Sunday, June 24, 2012

Turning the page


How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways...

Books have been a mainstay of my life long as I could remember.  Family had said that they could always know where to find me, "Just look for her at the bookshelves" or "at the library."  There are childhood photos of where they'd catch me reading while stirring the chocolate creme going for the pie or of other foods, watching a movie (yes, a movie AND a book), hiding in the tree house with several comic books, and even a photo of me reading while in a bathtub (I was maybe 6 or 7.)    Sometime I think a book was handed to me every time  I was dragged along with family to visit other relatives or friends, because if there's no book in my hand, I usually get in mischief.  Literally.  One time, there was no books at a house of a friend who lives in Pueblo, CO; so I wandered deep in the desert (and no one had told me of the dangers in the desert, imagine that!)   So family called for me- of course,they forgot I can't hear them.  I came back as the police arrived, and I didn't understand the big deal. I didn't have the heart to tell them that I had found a rattlesnake, (I didn't pick it up, thro I like snakes), or of climbing up and down rocky hills. The scare of me missing was hard enough on the family.   There's a lot of stories that came out of what trouble I found myself in, when there was no books.  Ha!

Unlike the majority of IF community, I did not struggle with IF for years. The main reason was that I did not try to get pregnant for years until last year. You see, through years, despite one miscarriage, I thought I will have a child or two, there wasn't any question on that.  Infertility never had entered my mind until last October, when the doctor said the tumor was not in my stomach, but in the uterus. And that was with confusion, just one question "Can I have children or not?" Simple as that.  I did not think about eating healthy, mindfulness, medical interventions (IVF, fertility shots, etc), not yet.  Visits to the OB-GYN did not have answers to the significant question that was becoming my obsession, Can I have children or not?   Only when the reproductive oncologist stated just before Christmas, that the uterus has to be removed with the tumor in the lining, and that there's no chance of bearing children, none.  I went through the holiday in numbness, very much emotionally detached from family, watching my toddler cousins opening their presents, and congratulating my brother and his wife expecting their first baby, while someone inside my mind was screaming, wailing, scratching her arms bleeding, wanting a bottle of vodka to drown in.  I stayed detached long as I could, trying to stay fatalist, "so, that's that.  Shit happens. Deal with it."   Not easy, and not healthy.

I ordered two books, Lisa Manterfield's  "I'm Taking My Eggs and Going Home: How One Woman Dared to Say No to Motherhood" and  Beverly Barna's "Infertility Sucks!"   They collected dust on my nightstand. I love books, but those two books, I avoided.  Half-heartedly, I put some IF books on my Amazon 'wish list,' just in case. 

During that time, I escaped through books, as I always have.  There are so many worlds out there that infertility does not exist.    Instead, there are mystical worlds of Laurel K Hamilton, Anthony Piers, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Charles de Lint, Chloe Neill, Nalini Singh, J.R. Ward, Anne McCaffrey, Wendy and Richard Pini;  I fled into their dimensions.

I wanted so badly to stay in the worlds, never to return to Earth and reality. 

Unfortunately, that was not to happen.    Someday I had to face reality, and that's what I'm doing right now...attempting to adjust to the new reality of being childless, not by choice.  

Now it has been four months since the surgery.  I had been reading Lisa Manterfield's book on and off- I rather like it so far. I found unlike other books that I could devour in a day, this book I have to put down after certain statements or paragraphs. The book would be lying there awaiting for me to pick up again; which happen now and then. I'm at half-way, (good for me).     

Yesterday,there was a book market, ten of thousands used books,waiting to be picked up and taken to new homes.  With cash in my pocket, I gathered so many books in joy, expecting to see old and new friends in pages, to rejoin and explore worlds of magic, love, horror, and geek.  

Almost against my will, I found myself at a table with pile of books, with a sign, "Infertility."  With a sigh of resignation, I started to look. I quickly gave up after looking at many books, finding them offering cures, memoirs with women finally becoming mothers, of holistic alternative self-cares ("Mindful eating will help you get pregnant!"). Bottom line; they were offering hope.     

I didn't want hope.   I want to figure how to accept the reality that had been thrust upon me. 

I hurried away, with books in my bags to the cashier.  Waiting in the line, people-watching, with the sun turning my skin red, I stepped on something. I looked down, to find that someone had dropped a book. I picked it up, with difficulty (try that with three full bags of books, and some extra hardcovers in your arms).  It's "Grief Recovery Handbook" by John W. James and Russell Friedman.  I held it, half wondering what's in the book, and half waiting for someone to come and say "that's my book."  

