Our most faithful readers are aware that Kylie and I have been struggling with infertility for the past five years. We have learned a lot in the journey, tried to stay optimistic, fought to keep a true perspective, and forged on through months and months of perseverance.
Well. I am beyond thrilled to report that Kylie is pregnant. The struggle, in terms of the way we have been experiencing it, is over.
And I am, strangely, …. sad….about it.
The Pit of Despair
The pit of despair, as the name suggests, is a difficult place. It is a place of suffering. Of disappointment and frustration. We have come to know it well the last five years.
The pit of despair is an inevitable phase on The Project Mood Curve. Every human endeavor begins in the honeymoon phase, with high hopes and naive expectations. As we progress, we encounter challenges and difficulties. This leads to despair. We feel as though we have failed the project rather than understanding this is a vital phase of success.
Most people spend the majority of their time trying to avoid the pit of despair. We do this by quitting as soon as it begins to manifest, which puts us in a perpetual loop of starting anew and quitting, with never more than superficial results.
Those who persevere into the pit of despair dream of the day they can depart.
That is where we have been for five years. Wishing, hoping, yearning to make it to the other side. To come through the pit. When we do, we find that the lessons learned, the intimacy developed, and the testing of our vision lead us to meaningful results.
So, why, oh why, do I feel sad about leaving the pit of despair? I ought to be thrilled.
Departing the Pit
The truth is I am thrilled. And relieved. But that is not all. I am also sad to be departing the pit of despair. As absurd as that sounds, I am going to miss it.
The pit of despair is also a pit of opportunity. There is treasure in the suffering. That is why the Bible tells us to rejoice in it, to count it all joy, and to face it with courage.
I learned so much through infertility. I learned about me, Kylie, our marriage, and the nature of God. We have gained admittance into a secret society of sufferers. And they are beautiful; so are their experiences. What I am trying to say is this: there was a certain beauty only available to us in the pit of despair. We had to make active choices to see it, let alone be thankful for it. But the opportunities were there. Opportunities to love and to learn. To see the beauty in the suffering.
It was tough and I would not go back, but I would be lying if I said there was not a sort of mourning about departing the pit of despair.
In our hurry to get through it, we miss some important realities. First, intimacy develops in the pit of despair. There is nothing like it for binding people together.
When we flew to Canada for Kylie’s dad’s funeral, it was a somber but beautiful experience. The time with her brothers was magical, in its sad and strange way. When we left, I knew it was a unique experience – that initial suffering together – that would always be remembered but would also, in another way, be left behind. The next time we were all together, rightly and gladly, we had moved a little further down the road of grief. I often think about the way Kylie was with her brothers (and they with her) during those few difficult days. I am not sure I’ve ever seen anything more beautiful.
The other sad reality is that we are getting kicked out of that secret society. Try as we may, it is not possible to stay. We move on to another opportunity, the group that tells about their eventual success. The sufferers need a bit of that, for hope. But to be in it, with no guarantee it is going to work out, is a unique and special place. We will continue to talk about infertility, to coach people through it, and to share our story. But we are in a new place; our current reality has changed, and that has consequences.
It has been interesting to try to allow myself to feel overjoyed at our developments. And at the very same time to allow myself to mourn the treasure of the pit of despair, to miss it in a way. I don’t want to become the type of person who cannot handle joy, who needs sorrow to feel as though he is stewarding something. But neither do I want to become dependent on success. The truth is, there is opportunity in it all. I am thrilled for the opportunities ahead. And thankful for the opportunities behind.