another one bites…

I try not to think too much of it. I realize it’s just another day, another year. Not really happy as it should be. It just is. It’s not until Monday, but that just gives me more time to think about it. 

These last few birthdays have just stung. It’s not the day itself. The day has been lovely, thanks to the Amazing M who earns his namesake by honoring my wishes to be low-key yet spoiling me in style. Smart man. 

It’s the idea of leaving yet another year behind with nothing to show for our effort. Another year of trying and failing. Another year that pushed me further away from motherhood. Another year we can’t celebrate with our children. 

For once, there is no grounding belief that this time next year we could be joyfully cradling an infant. This one is a reminder that my child-bearing years are behind me, without ever giving me another chance. A not-so-gentle reminder that life still goes on. Time marches on. 

I am feeling every bit my age at 39, and then some. It’s hard to imagine that soon I will cross over to 40 without a child, without even hope for the family we had envisioned all these years. My mother had teenagers by the time she was my age, and she suffered infertility before conceiving my oldest brother and me.

The children of my siblings, cousins and friends are all growing up. Yet we just grow older — without the joy of seeing life through the eyes of a child, of watching our own children grow into the people they would become; without planning for their future; without the pleasure of gazing into their eyes and feeling more love than we ever thought imaginable. We grow older without the privilege of knowing the joys or challenges of parenthood.

We face this relentless truth every day — in our hearts, in our home, at work, at play. We cannot escape it. This is just another day, really.

We’ve spent the past year and much of our savings on treatment, injecting hundreds of hormone-fueled needles into my poor aging body. We’ve spent thousands more on holistic fertility care, investing in hope, searching for a miracle cure. I feel like I was crazy to think my body would still work, that it could still do the job it was intended to do years ago. I am way past peak fertility. Who was I kidding? I was just hoping to get lucky. We thought trickery would work. We were fools, buying into an illusion. 

I feel old and outdated, like my parts are defective, obsolete.

Of course I know my life has value without children, beyond motherhood. But I don’t know how I will overcome feeling that I was meant for a purpose I could never fulfill. I am struggling to feel whole when I am empty. 

This is more than my heart’s desire. I cannot squelch this primal urge merely by intellectualizing that it’s just not going to happen. The heart and body and mind are all in different planes (probably another post altogether).

I’ve said there is no room in my life for regret. We made the choices we did for the right reasons. We did not choose to be infertile. Yet while I know it does no good, I cannot help but pause to reflect. It’s impossible not to long for a different outcome. But life isn’t about the “if onlys” and the “what ifs.” There is only what is.

Much as I lament the life we will never have, I am grateful for what I do have. I have a wonderful partner in life and love and I am blessed to share my life with him. He writes me love notes, makes me breakfast and calls me beautiful. He accepts and supports me in so many ways. His tremendous faith in me and us has helped us through some truly trying times. In this way, I am blessed with good fortune.

To forget celebrate my birthday, we’re taking a long drive down HIghway 1 and headed to Big Sur to contemplate the sunset and waves crashing against the cliffs. 

Thanks to all for your sweet wishes. I swear I get more love from you than from many in “real” life. This is about as “real” to me as it gets. 

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~ by luna on May 14, 2008.

28 Responses to “another one bites…”

  1. Being thankful for what we do have does not in any way take away the pain associated with what we don’t have, and with what we have lost. This must be such a difficult day for you, Luna.

    On your birthday, I wish you strength, healing and happiness. I hope you enjoy the drive and the sunset, and your day with the Amazing M.

  2. Aw, this kills me. 39 sucks. It really does, no lie. I’m grateful for your partner, too — he sounds truly wonderful. Have a lovely day, Luna. I’ll be thinking good things for you.

  3. Growing older can definitely suck sometimes. :p My sister & I were both out of the house at university when my mother turned 40 (!) & I’m as old now (47) as my GRANDMOTHER was when I was born!! The one good thing about birthdays, though, it’s a great excuse to indulge. ; ) Big Sur sounds wonderful (on my list of places to go someday). I hope you have a wonderful time!!

  4. Did I write this? Wow. So reminiscent of my 39th birthday thoughts that I had to do a double take.

    Among the many lines that resonated: “We face this relentless truth every day — in our hearts, in our home, at work, at play. We cannot escape it.”

    We do indeed, and I’m more than grateful that there are people like you, dear Luna, who understand the fortitude involved. Enjoy your drive down to lovely Big Sur. May the cool ocean breezes bring relief from the heat and some well deserved relaxation. an early Happy Birthday.

  5. I am just so sorry for all the disappointment you have had to face time after time after time…it is just not fair.

    I hope you can find a little peace on your birthday at least. Just lean on your partner and let your love for each other help you make it through!

  6. Your husband is right — you ARE very beautiful Luna, from what I have gotten to “know” of you through your blog.

    Want to send along some belated birthday wishes. Infertility aside, I’ve always hated how women’s birthdays in particular mark this “decline” so much more than mens’. How we have all these “expiration dates” — both spoken and unspoken. It’s a lot to deal with.

    Been reading a lot of books lately that speak of major life crises/disappointments, etc, as actually being opportunities for getting closer to the spiritual, your true purpose, etc. I’m really trying to believe… really, I am.

    Hang in there! I can totally relate to that worn-out feeling from the treatment, but with time the drugs will clear your system and you’ll feel more like yourself. There are still many great things in store for you… I have a feeling (which you can take or leave:))

  7. For me, aging and IF are so closely intertwined. And our culture is not kind to aging women (in my view, which I am trying to change).

