This is by far the hardest post I’ve had to write yet. No, I don’t mean to say this in the sense that I’m going to a deep dark place or sharing something heavy or powerful. It is hard because every time I’ve tried to write, or even think, of a new blog post, I stare off into white space.
I was certainly gung-ho about the idea of a blog at first.
“We need to do this right.”
“We should post multiple times a week.”
“Don’t get lazy.”
As I’ve said previously, I make an effort to keep creativity and writing in my life every day, but my creativity and writing had dried up in the all-consuming infertility battle. If infertility was robbing me of my ability to stay creative, why not embrace it by simply writing about it? And once I started writing about our struggles to have a kid, the thoughts poured out of me. For a few months, I had a hard time fitting my multitude of thoughts into each post. Then we started going to the fertility clinic, we met some amazing doctors, and I quickly felt like we were no longer lost in a wilderness of our own struggles. We didn’t just have a guide through the process - it was like a train appeared in the woods. This train was populated by doctors who could answer any question we had, nurses who shepherded us each step of the way, and even finance people who told us where to send the checks. It felt like we were finally on the path to baby-land. The folks at fertility clinics are so confident that they make you feel like it’s a foregone conclusion that you will end up with a baby.
All of a sudden, as far as the blog was concerned, I had nothing left to say. I wondered if I had simply vomited out all the thoughts and anxieties that were within me and I didn’t need this outlet anymore. What else is there to write? I didn’t want to neglect the blog. We started this thing, Melissa came up with, I must say, a brilliant title in “Then Comes Maybe,” and dammit, we need to stick with it! But it wasn’t just that I didn’t have anything to write. Even worse, I wasn’t feeling anything. The more I thought about it, the more this bothered me. How can something so emotional leave me so emotionless? Shouldn’t I have more to write? Shouldn’t I be feeling something?
The fact was, we had spent months of this journey strategizing, worrying, and being so incredibly stressed out, and for once, we were able to hand the task of making a baby over to someone else. That sounds insanely strange to say, but what the hell? Modern science. When I allowed myself to take comfort in the fact that these fertility doctors were now in charge, my consciousness was able to take stock of how exhausted it was and it said, “You will get no more from me.” My mind was done. My body was spent. It wasn’t about not caring, it was about caring so much for so long that the relief of having someone else in control of our fate gave me the chance to take my emotions out of the equation. What was left to worry about? If these scientific geniuses can’t fix this, no one can. Even waiting for word about egg retrieval and fertilization, I had entered a world where I was hurtling in a direction, but I had no control over where I would land - and for once, that loss of control actually felt good
The feeling of mental and physical exhaustion has been one of the most frustrating ancillary parts of this entire process. It’s hard enough struggling to have a kid, but the all-consuming nature is more than anything I’ve ever experienced. I don’t like being lazy. Melissa will readily tell anyone that I’m a person that finds it impossible to spend a day just hanging out. “Netflix binge” is not in my vocabulary. One episode a day for me, thank you. Lately, I’ve been getting really pissed at myself for being lazy. Even now that we’re on this hopeful baby path, I haven’t been able to get back into a groove. I’ve neglected more work than I’d like, procrastination has taken up far too much of my time, and I haven’t even been able to finish a book in months. Each time I pick up a book, I start reading and realize, five pages later, that I have no idea what I’ve just read. Admittedly, maybe now was not the ideal time to commit myself to finishing Infinite Jest and Finnegans Wake, but no matter what I try to do, my mind wanders. I’m motivated, but lack motivation. I care so much, but can’t focus. It really hit me when I shit the bed in a lecture for one of the film classes I teach. Maybe all of my students just hated Breathless, but a few minutes into my explanation of jump-cuts, as I looked out at a room of glazed over expressions, I realized that my teaching just wasn’t where it should be. After months of focusing so intently on one thing - more intently than perhaps I’ve ever focused on anything - my brain suddenly needs to be re-trained on how to concentrate.
So as we move forward, that’s what I’m working on. Baby steps (no pun intended). Five minutes of productivity, getting through some short stories (thank you Ted Chiang), and finally reentering the world of my own consciousness. I forgot what it was like to be here, but it’s nice to get back.