Today is a dreary day. The sky is dark, the air is cold, and the rain falls without end. It is a clammy dampness that spares no body part during my chilly morning journey from weekend to work.
We didn't get much rest last night, and as I walked toward my office, I walked through the combined haze of sleep deprivation and the frigid air of the end of winter in New England. The prospect of another Monday -- a Monday filled with sadness for Zane, a terribly messy house, and a week of daycare drop offs and pick ups -- well... I suppose this gray morning leaves me feeling slightly subdued, if not sad.
It brought to mind a time in my life that already feels an eternity away. This creed will sound obvious, something I might have easily stated long before we struggled to have a child, before the needles and injections consumed my every waking thought... but in the whirl of self pity and egocentric stress that is daily existence, it's easier to forget than to remember: you never know what kind of day a person's had until you walk a mile in their shoes. It's easier to get mad at the driver that cuts you off, the clerk that ignores you, to judge the person that forgets to return your call -- it's easier to face them with negativity and self-entitlement than it is to consider what their own day might have been like, to remember that your struggles are neither singular nor unique.
This gray morning brought to mind many other gloomy mornings, other mornings that were spent in the small, stiff chairs that lined the hallway of our infertility clinic. Needles in -- full of hormones -- and needles out -- full of my blood. I spent these mornings watching the other women around me. One woman is older, and the other has an obvious case of PCOS. That person came with her husband, yet they stare in opposite directions. The study of another yields no clues whatsoever. There we all sat, experiencing such profound commonality in silence, waiting for our numbers to be called, waiting to take another step closer to our imagined future of happiness, waiting and waiting for the fine mist of uncertainty to be over.
These sad mornings were both unfortunate and necessary in my path to parenthood. There was joy in my pregnancy, but there was no joy in the days it took to achieve it. Now I may look back on the time of infertility as one of significant personal growth. Because now, when I see someone with a sad look on their face, I have a greater capacity to pause. What might their morning have been like? What coarse thoughts circle their mind? I can only assume there are many things about their personal journey that I do not understand.
Compassion, empathy, fellowship for the community around me... strangely, the complicated journey to become pregnant brought these qualities to the surface of my life. When you go through pain yourself, you start to wonder about others' pain as well.
Days like today remind me that we are all walking through the same cold mist. This knowledge provides me with a measure of comfort, for it seems easier to tell another than to tell myself: springtime will come soon, and we are all waiting together.