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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Endurance

There is no shortage of good analogies for the infertility journey. Infertility can certainly be compared to a roller coaster, with all the ups and downs and twists and turns. I've compared it to running a race, of course much more like a marathon than a sprint for many of us.

The only hang-up I have over the race analogy is the finish line and the idea of winning or losing. The goal of having a baby may not be realized by everyone. That's a hard truth, I know, but it is true. But the infertility race can have other endings, other finish lines. Although it may not result in a pregnancy and the birth of a biological child, the end prize may be parenting by adoption. For others, the finish line may come in the form of acceptance, coming to terms with a child-free future. I guess any way you look at it, there will be an ending to it. This journey I'm on will eventually come to an end one way or another. In my heart I feel that our personal goal is parenthood, whichever way we may arrive there.

This month I've been trying to turn over a new leaf and make better, healthier choices. I'm not technically on a diet; I'm just trying to be more active and be better about what I eat. While working out today, I decided to revise my analogy a little bit. Yes, I'm still "running." I'm still putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward. Sometimes the race is harder than other times. To me, it's more like running on a treadmill.

You see, I've also had times where I felt like I was stuck in one place. When you're on a treadmill the scenery doesn't change. You are at the same time moving and, well, not moving. Your legs are going, your heart is pumping, and you're sweating your butt off, but you can look up at any moment and see that your surroundings are the very same as when you started. Infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss are like that. Day in and day out you are doing the work, but when you look around it seems you haven't gotten very far. You think, "How is it that so much time has gone by and I'm still right here?" As frustrating as that seems, it's not, however, that you haven't made progress! After all, you are hopefully in better shape when you step off of that treadmill than you were when you began.

That's the way I'm choosing to look at it. Instead of running a race or running toward a very specific goal, maybe I'm running for endurance and for strength. Maybe I'm running to encourage someone else that they can do it too. Sure, I know that it's important to run (or walk, in my case!) with your eye on the prize, but I think that we can still run with purpose for the sake of finishing strong and not necessarily "winning." We know when we get on a treadmill that we won't be running across a literal finish line. But we get on anyway because we know that it will have its advantages. We'll burn those calories and we'll be closer to maintaining a healthy body.

If I can finish my infertility journey with a sense of purpose and even with a sense of pride for the accomplishment of feeling stronger, wiser, and more compassionate, then that, too, is progress. That, too, is winning.

18 comments:

Charisa said...

Leave it to you to find clarity and depth in the mundane (treadmill running that is). Keep it up.

Kate said...

What a beautiful, insightful post. You've helped me refocus. I've been feeling lately like I am not getting anywhere. Thank you!

Kathryn said...

The view does change when the goal changes. When you have the baby (in whatever manner he/she arrives). Also when the time comes to choose a child-less life.

Currently my view is still the same, but in contemplating not having children i'm looking at the view & asking, "Is this all there is?"

I know you are at a different place than i, Stacey. Somehow, i'm confident that God will hear you & you will be parents.

God bless you.

prayerfuljourney said...

That last paragraph really stuck out at me...finishing with a sense of purpose. hmmm...I'm working on that myself. :)

And so it goes (AshaAnn) said...

So well said. So often my focus is all about what the finish line will look like and not being present in the journey. And it is in the journey where we most often find wholeness, strength, and growth.

Sharon said...

Too true!! I love this analogy!! Very well said Stacey!

twondra said...

Love it! Never thought of it as a treadmill, but sooooo right.

Love you sweetie. You never cease to amaze me. :)

Indy said...

You have no idea how much I needed to read this today. Yesterday I got my dreaded period and after over a year and a half of trying I admit that am feeling sad and a bit hopeless.

I understand that God has His perfect will for us but I wish I knew where we were heading. Are we going to remain "infertile"? Is he calling us to adopt? Either way, my heart longs to be a mother and I know He will answer my prayer....I just wish it could be right now. Then again, would I be ready for the answer he has for us?

Infertility is so hard. I admire you for being so candid about it. I share with friends on one-to-one but I haven't actually blogged about it (not ready yet) but I do feel that it would be so liberating to be able to do that. In the meantime I am thankful that I get to open up with you girls.

Thank you, Stacey.

Andi said...

You are so wise and so gifted, my friend!

Amy said...

Here's to hoping that your scenery does change at some point. No one wants to continue being on a treadmill pertaining to anything in their life. I don't know what the "finish line" is for you, as far as what God has planned for you, but I do know that He had given you some unexpected scenery along the way. I know you didn't sign up for this journey and these experiences, but I do know that you are continually serving as a great encouragement to others who are going through similar things. And that makes all of our scenery more beautiful, to have a friend who ran the race, at least part of it, with us. :)

Connie said...

I have watched you grow so much before my very eyes. I am so moved by the comments and the lives that you have touched. I hope you know how very special you are. XOXO

Life In Mazes said...

This was such a thoughtful post. I never quite put it all together like that, but that is exactly how I am feeling.

There is so much to wonder about and surrender to in prayer, thanks for giving me another image to reflect on.

I pray that God wraps in his loving arms and whispers to you that he does have everything under control.

Melody said...

Great thoughts, Stacey. I love the analogy of the treadmill (I wish I loved it enough to get on mine downstairs) and what a great outlook. Thanks for sharing!

Sunny said...

Once again, our minds and hearts are in sync. I love this:

"If I can finish my infertility journey with a sense of purpose and even with a sense of pride for the accomplishment of feeling stronger, wiser, and more compassionate, then that, too, is progress. That, too, is winning"

Parenthood For Me said...

I agree whole heartedly with this post. Very well written as well. Even though I mourn pregnancy I could not change a thing b/c I adopted my son.

Katie said...

Stacey,

I wanted to thank you for the kind thoughts on my post. It took an amazing amount of strength and character to post on what must be a painful topic for you. I appreciate it and hope you know I am sending thoughts and prayers your way.

Jenn said...

Wonderful post Stace...love ya!

Rebekah said...

The journey to parenthood is such a hard race. I don't think I'll believe I've crossed the finish line until my baby is crying in my arms. My friend (IRL) is changing the route of her race this week. Like you she has been trying for years and has lost her babies to miscarriage along the way. Next week she will be going in for her first attempt at IVF- I just pray that this results in a living child in the end and not more heartache and tears.

I like the way you described other end results as winning too. I do feel that even though I don't have Levi here I have not run that race in vain. There are days I walk instead of run and days that I just have to sit on a bench and catch my breath again but there has been progress in that race. Even though I will not cross the finish line to be see him again until my finish comes, I still want to cross knowing I have raced my heart out for him and for Him.