Shadow Boxing in the Wake of Failed Fertility Treatment

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Today’s post concerns fighting. It’s something I hadn’t thought all that much about until Nancy, a fellow blogger, sent me a package in the mail.  It contained a pair of red boxing gloves. Attached to them was heartfelt verse.  The thoughts that led to the idea took shape right after the new year. That’s when Nancy noted in a post how hard it was to know the right way to support women in my position — those who have arrived at the end of the road, unsuccessfully, where fertility treatment is concerned. boxing_gloves

In her January blog post she described women in my shoes after fertility treatment failure as having “fought a very long battle” and, she suspected, may still be fighting it everyday… and “may never stop fighting it.”

The boxing gloves, Nancy, could not be more appropriate. The more time I spend trying to come to terms with infertility  and fertility treatment failure the more I appreciate how much fighting is involved: fighting the odds; fighting the systems and holidays and traditions that aren’t set up to accommodate couples struggling with infertility; fighting the injustice of having faulty biology; fighting the insensitivity of a society that doesn’t fully appreciate how hard we’re fighting to keep our sanity; fighting the urge to let loose with a primal scream when we see children born to those who don’t take their parental responsibility as seriously as we would.

I wouldn’t be nearly as far along in sorting out which fights I need to keep fighting and which I need to let go of without the help of the women like Nancy and so many others who are kindhearted enough to care. Nancy’s creation reminded me that I’m also likely fighting myself more often than I sometimes admit. There’s plenty of shadow boxing going on — my heart dukes it out with my head pretty routinely. Here Nancy’s poem in its entirety:

“These gloves represent
you put up a fight.
You knew what you wanted,
you never lost sight.

But things didn’t happen
exactly as you planned.
You had to hang up your gloves,
something you could barely understand

Although you have put
your gloves up on a shelf,
It doesn’t mean the battler is over,
You are still fighting yourself

I’m sure it’s a struggle
something you fight with every day.
You so wanted to win,
on your heart it must weigh.

But your war ended up not being about
what you had thought when it begun.
It ended up being a war of self truth
It’s a war you have already won.

These gloves represent
the fight you have fought.
In my eyes you are a hero
and it’s admiration you’ve taught.”

We who can’t conceive easily are all called on to be fighters. We have to be in order to get to the other side — whether that’s successful fertility treatments, adoption or accepting a child-free life.  We’re all in this together. I’m just glad to have someone like Nancy in my corner. Now, enough about me. What sort of fights do you have under way?

 

18 Responses

  1. nancy

    March 2, 2008 1:04 am

    I’m really happy you were able to see what I was trying to get at in my non eloquant rhyming way (by the way, the 2nd to last stanza, 2nd sentance should be “begun”. I couldn’t get that sentance to work enough as it is and sounds horrible as a “began”. heh. I can’t believe I’m even pointing this out to you.)

    I always looked at ttc as a fight. And then I see you being a retired fighter, but one of those who never actually ~really~ retire.

  2. Heather

    March 2, 2008 3:48 am

    God, I’m just in a puddle of tears over here. Nancy obviously rocks. I wish I knew someone like her in real life.

  3. foreverhopeful

    March 2, 2008 7:22 am

    Wow what a great gift and poem and how fitting it is to what you are going through. Infertility is a fight every day and often we feel defeated and we do get thrown down but we get back up and fight again.

  4. Bea

    March 2, 2008 7:44 am

    Very apt. Very.

    I guess at the moment my biggest fight is in trying to feel like things can go normally for me in the future. Just because conception didn’t go as smoothly as I would have liked, doesn’t mean I’m doomed entirely. It doesn’t even mean I’m doomed at everything child-related.

    I think I’m winning the fight pretty well so far, but I do find I have to keep swinging.

    Bea

  5. futurewise

    March 2, 2008 12:06 pm

    First of all: a great blog. Second: I am currently figuring out against what exactly am I fighting right now. Obviously, the opponent just punched me in the face and I am in some kind of stupor… Until I hit the ground. But I seem to have lost my opponent too.

    • Pamela Jeanne

      March 2, 2008 6:51 pm

      Thank you, Futurewise, for your kind feedback about my blog. As for getting punched in the face that’s a great descriptor of how it feels to get the infertility diagnosis…it’s hard *not* to see stars when that left hook comes out of no where.

  6. melissa a

    March 2, 2008 2:17 pm

    Well said and a timely read for me. Last week was the last RE visit for me. I wanted bag pipes playing as I left and the nurses waving me goodbye, but instead it was very anticlimactic. “Don’t forget to take your baby aspirin everyday for the rest of your life” were the parting words. (One good thing that came out of this was a discovery of a blood clotting disorder.)

    I have a question. I’m 41, had three miscarriages, been tested fully and like I said, I’ve been giving my walking papers with about a 5% chance of a miracle happening. On the one hand, I’m so ready to move on, but you give a human 5% and what do they do? They hope.

    Part of me wants to put the gloves up, and part of me hopes for a miracle. Being in opposing places at the same time exhausts me more than anything. Part of me is so ready to ‘come to terms’ but then there’s this nagging feeling that maybe….just maybe. This is my fight. I’m tired of hoping and I don’t want to spend the next five years in this dichotomy .

    • Pamela Jeanne

      March 2, 2008 4:09 pm

      Ah, Melissa, I had that very same anti-climactic experience a few years ago leaving my RE clinic. I think if I had been been more aware (as you are now) of the challenge facing me in the hope for a miracle vs. the need to get my life in order for a different outcome I might have been better able to move on. It was denial and disbelief that left me in a state of limbo. I was also intensely angry and unwilling to see clearly as a result. Now I’m more circumspect and in a position to separate out my thoughts and emotions, but I will admit it’s been a fight to get this far. Just knowing there are others out there like me has made it infinitely easier. If you need to vent any time, you’re more than welcome to drop by…

  7. Carlynn

    March 2, 2008 4:43 pm

    That’s such a clever gift, I love the image of boxing gloves hanging somewhere in your house.

    Your spinach salad sounds very good, I’m going to try it this week. I love that it has no tomatoes.

  8. Kymberli

    March 2, 2008 8:24 pm

    Nancy has a heart of gold; the gloves are a perfect representation of the fight against infertility and all the issues related to it.

    I was able to overcome my personal battle with IF, but I chose to keep my gloves on as a gestational surrogate to help other IFers double team infertility. That’s my current battle – cycling for a GS transfer at the end of this month.

    I’m glad that Nancy was able to bring you a moment’s comfort.

  9. Deathstar

    March 4, 2008 2:17 am

    I love those boxing gloves. They should be a pin or something. In pomegranate. I’m currently fighting to hang on to a dream of having a child in our little family. It seems so far away sometimes, all the fun is drained out of it.

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