Tag Archives: introspection

That is not who we are now

I don’t remember the year we decided to try, 2003 probably.  It was a New Year’s Eve, near the same hour of the night when I proposed to Adrienne.  I still remember the thrill of intentional unprotected sex.  A mixture of excitement, apprehension, hope and orgasam.  After that, the time between 2004 and 2010 was mostly pain and frustration.

It’s Infertility Awareness Week.  Right now 7.3 million Americans are somewhere along the same path we took; many of them are as lost as we were.  One of those people may be you.  I can not know what you feel, but I know it is crushingly real.

Ours is not a typical infertility story that odds-be-damned ends with a cherished miracle.  Adrienne and I held fast in the medical treatment crucible while the options frustratingly expired despite our efforts.  We wanted children but have physical and financial limits, so leave that struggle behind us, heads bloody but unbowed.

That we are still together evinces the commitment we made for better or worse, in sickness and in health.  We love each other for neither fecundity nor financial motives, but for the people we are; tempered by that crucible.

Although the strength of our relationship carried us, it took the help of an invaluable infertility therapist, kind family and trusted friends.  Without them, mourning the miscarriages and internalizing our situation would have been impossibly arduous.  Letting go of a lifetime of desires and expectations while trying to redefine and reorient yourself is not easy.

We are no longer the-couple-that-can’t-conceive.  The desire will never leave, but I refuse to let it shape me into a bitter childfree person who congregates on forums proclaiming I want nothing to do with children while ranting about affronts of “breeders” and their rugrats.  That is not who we are now.  We moved on.

Instead we find ways to take joy in each other, our careers, hobbies and the people around us.  It feels similar to that first night: excitement, apprehension, disappointment, and hope, but most of all it feels victorious.

An Important Distinction

I was listening to a Motley Fool podcast yesterday where one of the commentators made a quippy remark that really resonated with me. To paraphrase:

It is important to recognize when you are smart and when you are lucky.

I feel as though I’ve led a charmed life. A loving wife, great family, interesting friends, fulfilling hobbies and the piece of mind to take life’s challenges in stride. Some of those things are because, I like to think, of my intelligence and some are fruitful happenstance. Some things are a combination and I’ll wager that Adie was smart while I was lucky when we started dating.

The obvious question is how do you differentiate? Perhaps a good way is to honestly and objectively analyze situations. One thing to accept is that it is not something that I can do by myself.

Being smart enables you to spot and seize advantageous situations – something like making your own luck. To follow the reasoning a little further seems to indicate that there is no such thing as luck. Good things come down to your ability to see imbalances and use them. Why should I care if events in my life are a result of good preparation or alignment of the stars? Does luck exist?

There are many things out of my control from acts of Nature to being born. Even though they are out of my hands some of these things I can predict and prepare for. It is the unpredictable, uncontrollable events comprise my luck.

A final point: why do I need to learn this lesson? Between making smart decisions and being lucky, one is repeatable and one always runs out.