Love, Marriage and No Baby Carriage

Infertility never been portrayed more honestly on the silver-screen than in the movie UP.  It was a small snippet in a full and delicious movie about true love, grief and rediscovering one’s appetite for adventure. The opening montage featuring the love story of Carl and Ellie is one of the most gorgeous pieces of storytelling I’ve ever seen.

Theirs was a rare and indecipherable love – the kind I am lucky enough to have. They do not get to have children. And for 15 haunting seconds, we see how much that fact devastated them. Ellie’s head in her hands, her isolation in the yard, Carl’s efforts to lift her mood. That sad gaze into nothing.

Pixar got it right.

Happy birthday?

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I dance on the edge of happy and sad. I wear a party hat while I cry. I blow out candles that are not there. I feel hollow and full of nothing.

It’s my birthday today, so that means it is the happiest saddest day of the year. I’m willing everything inside myself not to feel blue. But I do. Another year has passed, another year without children. My fertility clinic looks at me now with their eyebrows raised a half a centimetre higher. I’ve graduated into their new patient-category called: “not-yet-40 but still pretty f%$#ed.”

As the clock hit 12AM last night, I lay in bed with Martin, reflecting on our last year of struggles. And I purged all of my feelings, spilling out in a wash of tears. I just don’t want to turn one year older. I don’t want this. I know the alternative – I know I should feel grateful for the privilege of ageing. And yet, I just don’t.

It’s been one of the most emotional years of my life, full of moments of despair, loneliness, and hopelessness, punctuated by a few high points including: the wedding of my sister, the growth and development of my nephews – who now talk in full sentences and can screech my name “Tante Cammy”, and follow instructions from their moms to constantly tell me, “I wuv you, Hammy.” And they squeeze me so tight until I feel like I will be okay. We had some excursions to the State Fair, and San Francisco, Hermosa Beach and Lake Tahoe. My parents moved into a new house. Again. Our Copenhagen Support Group added a few new members, and we saw a few graduate “out”.

I attending training camp in Gran Canaria with one of the world’s best Pro Cycling teams; and I hung out with a Formula 1 driver. I watched more Netflix, HBO and Showtime than a human ever should, but feel enriched anyways.

I participated in work’s Tuesday wine-o’clock ritual; and I earned a surprise bonus check, which immediately went into our infertility-slush fund. And I made some pretty okay advertising for my clients.

I retreated more and more into my IF cave. I cried more, saw friends less.

I struck friendships online with women like me, and reconnected with some long-lost Kappa sisters who have championed my journey.

It’s been a full and awesome and awful and awesome year for me. And as I turn one year older, cursing my inability to say my new age, because if I say it, then it may be true…

I am giving myself enough grace to just let me be today.

Happy birthday, Cammy. Keep on going.