March 17

Five years ago I went to the eye clinic in the hospital, got a diagnosis of scleritis, and underwent a battery of tests because of scary comorbidities that thankfully I didn't have. 

See scary eyeball amongst festive St Patrick's Day attire?

Five years ago today is the start of the end of our parenting journey. It is the beginning of the end that took place from March to May -- from autoimmune flare to donating a nursery. 

But then, with the grief... Relief. So it's a funny anniversary. There's sadness, but also letting go of the pursuit of something that literally turned my body against me. And without that, I would not have my beautiful life today. 

I am not grateful for the scleritis, for the loss, for the pain. But I am grateful to have survived it, to be thriving in a life I really couldn't have imagined back then.

The Power Of My Story

I had a (masked) massage today, and it was glorious. Wonderful because of the anti-stress self-care, but doubly so because of my friendship with my massage therapist. She's funny, and sarcastic, and real. And seriously talented; I feel like I have a new body when I leave her sessions. 

I used to be a silent massage person, but I so enjoy our conversations that we end up chatting the whole time, even as I'm blissing out.

Today she told me that a client recently related a story about someone close to them who was struggling to conceive, and she uttered, "I mean, they could just adopt." 

My friend/massage lady immediately said, "Oh no, you really don't want to be telling people that. It's not an easy option, here's my friend's story..." And then told her all the things we went through. She said, "I actually tell your story a lot."

It made my heart so happy. That's what I want -- not to be some sad cautionary tale, but to be a story that helps others to see a different perspective, to understand people in their own lives going through the hell that is infertility a little better, to help people going through it feel less alone. 

We ended up having a whole conversation about adoption, that brought up new (or maybe clarified) realizations for me:

1) I really feel that our non-religious status hurt us. 

2) We were really, really uncomfortable with any situation where the only barrier to parenting was money. That we could parents only because we had more money. 

3) We started wondering about why there weren't more services to keep families together, and realizing how much privilege went into being a prospective adoptive parent. 

4) We hated the idea of the private option. Things started feeling... predatory.

5) I started feeling like if I wanted to be successful I would need to quit my job. I didn't want to give that up for the possibility of being a parent. I really, really wanted to be a mom, but I didn't want that to be the entirety of my identity. Especially if it didn't work out... Then what would define me?

6) I felt guilt over that -- did I not want it enough? But I also felt strongly that I didn't want to give up myself. I felt there was more to me than possible motherhood, even as it consumed me. And I thought (and still think) that it's an awful lot to put on a child to be the center of your identity, to be the reason for everything. 

It was a moment where I could look at this, five years later, from a perspective of having a life after seeking parenthood. I could look at it objectively and without the heavy clouds of fresh grief. It's crazy to me that it was exactly five years ago that my eye started flaring up and I faced the beginning of the end of that life and the beginning of a new life. March through May marks the period of my Survivor-versary. 

I'm pretty damn happy with where we landed, how my story has evolved, and how it's used for a good greater than me.

"Call Us What We Carry"

Oh hello. I think if I were to do a "one word check-in" activity with you, where we go around in a circle and share a word that sums up how we're feeling, what we're bringing to the space, mine would be 


That aside, I realized on Saturday that I had Young Adult Book Club Monday, and I hadn't opened the book that I chose from the two options -- "Call Us What We Carry" by Amanda Gorman. I read it in a day and a half and will reread it and digest it over and over. It was INCREDIBLE. 

She is such a gifted poet, but also quite the historian, and her word play and finesse with language is just amazing. The book is really about the impact of COVID, and grief, and resilience, and connections to other moments in history. It has a whole section that gives voice to the anger and disappointment in America felt by Amanda as a Black woman. It is so freaking powerful. It also has so many passages that for me rang true for my own grief and resilience in my parenthood/CNBC journey. Instead of explaining, here are a couple of my favorites, emphasis mine: 

From "Lucent" (p. 60)

"What would we seem, stripped down
Like a wintered tree.
Glossy scabs, tight-raised skin,
These can look silver in certain moonlights.
In other words,
Our scars are the brightest
Parts of us

*  *  *

The crescent moon, 
The night's lucent lesion
We are felled oaks beneath it,
Branches full of empty.
Look closer.
What we share is more
Than what we've shed

From "Good Grief" (p. 29)

"All that is grave need
Not be a burden, an anguish.
Call it, instead, an anchor,
Grief grounding us in its sea. 
Despair exits us the same way it enters --
Turning through the mouth. 
Even now conviction works
Strange magic on our tongues. 
We are built up again
By what we
What we carry means we survive, 
It is what survives us.
We have survived us.
Where once we were alone, 
Now we are beside ourselves.

Where once we were barbed & brutal as blades,
Now we can only imagine."

From "Pre-Memory" (p. 78)

"Storytelling is the way that unarticulated memory
becomes art, becomes artifact, becomes fact, becomes felt
again, becomes free. Empires have been raised & razed on
much less. There is nothing so agonizing, or so dangerous,
as memory unexpressed, unexplored, unexplained &
unexploded. Grief is the grenade that always goes off.

She's incredible. And only twenty-two years of lived experience! I can't recommend this book enough. 

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