Rage against the Infertility… Dance with the pain

This is the face of a person who doesn’t get to choose the size of her family.

She is heartbroken and tired. She’s had 11 losses over 10 years. She’s done 18 rounds of In-vitro Fertilization (IVF-regansglasbehandling), but she does not have 18 kids. She has 1, for which she is infinitely grateful. People remind her all the time that she should: Just 👏🏽 Be 👏🏽 Grateful 👏🏽. To have the one. The suggestion stings, as if she should admit that she is less entitled to the dreams of motherhood than the woman for whom kids come easily.

She is so grateful, and at the same time, so profoundly sad that her son may be an only child. That she cannot give him the gift of a brother or sister. That the dream of a house full of Disney music and the pitter-patter of little feet may be lost.

……

I was slipped the name of a specialized clinic in St. Petersburg by my Danish doctor, who admitted there was nothing more he could do for me. I needed more intervention, more options – and this Russian haven could provide it (their clientele is almost 90% Scandinavian, and their success rates are staggering).

I was supposed to fly to St. Petersburg in the Spring. And then a pandemic hit. I felt selfish for worrying about my need for…just 1 more baby. I planned and meditated, and prayed and did conference calls with my Russian team, almost weekly. They wrapped me up in love, compassion, patience and hope – without asking for a single Euro.

They have struck me as some of the most caring, empathetic, and committed medical professionals I’ve ever met.

Martin and I talked it over for weeks and months; we made a plan – and we saved up. I was supposed to go, again, in September – in a few short weeks. The clinic has reopened, and they have patients trying like mad to cross the borders. But we cannot get a flight; all in-bound planes are grounded. Though I should have a coveted Medical Visa to enter, there may be no physical way to enter the country for my planned 10-day stay; one that I believe could end with me departing the country, expecting.

I don’t know why I’m sharing all this with you – I probably sound unstable…worrying about expanding my family when so much catastrophe and pain plague the world at this moment.

I wish like hell I could gracefully stop this fight. I wish like hell I could be at peace with what we have. We got life. We did it. I was able to check that existential box titled “Become a mum” with Leif’s arrival in 2016. I just wish… my yearning was weaker than my pain at having to fight. But it all feels too important. Having siblings is crucial to me, as someone who was raised in a family bursting with kids, in a house full of laughter and grace and children-enough to carry the burdens of life, together.

Most days, when I don’t bury myself in work, I vacillate between agonizing sadness and exponential rage.

If my infertility was a heavy metal band, I’d call it Rage Against the Infertility.

Sometimes I fear I am losing my g*ddamn mind as slowly as we have lost all our money by flushing it down the toilet-bowl with medical and other thwarted attempts to expand our family.

I cannot justify any funds spent on the therapy I desperately need, to address the gaping hole in my heart.  When I called my health insurer (Danica) that is provided by my employer and filed a claim to get my 5 free therapy visits – which is something a Danish colleague suggested I do, after she was approved for treatment to manage work stress – my insurer denied my claim. The insurer rep said, and I quote, “We do not cover anything having to do with infertility. Your depression is caused by Infertility, so we cannot cover your treatment.”

I had to hold myself against the brick wall of our building to keep from crumbling into a ball, as I stood on the street when the insurance-adjuster hung up.

After she told me my pain doesn’t matter.

But I think it does — Diana taught me that.

Some months ago, I discovered a young Russian singer named Diana Ankudinova. At the age of 5, she had been found on a Moscow street, abandoned and beaten within an inch of her life. She was unable to speak when she was taken in by an orphanage. She was adopted a few years later by a caring woman who worked at the orphanage. To address Diana’s inability to talk, her mother took her to voice lessons. When she finally opened her mouth, the sound of heaven emerged. Diana is a contralto with one of the most extraordinary voices I’ve ever heard in my life (think Karen Carpenter level of uniqueness).

