How to Not Let the World Break You
I want to slip under the grey sheets in waves of dreams and forget that I know the news. Even before I wake, I know the sadness is coming, chasing me like a shadow.
“This world will try and break you,” she says. “But I’m determined not to let it.”
Three years ago, I thought losing our baby was a fluke. I thought it was a single tragedy, a tsunami, one wake to its wreckage. I thought, God doesn’t let these things happen to good girls twice.
When it happened again, the fallopian tube exploding in spaghetti shreds, I held onto the promise, the promise of God or intuition. The curly blonde headed toddler of my imagination, nestled on my hip.
It would be ok. There was still hope. We could move from natural to IVF if we had to.
We could scrimp, and save, and borrow and still bring that boy with my husband’s eyes into the world.
We would fight for him, for his existence.
The call came without warning. The doctor was free and I hadn’t had time to prepare myself for the results of my reproductive immunology tests, the fifteen vials of blood that would smear out a future in stark streaks.
It was my desk and me, a sheet of white paper, and me, my pen shaking in my hand.
He said lots of words I didn’t understand too quickly.
Diminished ovarian reserve. Autoimmune disease.
Then the final word,
Then he slows and tries to be gentle,
I help women like you all the time, but I don’t want to give you false hope.
But I ask for a number anyway, a percentage, some statistic to wrap my mind around, like a highway marker I can cling to for support.
It’s hard to say. Maybe 20% or less with IVF. 5% if you keep trying naturally.
The numbers leave me numb, the tears building in my chest.
I thought I had more choices.
You can come to New York to have the surgery to remove the endometriosis. Your reserve might go up. We just need one good egg. But I wanted to prepare you for the worst.
I try not to think of my uterus as diseased, devouring itself like some big, green monster.
I go through my process. I sit in my room and journal. I pray. I try to connect when connection hurts, when the questions are flesh deep and thorny.
My normal would be to go introverted, to cradle the despair.
But I have friends close by who’ve had their own losses, friends who will sit in it with you and offer wine and a bowl of corn chips when there are no solutions.
One just lost her five-year-old daughter born with brain damage. Life is hard for other people too.
As we talk some of the fear oozes out, some of the why’s become less jagged. Some of the “What should I do’s” lose their power.
This pain poured out like a prayer. God is here too whispering close through their voices.
Still Good. Still not His wish for me to suffer. Still offering love through the people around me.
He’s reminding me of redemption over and over again:
“I will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like a garden.” (Isaiah 51)
Whatever we decide, He’ll be there too. In it. With us.
It’s less about making some right or wrong choice and more about what I truly want.
One friend says it’s the journey of the feminine to remain open, to be vulnerable, to continue to hope, how the breaking open isn’t bad, isn’t my enemy.
The breaking open like a womb making space for new life, part of the journey to make way for the treasure.
Breaking open, different than being broken.
In October there will be a surgery. In January, there will be IVF. These choices, so hard, and so brave for us in the face of fear. These choices of holding onto our faith.
And with every one, we are breaking open, combing through treasures unearthed in the dark.