Saturday, December 29, 2012

Life Story: The End That Made The Beginning


After two fine years of living at our condo with a view, we decided it was time to buy a house. Christopher was picking up a lot of acting and voice-over work and after a short stint as a full-time writer, I was offered my job back at the elementary school. This time I would have my own classes to teach about writing and self-expression. We both had our dream jobs it seemed.

One day after work I found a little blue house on a quiet street only blocks from the school. It was built in the 1940s in a neighborhood development that build hundreds of the exact same house. Instantly I had visions of walking to school every morning in all four seasons. And because the freeway entrance was just a few blocks up the road, Christopher could easily commit to his growing commute to Salt Lake.

It had three bedrooms, one for us, one for an office and one for . . . a nursery.

I wanted to have a baby straight away after marriage. Looking back I can see how that desire was best unfilled. But after two years of no conception I started to study out my options. I always knew I'd experience infertility, not because my body wasn't like clockwork, but because everything I ever wanted came with road blocks. It was the story of my life.

We moved into our little house in the early summer when Provo was being pounded by rainstorms. Every night the sky would grow dark and we'd get a torrent of rain. The transformation of the pallete in the sky that summer inspired me, and I picked out paint colors in our house to match what I was seeing. Blue Before the Storm for the living room. Dark Cloud Madness for the bedroom. The Sky Before it Repents--a relenting chalky hue for the office. In the kitchen, we went for the color of brightest Green Grass Just Before the Hot Summer Sets In.

The nursery stayed white. It was Hopeful White.

I read books about conception, I stayed up late on fertility forums, I talked to everyone I knew who had some sort of experience with unexplained infertility and found it to be a world where people didn't really want to talk. It was too personal, and as I found out, too hard to form the words.

We had some doctors visits, some eastern medicine dalliances, some measured talks with our church leaders. I was thirsty for information and there wasn't a whole lot out there. I decided I needed to start writing because I knew writing would insert the pieces I couldn't conjure in conversation.

(Writing had always been my one sure path to God--perhaps my most powerful tool of self-preservation in mortality. On a life time tightrope walk with sanity, it had kept me tip-toeing. And only second to writing is walking--never for calorie killing, always for thinking.)

Maybe the biggest by-product of infertility for me was a developing sense of body hatred. The more months passed, the years and the questions grew bigger the more I blamed everything on the body that had hurt me. My entire life my body was an issue, a form that could never satisfy anyone it seemed. It was sparked by whispering extended family members at the pool, "She's too fat to conceive, that's her problem."

I took that statement on--head first. If my appetite was the only thing keeping me from having a baby  I would be damned. It didn't take long before I realized giving up my appetite was a small task to ask myself for a baby. So I started to control my body with an unforgiving force. Everything was measured, everything was painful, anything that had calories was useless to me.

I lost weight, lots of it, but no baby came and the miles between me and that nursery extended like highway lines we crossed to southern Idaho. Miles and miles of dead space. And I couldn't talk about that body hatred honestly, not for years to come. It didn't die an easy death.

So we got a dog, a brown Spaniel Lab mix and I named him Ralphy on the spot. He became my better half and I loved him intensely. He begged me to care for him, and in his asking for affection and walks down by the lake, I learned to beg God for the same.

"Please love me God, even though my body won't conceive. And especially because I'm fat."

We never knew really, what kept us from conception, biologically anyway. It was easier to put it all on me. I dyed my hair blond on a spontaneous flight into self-transformation. I decorated my house like I was being paid by the hour. I studied anything I could get my hands on, Native American traditions to the deepest of Mormon doctrines. And I started to write, I set up a dusty computer in the nursery, made it into my space, my office, and I started a blog to write about my journey with infertility. It was an ode to a good life, albiet a quiet one, with one husband and a dog who loved me.

I called it, c. jane enjoy it.


And now, we are full circle.

Read my Life Story from the beginning.