"The uterus is amazing...what I wish to know is the story of her uterus. I wish I could ask her: Children, Eve? Joy? Heartbreak? Catastrophe? Passion? Power? I see this small space of hers and wonder how, if at all, it was tied to who she was, to the life she led. I wonder if her bodily womanhood was centered here or someplace else, more subtle, that I would never guess. Nonetheless, I reach into her to touch this space she never saw and wish I could offer it a blessing." --Body of Work: Meditations on Mortality from the Human Anatomy Lab by Christine Montross
I read the above passage this morning as I finished this amazing book. It made me think of infertility and the community and how our bodies can fail us, can surprise us. How my journey and my life was shaped by my uterus. By hormone injections and lab work. By a dish in a lab and a person injecting my husband's sperm into my egg. And then, somehow, that fertilized embryo implanted and grew and became the waddling, talking, screeching toddler before me. How my body did that. How science did that. How I do not even see, nor will I fully understand the inside of my own reproductiveness that has produced these two people who are so important in my life.
Reading this book has made me very reflective (how could it not--"meditations on mortality" is part of the title!). This morning, my son hopped into bed with us and snuggled in for the last 40 mins of sleep before we had to get up and get him to school. I spent a good 10 mins examining his ear, his cheek. His stillness...considering he is ALWAYS in motion, it is so quiet and peaceful. I want to drink this in. I want to remember his elbow and arm. His ten year oldness.
It is summer and I always find myself reflective during this time. It is partially because the cycle of life has come around again in Spring and I can see life and wonder all around me. It is partially because my Grammie's birthday is in June and her death date is in July; that her strokes were in August; that my FIL died in August...summer months do not always bring the best news in my family...
My own mortality and the mortality of my husband shines in the faces of my children. My lack of progress on the losing the baby/depression weight becomes more urgent as I long to see my children grow. But yet I want time to stand still.
I start to reflect on how my life is going lately. I can only think of the opening from one of my favorite books:
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way— in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only." -- A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Yes, I am comparing my life to a classic novel on the French Revolution...but it is how I feel. This year has been and still will be one of the toughest I have ever had to face. I am unemployed, depressed and stressed. My family is in turmoil. But we have found happiness and fun in even the most depressing situations. My family is strong. My family is happy. My family is sad, but not broken or beaten. I find myself happy for the small moments and recoiling from the large overwhelmingness of the rest.
I long for distance from this time. But don't want to let it go either.