I didnt mean to disappear, and once I came to the conclusion that I definitely needed a self-centered break from blogging, I didn't intend to stay away so long. I surely didn't mean for my last dramatic, somewhat histrionic post to stay stamped at the top of my blog for so long, sittitng there like an angry slap in the face for anyone who came tipping in to see if maybe I'd returned while no one was watching.
For a while after, I tried to write. I tried to come back and explain the miasma of emotions I was processing, emotions which were in some cases polar opposites. Anger. Sadness. Relief. Grief. Indecision. Peace. Acceptance. Denial. They all swirled either in simultaneous whirlpools or one after the other in waves. But beneath it all, the force which moved those fluid and ever-changing emotions was the gravity of my default emotion – guilt.
Though I couldn't possibly have known how things would have turned out and the issue never stood in my way before, I felt guilty that the number of c-sections I've had was ultimately what lead to the RE's decision not to approve me to carry for Ny and Mo. I felt that maybe God or the Universe or whoever had been giving me hints all along that I wasn't meant to be pregnant ever again, and because I was too stubborn to listen, all of the time, money, and effort spent by my several sets of IPs was completely wasted on me. I felt guilty when I felt relieved that I could just almost flippantly decide to remove my body from the physical war with infertility. I felt guilty for truly wanting to come around to continue supporting you, but also wanting to selfishly curl myself into a ball and shut out anything related to infertility as a whole or surrogacy specifically. I felt guilty for feeling so broken and fractured that I couldn't muster enough strength to support you, when so many of you selflessly carried me through transfers and miscarriages and the endings of journeys. I felt guilty for being so brokenhearted when it occurred to me quite suddenly that my surrogacy pregnancy with Baby M would be the last pregnancy I'd ever experience. I felt guilty that because even when pregnant with Baby M, I had the hopes to complete another surrogacy and was so certain that I would, that I did not savor the experience of pregnancy as deeply as I would have had I known then that it would be my last one.
I felt guilty coming here to cry and rage it out with you (me with my four Clomid babies and a successful surrogacy) when there are so many of you who've gone through far worse losses than the ability to get pregnant for someone else, when there are so many of you who've gone through hell and back (or are still there) just to have ONE baby of your own.
The logic of mind reasoned rightfully that I had no cause to feel guilt. The affective capriciousness of heart told me that not only should I feel guilt, but that I also deserved guilt. The opposing sides canceled each other out at best and crusted into a stiff stalemate at worst. When I tried to think it out, to pull apart the pieces and turn them over in my hand one by one to make sense of things, a frozen dam clamped down, closing everything out but still leaving me uneasy with the knowledge that once I began to chip away at it, I might not let out a manageable trickle, but rather an unfathomable flood instead. And I was so, so afraid of drowning.
So, I stayed away. I couldn't talk about it. Not to myself, not to anyone else, and certainly not here. I tried many times. I'd write a little and get lost in the whirlpool, and then end up lost in a mess of tears two minutes in. I got to the point where I didn't even want to think about it. One thing I've learned from surrogacy and have been able to hone into a sharp tool of perfection is the art of compartmentalization. So I quite simply packed surrogacy and infertility into this neat little box and stored it up and away from my every day life, operating very much in the out of sight, out of mind philosophy. It sat comfortably in the periphery, where I could see just enough to know that it was there but not so much that its pointy edges hurt my eyes. The parts of me that were inside that box were a mess, but as long as I didn't open it, outwardly, I was fine.
Life went on and I was happy, despite feeling somewhat disjointed. Not actively pursuing surrogacy left me with a massive void, and I scrambled to find something to fill it. My kneejerk reaction was to look at everything else in my life that didn't seem to be working right, and I was overcome with a strong need for change. Bigger things that I kept putting off (I'll do x, y, and z after I'm finished with surrogacy) suddenly became my focus. Like seeking employment outside of the classroom. Deciding whether I would go back to graduate school again and for what. Planning a future move out of this dusty town and deciding where we wanted to go. Big, looming questions with no immediate answers or solutions made me restless and antsy, so I funnelled the energy into smaller tasks that gave more instant gratification. We repainted nearly the entire house (to include the kitchen cabinets) to fit a fresher, brighter design scheme. We packed away old decor and bought new items. Bought new vehicles. A new washer and dryer. Cleaned out the garage. Reorganized closets. Gave away 14 garbage bags full of outgrown clothing. Read books. Napped. And when I was so immersed in everything else that maybe it might be safe again for me to open the box, I'd open a compose screen, tentatively place my fingers on the keyboard, and I'd…
…pull a Cameron Frye.
I couldn't do much more than stare at the screen and be mesmerized into a near catatonic state by the blinking cursor. So, I just stopped trying. And once I accepted the radio silence instead of trying to fight it, I realized that the quiet was what I needed the most. I knew that I'd come back eventually, and that it wouldn't be until after I had truly made peace with myself and was able to differentiate the act of failing and being a failure. I needed to feel like I wasn't a failure even though my efforts thruogh the past three years did fail. Working out the distinction between the two wasn't something I actively pursued. I trusted that at some point, I would just know and believe it.
I knew that it would be when I could come here and just write, to finally be able to verbalize and quantify my feelings instead of being consumed by them. It would be when you, who knew not only what I was fighting for but also why that fight was important to me, could ask how I was doing and I could tell you without either lying or falling apart. I knew that it would be when I no longer felt like I was useless here in this community, like an archaic weapon, feeble and impotent in its obsoleteness that carried only a memory of how powerful it once was.