I did it. I enrolled in my first Masters courses – two at first, to see how I handle school + full time job + three dogs + house + aunt duties. It’s amazing how exciting this is for me – although I truly thought (for the longest time) that I was too old to go back. My peers will all be 10+ years younger than me and I would be lying if I didn’t say that was daunting to me…but I have to remember I have 36 years left of working, so it should be with something I love. Despite my nervousness, passion prevailed and I decided – for my sanity and intellect – I needed to at least try.
I’ve been fighting with myself, though. In my mind there are two separate people – two women driven by two different dreams who have been playing tug of war with my feelings.
The first person wants a career she loves and enjoys. She is confident, passionate and engaged. She is excited to start her Masters and for all that it will unlock for her future. She feels good in her world and surroundings, and knows what is expected of her and how to succeed. She knows how hard it is going to be, but feels equipped to handle it. She is strong and brave. Her eyes are wide open and she connects well with the world and her peers. She is content and feels secure. She is hopeful that motherhood will find its way to her, but she is not consumed by it.
The second one longs with every ounce of her being for a child. That is all she can see, all she can think of. She is vulnerable and lost, scarred by years of infertility. She was once excited about impending motherhood, but now can only desperately cling onto the threads of withered hope left behind. She is insecure in all things, and worries that maybe the reason she can’t is because she shouldn’t or she doesn’t deserve… she doesn’t know how to succeed in this and feels completely out of control. It is immensely harder than she ever imagined. She would gladly trade every ounce of joy for the chance to have a small being call her “Mom”. She dreams only of diapers and dimples and first days of kindergarten.
How does someone reconcile two sides that are so inherently different? Or the better question – how can someone be both of this things? Trust me, I’ve asked myself this a hundred times lately.
I know I’m not alone in this. Some of you (or many) feel similar – like two different people strung together through a series of events and trying to find balance. Sometimes I am the first person, sometimes I am the second, but most often I am balancing between the two and worrying that I am trading higher education for my only chance at motherhood. I wish – so badly – that it were black and white for me. That I could move onto to another dream, knowing that pregnancy is not likely to happen…but it’s just not that easy. I feel like I am sacrificing my dream of being a Mother to go back to school – and that is so confusing considering the last 6 years have been dedicated solely to procreating – a goal I thought was the only way to be a happy, contributing member of society. But honestly, despite all that, I mostly feel relief knowing that infertility is not the end of the world for me and there is a future, and a life, and whole world outside of that to experience, love and enjoy. I am still determined to be a mother some day, but I just don’t think I can give infertility one more minute than I already have. My life has been on hold for 6 years (we haven’t even taken a vacation!) because I said no to everything since there was a chance I might be pregnant by the time said event came around. I’ve been sitting on the sidelines watching life go by, in the hopes that I will get pregnant and it will all be worth it – but, as you know, it has not happened. I am 29 now, I turn 30 this year. It will take me another 5 years to complete the education I want to complete, and then I will only be 35. That is still plenty of time to adopt – especially because we want to adopt an older child. Or, I suppose, maybe we’ll get lucky? I don’t even know anymore…a pregnancy seems like such a pipe dream after all these years.
I doubt my plans will work out the way I want them to, they never seem to. I don’t know what the future holds for me but I do know that I cannot sit by any longer holding my breath for something that has not happened in 6 years despite our best efforts and modern medicine. It’s just not worth it for me anymore. I have dreams beyond being a mother, although that one is still very important to me, and I am determined to fulfill them all because I see now that it doesn’t have to be one or the other. It can be both, or all or even none.
If you’ve made it all the way through this post – I want to thank you for your commitment. I hope on some level this struck a cord with you – perhaps a gentle shift towards something good or positive…because I know how consuming and heart breaking infertility can be and we all need a little more light in our lives!