Monthly Archives: September 2011

The quest for explanations and shooting in the dark

As we are waiting to get started with IVF, I often wonder if the process will reveal something about the cause(s) of our infertility. Sometimes the need for some kind of explanation is overwhelming. Falling into the ‘unexplained’ category comes with it’s own particular challenges, because it leaves a wide-open space for never-ending speculation and increased feelings of uncertainty. Somehow I hoped or expected that the medical profession could at least provide answers (if not solutions). Instead it turns out that fertility experts are themselves navigating a world characterized by uncertainty and incomplete knowledge. Visualizing technologies and other tools of investigation and diagnosis deliver ambiguous results and images. There seems to be few ‘facts’ which are not mediated by interpretation. Sometimes the experts disagree. Sometimes they just have no clue.

So I continue searching for possible explanations with potential solutions wherever I can find them. Both google and the people around me seem more than willing to help with suggestions… with everything from ‘you just need to relax’ to recommendations for supplements, vitamins and alternative treatments.

One such aspect is the idea that maybe, just maybe, the problem and corresponding solution is to be found in some other realm than the physical. Most of the time I resist such ideas, but at other times I have also given in and decided to try this or that or the other. Just because I did not want my own resistance to stand in the way of us having a baby. What if… what if…

The last thing I tried was a healer. She came recommended by a good friend who has been seeing her for years. She told me that she does not really believe in it, but this woman has nevertheless helped her with many things over the years. I decided to try it in connection with the last IUI cycle. I went for two sessions with the healer. In the first session she ‘diagnosed’ me with too much stress, tension and tiredness. Too much thinking and too little ‘now’ and ‘earth’. My chakras were too ‘busy’ for me to get pregnant. I needed to just sit and look at the water and meditate. ‘Live like a Buddha’ she said. She told me that what I do, is not good for me and I said ‘yes I know, I just stopped’. Good, she said. And then she also thought my energy was blocked because of my mother, actually it seems to go all the way back to my grandmother. I needed to let it all go and ‘break the chain’, as she put it. She was ‘reading’ all this in my energy field and emotional body. But there were also positives. I am healthy and there is nothing wrong with me physically as far as she could tell. I am a ‘free bird’, have a good body and good energy, as she put it.

I went home quite confused. I thought I cleared up that stuff with my mum years ago. And besides, who has not got some kind of issue at some point in their relationship with their mother? The stress – yes she is absolutely right about that. I have just taken the plunge and left my job a month ago. For sure it was not good for me in many ways, but was it making me infertile? There are a lot of claims out there about the link between stress and infertility, but I wonder how much is actually scientifically proven and to what an extent it is just a myth. After all, women get pregnant and have children all the time under circumstances which are bound to be much more stressful than my work situation ever was.

I was to come back for another session the day before the insemination. In that session she continued the ‘clearing out’ in my energy flow and calmed those chakras of mine. After doing whatever it is she does, she told me that now I was ready. The chakras were now vibrating as they should, there were no blockages in my energy flow and everything was good. So all sorted and ready to get pregnant! I felt good of course as I was riding home on my bike through the sun-bathed streets of Amsterdam. I still didn’t quite know what to make of it, but at least I had now done something. Something which I had initially resisted. I had acted on my decision to be willing to try (almost) anything – even if it did not quite make sense in the rational part of my brain.

The rest is history. I didn’t get pregnant in that IUI cycle either. It was another shot in the dark. Another part of the never-ending quest for explanations with corresponding solutions.

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Embracing the liminal space

In my previous post (Tagged with Infertility), I wrote about the feeling of being stuck or trapped in-between the ‘normal’ stages of life. In the last couple of days I have been reflecting some more on the nature of this liminal space or in other words; being in limbo. It’s painful, yes, but what I didn’t realize at first is that it’s also something else. It’s a transformational space – a process of becoming. In fact, there is no pause button in life. Only, I do not know where the becoming is going so to speak.

But I know that the liminal phase will end at some point, one way or another. Either I will become a mother and enter that life stage with the identity and role of parenthood. Or alternatively I will not become pregnant and we will eventually have to stop trying and learn to accept, and live with, childlessness. This experience is changing me forever either way and I realize that I have to embrace that.

Inwardly I’m being transformed. I don’t know exactly how and what it will mean for the next life stage and what that stage will even look like. But I do not want to be a mere passenger or passive observer of this process of becoming. Liminality is a space characterised by uncertainty, ambiguity, disorientation and isolation – as described by the famous Anthropologist Victor Turner. One’s sense of identity dissolves to some extent which is painful, but it also entails possibilities for new perspectives to emerge. A time to reflect and grow.