I think that my previous post, Passport Children, is by far my favorite post of the 463 total that I have written here. It is my favorite not because of what I wrote, but because of what you wrote (or will write, for those of you who've yet to comment on it but might later). Truly, yesterday's responses were the best series of comments ever here, many of which were like individual blog posts in their own rights.
When sharing my surrogacy experiences with you, I write about infertility through the lens I share with my intended parents, as surrogacy is a shared experience. I write about infertility from the scope of how my intended parents have been affected by it and how that affects our shared journey as a whole. It has been a long time since I felt like I've been able to write about infertility and my feelings about it both in the general sense and how it applies to me specifically. I can't very well write about the angst I sometimes feel being a mother after infertility alongside writing about Chance's losing, and finally lost war against infertility. I could have, but it would have been selfish of me and besides – I'm always so mentally connected with my intended parents and being emotional supports to them that I have little impulse or desire to think about the personal demons of my own. My demons seem almost trivial when held against the ones which have led my intended parents to surrogacy and also to those which many of you have faced and are facing.
Pain Olympics – I know that it's all relative and each and every pain is valid and should be validated. The ideas I shared about Passport Children have been thoughts that I've carried since becoming a mother, but until writing it out just two days ago, those thoughts were more of an amorphous amalgam of tangible, yet ineffable feelings that I continually failed at being able to crystallize into clearly-defined words. I know now that part of the reason why I couldn't verbalize it is due to my tendency to minimize and invalidate my pains in the light of others' pains. I don't believe that all pains are equal, but I do believe that people deserve to have their personal pains validated and have support given for those pains without having the fact that someone else has it worse being thrown back in their faces. I hold firmly to this belief when supporting others, but somehow had difficulty with being able to apply it to giving support to myself and allowing myself to receive support from others.
I'm glad that I was able to force myself into writing it. Last week, my students viewed the movie Finding Forrester.
Briefly, a reclusive writer who won the Pulitzer for the
only novel he ever published (Sean Connery) becomes an accidental mentor to an
inner-city prodigy. To get around a writing block, the elder Forrester
tells young Jamal, "Write the first draft with your heart and the
second with your mind." I've seen the movie a million times but for some reason, in that moment of watching it last week, that phrase resonated within me as it never had before. I had to get around my own block by not letting my mind keep my heart from staying open long enough to release my personal pains. It wasn't easy, and there were several moments when I was tempted to save the post to my drafts folder and revisit it again later. I pushed myself to find the words, to get it all down and out and then stand back and look at it from afar, the way one might appraise a statue in a museum.
I liked what I saw, both heart and mind, and I am relieved that you did, too. Many of you were able to open up your hearts and dig deep into facets of your pains and also your understandings of the pains of those around you. "Passport Children" was like the plug which held back many other related thoughts; now that it's out of the way, it seems like everything else can breathe and flow freely, and I'm excited to feel that finally I have regained the ability to have a steady tempo with my words and ideas. Your comments have given me even more food for thought. I keep reading through them again and again. Some made me cry. On others I nodded my head in agreement and understanding. A few gave me powerful aha! moments of insight, and I sense that those are seeds of an internal shift in paradigm. I will be incorporating many of your comments into future posts.
So, thank you. Thank you for opening your hearts to me and to each other and for sharing so candidly. Thank you for finding this piece worthy of the Creme de la Creme. Unfortunately, last week I selected a piece which I didn't feel was necessarily my best work of the past year, but it was one which I felt best represents my presence here in this community from the perspective as a surrogate. In general, the past year was somewhat bleak and I had difficulty writing through most of it. At the time, I didn't feel like I had a stand-out piece of work of the caliber that I would have liked to submit. Thankfully, Mel in all her brilliance came up with the Golden Haiku, and I will be submitting "Passport Children" to that. The trouble is that I am long-winded by nature and I am having difficulty squeezing the essence of that post down into a 17-word blurb. Any takers?