(…after your baby dies)
1. Go on an insanely restrictive diet (billed as a “cleanse”) such as Whole 30, which makes straight paleo look like a carnival day of funnel cakes and saltwater taffy. Spend approximately 65% of all remaining intellectual capacity planning breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks down to the most annoying details (e.g. scouring labels until you locate the only mustard in the store that doesn’t contain sugar, the mortal enemy of all good things on earth) because the alternative of air sandwiches and black coffee seems unsustainable. Eat complicated things that require tons of mise en place because the rote hour spent chopping makes you feel productive and competent without having to invest much mental energy. Arranging your day around appointments to cook and eat food will also help give your existence its accustomed structure without the high-stress job you haven’t been to in a month meting out your life in 45-minute increments. Crave chocolate; make pretend that’s your biggest problem.
2. When you unpack your old clothes from bins after storing away all those maternity jeans, distract yourself with a proverbial shiny object: find the hottest little outfit from your pre-pregnancy days and display it in plain sight somewhere in your bedroom. Vow to look so ravishing in that by summertime that pregnant ladies and mothers will stare longingly at your sleek, tanned legs and feel envy. (It’s only fair.) Goals are important.
3. Secure yourself a proper blankie. Carry it around the house like Linus from Peanuts. Use it as a tissue when you watch The Fault in Our Stars again.
4. Blame the dog. She’s a super convenient scapegoat for all the erratic mood swings that accompany the plummeting hormones. Honestly, she probably did something idiotic or destructive anyway, so it’s easy. Feel remorse; attempt to snuggle with her in the bed; get punched in the chest by her Freddie Kruger paws because she’s happy. Repeat.
5. Buy things. Retail therapy feels so damn good! Leopard-print ballet flats? Yes, please. Order new lacy underwear on the Victoria’s Secret website so you can look forward to finding the box on the porch.
6. Ladle up a steaming mugful of denial. Completely refuse to acknowledge the possibility that your next cycle could result in anything short of a live, healthy child. Fantasize about the chubby baby you plan to be pregnant with by the end of the summer because, Jesus, sometimes you can only afford to be upset about one thing at a time.
7. Join a support group. Support groups are awesome because everybody gets it.
8. Run. Buy new sneakers at the outlet mall on one of those sunny days you managed to drag yourself out of the house by the scruff of your own neck. Sift through your Pinterest boards for that 7-week training schedule. Register for a June 10K in a breathtakingly beautiful place with a route that hugs the shore. Lace up at sunrise and feel the crisp air burn in your lungs. Let the rage propel you and watch it fritter away. Savor the way the lake sparkles in the morning light as you cut through the park. Peel off your sports bra with an air of accomplishment.
9. Lean on your people. You know who they are, or maybe you’re just finding out. Sometimes it’s surprising who really shows up and who doesn’t.
10. Write. Slather the page with thick, confused layers of your love, your fear, your sadness, your hope, its beauty and its murkiness muddled together in a melee like a Jackson Pollack painting. Hit “Publish” sometimes, when you think you’ve found some words to start articulating the magnitude of it all. Find solace in the sliver of clarity gained from endeavoring to untangle what it looks and feels like to love and lose and yearn with a compounded intensity you didn’t think possible. Simmer in your own awe and humility at the response when the notion that you’re just spouting off in your own quiet corner of the interwebs is shattered by the sheer volume of comments, reblogs, and emails. Realize that your story actually meant something to a few people; that what felt like your own private loss, in fact, reverberated through a whole community. Allow the overwhelming empathy from droves of incredible women to wash over your broken heart and soothe all the raw places with the knowledge that you are not alone.
April 19th-25th is National Infertility Awareness Week
- http://www.resolve.org/about-infertility/what-is-infertility/ (Basic understanding of the disease of infertility.)
- http://www.resolve.org/national-infertility-awareness-week/about.html (About NIAW)