I’ve realized now that infertility is the most painful journey of self-discovery you’ll ever take –Founder of The Infertility Voice.
I can’t remember exactly where, I came across it but I recently read an outline and trajectory of the lifespan of an average human being, it went something like this; education→work→marriage→more work→ retire→death. Put like that, life becomes boring, empty and lacklustre. That outline stirred me. It made me take a second look at my life. It made me consider once more, the dreams that has put and will put the spark in the daily routine of life.
In this life, we all often have our different purposes and the paths through which we will get there. Most likely, everyone will say their path is the hardest and they are probably right, as I do not and can’t even understand the challenges, they face. However, in the last one year that I have come into this TTC community, I have come to realise that truly, TTC is one of the toughest routes to take to discover yourself and your purpose in life.
It’s a journey that stretches you, forces you to confront your inner demons, evaluate your relationships; from that of your immediate family to friends and acquaintances. It opens up new connections; a new sisterhood that you might have not known existed but has global membership.
Dealing with infertility makes you change your confession about yourself, like it was for Beauty, a TTC mom, who has been on the journey for three years. Before then, if you were to ask her to define herself, she would most likely have given you attributes based on her physical appearance, words like, soft, beautiful, kind, womanly, would have come forth but the words changed a few cycles into the journey and the witch kept showing up like clockwork.
Unknown to her, beneath the soft, kind, beautiful shell beat the heart of a warrior. The strength to carry on, not to break down in tears whenever, she wiped and saw the spotting, which serves as the harbinger of Aunt flo was there. Notwithstanding, the charting and use of ovulation predictor, which had enabled her to make maximum use of her fertile window, or so she thought
As at today, three years down the line, Beauty uses words like, strong, brave and empowered in relation to herself. She has learnt to be tough too, to withstand the storms. To be a source of inspiration to others, to help other TTC warriors gain strength, when weak is what she is about now.
Another example of self-discovery through infertility is Olayemi*, a regular lady, until infertility struck and then her life went into a lockdown. As in nothing was working and she was left, bewildered.
She even started to think that there was actually someone in her village, who was the cause of her problem. A practice, her faith had not succumbed to for many years but they did in the fifth year of her infertility journey.
As a yearly routine of hers, she went for a three-day prayer meeting, during which, her fertility challenge always took a back seat, as she prayed for God to use her solely for His will and let nothing of her fleshly wants come into play.
That was when the inspiration came for the work, she was really meant to do. The work, she needed to do, to quench the thirst in her soul, to quieten the voices in her head, telling her, she could do more, that she could do something else.
The work she really needed to be doing: not the work she wanted to do, not the work that was easy to do, not the work that her family and friends expected her to do – but the work that feeds her purpose. The work that helps her to sleep peacefully at night, knowing she was touching lives. That work was to create a safe haven for young women, with unplanned pregnancies but who wanted to keep the babies and still have a life.
This was a need, which came across her table at work, often enough and it was one that caused her sleepless nights, trying to find a safe place for the young ladies. It was also a purpose that would put her right in the middle of babies and young girls with no desires to be mommy. It would come with mixed feeling
Her realistic mind came up with reasons, that inspiration would not work, but a part of her would not allow her sweep the inspiration under the carpet, so, she worked on it.
It was as though, everything was waiting to fall in line, because as she made calls and had meetings with people, whom she thought might be able to help, everyone and everything lined up in her favour. That was the beginning of that safe haven that has seen her gain recognition and awards from far and wide. Olayemi hasn’t had a biological child of her own, but there are possibly hundreds of children, who call her mommy.
True, her soul still longs for that child but she has learnt to wait patiently. While savouring the fact that in less than a decade, she had moved from a desk job, a salaried employee to someone, who manages close to 20 staff members, have regular contact with the political class, help young ladies find their feet once more, have babies all around her at all times. She couldn’t count the number of births; she had attended, as the girls preferred her calming presence with them at that critical time.
Olayemi is certainly fulfilling purpose and in the process, discovered the manager, the smart woman, who had been lurking behind that desk job, that go-getter. She found who she really was in helping others regain themselves.
Most of the time, the journey to self-discovery and in the context of this article, infertility is one that you are pulled into against your will, whether you’re ready to take that journey or not. No one would ordinarily want to do it, but our inner demons chase us into discovery of what we are really created to do.
Even this community, The Fertile Chick is as a result of some level of self discovery as this article from Nicole so eloquently put it.
While the self-discovery might not necessarily end in desired objective, it definitely opens one up to numerous aspects on one self, which could have been left uncharted.
So go ahead, explore yourself, your life, what lessons, your infertility challenge is teaching, because that is when you truly live.
Food for thought!
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