My guy is as soft spoken as they come. Where temperament is concerned we’re the textbook example of “opposites attract.” If he is a stable atom, I’m a free radical. I push him out of his comfort zone while he keeps me from spinning out of orbit. When I first started this blog I don’t know who needed the TUMS more — me or him. Me for disclosing to the world my deepest thoughts or him for knowing that by association his last name would be forever (or as long as the Internet lasts) tied to the word “infertility.”
Little by little over the past 26 months as I regularly released the competing thoughts and emotions from my head, he became one of my most valued readers and editors. And, from time to time, he suggests ideas for blog posts. Tonight while he was off in the gym playing basketball I came home to find this stream of consciousness thought from him in my email:
In response to the “get over it” school of thought, you might point out the difference between “temporal” and “structural” changes in life.
Temporal change can be difficult and painful. Lose a job … find another. Have to move … set up house elsewhere. Ultimately, you adjust accordingly and move on.
Structural change is quite different. You lose a loved one. Have a life-changing medical condition. Infertility. It causes fundamental change in your life. You can’t get “over it” — you can only “come to terms with it.”
I share this in its raw form for two reasons. Firstly, the men our lives don’t have the luxury of dishing with their pals on the most intimate of subjects, but clearly they carry these types of thoughts in their heads (and it both breaks and melts my heart a little to know he feels as deeply about this experience). And secondly, he makes a great point. His thoughts lead me to yet another interesting gem I came across on grieving losses in our lives:
“…reliving memories are normal reactions…Little by little, you should begin to feel better. Eventually, you should begin to focus on resuming relationships and activities. It’s not uncommon to initially feel “disloyal” to someone as you start to move on.”
Feeling disloyal — what a total kick in the head that was. It brought to mind another post I wrote a while back about guilt — A New Childfree Chapter (Guilt Not Included) — where I acknowledged, one of the biggest difficulties was the fear:
“that by allowing myself to accept a childfree life that it would mean that I didn’t work hard enough for my embryos, that I didn’t want or love my children, that I had somehow failed them. That my children didn’t matter as much as someone else’s children.”
Even now, I still wrestle with the guilt — especially on days when grief visits me when I least expect it. I’ve come to accept that grief will always visit and torture me a bit in the process. It was my dear blogging friend Lady McLeod, who summed it up best again with these words about her own dance with grief:
“…grief is fucking sneaky! It gets you when you are watching mourning doves build a nest outside your window and you burst into tears; when you see a child whose face snatches you back in time as surely as any mechanical time machine and your heart aches to the point you can feel the pieces falling off…”
And this takes me back to my man-child who should be coming in the door momentarily all sweaty and happy from the gym. There are some ‘change’ experiences in life you don’t get over, you can only come to terms with them.