I left out a rather pertinent event in my Microblog Monday post because I needed more time to write it out.
I finally met Pamela Mahoney Tsigdinos of SilentSorority.com. She came in to my town to meet up with other bloggers and stayed on Granville Island (which is like this man made island that is still functioning as a cement factory but has a housed farmers market, gift stores, artisan workshops, a theatre, restaurants,kayak/boating companies, an arts university, community centre, and a hotel located there).
I picked her up (of course, I knew what she already looked like and she knew me), made her get into my dog hair covered (like the Febreeze commercial) car (sorry, Pamela!) and took her to lunch. I did have to remark that as a childless not by choice blogger that ironically, she had stayed in a place that was awash in kids attending the Vancouver International Children’s Festival. And I mean busloads and busloads of kids! It is already tourist season but the island was even busier because of this event. Can’t get away from it, Pam.
It was so wonderful to see her, but I couldn’t just gush at her or she’d think I was nuts. I’m so glad I cancelled my acting class. It was a rare opportunity to thank her in person and I wasn’t going to miss out. So we talked and talked. She’s so warm and caring and immediately has a way of putting you at ease. We talked about coming out in the real world as infertility survivors, people’s attitudes towards adoption, etc. She asked me an interesting question. Was all the work of adoption worth it? Short form, yes. But of course, isn’t that the case with most things that take a lot of hard work and trouble? If I had almost died giving birth, I would have answered the same way. Most people who say “just adopt” have no understanding of exactly that adoption entails. Heck, I didn’t. I hadn’t anticipated the process making me feel unworthy because I had to get references from friends with kids (of course I didn’t spend a lot of time with because it was painful to be around them). Adoption isn’t for everyone and there’s all sorts of reason for that. There are people who do it over and over again and bless’em, cause I know I couldn’t. I’m glad I did hang in there through it all because I have such a wonderful and loving son and he has truly enriched my life. I’m the lucky one, not him. It was what it was and it taught me a lot. Mainly, I had to grow up. And I still have plenty to learn.
Pamela had this amazing idea of wanting to put our stories together in some meaningful way and I shared my experience with theatre being used to bring stories together. (Hope it’s okay I shared that, if it’s not, let me know and I will delete it.) I wanted to talk more and show her around, but I had to get back to the North Shore (Friday afternoon traffic is quite bad here) and I had my entire weekend (awards show, children’s festival) scheduled already. Pam, we need a do over and I hope that I can properly host you next time.
She was the first person to encourage me to write my blog. I, like many others, went online to find support for infertility. Undergoing repeated unsuccessful IVFs just about gutted me. I found her blog and immediately felt relieved that someone knew exactly how I was feeling. There she was, like a light in the darkness. I never talked to anyone about how traumatized I felt, I even hesitated to use the word. I mean, I had never truly suffered a “loss”, right? My biological child was only a dream that died, not a real being. I get that. But still there was this grief. And bitterness. There was a shift in my identity as a woman that I had to re-align. There was so much in my life that hadn’t turned out the way that I wanted, and now I couldn’t even count on my lady parts to do what I wanted. I was supposed to “get over it” or “just adopt” and she just commiserated with me and heard me, validated me, and let me say all horrible, dark, nasty stuff that no one in my real life wanted to hear. I remember telling hubby that I was going away for a couple of days to write and off I went with a bottle of wine and my laptop. To my amazement I did not finish the bottle of wine because all I did was pour my heart into writing and reading other blogs. I had found a place that I could just be. Broken bits and all. That’s why I’ll always be grateful to her. I even remember when I read one of her first drafts of her book Silent Sorority. Go buy it if you haven’t already, it’s amazing. Blogging was therapy for me and I was able to really understand that my Buddhist practice gave me an opportunity to transform “poison into medicine”. All the ALI blogs I have read and interacted with have given me a deep sense of compassion and appreciation for what people go through.
To this day I’m the one that people talk to when IVF doesn‘t work. Not like I enjoy being a cautionary tale for people but I hope that they come to me because they know I will listen, I will give them hope and they’ll know that when life doesn’t turn to the happily ever after ending, life is just different and can hold just as much joy as the one they had imagined.
Thank you, Pamela, for holding my heart so carefully.