“Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.”
“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
Have you ever imagined telling a personal story or making a confession?
In the small hours of the night, when the seeds of the story begin to germinate, somehow the telling sounds better in your imagination. Such was the pattern of my thoughts a few nights ago, when I lay choked up with emotion and puffy-eyed, and Hubby suggested that I finally tell this story.
Deep disappointment is both difficult to carry alone and equally heavy to tell. Yes, we have told our immediate families and a couple of close friends. They have supported us in the best way they know how – sometimes helpful, at other times not so helpful, but always heartfelt.
Keep them or tell them, these ‘secret journeys’ are difficult to bear.
Our ‘secret’ is that for two years we have been trying to have a baby, without success. 24 months; approximately 25 doctor and hospital appointments and about 16 blood tests; cumulatively 4 weeks of nightly hormone injections administered by Hubby; other invasive tests and ‘endo scratches’; countless scans; fertility vitamins and folic acid tablets galore; follicle tracking; 3 egg collections; 3 nail-biting 24-hour waits for the fertilisation count; 20 precious oocytes; 8 viable embryos; 3 inordinately long waits to know the outcome; and buckets and buckets of tears.
My thoughts, over this journey, have been varied. Sometimes I carry a shameful sense of failure as a wife and a woman. At other times I wonder if I actually have what it takes to be a mother. Occasionally that little promise of a baby is almost tangible and can I allow myself to dream of names and future plans. On good days I find my joy and my faith bolstered. On these days, I know I will be okay no matter what the outcome. On many other days I’ve not been the best version of myself.
So it happens that dreams mix with reality and worlds have a funny way of colliding.
When Worlds Collide is a 1951 film which asks the question: “What would happen if a rogue planet flew into our solar system and slammed into earth?”. As is the promise of science-fiction films, all the predictable elements of chaos and disaster come together in a short time: there is the scientist who can tell you all the statistics, the action sequences, explosions and near misses, the inevitable screaming and apocalyptic doom, the hope of rescue, and the burgeoning love story – the haven in the midst of flying debris.
‘Life imitates art’, they say. As Hubby and I clung together, the protagonists in our own personal story, other dramas erupted around us.
My father (who has dementia but cannot accept nor understand this) went into hospital with a high fever and resulting confusion and my beloved Mama faced the hardest week of her life (and all her chickens so far away); our dear friends from church had a terrible week trying to rebuild a thwarted relationship with their daughter whose life is in pieces; another friend’s granddaughter was rushed into hospital with Scarlet Fever; we got the happy news of a darling friend’s engagement; a divorce was sadly finalised; Hubby is getting a crash course in managing an over-worked office in an uncertain market; and we waved goodbye to our dear Mozzies who found themselves a flat not a moment too soon with their own baby due next month … the bitter and the sweet all wrapped up together.
Oswald Chambers once suggested that though we live and hope for the mountaintop experiences, we mostly live in the valley. We are formed in the valleys.
Though I don’t know yet what is being formed, nor for which purpose, I know many of you are facing your own unique and arduous journeys through deep valleys. I am strengthened by the thought that Hubby and I are not alone.
Like Stephen King writes in On Writing (a must read for would-be writers), by telling our story, I hope to enrich your life while I pick myself up, get well and get over.
Hubby bakes bread and I write … and drink tea. We all have our thing.
As Annette Bening once said to Meryl Streep in one of my favourite films, Postcards from the Edge (1990), this, on life and love:
Evelyn Ames: … that’s what I do. I’m in it for the “endolphin” rush.
Evelyn Ames: Whatever.
P.s. I had dinner with three beautiful ladies on Friday night. How very therapeutic it is, an evening of belly-ache laughs and a glass of wine with precious ‘old’ girl friends. The best medicine. I recommend a regular dose.
P.p.s. There is power in that little word ‘yet’. Our story is not yet concluded, but having done all we can do, it’s now no longer up to us – I find that freeing.
P.p.p.s. I promised some of you that in reading my blog you would be assured of a weekly laugh. If, instead, you’ve shed a tear in reading this story or in thinking of it’s similarity to your own story, please know that I have also laughed a lot in the last 24 months and you will too.
P.p.p.p.s. If you too are waiting, perhaps this or this will help?