I sat in a small office yesterday afternoon crunching very large numbers with a financial counselor. For a moment my eyes wandered past her, to the framed art hanging on her wall. It was so strange I couldn't look away.
The artist depicted a mother and baby floating in a pool of rippling forest green water (yes, forest green). The oddly-proportioned mother's arms and hands encircle her child, and then... another pair of gigantic, disembodied, very hairy hands emerge from the water around them. These giant hands looked as if they are scooping her up. I'm sure they are meant to be God's nurturing hands, but to me they look like the hands of an irritated old man about to slap an unsuspecting fly. Fertility clinic Rorschach test? Perhaps.
I was snapped back from my psychoanalytical art critique by the following sentence:
For the price of $17,500 you get three fresh, three frozen, and the guarantee of a take-home baby, or your money back.
Suddenly, I felt as if I was about to order an extra-value meal. I'll take three fresh, three frozen, and one take-home baby, to go...
It was at this point that I realized what a strange world I am entering. A world of test tubes and vials. A world of frozen babies. A world in which I can get pregnant even if my husband is out of town. It is a world I hoped to avoid, but it is quickly becoming my new reality.
I have already added to my new reality that I am a childless mother, who carries a rare genetic disorder. I have a 50% chance of passing this disorder onto my children. I am trying to accept that wanting a healthy baby is not a rejection of my only and very special child. I am trying to accept that I am a paradox; a young woman who is fully capable of having a healthy pregnancy, yet I spent my afternoon discussing egg retrieval, and hormone injections, and payment plans.
I held it together, and felt pretty good through the appointment. I tried to stay focused through the financial consultation. I even laughed as Jordan and I filled out some of the very personal paperwork. But as the day progressed I began to feel angry. I felt angry that losing my sweet child is not enough of a trial. Angry that others around me seem to be so quickly and abundantly blessed with children. Angry that I have to grieve and navigate incredibly difficult moral and financial decisions.
By early evening I felt like ripping whatever was in my hands. I was tempted by the cathartic motion of smashing dishes on the kitchen floor. An irritation and anguish rose inside of me that I could not fully voice or silence. My anger was a whirlwind of intense frustration combined with heartache.
I tried to tell God that all I wanted was to be a mother to Jonah. Doesn't He know that I would have been so content just to care for this sweet boy?
Unfortunately I am far too disciplined and peaceful to destroy my possessions in a fit of rage. And anytime I try to scream, it comes out so pathetic that I resolve never to do it again. But last night I chose to sit with my anger for awhile; to really feel it; to let it burn instead of dowsing it immediately with gratitude or tears.
This morning my anger has mellowed into the soft heat of burned out coals, and the tears have have helped to dowse it. I can feel the love of God again, instead of feeling like a fly on the water. I can recognize my gratitude for the technology that is available to help us. And I feel like my anger has cleared a place for my new reality to settle in.
Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean.