Photo by Autumn Goodman on Unsplash
By Stella Orange
Several years ago, I decided I wanted to have a kid. We tried the natural way for a while, but when that didn’t work, we enlisted the help of doctors, science, and fertility-boosting protocols. What has struck me along this journey is that we don’t really hear stories of women who are trying to get pregnant, and what it’s really like to be in that space of expectancy and trying. Many people seem to assume it is universally “hard” or a “struggle,” but those words haven’t matched my experience. So if I could go back in time, here is what I would tell my younger self about the road ahead. I share this as a love letter to every human who desires something that hasn’t yet come to fruition.
There are things I need to tell you about what you are about to experience. This is the most ambitious thing you have ever attempted. Despite your confidence, you are about to discover that you are not in control. There is great mystery in this life, and even though you are enlisting science to help you get knocked up, even the nurses and doctors acknowledge that this is not a sure thing.
You are up for the challenge. Remember what you have learned so far, and be ready to surrender what you think you know for sure. Some of your magical thinking will be sacrificed along the way. Let that go. You’re right about your own power, but there is still some innocence in the way you understand it working. That is about to be taken from you, if you allow it.
You will be given messages along the way. These are yours to use as you wish. Other people may not understand the directives you receive, or the ways in which you come to know them. That’s okay. This is your guidance. It’s not for other people. It’s for you. So listen for it, and let it guide your decisions as you choose your course.
Many people will expect you to be sad or worried through this process. Sure, there will be times when you are moving through your grief or disappointment, but also notice the full range of your emotions. You can be happy even when you don’t know how it’s going to work out. You can have a full and meaningful life, even if this whole thing doesn’t end up as you’d hoped. Don’t let other people’s assumptions of what you’re going through bother you — it’s got nothing to do with you. Also, it’s not your job to reassure them; save your breath and your energy.
Many people will try to give you advice. At first, this will unsettle you, and cause you to second-guess yourself. But over time, you’ll start to notice that the people making suggestions aren’t people whose advice you value. No need to start listening to randos now. Thank them and give their suggestions the consideration they deserve.
Remember to feel your feelings fully. All of them. You can expect to get lost. You can expect for your heart to hurt. You can expect to weep. You can expect to be more forceful with your partner than you’re comfortable with. But you can also expect to feel courage. Grit. Expectancy. Support. And to feel that you are deeply held by Life herself, no matter where this ends up. Your ability to feel is what will protect you, keep you safe, and emerge from this whole. Let yourself feel that. Let it sink into your pores and penetrate your bones. You get to keep that, no matter what. Let it in.
No matter what happens, you can’t lose. Either you have a kid as you desired, or you don’t have a kid, but you tried your best to have one, and saw that process through to the end. Either way, be proud of the race you run. Regardless of outcome, have an experience that you are proud of. That’s what you can control. The rest is part of the Great Mystery. Use this experience to get right with that.
Enjoy the ride,
Stella Orange is a copywriter and co-founder of Las Peregrinas, a business advising and marketing service company. Find out more about her work at www.lasperegrinas.org