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« DIY Electrolyte Drinks | Main | Why probiotics? »

When it don't come easy

It’s the shortest day of the year today, winter solstice. I’ve tried to start this post for months, but with no luck in getting any words out. I don’t often share this type of personal detail, but this project is one of my greatest accomplishments with no shortage of failures along the way. I think some of you might find it helpful so I’m putting it here as an offering to peace and well being.

Three years ago this fall we set out on what we thought would be a short path to a long journey. Well, as it turned out, the journey of becoming a parent had other ideas in mind for us. Plan after plan and attempt after attempt (attached to slightly higher stakes since we are two women and needed to out source an essential element) passed us by and left us in need of reassessing our plans.

There’s a song by Patty Griffin that cushioned monthly devestation over the span of this hopeful time, When It Don’t Come Easy, from her Impossible Dream album. This song played in my mind, when we ran out of money for one path and had to figure out another path, and when once on the path that led to where we now find ourselves (despite all the things being supposedly right) it still didn’t happen right away.

Mention you are not having any luck getting pregnant and everyone rushes in to offer advice, oh acupuncture, this or that treatment, something someone’s friend of a friend swore by. I stopped mentioning it after a year or so since I tried it all and the only thing that needed to change was me; all these external applications were helpful, but not the key that fit the lock. Yet I continued to call in all the troops, the flower essences, acupuncture the cranial sacral therapy, the eastern medicine approach to balancing imbalances in my body, the very symbolic 9-month herbalism study, yoni steams, Mayan abdominal massage, progesterone cream, more exercise, a psychologist, cutting out most alcohol and all caffeine, spells and sacred stones, oh, I did all the things and with devotion that faltered many times. We started to discuss alternative paths to parenthood (like adoption) with just as much enthusiasm, though not without some apprehension about the costs of doing so in this country.

I know everyone’s body and experience is different, so I don’t claim to have any answers on what finally unlocked this dream of mine to birth our baby. I do know that I had to shut out the urge toward commiseration and focus on what was going to happen, that ‘something so much better is on its way’. A little fairy of a friend, a doula and birth goddess, picked me up off the ground and sprinkled me with her water of life for the last 6 months of the struggle. We walked in the park and I took her talismans and links to talks that at first seemed a bit off my usual beat, but made so much sense when I really listened or received the power my mind needed to grant those things for them to work. I put notes all around the house to keep my mind buoyed and not sunken into the depths of what I did not yet have. In putting words to this tender time, I see it was all so fragile, but it was precisely the unraveling I needed.

I sit on the other side of this gateway now as we are expecting a baby in early February of next year, but the road we travelled to get here now makes so much sense. I had to dismantle my expectations of being in control, unravel my work life and expectations of myself, and stop thinking of my body as defective or broken.

I know some folks will need other types of interventions and solutions to medical problems, but for those of you out there without answers or physical reasons why it hasn’t happened yet, I hope you won’t give up hope. It’s so easy to break into a million pieces every month when the blood comes again.

This exact day last year we had our first positive pregnancy test ever, our solstice baby. But as I continued to test blood levels with our midwife, my levels dropped and 2 weeks later the blood came again saying, nope, not quite yet.

Every time I look in the mirror I am shocked and grateful that after persisting and keeping the fire of hope burning it finally happened, we did it, I did it. Six months after the devastation of buying and not getting to give the little gifts of announcing to parents they finally get to become grandparents, my wife was pulling out those same gifts she had stashed out of faith and we were plotting delivery of the most joyous news to the grandmas and grandpas to be. My heart goes out to all of you on this path right now and I know you will find the right thing for you.

Reader Comments (11)

I am happy for you. That is hard to say as well, because it's always hard for me to be happy for people when I hear of pregnancies. We have been trying for 5 years, 2 failed cycles of IVF, and for the first time I have stopped thinking of when, and rather thinking of what to do with our lives instead. But yet every month...

December 21, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSheena

Beautifully told! Best wishes in the these last days of pregnancy and on into childbirth and parenthood. It is an amazing journey, all of it.

December 21, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSara

Love you guys! Thanks for sharing your journey with us. Can't wait to meet baby and help support ya'll on this next adventure.

December 21, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterNatalie

This has been a painful and enriching path to be on the sidelines. I knew in my heart that there would be a child in your future but could not give you comfort. I am overwhelmed with emotion and joy as I get ready to welcome my first grandchild into the world. I am forever grateful that you and your wife did not give up...

December 21, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah

Congratulations! Today is a beautiful day to announce your news. May the darkness always give way to the light.

December 21, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAndie D

Dear Kate, thank you for writing this. It made me cry, and while I can't find the words to say much more, I'm grateful because you made me feel not-alone. Congratulations and may you have all the happiness in the world with your new little one! With love from Vermont.

December 21, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Congrats you two! We're walking a similar path and hopefully we'll have a little one soon. Thanks for the words to keep trying and letting go! Take care!

December 21, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterBrandy

Love you, Kate. I'm so proud of you and can't wait to see you be the best mother ever.

December 21, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

Congratulations! I'm wishing you an empowering birth, and strength and patience in parenting.

December 21, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterCorley

Sheena and our anonymous friend, I'm sending you all the love and light you can hold. It is such a hard path and I hope you find the change that works for you. Change will come in some form or another since we don't get to hold onto anything for too long.

Thank you, Megan and everyone for your sweet and loving comments. I feel honored to have this community around me to share.

December 22, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterKate

Dear Kate, this piece is wonderful, and you are wonderful. You have just begun to experience the amazing and surprising journey of discovery that parenthood takes us on. I wish we lived closer, because it is so refreshing to hear your perspective, which is one of openness and readiness to learn about what you didn't even know existed. I am here in Italy where (seems to me) that I am surrounded by many who resist the change that new life brings, attempting to continue on as usual. Sometimes I feel quite alone in my state of awe. But your article really made me smile and not feel alone. New life is amazing. and your baby is not the only new life that is about to arrive. You are new, too! Sending love to all three of you!

December 22, 2016 | Unregistered Commenteranne kathryn

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