There is not, to my knowledge, a 12-step process for getting the upper hand with Infertility. So I guess that leaves me no choice but to make one up.
- Acknowledge that you can’t get pregnant the ‘old school’ way — it doesn’t seem to matter how many candles have been lit, whether the mood-setting or the spiritual kind.
- Consult an army of specialists — you’ve followed advice found in books, online or compliments of old wives tales to no avail; proceed to western medicine-staffed fertility clinics eager to sell you services.
- Spend boatloads of money on treatments with low percentages of success — meanwhile your friends procreate like mad, remodel their homes, buy new cars and otherwise stimulate the economy.
- Explore the Eastern practice of medicine — why not? you will leave no stone unturned.
- Avoid malls, parks and any child-themed locale — there’s no need to subject yourself unnecessarily to that which you cannot seem to have.
- Buy a ticket to Denial — any place is preferable to the reality of Infertility land.
- Declare war on all smug parents — these thoughtless creatures are to be avoided at all cost.
- Withdraw from social obligations that revolve around other people’s children — self-preservation becomes essential at this stage.
- Start an Infertility blog — express your thoughts and properly vent your pent-up emotions; discover a little utopia along the way, your own Private Idaho as it were.
- Exit the Infertility treatment maze — you’re tired of running into dead ends; arrive at either successful treatment, child-free living or pursue adoption (in the latter case be prepared for more expense and invasive procedures).
- Hang out in Infertility Rehab — slowly attempt to re-engage and co-exist with friends and colleagues and their child-filled lives … perhaps write a book?
- Fully re-enter society— accept that you’re forever changed by Infertility but know that society, largely, will never fully understand what you have been through and/or continue to battle. (Warning: re-entry can be exacerbated by those who don’t give a flying fig about Infertility’s collateral damage.)
So it’s occurred to me that I’ve been hanging out in step 11 for a while. It’s not a bad place to be. It allows me to modulate access to the dominant parenting universe. Twinges of sadness and longing about what could have been continue, albeit with less intensity. The biggest challenge at step 11 remains controlling the impulse to reach across the table and slap silly any one who deigns to whinge to me about their children or parenting responsibilities. Hey wait a minute, that probably explains why I’m in no hurry to jump to step 12.
Feel free to test these steps. Edits and extensions are welcome.