Lessons of Infertility

I’m not and have never been a religious person. I grew up with my head in the books (studying science, literature, and medical encyclopedias). My family has an altar with a figure of Buddha, in front of which my parents lay daily fruit offerings, light sandalwood incense, and ask for blessings. I might have done it a dozen times when instructed to, but I always felt awkward only asking for things, you know what I mean? Yet, my mind was always open to others’ cultural or spiritual practices, i.e., I would go to different churches with friends, go through bouts of reading Bible passages daily, say “amen” at the end of Grace or prayers, and “pray” for blessings from God/Buddha/Guan Yin/the Universe, but my heart never understood. Many times when I felt lost, I prayed for God to speak to me the way that he spoke to others that seemingly found peace.

Guan Yin

Image from https://artmundus.wordpress.com/2010/06/14/the-eternal-mother-guan-yin/

I believe that the Divine spoke to me early this morning, when I couldn’t go back to sleep before dawn. We had gone to a friend’s baby shower yesterday. Since we don’t have kids and have had our struggles in that department, baby showers really aren’t our thing. In fact, after my miscarriage last year, I had huge anxieties about attending anything baby-related, including Thanksgiving and Christmas with my in-laws because my husband’s (younger) sister had recently had my husband’s family’s first grandchild. Anyway, the baby shower wasn’t so bad, but that’s not the point of my story. I saw a former co-worker/friend that I hadn’t seen in a while. I found out that she will be going through chemotherapy to treat her flaring lupus (an autoimmune disease). She told me that her hair had been falling out (from the lupus), but she just curled it and styled it with volumizing spray. I told her, truthfully, that she looked as great as ever. What amazed me was that she was there and had her usual light and energy about her as she told me about her current trials.

I don’t know why my friend is having to go through chemotherapy in her early 30s to treat lupus or why an acquaintance on Facebook recently announced that she lost her baby at 20 weeks into pregnancy or why countless women in the blogosphere have stories about years of infertility and repetitive pregnancy loss. But this morning, I am crying for them and not for my own struggles. I’m not asking God why it’s been so hard for us to get pregnant or why we never saw a heartbeat at our first ultrasound and had to endure a night of painful contractions to watch blood clots come out of me after taking the prescribed Misoprostol before my scheduled D&C procedure. I’m not asking for any explanations; all I feel is great compassion for our collective pain. And I finally believe that God has spoken to me.

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