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.