I was thinking today about the similarity of our (infertile/subfertile) cross to the cross of single life. That is, the cross of single life for those who have a calling to marriage (because to be fair, not everyone views being single as a cross, nor should they).
I began contemplating this because I was thinking about one of my sisters. Currently all 3 of my older sisters are single/not married. The oldest has never been married, the second is divorced and working toward annullment, with an almost-13 year old daughter, my goddaughter. But today, I was thinking about my next-oldest sister, #3. She is the one who has always said when she was younger that she never wanted children. She has even made the comment more than once that she hates babies. (And thinks newborns are ugly, which I must say, I often agree with that last statement!) She is a very humurous individual and presents herself to the outside world as not taking herself too seriously. On FB, she has been known to make Sew crack up on more than one occasion with her sarcastic remarks ;)
But in the not-so-distant past, I have heard my sister talk about how she will "most likely" not have children. She is 35. I believe that she does desire motherhood, even if she hasn't fully admitted it outwardly. Of course, I can't imagine any woman not desiring motherhood, though I do know they exist, but especially not any of my sisters.
It breaks my heart to see her, and my oldest sister, in the position of not having a steady boyfriend or the prospect of marriage on the forefront. I have included them specifically in my prayers to Saint Gianna. I just don't know what else I can do for them.
As I was thinking about this sister, I also thought about Shannon, "A Friend of Gianna." The cross of single life when one is called to marriage is very hard. I remember carrying that cross for a short time in my own life, though at the time it felt like forever. In High School and college, it seemed that everyone around me had found their soulmate, or at least, a serious boyfriend. I wondered, what was wrong with me?? In junior high (everyone's FAVORITE years, right?) I remember family members telling me the boys would be lining up in just a few years... so where were they??
I had 2 boyfriends in High School, 1 for five months (though he completely ignored me for about 4.5 months of that... he was a loser pothead), and the other about 2 months. In college, I had 1 boyfriend who I dated on and off again (we broke up before he went to study abroad, got back together and then broke up when I went to study abroad... then I met DH).
(On an interesting sidenote, I recently found out that of those 3 prior boyfriends, the first one is now expecting his first child... which makes it official, they have all become fathers before I've been able to make my DH one.)
That waiting time before the first boyfriend and between boyfriends seemed so excruciating. I felt alone, unwanted, abandoned, worthless.
Much the way I feel now as an infertile.
In the very early months of TTC, I was not ovulating due to severe PCOS and years of having been on the bcp. When I discovered I had been trying all that time and didn't even have a chance, I remember likening it to being on a basketball team and never getting off the bench. (This analogy was apropos because I was on my HS b-ball team and rarely got off the bench.)
Those who are called to marriage and furthermore motherhood all share a similar goal- we want to WIN the game.
Some of us continue to try out for the team year after year, but are always given the same, "try again next year." Those would be our friends who carry the single cross. What they most desire at this time (even though their ULTIMATE goal may be to win the game) is really just the chance to be a part of the team. To achieve that common bond of marriage with their teammate for life.
Others may just want a chance to get off the bench. They hear others complaining about missing that elbow shot, or throwing brick after brick... and all they want at the moment is to get that ball in their hands and be given the opportunity to drive it to the basket. These are our friends who do not ovulate for one reason or another, whether it be temporary anovulation or POF or perimenopause. We may also add those whose husbands have a zero sperm count to this analogy.
Still others just want to FINALLY score a basket. Again, the ultimate goal is to win the game, but in order to win the game, these gals need to SCORE to put points on the board. These are the Infertiles. Those who have never conceived. We're on the team, we're in the game, but we may as well be running around the court with our hands in our pants like Jeffrey from "Everybody Loves Ray.mond" (ever see that episode?!) for as much as we're contributing.
And lastly, there are those who continue to lose the game, though they may score once, twice, three times, etc. It seems that every time they score a point and get the hope of winning the game, along comes the other team to score TWO baskets. These are the women who miscarry. No matter what they do, how hard they try, they just cannot stay ahead on the scoreboard.
All of us desire to move forward from our current position. If we're not on the team, we desperately want to be. If we're benchers, we just want our coach to believe in us and put us in the game. If we have never scored a basket, we just want to experience the joy of hearing that ball swish through the net and the crowd cheering behind us. And if we cannot win even one game, we try over and over again to improve our defense so that we can stay on top until the end of the game. (How ironic that a college basketball game lasts 40 minutes... like the 40 weeks of pregnancy.)
While we fight to get on the team, get in the game, score just one basket, and win the game, we all feel defeated, abandoned, unworthy, and alone.
All the while, we are seemingly surrounded by teams of 7-foot women who can jump 3 feet off the ground, can score a 3-point hook-shot from the corner with their eyes closed, and NEVER EVEN PRACTICE! These women may take their team for granted- not appreciating the fact that they have lifelong teammates who will always be at their side. These women may not appreciate the fact that they are starters whose butts have never known a splinter. They may often forget that they score with such ease it is nauseating. And what's worse? Once they win the championship game, they may skip out completely on the trophy ceremony.
Some may actually complain about how tired they are of being able to win game after game. Some may consider it a cross to bear, having so many championship trophies and no room on their shelf to display them. And some may do the unthinkable, and forfeit their title. Maybe even more than once.
My prayer for us all, which I will bring to the St. Gianna shrine tomorrow for her feast day, is that we are all able to get to the next step on our journey to the championship SOON. And that a trophy is in ALL of our futures.