiny that tables are pressed together to make room where they can, resulting in meals that are practically shared with the strangers at your side. I brought a book, as I always do, and settled in for coffee and (truly) freshly squeezed orange juice. Three men were sat at the table next to me - imagine my surprise when they proceeded to discuss nothing but birth plans and baby names for the duration of their (exceptionally long and relaxed) breakfast. I wondered the odds of winding up sharing my meal with the only 3 men on earth who find c-sections to be an appropriate subject for their breakfast conversation? And yet even I, the ever irrational infertile, knew they weren't doing it *to* me. They weren't being rude and careless. They were human, discussing little tiny humans, and how could that be anything but ok?
My stepmother called on Saturday morning. I admit that I've been mostly ignoring her calls for over a year now, but as we'll be staying with her and my dad next week I felt now was the time to pick up. Besides, it was only 10:30 am - she couldn't possibly be drunk yet...or so I thought. Barely a moment passed before talk turned to my fertility (a topic she's been sometimes inappropriately involved in), slurring as she asks how I am. Fine. Ok. Fine. These answers are truthful for now - our treatment plans are all on hold until we find the funds to fund them - but she's determined to get more. In the ramblings of a drunk I discern her desire to dig deeper, into an inner turmoil that is either not there, or not yet unleashed. But she is determined. She proceeds to remind me that all I've ever wanted in life was to be a mother, I was destined to be a mother, I would make a fabulous mother. Words that ring true but sting when being rambled at me by someone who is digging for emotions that I'm not sure exist right now. She asked how I was and I told her I was "fine". And it's true.
On Friday I spent the day with a group who included a very-pregnant friend of the family. She is one of "my three" - part of a list that all infertiles mentally keep (be it one or a hundred names long). The list of people who simply CANNOT get pregnant before they do. I'd told myself a hundred times that I'd be ok, so long as A, B and C didn't get knocked up. But 2 out of 3 of them did. I collapsed in a heap on the floor upon learning this one was pregnant. (No one was there to pick me up, but thankfully that means no one saw me either.) How could she be pregnant - again! - with another oops? A shotgun wedding followed and now, a few months later she caresses her belly and speaks of "when she comes next month". I told myself I'd be ok as long as A, B and C didn't get pregnant before me, but they did. And yet I'm ok anyway.
I watched Regis and Kelly this morning (and yes, I'm admitting that in public) as they interviewed Chris O'Donnell. He talked about his new film "Kit Kittredge: An American Girl" - one that I don't doubt I would be seeing on opening day if I had a (half) American girl of my own. Blah, blah, blah, yadda, yadda, yadda. The typical press junket questions are asked and answered in a typical press junket way. A clip is introduced; something about a broken typewriter; and I listen half-heartedly as I put on mascara. In the scene our American Girl types slowly on an ancient typewriter, her frustration mounting as the keys repeatedly stick. She screams in irritation at the broken machine as her dad enters the room. "Don't let it beat you" he says. Don't let it beat you. This silly kid's movie (a movie I doubt I'll ever see) gave me pause. Don't let it beat you. That's what it's all about, isn't it? All of our struggles come down to that simple little line. The trick is in defining what it means to be beaten. I won't let infertility beat me. But that doesn't mean I'll keep fighting until I have a child. That doesn't mean I haven't won until a precious baby is nuzzled in my belly, in my bosom. The battle I'm fighting isn't against my uterus, but rather for my own heart - to remain pure and happy and loving. This is one battle I can win if I find the strength.
I've got to remember: don't let it beat you.