I have a multitude of secrets at present, it seems. I have a sexy surprise for B, unfolding as we approach our five year wedding anniversary, and a secret Pinterest board to go with it. Would you like a hint? Let’s stay with the theme, shall we, and think B–as in belly and breasts, boudoir, bedroom eyes, Brigitte Bardot, rounded curves in shadows that take the shape of B, and think blabbermouth because now I need to hack into my husband’s email to delete the alert that this post exists. Or envision S–for sultry in stockings, spike heels, silhouettes, and skin…oh, scandalous! Imagine L for legs and lacy lingerie. Have you solved the riddle yet? It involves a few hours with my wedding photographer, one “nightstand book” too exhibitionist for the coffee table, and two more months of starving and sweating with my personal trainer before sunrise. The best part: it has absolutely nothing to do with making a baby. How refreshing to funnel my energies into a project that at once thrills and engages my overactive imagination and actually promises a tangible reward in exchange for exertion. Therein lies the beauty of endeavors like this or dieting or renovating the house: it follows a predictable equation of A+B=C (investment garners dividend) and in that sense it is the polar opposite of ART+Money+Time+Hope=Who the fuck knows? I crave these kinds of logical and dependable undertakings in my life at this juncture given the nonsensical and entirely unexplained nature of the last four years spent slogging through infertility and repeat IVF failure only to arrive at a bunch of test results that reveal a batch of euploid blastocysts and a luscious triple-layered, in-phase endometrium inside a uterus with zero anatomical abnormalities: diagnosis GOK (God only knows.) I need some do-this-get-that-and-here’s-how in my life.
What I also need are pursuits that vitalize and help me reclaim the vast regions of myself devoured by this IVF-ride. Even my wedding anniversary stopped registering as a celebration of love and devotion and partnership, insidiously redefined as a grim marker of another year of loss and failure, the twain having been unfortunately synchronized at the outset. You may remember that I spent last year racing around New York City trying to have a D&C to resolve surprise-miscarriage #6? Yes, some intolerably ironic twists of fate have contributed to the association, but I digress. This photo shoot has engaged my creativity and my inner fashionista; it fuels the motivation to get healthy and fit. It shifts the tone of the burgeoning spring, the run-up to my birthday and summer, from feeling like a fat and hopeless loser whose body and soul has been ravaged by hormones, injections, hapless toil and abject failure to a reawakening of self-esteem and empowerment: yeah, I’m 35 and I’m sexy as hell. What of it? And then I shall laugh and laugh at all the fertile bitches in their mid-thirties with their stretch marks and saggy tits and varicose veins. (Truth: I would trade my body for my baby in a heartbeat, but I feel the need to create some justice in this space.)
Mostly, I need to feel like a woman: alive, erotic, feminine, desirable. I need to get on the same team as my body and begin to diminish this lens through which I view the image in the mirror as ugly, sterile, broken, and worthless. I made the mistake of watching Match Point last week, when I was blindsided by the juxtaposition of pasty, stringy-haired, antiseptic and infertile Chloe (Emily Mortimer) against the carnal magnetism and voluptuous appeal of Nola’s (Scarlett Johanssen) highly fertile hourglass. The former fails to conceive while her husband carries on a tawdry affair with the latter, and in the grossest of cliches, she quickly becomes pregnant with his unwanted love child. I was already grappling with it, but the movie was a reminder that this notion did not spring at random from my own twisted perception, and it felt like it set me back a few weeks in healing and revival. Why do men have so much language with which to articulate the state of one’s manhood–words like virile, castrated, emasculated–when women have none? Where is the female counterpart to this verbiage, or do these conceptions of women not warrant their own vocabulary? I keep groping for some expression, and the words always settle awkwardly, like an ill-fitting dress that hangs in an undefined sack or puckers and strains in various places because it was tailored for someone else. I feel like my womb is a house of death. I feel like someone cut out my ovaries and I am one penis short of a sex change. I feel unsightly and undesirable in my barrenness, which sucks, frankly. I need to proactively change the narrative somehow, and I hope some sizzling professional pictures will help.
In other secrets, the path forward from CCRM has, in fact, revealed itself. In a word, one might describe it as counterintuitive, my clandestine side project. But I won’t tell. This one stays mum until it arrives somewhere substantive.