Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Letting Go. Or Not.

I've been ruminating on questions raised by my last post, namely, have I truly given up on pregnancy, and if not, why not continue to pursue answers? Why risk another miscarriage?

Such good questions, such simple questions. I've been soul-searching for weeks.

This is what I've figured out so far:

No, I haven't yet given up, not fully anyway, in spite of my fervent wish to the contrary. There is still a glimmer of hope, like an ember in an otherwise dying fire. Add a little kindling – a well-timed cycle, pronounced premenstrual symptoms, a bunny in the front yard – and the whole thing is ablaze again.

But kindling is easy to come by. There are flare-ups every month. I find the prospect of stoking and tending the fire, gathering the heavy logs of sustained desire and a pursuit of purposeful intervention, utterly overwhelming. Why? Well, for one, the hope simply isn't very strong. I am discouraged by the idea that all that work and heartache could be for naught.

And then there is the shame. Somehow I feel foolish still longing for a baby after all these years. I suppose I've felt foolish all along, so strongly have I absorbed the message that smart, talented, interesting women have more important things to do than make babies. Or if they do make babies, and raise children, they do so with ease and only peripheral attention, akin to a trip to the bathroom in the midst of writing a fascinating dissertation. It's a terrible, sexist notion, one I know is patently invalid, but I live in a sexist culture, and in spite of myself, I've absorbed and internalized a measure of this thinking. It creeps in when I least expect it and requires concentration to banish.

And then there's the issue of pursuing effective medical help. I don't trust doctors easily. I mustered the courage to see a Reproductive Endocrinologist at one point, J~ and I went together. The doctor leaned way back in his chair and spoke in a relaxed, weary tone, going on about how underfunded research is in this field and how nobody really knows anything, reinforcing my feeling that it's all a crap shoot anyway.

I was relieved and pleased with this doctor at the time, so afraid was I of a salesman's fake smile and hucksterish enthusiasm, pushing me toward interventions that made me uncomfortable. Just sign on the dotted line and hand me your life savings, please. Now lie still on the table and we'll see if we can get to the bottom of this.

But then I started wondering maybe if this jaded-seeming doctor would have treated me differently if J~ and I were younger, if I seemed a more promising candidate. A letter came from the practice, two weeks after our appointment, announcing this doctor's decision to retire.

I never followed up.

I haven't tried another doctor.

J~ and I are talking about going to someone else, maybe someone recommended to me on this blog. The ball is in my court.

I keep putting it off.