I was never one for philosophy. I did have to read the usual tomes of Socrates and Plato and I found them excessively boring and long-winded. Give me a good bodice-ripper any day over those. Frankly, I think Socrates (or So-crates as Bill and Ted immortalized) would probably have prefered a good bodice-ripper to waxing eloquently about the foundations of modern Western philosophical thought. Who knows, maybe he drank the hemlock because there were no good bodice-rippers coming out that year.
Unfortunately, I had to dust off my philosophy the other day to ponder the difference between realism and fatalism. I had to dust it off because Sweetie accused me of being fatalistic about our upcoming IVF cycle when I was expressing to him my concern that the more money we put into this, the harder the fall will be should the cycle fail. Note I said, "should" not "will". First a refresher:
re·al·ism (n): concern for fact or reality and rejection of the impractical and visionary;
fa·tal·ism (n): a doctrine that events are fixed in advance so that human beings are powerless to change them; also: a belief in or attitude determined by this doctrine.
I've always felt that I approach our infertility and treatments with realism. I understand that treatments are not always successful and that it may take quite a few trys. And, despite the very optimistic odds that Dr. Uterus gave us for IVF, I don't expect that this cycle will fail, but I also don't expect that it will work. Is that fatalistic? I don't think so. I think it's realistic. We know the odds and even though they may be on our side, that doesn't really mean squat. We thought the odds were on our side when we heard that amazing strong heartbeat on the monitor and then four weeks later, it was gone. So, we ended up in the 10% who get a D & C and karyotype despite hearing a heartbeat instead of being in the 90% who hear a heartbeat and go on to have normal, healthy babies. If that is not getting the short end of the stick, I don't know what is.
I am also realistic as a means of fighting off the tyranny of hope. Hope is such a loaded concept in infertility. You hope that this cycle will be the one, or that next procedure will finally do it. I firmly believe that it is possible to get addicted to hope. At the same time, though, I also think that a small amount of hope is absolutely required if you go down this road otherwise, you are just kind of blowing in the breeze.
In the end, I just take it one day at a time because I can't do anything about what might happen in the future. I hope that I can be realistic, though, when things do happen.