Monday, February 24, 2014

Getting Personal: A Key to a Blue Door

Well, world, it's been awhile.

For good reason. Winter has had its share of struggles for me. I didn't want to write because I didn't have anything particularly happy to say. I have been through a lot lately, and after knowing how much it can help others to share their stories, I have decided to share my own. Let me tell you this is not a good news post, but I feel that it is necessary.

My husband and I have been trying to start a family for over a year. Like any young married couple, we were excited and nervous to begin our journey and to start what seemed like "real life" to me, at least.

I have to pause as I write this because it's hard.

We haven't had any luck.

Every month, I get so excited thinking about myself as a mom, Cody as a dad, and I think: Wow, this could really be it. This could be the month that we share that moment with each other. The butterflied-stomach, heart-pounding moment that changes our world and grows it, too.

I had a dream the night my niece Bennett was born. A phone call from my sister woke me from it, and she told me she was in labor. On a white marble floor I dreamed a blurry vision, seen as if through thick leaded glass: three bassinets. The first one holds my nephew, Sean. My brother's first child. In the second is my niece, Bennett. My sister's first child. The third is a boy. I can only hope it is my first child.

I still dream that dream, but it has changed: Now, I see a bright blue door with a thick clear window. A golden knob with a keyhole. A concrete step. I stand on the step with Cody, holding his hand tightly, looking inside. We cup our free hands around the window of the door, our breath making clouds on the glass. Inside on the white marble floor the three bassinets sit. But we can't move, we can't even try to get through the door. We just stand, holding hands, peering in on our tiptoes. Looking at our future. Lacking a key.

And every month, the door stays shut.

This dream used to make me very sad. Now, I have had help from a friend, and a co-worker, and my own doctor, who all experienced infertility and were brave enough to say, "Hey, I struggled, too." It is heartening to have allies.

It is difficult to watch those who do not want their children, or those who have families so easily. Or worse, those who assume that we are waiting, selfish, or purposefully childless. It is difficult to be around those who do not understand our struggle.

If you've struggled, or worried, or wondered, or hoped...I understand. Others do, too. It's hard to talk about it. It seems taboo, even to those who love you and are close to you. No one likes to hear about "that" personal side of your life. More importantly, however, no one likes to know that you're hurting because of something you can't control. I encourage anyone who has struggled with fertility issues of any kind to seek help. Get brave. Say something. You never know who will open up to you about their experiences and who can relate. They make it easier. They offer hope...if they don't have children, they offer the reality of alternatives. If they have children, they offer a unique perspective. They know how hard it is, and how special it can be.

Both offer this: Life goes on. It is still beautiful.

Don't let anyone tell you your struggles aren't important, or that you should relax and it will come to you. Don't let anyone downplay your hurt or your heart's desires. No one is allowed to question your journey, because it's yours and yours alone. Take every bump (road bump or baby bump!) as a blessing. You will realize either way that you are stronger than you imagine.

As spring comes, Cody and I hope that the blue door I dream about will open on its own. That the frozen golden knob loosens in the thaw and the door swings open with the gentlest of clicks. If not, we will find the key. In the mean time, I still stand on my tiptoes, peering through to our future.


Here's to the coming spring, and whatever lies behind the blue door.



- Jillian


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