The Gifts of Infertility
Lesson 2: Waiting is An Opportunity for Self-Growth
“I love waiting” said no one EVER!! I remember the days when a short wait would make me feel impatient like nothing else. Whether it was a bit of traffic or, waiting for mail to arrive. I confess, waiting was one of my biggest annoyances, I disliked it very much.
My grandfather used to say that if you don’t like something, life will give it to you two times over!!! And in fact, when he would hear us at the table say that we did not like a particular food, he would remind us of his thinking and would proceed to give us another serving of whatever food we didn’t like, saying “you’ve got to learn to like it”. I can tell you what I did learn was to not say out loud in his presence the things I did not like. But I never really agreed with his way of thinking.
When I started my fertility journey, I struggled the most with the never-ending moments of waiting. You have to wait for the right time of the month, for the next cycle to start, for results of a test, for appointments with specialists, for the exact time to do blood work, for a call from the nurse, for the requisition, for savings to pay the treatment and for your anxieties to go away. Fertility is all about waiting. In Spanish, when a woman is pregnant, they often refer to the pregnancy as “waiting” and refer to the woman as “she is in the sweet waiting”. Well, let me tell you, there is no “sweetness” in the waiting related to infertility. Over time, I noticed my patience got smaller and smaller. I remember breaking into tears when a kind nurse explained that I had to wait another week to start my first IVF. I had been waiting years, so what’s another week, right? But, in that particular moment, hearing the word “wait” sounded like the end of world to me. Suddenly, my grandfather’s words came back to me. I recognized that life was giving me plenty of what I did not like. And just like I had learned to like my food as a young girl, I figured it was about time I learned to like the waiting associated with building my dream of growing a family. Because despite the great dislike and resistance I felt for “waiting”, the fact remained, “waiting” is an inevitable part of this journey. Resistance was only making this process harder.
In one of my acupuncture appointments, the practitioner said that each month I was not pregnant was an opportunity to become even healthier in my mind and body, to eventually welcome a child into my life with the satisfaction of being the best version of myself. Those words mixed with the teachings of my grandfather, allowed me to transformed my thinking. I went from impatient to wanting more waiting time, as I was determined to find joy in it.
It has almost been a year since that realization and here I am, still waiting. Yet, I am in a happy and peaceful state of mind. Having let go of resistance was incredibly liberating. I accepted that the timeline was not for me to control but, that I could trust it. I decided to stop telling myself how annoying it was to wait, because in the end, I was the one suffering with that thinking, and most importantly, I decided to see this imposed wait as the perfect opportunity to grow.
Since waiting, I have resolved long standing personal obstacles like facing certain fears. I have taken the time to look for support and resources to help me face those fears with strength. I have taken the time to heal my body and my soul from the bullying of my own thinking. My husband and I went to counseling sessions that brought a world of knowledge and a togetherness we never had before. I travelled and enjoyed being childless. I developed my next professional undertaking which is a beautiful space for others to find wellness and peace. I paid closer attention to my surroundings and have made important changes to have a healthier life. I’ve improved my physical health as I took the time to learn more about my body, nutrition and sports. And the best part of it all, I took time to appreciate what happens while I wait. Writing articles like this one is an example of how productive and fruitful waiting can be. So, as crazy as it may sound, I would like to take this opportunity to thank infertility for this wonderful gift. Because without infertility, I wouldn’t have learned that in waiting, there is a great opportunity for self-growth.