Last night my husband and I sat in a room with about five others couples and listened to a presentation by an adoption agency. As I looked around at all of the other faces I thought to myself “when exactly did I become one of them?”
I’m still young!
I’m still healthy (ok, I guess that’s relative–thank you cycles gone wild)!
And I still look in the mirror and see myself as not all that far away (ok, I know I am) from the college students I teach!
So when exactly did I become one of “those people?”
You know, the ones who are old, barren, and desperate. The ones who hide in dimly lit library side rooms to hear how they will have to mortgage their life in order to have what many people accidentally stumble into: a family.
Sometimes really “getting” what infertility means to our lives only comes through shock therapy in a small library meeting room. Only comes through the physical realization that we have become “them.”
When we see infertility through eyeing up others, we are faced with our own internal prejudices and stereotypes–ones that we may not have even known existed. In those moments we are forced to see ourselves for who we are, right here, and right now, rather than who we were and pretend still to be.
And so, I don’t know the exact moment when I become one of “those people,” yet become them I have. When I take off the ash colored glasses of self-criticism and projected disappointments, however, I see that although I am part of “them,” I am still me.
I’m still a 30 something, with a clean bill of health (despite crazy Aunt Flo’s wild adventures), and I am still full of life, enthusiasm, yearning, and hope–just like my college students.
This is not the story of an ending. This is the story of a beginning. My story of my beginning, even if it is birthed in a dingy library room filled the voices of my self-critic playing movies on the faces of the strangers who surround me.