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Monday, July 31, 2006

Unhappy Endings

Who came up with the phrase "happy ending"? I use it all the time, but was thinking about it today. Endings aren't happy--unless you're talking about the end of an illness, torture situation, prison sentence. Marriage isn't an ending--it's a continuance--so why do fairy tales mention the happy ending when the prince and the princess get married? And I used it recently in terms of children--I'm glad your story has a happy ending. But children aren't an ending. They're a chapter. They're a happy chapter tucked into the long book of life.

Endings seem to be a theme today. We had a big family party this weekend and the last people went home about an hour ago. I'm not great with endings. I end up mourning the ending a long time before it arrives. And then afterwards, I feel a bit lost. So the idea of endings was already on my mind.

I just finished sending an email back to someone who wrote to me about the figuring-out-a-due-date entry. I'm sure there were therapists ( maybe my sister) who read that entry and said, "damn, that's quite unhealthy." But I once received great advice from a fertility counselor when I was pregnant who asked why I wasn't buying things or setting up the room. And I told her that I was scared to do anything because I was scared that we would lose the babies.

The point she made was that losing those babies would be terrible even if we didn't have a crib to return. It's not like we would look at each other and say, "okay, I can deal with this loss. Thank G-d we didn't buy a glider because returning that would push me over the edge." It is painful to fold up those maternity clothes after a pregnancy loss or to return the crib after a stillbirth, but it would be painful regardless. Even without those tasks.

I think of that type of dreaming--the dreaming about due dates and how you're going to tell people you're pregnant--is the hope that gets you through the ending. Because a cycle ending is painful. It's the end of this hope that was building up inside of you for an entire month, growing and expanding and filling every crevice of your body. Even if I didn't know the due date, the sight of that blood wouldn't be easier to see. I've always struggled with the concept that my period starts CD1. CD1 sounds like it should be a happy day, the start of a journey. And it is such a terrible ending when you've been hoping with all your being that you're pregnant.

I use that phrase, "I'm glad your story has a happy ending" and yet I don't really believe that infertility has an ending. My mother certainly is finished having children, and yet I can still see this expression come over her face sometimes when I'm describing something I'm going through emotionally. And it's the expression of someone who still has infertility scars etched into her being. Is infertility something she thinks about daily? I'm pretty certain it's not. But it is something that shaped her vision of parenthood. So when is the ending?

And what about something that is an end for you because it is a beginning for others? I went through two trying-to-conceive groups. Both times I left because I was the only person who didn't get pregnant. Everyone wanted to talk about their pregnancy, and I was still stuck in infertility. I think that experience is what made me want to create a blog without end. Something that didn't have to change because it was covering infertility in general and not my own personal journey (though my personal journey obviously guides my thoughts). I received a few comments about the blogroll and how to handle the pregnancy/parenting after IF factor. One day that list will be huge. And the people whose journey you read to get you through your endings will continue (hopefully) and leave infertility behind. At least as a major topic in the forefront of the mind. I think it will always colour their vision of parenthood, no matter how much they rationalize to themselves that they've left it behind. Blog without end. It sounds like it belongs in a funeral service.

Sorry to be so dreary today. I really am terrible with goodbyes. I hope my siblings have safe trips home.


serenity said...

It's interesting; I've never looked at AF as an ending of a cycle. I know it is an ending, and I suppose I *should* look at it that way, but I never have. For me, the hardest part of my cycle is the 2ww - not just for the uncertainty, but also because I think of a thousand things I should have/could have/would have done differently. When I see that blood, yes I am sad. But it also releases me from that horrid 2ww tension of worrying whether I screwed things up.

The most stress-free days then are CD 1 and 2, where I can make my "plan" for the coming cycle.

So for me, I suppose I just ignore endings and look to the beginnings. CD 1? A fresh start, rich with possibility that *this* one might be the one that is ours.

Interesting post.

I also hope your siblings make it back home without issue. I hope you feel less blue soon.

aah0424 said...

I also start to long for CD1 as I near the end of a cycle. The start of the new cycle is a new beginning filled with hope and promise. I spot so I know about 2 days before AF arrives and that is when I long for AF. I let myself have one of those days to do a little crying if necessary and it allows me to start CD1 with a new outlook. Nothing has actually ended it has just restarted.

For me I don't think I will ever put this struggle behind me. I've started thinking about how this situation is shaping me as a person and how it will still be part of me in 5, 10, 30+ years. Since it won't ever end--I just hope I can have a happy "outcome!"

Ella said...

I too always thought of AF as the end - the end of the hope for a pregnancy and this is never happy. I really like this post and your perspective. Every start of a new cycle gives me perspective. It should be the chance to start anew, to make promises that I won't sneak a cup of coffe or a piece of sushi. When I get to the end of a cycle, and I know I'm not pregnant, all I can do is count down the moments until I see AF. Of course for me there's always the worry that I won't get AF and my scarrign will return, but that's another saga. Sadly, infertility doesn't end, b/c even if I can one day overcome this, I'm sure the reality is that I'll know others who are still struggling and I'll be sharing thier struggles with them and empathizing. And that makes me sad.