How do you hold your hope?

Yesterday Niobe wrote a short, but powerful post on the topic of hope. Will she hurt less by proxy of hoping less? How can one have positive hopes that the struggle of infertility will eventually lead to a baby when all evidence points to the contrary?

In its best light, hope is lovely, the subject of cross-stitched pillows, greeting cards, and mass-produced decorative wall prints. "Hope for the best," people say, and conveniently leave off the completion of "but expect the worst." The worst – the metamorphosed reciprocal, the rotten thing that writhes beneath Hope’s fair skin, like ominous thunder in the distance of a tranquil day. Hope is as dangerous as it is beautiful; the lion is a gorgeous creature to behold, so long as it is contained within its cage.

Hope is multifaceted and the side you see is dictated largely by your past experiences. I have come to believe that hope is something borne from desperation. People don’t hope for something unless there is an idea that that something might not come to be. I started not with hope, but with the ingrained expectation that I would get pregnant not too much longer after trying. After six or seven months, the expectation turned into the hope that I would get pregnant before the 1-year line in the sand. Line crossed, I then hoped that I would be able to acheive pregnancy without help, because it had become glaringly apparent that something wasn’t right. When my sister got pregnant after my second year of trying, hope was a bitch that I’d grown tired of entertaining, and I approached each cycle with no expectations, or hope, at all.

Since then, I’ve had hope rebuilt and shattered and back again, and my previous waltzes with her determine how I approach the dance floor. This time, I’m willing to tango. But I know there are others who prefer to sit on the sidelines with their eyes squeezed shut and fingers pressed into their ears. Some don’t even want to hear the music, and who can blame them when all they hear is an incongruous dirge.

So I ask – how do you hold your hope? Is it something you keep close to you, holding on to it fiercely because it’s all that you have left? Or do you lock it down and turn away from it, fearful of the crouching beast and its ability to swallow you whole? If you feel comfortable sharing, what are the past events that dictate your perspective on hope? Two audiences read and respond here, and I would like to hear both from those struggling with infertility and from the surrogacy community. If you’re a surrogate, please indicate that as I’m very curious about the dynamic of hope as a surrogate. My personal view is blended, shaped a bit more by my experience with infertility than it is by my experience as a surrogate.   

5 Comments

  1. Amy Y on March 13, 2008 at 12:22 pm

    I’m a surrogate.
    Hope is a tough one for me… I tend to try to err on the side of reality. With a dash of optimistic. But it scares me to hope too much… afraid I’ll jinx it. Ironicly, though, we gave our IP’s a little heart pillow with the word “Hope” embroidered on it. We want to give hope to them, literally and figuratively, without setting unrealistic expectations.
    So complicated, emotions and feelings!



  2. niobe on March 13, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    You already know my answer to this question. But I just wanted to say that this is an absolutely beautifully written post with stunning metaphors. (and I rarely say that to anyone)



  3. Ann on March 14, 2008 at 12:19 am

    Good, and tough question. I’ve often wanted to be able to get away from hope completely, knowing that most likely, that hope would be dashed and I’d be crushed. But I can’t help it, it always creeps in from the sides and does a ninja hope attack that leads me to start really hoping too much. I think it’s worse the more I fight it – like trying to deny myself chocolate, all it does is lead to me waaay overeating it. The best compromise I’ve come to is to let the hope be there from the beginning and to acknowledge it, and move with it while trying to keep it grounded somewhere near reality, and recognizing when it starts to get into the territory of false hope.



  4. Moxie on March 14, 2008 at 6:42 am

    What a great analogy, Ann. That’s the attitude that I have going into this transfer. I’m hopeful, but careful to keep it grounded in reality.



  5. luna on March 16, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    this is a lovely post.
    to me hope is like a bad four letter word most of the time. every time I’ve had hope I’ve been letdown. I try to think about having a *chance* instead, and being optimistic or positive rather than being hopeful. or maybe I’m just full of crap and trying to hide away from hope to protect myself from her beguiling and seductive ways.
    I think it’s human nature to be hopeful. I’m just tired of being disappointed so I train myself not to hope. I’d rather be pleasantly surprised.
    thanks for your kind comment on my blog before. it means a lot. wishing you all the best for this cycle. ~luna