Americans pursue fertility the same way we pursue everything else"”with an unceasing doggedness and a confidence that borders on arrogance. This position of digging in the heels, clenching our feet, and railing against the universe is a familiar one in the Western World, particularly in the United States where, collectively stuck in an early stage of development, we believe in the eternal frontier"”Badges, what badges? We don't need no stinking badges! Our generation grew up in resistance, on the edge, in defiance of established limits. We could conquer nature and send men to the moon. We could do it all and have it all. We could be mothers, CEOs, athletes, sex kittens, and tireless friends and confidants. And some of us have. But, at what cost? We have gotten ourselves so frightfully out of balance, we no longer recognize our own disequilibrium even as the blood rushes to the tops of our heads.
Is it possible this has become even more the case since women have been, like men had been before and continue to be, caught up in the solar-plexus life style of mastery, conquest, and control? Twenty-five centuries ago, Lao Tzu raised a few eyebrows and more than a few swords when he told the masculine warriors and leaders of the time to embrace yin, the female energy, the traditional way of women who knew instinctively the cycles of life and that all things could not be had, that there would be joys and sorrows, gains and losses, wounds and closures. However, a warrior does not want to hear that the battle could be lost and that, in the tao, it would be all right"”that the loss could bring the greatest win of all. The warrior just wants to win, damn it.
Do we want to hear yet that we cannot have it all, yet have it right?One 39 year-old patient, M, did.
"I had to make peace with that. I was losing my mind, my perspective. I had to. I didn't want to. Lord, the arguments I had with God, my husband, my pastor. My whole life was shaken upside down, my hopes for a family of my own dashed. But the worst part was that my faith in something bigger than myself was rocked. And, ironically, that was the piece I needed most. So, here I am. I'm humbler. I don't have what I want. And I'm okay. And getting better every day. I'm happy. I still want to get pregnant and still believe that one day I will"”but only if it's meant to be. I do what I can and the rest"is the rest."
LD put the problem in a whole new context:
Even though it is a miracle to procreate, it's over in no time and then you've got a child for life. The pregnancy alone doesn't validate the real issue, which is parenting. Why not put the emphasis on being a parent instead of "having" a child. Men don't become pregnant but they're no less valid as parents. There are so many unwanted children and there are so many ways to parent in the world"”adopting, fostering, teaching, befriending, mentoring, helping a single parent, coaching. I think if you want to be a parent, just be giving. Loving people are so needed in the world.
Too often, women and men on the march for pregnancy are so wrapped up in what they don't have, they forget to remember the gifts they do have and, more importantly, the gifts they can give.
Most of us get dragged kicking and screaming our way to Heaven, demanding that we want things thus and thus, in our time, in our way. We are a chronically impatient nation. But, it seems, that there is another Plan and perhaps, just perhaps, we don't always know what's really good for us. We know what we want. But is that enough? And is that always what's right and best?
Good Luck? Bad Luck?
A long time ago, an old man and his son had a ranch of beautiful stallions. And the townspeople said, not always without envy, "Oh, what wonderful luck to own so many beautiful stallions." One day, a thunderstorm spooked the horses and they broke through a fence, scattering to the fields below. "Oh," cried the townspeople, "such terrible luck. Such woe and misfortune." The old man and his son struggled to collect the horses. And, finally, they did. The townspeople rallied, "Oh, such incredible luck. Have you ever heard of a man with such good luck?"
As the son brought the last stallion in, another crack of lightning and another roll of thunder sent the horse wild. He threw the son and bolted for the stables. The son, landing badly, broke his leg and was unable to move. The doctor came and prescribed bed rest for two months.
"Have you ever heard of a man with such bad luck," the townspeople rubbed their foreheads with amazement.