Sunday, May 11, 2008

Suffering / Mother's Day

There were tears yesterday.  And I thought I was doing so well.  But I found out about someone's pregnancy and this bitter voice in my head reared up immediately and said "must be nice to be fertile".  In a really not-very-pleasant way.  And then I immediately hated myself for being so catty, and asked myself if I couldn't even be happy for this person.  Sadly, the answer was no.  I can be glad that she got what she wanted.  I can be glad that she's spared the pain of infertility.  I can be glad that a child is going to a loving person where he/she will be wanted and loved.  Glad, yes.  But happy requires energy and I simply don't have that to give any more unless it is to one of my fellow strugglers.  And that's a sad state of affairs.  

My reaction is nothing to do with her personally.  She could be anybody.  It is all about me.  I wish that wasn't the case, but it is.  I am petty and too bound up in my own sadness and suffering to be able to spare someone a little bit of happiness at their good news.  I should be happy for her, I know this.  Nobody needs to remind me of that fact.  Hey, at least I can get as far as "glad".  But it is far from ideal.

I wish I could accept infertility and move on.  I wish I could be "at peace".  I wish I could accept that I have failed, even though I tried really freakin' hard.  I wish I could accept that I simply left it too late.  That I don't get to contribute to the gene pool.  That I don't get to be a mother to my own genetic child (even though the door is still open for motherhood by other means).  But it's so very painful and raw still that it can catch me unawares and leave me crying bitter tears at the slightest provocation.

I have been reading A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, and I'm wallowing in all the chapters on Ego.  I know it is my ego that thinks I deserve to have the same as so many other people.  That I deserve to be fertile.  That this should not have happened to me.  That I should not be suffering so.  I wish I was enlightened enough to not only see that intellectually, but to know it in my heart.  But my ego lives in my heart and it's very bruised and battered and full of pain. Especially today, on Mother's Day.   When I am left without my own mother, and also mourning the loss of my dream to become one myself.  My emotions are raw, and my unevolved, unenlightened self is finding it all hard.  So, I will leave you with an excerpt from the book in honor of Mother's Day.  I thought it was apt:

Conscious suffering

If you have young children, give them help, guidance, and protection to the best of your ability, but even more importantly, give them space - space to be.  They come into this word through you, but they are not "yours."  The belief "I know what's best for you" may be true when they are very young, but the older they get, the less true it becomes.  The more expectations you have of how their life should unfold, the more you are in your mind instead of being present for them.  Eventually, they will make mistakes, and they will experience some form of suffering, as all humans do.  In fact, they may be mistakes only from your perspective.  What to you is a mistake may be exactly what your children need to do or experience.  Give them as much help and guidance as you can, but realize that you may also at times have to allow them to make mistakes, especially as they begin to reach adulthood.  At times, you may have to allow them to suffer.  Suffering may come to them out of the blue or it may come as the consequence of their own mistakes.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if you could spare them from all suffering?  No, it wouldn't.  They would not evolve as human beings and would remain shallow, identified with the external form of things.  Suffering drives you deeper.  The paradox is that suffering is caused by identification with form and erodes identification with form.  A lot of it is caused by the ego, although eventually suffering destroys the ego - but not until you suffer consciously.

Humanity is destined to go beyond suffering, but not in the way the ego thinks.  One of the ego's many erroneous assumptions, one of its many deluded thoughts is "I should not have to suffer."  Sometimes the thought gets transferred to someone close to you: "My child should not have to suffer."  That thought itself lies at the root of suffering.  Suffering has a noble purpose: the evolution of consciousness and the burning up of the ego.  The man on the cross is an archetypal image.  He is every man and every woman.  As long as you resist suffering, it is a slow process because the resistance creates more ego to burn up.  When you accept suffering, however, there is an acceleration of that process which is brought about by the fact that you suffer consciously.  You can accept suffering for yourself, or you can accept it for someone else, such as your child or parent.  In the midst of conscious suffering, there is already the transmutation.  The fire of suffering becomes the light of consciousness.

The ego says, "I shouldn't have to suffer," and that thought makes you suffer so much more.  It is a distortion of the truth, which is always paradoxical.  The truth is that you need to say yes to suffering before you can transcend it.


Bitch Around the World said...

Sarah, don't listen to that new-agey shit! You are a beautiful person, and you DO deserve to share your life and love with a baby. I believe very strongly in karma and getting back what you put out, but I recognize that certain things don't fit into that pattern and are just fucking unfair. I know that all the love and energy that you have put into having this child will come back to you in a stronger way. I am lucky enough to still have my mother, and you are in my heart today...well, you are everyday, but today I'm sending extra love.

Not on Fire said...

I too have read "A New Earth" and I downloaded the evening classes from iTunes. I found it extremely helpful. It is not an instant cure for every negative thought but I am much happier and more present.

I hope that it helps you too!

Mrs. M said...

I am reading the same book and it is really enlightening. I completely understand your comments on finding out pregnancy news from someone. I have two friends from work who got pregnant within months of each other both who had no trouble. I couldn't even go to the baby shower because it's too hard. Allow yourself that. You can't help the way you feel. I am happy for them but it's hard.

Anonymous said...

Oh Sarah - Cut yourself some slack on the being happy for others deal. No one who hasn't struggled with fertility will get it and those that have get it all to well. I was telling a friend the other week how "bad" I am for feeling the exact same way about other pregnant women and I have a child with more on the way, but the road to get there was a long hard one with difficult choices. I have no advise, but think that after the ttc journey you've had and the outcome, I'd be more worried about you if you didn't feel like you do.
As I've said many times, the fertility/infertily process takes a steep toll financially, physically, and emotionally. Take care and again, give yourself a break. What you have been through IS and has been harder than anyone can imagine. Deb (Deb2You2)

Aimee & Hannah said...

Sarah... Can I give you a huge hug? I really understand how you feel, even though I don't suffer from infertility. I can imagine the anger you feel and how it hurts like hell. It's downright unfair, esp. after trying for years. I hope one day your dream of becoming a momma will come true. Mostly, I truely wish you the best of happiness, always!!!