The Wall

When I started this blog it was as a saying good-bye to infertility treatments.  I wanted to write up what I had learned through my cycles as I kissed them good-bye.  Never in a million years did I think I would be sitting here, 3 months later, contemplating how we will manage child care and which health care provider I should choose to deliver my baby.  (No worries, I am still painfully aware that that baby may never come, but still, at this point we can at least say that the odds are in our favor and it might be smart to start thinking about these things).

It is Mr. Nishkanu and my 5th wedding anniversary today.  That also marks 5 years of TTC – five years of ups and many, many downs, hope followed by crushing defeat, not-knowing-how-to-continues followed by somehow-scraping-it-togethers.   Those five years are written on my body and soul and they will never go away, even as their pain fades in the background with the wonder that something – miraculously – seems to finally have worked.

Nevertheless, I sense it – the wall that divides me from the folks that are still trying, that are still in the trenches, that still live with those ups and downs every day.  I’m not sure when the wall goes up exactly, it builds up gradually and almost invisibly, and one day you turn around and see that it is there.  Some of it I noticed when I started getting nervous about leaving some bloggers in the trenches comments, thinking they would be irritated if they clicked through to my blog and saw my story – “Yeah, sure, easy for her to talk, it worked out for her.”  Some of it I notice in my own attitude when I read others’ stories of their latest effort to break through the Infertility Barrier – “you really can make it!  there is really an other side!” I cheer along, an attitude that had gone sadly missing in my own path through infertility.  Some of it I notice when I write my own blog posts, and wonder who I am alienating, what I can say and what I can’t say, whose toes I might be stepping on and how I might be able to avoid doing so, and feeling like I am starting to lose the ability to tell.  And some of it I just notice when aspects of being knocked up start to become normal – when I stop being horribly embarrassed and self-conscious to shop for maternity clothes, or when I can mention to random people (e.g. my singing teacher) that I am pregnant without feeling like it is some kind of weird taboo.

It makes sense if you think about it in terms of movie plots.  Imagine you are sitting through a movie where the hero goes through lots of ups and downs, adventures and problems, but ends up with a happy outcome – you know you are in a Hollywood feel-good movie.  But if you are in a movie where the hero goes through lots of ups and downs, adventures and problems, and ends up with nothing resolved – ah, a painful French drama.  One of the things that makes infertility so hard to deal with is that you never know if you in the Hollywood feel-good movie or in the French drama.  And there is a big, big difference between the two.   It throws a totally different light on the struggles along the way, even if the struggles are actually the same.

In the many years of TTC I developed a very exact conception of what it is like to live in the land of the infertile.  I imagined that we are all ship-wrecked on an island together, all desperate to return to the regular world.  Every cycle was an attempt to build a raft, to paddle it through the rocky surf and past the big reefs, and, if you were very lucky, to continue paddling out into the wide blue ocean, back to safety and normality.  Unfortunately, often those escape attempts would end up with the paddler wiping out, washed up on the beach, wiped out and feeling too tired, for a while or forever, to continue.    When I read people’s stories on-line or listened to my friends around me, I was cheering from the beach, hoping and praying that they would make it through as they attempted to make it over the breakers.  Whenever one of “my” people made it off the island, I was proud and happy for them, even as I watched them paddle off into the distance and away from my world.  They gave me hope that maybe one day, I would make it off the island too.  When one of my real-life infertile friends got pregnant a few years ago and asked me if the news upset me, I said “No, I am always happy when someone makes it off the island!”  I didn’t have to explain any more, she knew exactly what I meant.

Now I am on the raft, paddling away from the island and starting to see the far-off land in the distance, and for the first time I am realizing that there is really a whole new world out there, a world that is different from the one I’ve been living in so long, and a world that will soon become my unaccustomed home.  Like, I suspect, most people who have spent any time on the Infertility Island, I’ll never fit into that world in the way someone does who never had to leave it.  “My” people are not the people in this new country, but they are also not the people left standing and waving from the beach, as near to my heart they and their fates are.  The people who are with me are the ones on the other rafts, paddling alongside me hopefully towards a brighter future.  I hope and pray we can pull more of the Island inhabitants off with us towards the new world.



  1. Lisa said

    Very well written!! I have many of the same thoughts often. I will just continue to paddle with you until we reach the promised land on the other side of this great chasm.

  2. Liv said

    Hi Nishkanu!!!!

    What an excellent post. Funny I just finished Mel’s book, Navigating the Land of IF – so the imagery of being marrooned on an island as already been floating around my brain lately.

    This is a concept that I have thought long and hard asking my self two things. How do I 1.) as an infertile island inhabitant handle “escapees” that inevitably find themselves on the boat to the mainland – and 2.) How do I as a infertile not alienate my comrades when we one day no longer have that common.

    One early “mistake” that I made (it only took one actually) was to stop following woman that had their BFP’s. Not that I was overly offended, but I just thought that I might help myself better by aligning myself with people in the same boat as me. Well, sometimes those escapees (like you spoke about…) don’t make it over the barrier and come back to the island. Then I felt guilty for leaving them.

    Unfortunately in many cases I have seen those leaving the island – never look back whilst on the raft to the mainland thus never reciprocating any support. Some only maintain their eyes forward and seek out others with the same exit visa.

    You my dear are not any of those things. Nor have I ever wanted to leave reading and keeping up with your blog. And now that I think about it…I never started reading your story until you had just started this preganancy. But, it was the way in which you handled yourself and respecting others still here that made me stay. You also had so much content that you had worthy of keeping you as a resource.

    In other words, you might be on the raft with a paddle but you’ve thrown out that tow line to help make it a little bit easier for someone like me to confident to carry over the breakers. Plus you left your tools behind! I’ll be able to put together a raft sea worthy in no time!

    Thank you for putting so much thought into your blog, not only in the content but protecting the heart of people like myself.

  3. circlesbecomeme said

    great post. i love the image of the island. maybe i should start building a raft again:)

  4. Katie said

    Another excellent post! Thank you. I appreciate your cheers and do not in the least feel slighted by you. I am truly happy for you and Mr. N. Even with our latest failed attempt (#5!!!) and the fact that we are again staring at plan B. I do believe that there is another side to the pain, frustration, and loneliness of infertility. You are the proof. Hugs.


  5. Dora said

    Just catching up here. What a beautiful post. Paddling here along with you.

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