I knew he was special. For someone who doesn’t especially subscribe to the idea of love at first sight, there was something palpably unique. Mostly it was the kindness in his eyes and the genuineness of his face. This was someone I needed to know. Three weeks after our first date, I told my sister “I think I’m in love with him.” The only word to describe that time is magic.
Even more than love at first sight, I definitely do not subscribe to the idea of life as a fairy tale. Even the magic love bubble only lasted a few weeks before the reality of life had us dealing with pretty serious stuff. Still, the newness, the possibility, the feeling of having all of life’s good things finally come together in the same place and time made difficult things feel less difficult. I was the best version of myself.
I saw “A Star is Born” with girlfriends the other night and it really stirred something up. I was very emotional on the way home and kept thinking about the movie for days later. “Bradley Cooper.” my friend opined simply. This was more than lusting after Bradley Cooper.
We’ve reached a bit of a crossroads in our journey to parenthood. We’ve been trying over a year. We are doing all the things. We’ve had all the tests. Nothing is wrong with us. My doctor looked at me with pity-eyes and said “there’s nothing else I can do for you” and recommended we go see a fertility specialist. My medical chart now says “female infertility.”
From the moment I reached out to the fertility clinic, my fears about taking a number in the baby factory felt true. Electronically sign this form and this one and that. Watch this online module about Zika. Check out our website with all the pictures of smiling babies (which, of course, conveniently leaves off how much any of this costs).
It all makes me feel…inhuman.
That’s when it occurred to me; that feeling I had watching “A Star is Born” wasn’t lust and it wasn’t envy wishing we were back in that new-love bubble, it was just that desire to be seen. As a whole person.
That magical time three years ago when Noel and I had our first date, yes it was magic because I met such a special person, but it was magic because for the first time in my life I felt I was sitting across from someone who really saw my flawed awesomeness and was totally into it. The other night Noel said to me “You want to think you find someone and get into a relationship because it’s easy, but it’s not. It’s hard. And it’s something you have to be really conscious and purposeful about all the time.” Yeah you do. Every day you do. And you have to try things, and get them wrong, and try again, and talk…a lot, and ask each other for help, and do things that don’t come easily for the good of the relationship.
The inhumanity of trying to create a human, I’m not up for it. For me, this is not an at-any-cost situation. I want to have a baby. Even more than that, I want to be the best version of myself. And I want to have the strongest relationship I can.
My Chinese medicine dream team, they make me feel human. I depend more and more on their words of wisdom and encouragement. Jodie, my acupuncturist, has me reading “You are a Badass” by Jen Sicero. As the name suggests, it is brilliantly simple. Know yourself, love yourself, live yourself. “There is nothing wrong with you” says the book and Jodie the Acupuncturist and Ali the herbalist, and Noel the Husband. I like that. “Trust your intuition” says the book and Jodie the Acupuncturist and Ali the herbalist and Noel the Husband. “Love yourself because you are awesome and the only one in the whole world like you” says the book and Jodie the Acupuncturist and Ali the Herbalist and Noel the Husband. All of that sounds so much better than sitting in a hospital gown waiting to be poked and prodded holding a piece of paper that says “female infertility.”
In the end, our family is going to have whatever journey we are meant to have. In the meantime, we have work to do. The daily work of overcoming the urge to fall into routines that prioritize tasks, chores, and obligations instead of opportunities to see, know, and support one another. The humanity of trying to be the best I can be so that our relationship can be the best it can be. I’m up for that.