Three years ago, on March 18, I was diagnosed with infertility. I have written about that moment: opening the email from my doctor and reading those words that changed my life – many times here at this blog. March 18th is known as D-Day in our house, for Diagnosis Day.
In 2010, on the first anniversary of D-Day, the wound was still fresh:
I’ve come to a place of peace, a point of recognition, and the moment to start taking action. I’ve mourned and I’ve grieved and I’m sure I still have plenty of tears left. But I’m done spiraling down.
Last year, I turned the day on its head as a way of celebrating myself while still be cognizant of its emotional significance:
…when I think about [the anniversary of my diagnosis] from a Jewish context, it’s almost like a yartzheit. I lost something very dear to me, and so on its anniversary, I choose to remember, reflect, and redefine myself beyond what was lost.
And this year?
I had forgotten until my husband said something to me before we went to bed late Saturday night. We had a friend in from out of town, and when we juggling schedules to see which weekend would be best for her to visit, I vaguely remember mentioning that “Oh yeah, St. Patrick’s Day weekend is D-Day,” but never really giving it much more thought than that.
Typically, I get a massage. I do something nice for myself. Eat something tasty. In the weeks leading up to D-Day, I know I’ll need my full emotional reserves so I stock up accordingly, lining up massage appointments or figuring out what I’m doing for the day. I’ve spent the day alone to focus on myself, reflect on the my journey and reinvigorate myself for what lies ahead.
And yet, I didn’t do any of that this year.
We went out to breakfast with our company, bid her farewell as she got back on the road, and then I went clothes shopping for BlogHer Entrepreneurs, a conference in California I’m attending later this week.
What was uncharacteristically different about this shopping excursion was that I decided to walk the 4 mile round trip to and from TJ Maxx. I got a lovely top, a kickass pair of red kitten heels and a new laptop bag (turquoise blue!). I struggled with the decision to buy a very cute pair of lapis blue flats, but decided our checking account had taken enough of a hit for one day.
My husband, to me, at about 4pm yesterday: “This is going to sound offensive, but I don’t mean it that way at all: I’m really impressed with how you’re handling today.”
I was too, to be honest.
. . .
There’s the one from walking into Larry while he was holding a muffin tin that had just come out of the oven. Right next to that one, there’s a small white circle from when I was a child; I had walked into a neighbor’s lit cigarette that she held in her hands.
There’s the weird triangle one on my knee that must have been from childhood, but I don’t remember how it got there. Then there’s the one from a few years ago, a perfect white spot on the top of my left foot: a mosquito bite I scratched open.
Then there are the biggies: two inches and sunken in on the right side of my abdomen, just at my jeans waist. Two half-inch lines barely visible just at my underwear line. Another one hidden in my belly button. And there are IV scars still visible on the back of both hands, from as long as 19 and 12 years ago, from my appendectomy and oophorectomy, respectively.
My body is decorated with many scars from surgeries and clumsiness over the years. Each one of my scars were the results of wounds that hurt like hell. They all took a long time to recover, my skin imprinting the memory of each individual scar’s story into its very cells.
Premature ovarian failure may not have left any outward marks on my flesh, but it was a wound that cut to the core. I carry the scar of infertility with me wherever I go. And like any other scar I carry on my body, over time, it hurts a little less. The wound heals. Looking at the physical mark reminds you of how it got there. And you see how you’ve grown in the days and years since.
But for the most part, you start to forget about the wound.
I think that’s what happened to me this weekend, why I didn’t feel the need for the normal pomp and circumstance and “prep” that I felt I needed in years past for D-Day. I’ve learned to live so much more fully in the moment that I spend less head space thinking about the past and how I’ve been wounded by infertility and more about how to move forward: to live with my infertility and not in spite of it.
. . .
I originally wanted to title this post “How Do You Know When You’re Healed?” and thought better of it. I’m not fully healed. I don’t think I’ll even be fully healed when, G-d willing, we hold a child of my own in our arms.
Sure, I’m coping well. But even coping well doesn’t erase the scar that remains.
It just makes it easier to bear.
. . .
I talk about healing in the wake of my diagnosis three years later and the value of committing to self-care over at Bloggers for Hope today. Thank you so much to Suzy of Not a Fertile Myrtle for extending the invitation to write about infertility and self-care over at their wonderful, supportive space.