The first time I met my son was through the clear enclosure of his incubator, where he spent the first two weeks of his life, with tubes and IVs. Born via emergency C-section the night before, he was whisked off to neonatal intensive care while I underwent further surgery. The pain I felt in not being able to touch him, hold him, or care for him mimicked the pain of being unable to conceive him. He was in a bubble, and I couldn’t reach him. I am reminded of the pain of being separate from life every time I hold a retreat. The intense longing to touch the most precious expression of unconditional love is one of the most powerful forces I know. It is to meet life head on, scary in the intensity of its fragility. A hopeful mother longs to bring forth life. Her attempts have failed her. Little by little, through the maze of infertility, she comes not closer to, but further away from this intimate expression, once felt to be so close at hand.
Visits to the doctor take her from hope to despair. Too old; too few eggs, too scarred, hormones too high, too low… now labs and medical procedures separate her from her hearts greatest desire. After a few IVF failures, she searches the internet. “Stay away from these foods,” sites say. “Don’t exercise,” other well-meaning hopefuls say. Avoid alcohol, coffee, air travel, eat pure, local and organic. She now feels like these rules separate her from her child. With every suggestion, she feels like there is another barrier between her and her child.
These suggestions don’t necessarily make you more fertile; they may, however, make your life more balanced. They are not recipes to make babies. Why is it that life seems to come more easily to those who don’t try so hard? Perhaps the thickest barrier between you and your child happens to be all of the rules you are trying to adhere to in order to bring forth life. Life doesn’t adhere to rules; it defies them. Life comes to those who appear undeserving; those who eat poorly, who don’t care for themselves, who can’t afford children, who neglect and abuse them, and those who find another pregnancy a tragedy.
What I’m saying is this: Don’t separate yourself from life. Don’t try to be perfect. Don’t try to eat a perfect diet, think perfect thoughts, feel perfect feelings, go to perfect doctors who will give you a perfectly logical diagnosis with perfectly simple treatment options. Don’t try to be perfect; in fact, stop trying at all. Trying is the separating factor. Live your life. Let your future children come to you, as you are, not how you are trying to be to control their arrival. Be who you are, how you are. Don’t separate yourself from yourself. When you accept yourself and all of life totally, as it is, the internal conflict of trying disappears.