Sunday, March 9, 2008


Before motherhood, I was a violent crimes prosecutor in DC. My experience there informs me so much. I dealt with 100% innocent victims who, for no good reason, were shot, stabbed, set on fire, thrown out of windows or moving cars, maimed, sexually assaulted, and murdered. To me, that's suffering.

I also experienced a life-changing injury to both arms, which left me in chronic phyiscal pain. Whether one continues to suffer the pain of infertility - or indeed, whether one suffers during treatment, is not an absolute given. At the risk of being kicked in the teeth for saying this, suffering, to a large extent (imho), is a choice.

The suffering comes (for me) in not accepting what is and dwelling it what might have been or in the "unfairness" of it all. I think the Buddists have alot to say on this topic. It is, in all manner and measurement, so distinct from the true suffering of a malnourished child, a cancer patient holding onto to life in a winless battle, two parents grieving the loss of their only child.

Today, this day, is all I have. I will not suffer in it. I choose not to define myself as a victim of chronic physical pain, of someone who is less than because I am less than physically able or because I "suffer" chronic physical pain. It is what it is, no more no less.

Nor will I will not define myself as an infertile woman, though I am - it is what it is and in the grand scheme of my life, it is the least of my worries. I will not lie, and hide and be ashamed for that which I have no control and could give a chicken sneeze about what anybody thinks about me or my fertility, or my lack thereof. Had I been able to have "my own" children, I would never have the children I have. If requiring an egg donor to create our family is suffering, I say, bring it on.

When I stand in judgment before God, I can ask him about the cruel joke he played on me, just as he is kicking me in the pants for the lost moments of my life, moments lost in suffering. I do not minimize what others feel - but as has been said many times of late, we are all different - and it may be that an infertile woman who later give birth through the donor egg process will feel perfectly "normal" in the future, if one is free in one's heart to choose it. Great book, by the way - the Feeling Good Handbook - a primer in cognitive behavioral therapy and how are thoughts create our feelings (not the other way around).

Modified From MVED: July 20, 2007

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