Once upon an aha moment.
I was sitting at a red light doing something I shouldn’t, but I was bored...you know I bore easily, Dear Reader. There I sat, scrolling through Facebook while I waited for a "green-light-GO" when I saw it.
“Using only a movie title, describe infertility.”
I double-checked. Yep, that’s what the post said.
I didn’t comment on it.
I didn’t share it.
I was appalled and not a little outraged. I wondered who would post such an insensitive thing and you can imagine my surprise to discover it was sent out into the world by an organization I’d previously heralded as an incredible fertility resource. I’d shared their posts, commented on their articles, and suggested them to others who experienced such a journey.
I wondered why they would post something so out of character. Why reduce something so painful to a media game? How could they go so wrong? How. Could. They.
Only...why not? Why couldn’t they offer a chance for levity surrounding a heavy issue? Why not, in the midst of their helpful articles and personal perspectives, bring a fun post to unite their followers? Why not allow a giggle or two to break through all the serious stuff? Why not?
That’s when I realized I’d been holding my “precious” too tightly. I’d let it grow from being something I “accepted but refused to be defined by” into something that I had to feed with self-righteousness.
It gets worse.
I drove on, absorbing my own mental chastisement, and I let myself wonder why I’d suddenly held something I disliked so closely, so carefully. I hadn’t reached another traffic signal before I sensed the undeniable truth staring me down like an internal red light.
I was upset that something so personally shameful could be treated with apparent callousness. There was the ugly truth in my outrage. It wasn’t righteous; it was wrong. I had celebrated my shame by making it too important in my life. More important than the gift of laughter. More important than comradery. More important than long-built trust.
The true irony is that there is no shame in infertility. I’ve said these very words over and over. I’ve chanted them into the faces beautiful, strong women as they held on, faithfully, through hundreds of pills, syringes, surgeries, and tests. I’ve shouted it at friends as they clung to hope when doctors treated them as experiments and clinicians saw them as subjects instead of souls. I’ve cried this truth into hearts that lost little loves before they could hold them close and I’ve whispered the honesty of motherhood’s many forms into countless ears. What could possibly be shameful about being part of such an incredible tribe? How had I mistakenly labeled this as something to hide, to protect, and eventually to aggrandize?
So, here’s my movie title: Step Mom. That’s the best I can do to describe infertility. It’s like always being not quite...not quite in the club, not quite relevant, not quite enough. It’s being important and vital and needed...but not quite exactly. Infertility is like being one step away from everything...but it does allow for lots of freedom to dance, and be silly, and never grow up.
It’s okay to giggle about my movie title. It’s even okay to cry. It’s not okay to feel ashamed.
For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven... A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. Ecclesiastes 3:1&4