Sunday, February 10, 2008

Buying The Myth & Getting Disillusionment Free

images: NMCIL ortiz domney
I went to Tar-gét today to buy a hair straightener (ooh! hair gadget!) and a present for my mom who is retiring soon. Once I had found my perfect $20 number that promises me untold riches of hair straightening, I went in search of mom's present. During the search, I found myself in the gift-wrap aisle and saw all of the baby gift wrap and gift bags.

I was struck by a) how adorable they are; b) how much I desperately want someone to give me one; and c) how much I wanted to be pregnant to justify B. Pretty quickly, though, I recognized that there was a myth in this gift wrap with its baby ducks and pastel colors. Not everyone has a happy ending with their pregnancy. Not everyone who wants to receive gifts in this precious wrapping is going to. And that made me angry that what we see as 'reality' really isn't for everyone.

Not surprisingly, myth versus reality has been one of the themes discussed during my many hours spent on the couch opposite my therapist. To me, myth is what you replace reality with when you have no information or knowledge to make your own reality. Until I started trying to get pregnant when I was 29 (oh, so long ago) the only thing I could remember from high school biology about reproduction was when the teacher brought in diaphragms (not her's!) to show us the various methods of contraception. I didn't have the slightest memory about anything other than sperm + egg = baby and that this combination was very, very bad.

Unfortunately, when it comes to something as momentous and significant as the decision to have a child, you are very tempted to sit back and rely on the myths about family building that are perpetuated everyday. Myths such as, we should have children because that's what people who get married do, we won't have any problems getting pregnant, we won't have any problems staying pregnant, childbirth will be a breeze and motherhood will be the most fulfilling thing we can do with our lives. After all, don't we all know someone who embodies each and everyone of these myths? We know that they are based in someway on reality, it's just not our reality.

We began to feel the cold smack of our reality when we learned that my tubes were both completely blocked. It was compounded when I miscarried. But, these events have proven to be an important, if incredibly trying and painful, lesson: myths, especially myths about family building, can only be vanquished with your reality and what you realistically expect and want. Of course, that requires some difficult soul-searching and introspection coupled with frank discussions with your significant other. We realistically expect that some way, somehow, we will have a child. Whether the child inherits its traits from us or belonged to someone else entirely, I don't know. And that's actually ok because the end goal is to have a child.

When I find myself leaning like a branch in the wind of the myth, I step back and right myself in the reality that is our quest. We don't know how we will be successful, but we will be.

7 comments:

JellyBelly said...

Amen to that Mrs. X!!!!

I decided that 2008 was going to be a lucky year -- we're going to have our baby (belly or otherwise), I can feel it.

I hope that your hopefulness rubs off 'cos I'm in need of some this week!

Lori said...

I'm always on the lookout for a good hair straightener.

Do tell, if it works.

May the sperm + egg = baby myth proves to be your reality this year.

Wilma said...

"we should have children because that's what people who get married do, ... and motherhood will be the most fulfilling thing we can do with our lives."

These two myths are the bane of my existence.

Pamela Jeanne said...

Brilliant post! The myth is usually so much more appealing than the reality. Separating the two can be so hard to do. I just got an email from a friend of mine who has been a single mom now for 12 years following a divorce. She's had to sacrifice so much of her life to make ends meet and raise her two girls. She longs to be in my shoes once her girls are in "launched." It all depends on the lens through which we view life. sigh. It's never as easy as it looks.

Paranoid said...

I had to delurk to say that I loved this post. So well written! I hope your reality takes a sharp turn for the positive really soon.

shinejil said...

Argh! The dreaded fluffy bunny baby stuff aisle! But what amazing thoughts it triggered.

I want, if I may be so bold, to take your thoughts one step further and say that what you so perfectly describe isn't even a myth: It's a boldface lie.

Myths, methinks, are stories that may not be true, but that have a deep cultural or spiritual resonance. I'm talking Gilgamesh and Artemis and all that jazz.

The idea that everything will happen as it should to the deserving, kids are requisite for true happiness, and motherhood makes us whole is a lie. Perhaps a white lie, meant to protect both the teller and the person hearing it, but a purposefully deceptive statement nonetheless. And as so few people will face the delusion head on, people like us who struggle with IF are made to feel that something's wrong with us. Because the fact that we are good folks who would make good parents but can't get there easily exposes reality for what it is: unfair and often harsh.

You are going to be a parent by hook or by crook, and you're going to be a damn good one!

Mrs.X said...

Jellybelly- you can have all the hopefulness I can produce.

Lori- I'm still learning how to use it, but so far it's been great. It's the $20 Vidal Sassoon at Target.

Wilma- I for one will never, ever say those things to you.

PJ- thanks! Two people never see the same thing the same way. I'm always amazed at what I want and what others think I should want.

paranoid- welcome! Thanks for your kind words.

shinejil- thanks so much. I agree that for some people, it is a total white lie (particularly for people with IF). When you can't fulfill what society believes to be your sole profession, it becomes incredibly hard to decide what you are supposed to do.