Pema Chodron (or “the Buddhist Nun” as the LP likes to call her) wrote in When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times that many of us think of brave people as fearless. But that’s not right. As the Buddhist Nun says, “[t]he truth is that they are intimate with fear.”
I have spent much time becoming intimate with my fear over the past few months. But none so intimate as what happened at my recent clinical hypnotherapy appointment.
As a friend recently pointed out (astutely), I cannot seem to go anywhere without being confronted with someone else’s pregnancy. Recent examples include my dental hygenist (whose first child is the same age as the Miracle Baby and who knows I’ve suffered recurrent losses last year), who I saw shortly after finding out the IVF was a bust and… yes, you guessed it, my hypnotherapist, and one of my colleagues whose due date is a few days before Mandy (baby #3 conceived and lost in 2013) was supposed to be born (and whose first child is also the same age as the Miracle Baby). I have come to view these experiences as more examples of God, the Universe, Buddha, who-knows-what testing my mettle. So far, so good.
Don’t get me wrong – this is not easy. I am sad when I encounter each of these women – quietly, privately sad – but I do not begrudge or envy or resent or lament their good fortune. I am happy for them, while I grieve anew our losses and longing for another child in our home. This was not my experience of encounters with pregnancy after my first couple of losses or even after the first two losses in 2013. But I am grateful that it is my experience now. I recently heard someone say that comparison is the thief of happiness. It is true. No good comes of that, despite the gobs of cash made by marketing gurus who have recognized it as a meal ticket in our baby-mania-driven “culture” where women (not just those of us with fertility challenges) are encouraged to compare ourselves with others all the time.
I would like to think that the peace I have found in my heart when faced with others’ pregnancies around me is part of me trying to make friends with my fear, to become intimate with it. As Charles Barkely might say, I could be wrong but I doubt it.
Getting past the pregnant hypnotherapist moment, I don’t really know where to start with what happened at my appointment. It is still pretty raw. The good news is that I didn’t unearth some whole new well of issues that I will have to work through. The issue is a recurrent one: fear. And plenty of it.
In the hope that others might benefit from it, I will create a post detailing what happened. But not today. Today I’m just being gentle with my emotionally exhausted (but more empowered) self. And thanking all of you who have been hanging around and supporting, encouraging and saying “hello” to me along the way. Thank you, friends!