It was then my turn at the cashier, to pay with cash.  I looked at the book in my hand, and said to myself, "what the hell.. might as well buy it."  

Back at home, I skimmed through the book.   Something I think I'd like to read.    

But not now.   Later.  When I feel ready.  

I am beating a hasty retreat to Lore Leigh's world of The Breeds.  

Funny.....  (not ha-ha funny-    odd funny)     The day after I wrote this post, I got three books in mail.  I had ordered many books (I tend to order books for myself off the Amazon wish list- it seems to grow, not reduce in numbers! anyway...) in a variety of topics- paranormal romances, infertility, memoirs, sci-fic, natural disasters, graphic novels, etc, from Amazon and their smaller shops that sell on Amazon... I ordered three books related to infertility/childlessness, among ten other books.  Guess what showed up today at my door?   Yup, THOSE three books only, no other books yet.    
I got "Falling for Eli", "Adopting on your own: The complete guide to Adoption for single parents" and "Do you love someone who is infertile?: What can you do to help her, what to support her and what you should never do or say."

Odd coincidence, eh?  


  1. I love reading too. But yes, there are some books that come to you when you need them, and some which are waiting for when you are ready.

    And I loved the story of the mischief you found yourself in (have you EVER told them about the rattlesnake?). I also can't imagine how you managed a Christmas with all those kids around you like that.

    1. I agreed, books come when you need them. :) Thanks, Mali!

      Yes, later on when I became an adult, I told mom about the snake- she didn't believe me. Or she didn't want to ACKNOWLEDGE the risk. Whateverso. :)

      Neither did I, Mali- neither did I... I am still not sure how I managed not to break down among kids and baby announcement just three days after finding out. In a way,I feel it was good to find out and experience all that- that way I was STILL in shock, with walls up. I hadn't yet processed it all. I don't know. I only know that it was in January when I totally broke down- that reminds me, I need to finish that fourth post of the finding out- ugh... I feel anxiety, just thinking about it. Flashback, probably.

  2. I loved this post...and I agree with Mali that some books seem to come to you when you need them most. For me, this was Lisa's book I'm Taking My Eggs and Going Home. I hadn't found Lisa's blog or any other blogs for that matter on infertility so I was feeling extremely alone in my journey. I felt like I couldn't go on anymore and no one understood the pain I was feeling. I was just going through the motions in life, but I was dying inside. After reading Lisa's book, it was a turning point for me as I no longer felt alone - it has helped me move forward a little bit each day. I will forever be grateful to her for writing that book!

    I have found that most books on infertility are more about what you need to eat or drink, etc... to get pregnant. I too, am not looking for hope - I just want to learn how to deal with the cards that have been dealt to me.

    Currently, I am reading "Falling for Eli" - I am enjoying this as I totally get how a horse can help with the pain and grieving process. I had spent a ton of money on therapy, but finally gave that up as I realized that my horse, Dusty, was the best therapist of all.

    1. I absolutely love that book- I JUST finished "Falling for Eli" and I can see how it can be very therapeutic to have a horse! It's ironic that I live in the Horse state of Kentucky- but I don't have access to horses. LOL I love riding horseback, but hadn't for a long while. Perhaps I should look into that, thro I just know I can't take care of a horse ($$$ and time).
      It was opposite for me; you found the books and later the blogs- it's vice verse for me..I found the blogs, and then found some comments about books, so I put 'em on a wish list. :) Perhaps I should set up a list of books on childlessness, grief process, self-care, transforming old lives to new lives, etc, with reviews and grading. That'd help us and new individuals going through the same experience- and encourage them to realize they're not alone as you said, Kellie...
      Hmmm. (thinking)

  3. I've downloaded many free books to my free Kindle for PC reader. :-D When I was in the throes of IF sorrow, I bought C.S. Lewis' "A Grief Observed" because I was so caught up in grief and anger. Some books do speak to us better when we're at a certain stage in life, I suppose.

    Oh, and I bought Silent Sorority by Pamela Tsigdinos also 'coz it didn't end up with child(ren). I found that after we surrendered to life without kids, I can relate more to those who don't end up having kids, because just as you wrote here: You didn't want hope. Neither do I. Not anymore. :-)

    1. Oh Silent Sorority is on my Amazon wish list! Would be nice if we'd have a childless book swap among us all, eh? :D
      I never had thought of "A Grief Observed" by C.S. Lewis- is it good?

    2. Oh it'd be great to be able to swap books! :-D I'd love that...and of course we can all meet up and have coffee/drinks together and talk about anything he he...

      I LOVE "A Grief Observed" because of its's very raw and the rawness reminded me of my worst IF moments. :-)