Well, well, well. I’m feeling quite smug, but not for the reason y’all might expect. That’s right. I’m still not pregnant, but I am making great progress writing about what it feels like not to be pregnant after years and years of trying.
In fact, just to show you how far I’ve come in the whole “I’m not able to conceive or deliver” recovery process I’m as excited about what I read last night as I once was when I got word that fertilization had occurred (no way!? … way!) following our first IVF. No kidding! What’s got me so jazzed? That would be the following subject line waiting in my email box: I Love Your Book.
What’s all the more remarkable is that the woman who provided that lovely subject line is someone who could have just as easily ignored or pretended that she’d never received a copy of my manuscript. And that’s where I’m reminded that every time I think the universe has completely turned its back on me or worse simply forgotten me (hellllloooo, over here!) I am reminded to be patient and wait my turn.
Longstanding readers may recall my Thelma and Louise-like weekend last July. What I didn’t write about then is that while my pal Louise was chatting up a crowd of toothless tigers (40-something guys who were on a reunion weekend), I had an opportunity, over a glass of wine, to engage in conversation a woman watching the sun set over Lake Tahoe. Turns out this fine woman is a writer who has a few novels under her belt. As we talked through our respective experiences writing I told her I was unhappy with the first three chapters of my book.
She very matter of factly explained that often the toughest challenge for a writer is deciding where the story actually begins. BINGO! It was like I’d been hit by a bolt of lightening. We cheerfully exchanged emails and promised to read each other’s work. Over the rest of the weekend I started rewriting the beginning of my story in my head. Very soon afterwards I ripped apart the first draft and went to work restructuring the entire piece. In mid-September I printed the revised manuscript and sent it to off via snail mail. After a few weeks without comment I convinced myself that I’d really disappointed. That was until her email arrived last night. (I was reminded of an RE nurse who once reminded me when I proposed timing for a FET that worked best for my schedule, “it’s not all about you girlfriend!”)
My writer friend freely admitted when we met that she’d never really considered what it must be like to face down infertility. I decided right then and there she’d be a great critic. And here’s what she had to say halfway through the manuscript: “I didn’t know how I would feel about your book since I have never wanted to have children. But I have been thoroughly enjoying it…Your book is wonderful! I think it’s some of the best creative nonfiction I’ve read. (And I’m not just saying that).
“…In addition, the book helps me understand better what some friends of mine who can’t conceive felt and what they must be feeling — when you get on talk shows and do print interviews after the book is published you can mention this — that even women who don’t have children or who are not infertile will like the book because 1) there is a mystery set up: will the couple conceive or not? and 2) It will help them understand what their friends are going through.”
Wow. I’m going to indulge myself for just a bit and enjoy the idea of what it might feel like to have a published manuscript — a book on the market that will help enlighten a vast audience about what it means to face down and fight the insidiousness of infertility. Among other things my story serves up raw emotion. It challenges the couple involved on multiple levels and forces them to redefine their relationship to others.
You can be certain that within the many acknowledgements at the front of the book, I will single out the author of last night’s email for she has given me a different sort of hope (oh how I’ve missed having hope in my life), and a window into a certain something that just may lie ahead…a girl can dream, can’t she???