Part 2: The Puzzle of Hope. Infertility in the Age of Planned Parenthood.

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This is Part Two in a series on infertility. Click here to read Part One.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all –
And sweetest in the Gale is heard
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm.
I’ve heard it in the chillest land
And on the strangest Sea
Yet  never in Extremity,
It asked a crumb  of me.
Emily Dickinson

Infertility is particularly nasty because it tangles itself up in so many things: the past, the future, love, sex, creation, mystery, medicine, purpose—and perhaps worst of all—hope. Over the last several years, in test after test, doctors have continually put my husband and me in the “unexplained” category of infertility. There is no reason, medically speaking, that we shouldn’t be able to get pregnant. Many doctors have said that we should take this as a good sign—there is still hope.

Hope. There’s that little word again.  Of all the emotions I’ve carried during this season of life, I still can’t seem to figure that one out. It’s like a candle that’s meant to light the way but only seems to burn me. If Hope never asked a crumb of Emily Dickinson, she’s lucky. It has asked everything of me.

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Part 1: What to expect when you’re not expecting

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We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.
—Plato

I don’t want to be a person that writes about infertility any more than you want to be a person who reads about it. And yet, here we are.

After many years of waiting, I’ve decided to write down my experience. At first I thought I’d write a book. But then I decided that I wanted it to exist faster than that. And I don’t know exactly how much I’ll have to say. I’m guessing it will amount to about five essays.

Why am I doing this? Well, I’m doing it for me—because I want to remember what I’m learning, when in the future, things are hard again. And I’m doing it for you—whoever you might be—because I wish that earlier on in my waiting, I had had someone that could tell me what to expect when you’re not expecting.

First, I must tell you that I’m amazed that you would read this essay. Whether you or someone you love is going through infertility, it is brave to seek out help, understanding or comfort. It’s something I refused to do for very long time. In my pain, I didn’t want to hear other people’s stories of how things worked out in the end—or the stories of how they didn’t. I was afraid. To ignore infertility, put my head down, and survive it, felt like the best path forward. To lift my head and seek out others who had walked this road, would be to admit that I was on it.

And yet, here I am.

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