About two weeks ago, Noah and I were interviewed for a wonderful project called The Art of Infertility. It's a traveling exhibit of artwork, portraits, and oral history about infertility curated by photographer and IF survivor Elizabeth Walker. Put it on your radar because there will be exciting things to come with this. (Or you can subscribe to my mailing list and I can keep you posted as things come up.)
In the spirit of posting a photo of Noah and I genuinely smiling as we crawl out of the darkness (maybe this should be our holiday photo), here is a shot Elizabeth took from that interview:
It is the closest thing I've gotten to a "belly bump" pict so apologies if this upsets anyone out there. I was always really triggered by the "belly bump" pict so I never want to subject anyone to it. I don't look that big here but have actually gained 25 lbs (the doc told me to "slow it down a little if I can." Um, I can't. I'm not allowed to exercise or move much and I heart pancakes, sooo...). When getting out of the shower Noah laughs at how round I am and says I look like one of those wooden African fertility statues. My dream body! Seriously.
This is the happiest we've looked in a long time. It's the happiest we've felt in a long time. And talking to Elizabeth about our journey and about how we processed much of our experiences through our creative projects (my writing and our documentary, One More Shot) made me realize how important it is to be able to creatively express some of the harrowing experiences and losses that happen on IF Island.
There are many different ways to let go of/heal from past trauma and loss. Some people are more physical, some more spiritual, some more artistic, some talk it out. Last year, kind of around this time, I wrote a post about creating rituals after losses or difficult times in the baby-making process, and The Art of Infertility exhibit reminded me about how important that is. To some how leave the baggage of past unsuccessful treatments behind or honor the babies that could have been so that each new attempt or cycle can be it's own. To remember that the past doesn't dictate or need to taint the present or future. At this time of year, it can sometimes feel helpful to spend some time focused on healing so that the new year can start with much needed hope and optimism.
Most of us will probably always have scars from our time spent on IF Island, battle wounds. The kind we can look back on one day with pride about how we've survived. And all of us who go through infertility will have to find ways to heal so that we can move forward in our search for our families.
Today is Noah's last day of work before he has a bit of time off for the holidays. While we usually try to travel when he gets down time, this year, since I can't go anywhere, we are going to clean our house--like seriously clean. That means we will have to figure out what to do with boxes full of 2007 tax info, boxes of my grad school papers, and of course boxes of syringes and old medication that I've been hoarding because I don't know how to let go of it. Maybe it's time to let it go. Maybe I'll make an art project out of it. Maybe we will document driving to the local pharmacy and turning them in. I'm trying to convince Noah that this will be the most fun "baby-moon" ever! Not sure I've sold him yet.
Sending lots of love to IF Island this Friday and many wishes for a healing holiday and a happy New Year full of new possibilities. If anyone wants to share different things/activities that have helped them heal, please do!