At age 15, she appeared on a televised Russian talent competition called “You are Super!” that is strictly for Russian orphans or kids in the foster care system. Let that sink in. There are enough abandoned children there to fill an entire lineup of supremely gifted young people – performing their hearts out and vying for the attention of record producers and pop stars. Diana’s rare talent captivated the country; she won the competition and is now a 17-year-old national treasure, recording music in her bedroom in front of her stuffed animals. You can hear a century of pain in each low note that she hits. She emotes the sadness, the faith and the irony of a life so punctuated by loss, the only thing left for her to do is dance, sing and smile. Her story moves me so much that I hope to name a future daughter after her.

If I could fly to Russia and adopt all the kids in the orphanage that wanted me, I would. I hope you know that. Russia and Denmark ended all bilateral adoption agreements about 10 years ago. The world can be so cruel that babies born into families facing addiction or poverty can end up on the street, and families who would give anything to take those babies home, cannot.

If you made it this far, click the link below and listen to Diana – a gorgeous Russian girl who was dealt a rotten hand, singing in French about the pain of life. And how the only thing left to do, in the midst of such suffering, is to dance.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wkHr6Hvnuk

Ô ma douce souffrance Oh my sweet suffering
Pourquoi s’acharner tu recommences Why do you hound me,
incessantly
Je ne suis qu’un être sans importance I am just an unimportant person
Sans lui je suis un peu paro’ Without it I’m a bit lost
Je déambule seule dans le métro I wander alone in the subway
Une dernière danse A last dance
Pour oublier ma peine immense To forget my immense sorrow
Je veux m’enfuir que tout recommence I want to run away, for
everything to begin again
Oh ma douce souffrance Oh my Sweet suffering
[Refrain] [Chorus]
Je remue le ciel le jour, la nuit I move mountains, day and night
Je danse avec le vent la pluie I dance with the wind, the rain
Un peu d’amour, un brin de miel A little love, a bit of honey
Et je danse, danse, danse, danse, danse, danse And I dance, dance, dance,
dance, dance, dance
Et dans le bruit, je cours et j’ai peur And in the noise, I run and I’m scared
Est ce mon tour ? Is it my turn?
Vient la douleur Here comes the pain
Dans tout Paris, je m’abandonne Throughout Paris, I abandon
myself
Et je m’envole, vole, vole, vole, vole And I fly, fly, fly, fly, fly
[Pont 1] [Bridge 1]
Que d’espérance Nothing but hope
Sur ce chemin en ton absence On this path in your absence
J’ai beau trimer, sans toi ma vie n’est qu’un décor qui brille, vide de sens Try as I might, without you my life is just a beautiful display,
meaningless
[Refrain] [Chorus]
Je remue le ciel le jour, la nuit I move mountains, day and night
Je danse avec le vent la pluie I dance with the wind, the rain
Un peu d’amour, un brin de miel A little love, a bit of honey
Et je danse, danse, danse, danse, danse, danse And I dance, dance, dance, dance, dance, dance
Et dans le bruit, je cours et j’ai peur And in the noise, I run and
I’m scared
Est ce mon tour ? Is it my turn?
Vient la douleur Here comes the pain
Dans tout Paris, je m’abandonne Throughout Paris, I abandon
myself
Et je m’envole, vole, vole, vole, vole And I fly, fly, fly, fly, fly
[Pont 2] [Bridge 2]
Dans cette douce souffrance In this sweet suffering
Dont j’ai payé toutes les offenses I paid for all the offences
Écoute comme mon cœur est immense Listen as my heart is immense
Je suis une enfant du monde I am a child of the world
[Refrain] [Chorus]
Je remue le ciel le jour, la nuit I move mountains, day and night
Je danse avec le vent la pluie I dance with the wind, the rain
Un peu d’amour un brin de miel A bit of love a bit of honey
Et je danse, danse, danse, danse, danse, danse And I dance, dance, dance, dance, dance, dance
Et dans le bruit, je cours et j’ai peur And in the noise, I run and I’m scared
Est ce mon tour? Is it my turn?
Vient la douleur… Here comes the pain…
Dans tout Paris, je m’abandonne In all of Paris, I abandon myself
Et je m’envole, vole, vole, vole, vole And I fly, fly, fly, fly, fly

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