    May this next year bring you all good things, Luna.

  8. I hope you have a nice time in Big Sur. I know there are not many places around that are more beautiful than there, so I hope you find some peace.

    I am sorry that you have had to deal with infertility. You express your frustrations and disappointment so well, I feel like I have a true glimpse of what it’s like, even though I have not had the same experiences. I hope you are able to find acceptance at some point. It sounds so inadequate to say, but I don’t know what else to say. Your partner sounds like a wonderful man.

  9. Lori – Amen! It just sucks that women have a narrower fertility window of time than men do.
    I hate 30, 35, 39…all these cut off points on graphs.
    I’m happy you went to Big Sur and enjoyed your birthday. Amazing N is truly amazing.

  10. When I read your post, I totally understood. Since we didn’t try to conceive til after we were married, when I was 38, I didn’t really start to crack up until I was 42 or so. I kept reading all these stories about 40 year old having babies, and at least I could produce sufficient eggs. I kept searching and finding women first time pregnant at 44 or more. I truly believed that it would happen one way or another. At one point I blamed my husband for not wanting to get married earlier in our relationship, I accused him of using up my youth. He could retain the ability to conceive and mine was gone, gone, gone. I felt like a bag of dust, a failure. I went through all the stages of grief, sometimes simultaneously. Lately, I have been counting my blessings, trying to reclaim the life I deserve. Good for you for recognizing what you have to be grateful for, it makes it easier, though bittersweet.

  11. Luna, this past year has just been so hard. As dark as this time is now, I hope you will find your way out to joy again. I’m thinking of you.

  12. Wish we could be sharing a glass of wine together…I know it will be bittersweet, Luna. Thinking of you on your special day!

  13. It’s so complicated when good and bad things happen at the same time. I do think that there is something to be said for perspective and you seem to have your sights set in the right direction. I know that nothing will take away the pain that you’re feeling. But it sounds like you have so much to be grateful for and you know that. I think that’s half the battle. More than anything this year…I wish you peace.

    In answers to you questions on my blog: yes, it’s THAT job. I wish I could let something go but the job won’t let me delay the start date and I have to be in NYC for the monitoring/IVF so it looks like doing it all at once is the only option. The grant DOES cover 2 so if that one doesn’t work. we can try to find a way to come back for the last ditch effort but obviously time is going to be a factor….

  14. I can relate to so much of this post, especially the longing for that sort of second childhood when you experience life through the eyes of your children. I think of all the reasons I put TTC on hold for so long and I can’t believe I thought that stuff was important.

    Have a wonderful trip, Luna. I hope your drive down CPH is as beautiful as you are.

  15. I find it difficult to celebrate any holiday for myself. I can celebrate other people’s birthdays. But Christmas, forget it. Past few have royally sucked.

    I lived in Mountain View for a few years, and we still have good friends that live in Montara that we visit with every other year. Enjoy your drive on Hwy 1 — take some photos to share with all of us.

    P.S. Thanks for all of the support you’ve given me lately – it helps :o)

  16. Thinking of you and I can relate to so much of this post. Have a wonderful time in Big Sur. I hope the drive soothes you.

  17. I just crossed this very milestone. And you’re right, it’s not the age or the birthday, it’s the what should be and is not that hurts.

    Thinking of you and wishing you a good day and the ability to hold on to the good in your life while you grieving the losses.

    It’s a damn tricky balancing act.
    xo

  18. Birthdays are not fun when the biological clock comes to the party.

    I love Big Sur – there can’t be a better place to get away.

  19. I wish that this birthday could be different for you in so many different ways. I will honor your birthday by thinking of you and M. I am warmed by the love and caring that you have for each other.

  20. Yup. Just yup. I’m so, so sorry.

  21. Hope the long drive takes you somewhere new.

    I am sorry the road you are on is not the one you chose. I don’t get it.

    Sending love to you

    Barb

  22. This line, “For once, there is no grounding belief that this time next year we could be joyfully cradling an infant”, is where I’m at too. Not related to a birthday, but to a failed IVF, a second one, and the realization that this really may never happen for us. That all these times I’ve been counting on NEXT YEAR, might be done.

    I hope your escape to Big Sur gives you a little break mentally, even if you can’t escape emotionally.

  23. A moving post, Luna. I just wanted you to know that I’m figuratively sitting beside you, with a birthday cake, and some champagne to drink when you get to Big Sur. And just wishing you peace of heart for this year.

  24. Lack of choices is a sad thing. I hope you are able to find peace.

  25. I used to love my birthdays – another year older and another year wiser – until we lost our son. I haven’t enjoyed one since – that would be four of them from the time I turned 37 to the time I turned 40 (just last December even though I was pg with LB). It sucks for the reasons you state.

    I hope you enjoy the day just the same.

  26. Although it is just another day, it’s never as simple as that. No matter what your life blossoms into next, you have to grieve the dream of having a child.

    I love that drive down to Big Sur. I hope you can find peace in the beauty.

  27. […] failed and before we committed to adoption, I did not want to celebrate at all. I was depressed, longing and anxious. But M took me on a fabulous weekend away to Big Sur and we had a fantastic […]

  28. […] and it went downhill from there. Our options were dwindling. Then gone. Or so we thought. I hit a low point right around my 39th birthday. It looked as though we would never be parents to a living child. I […]

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