Cheers, dear readers,
The infertility journey can be a very unpredictable ride to find yourself on. As we grow up and plan our futures, many of us assume that we will be parents one day, and follow that very predictable path that we see our family and friends on. We have at least a general understanding of what parenthood looks like. We know what will be expected of us in that role of mother or father. We watch our friends handle all of the bumps that come up on their journey as parents, and know that we can follow their example of how they handle family planning, pregnancy, birth, the infant and toddler years and all that goes with it. We anticipate the joy of carrying on our family line for generations to come, guiding our children to a bright future to the best of our ability. How lovely!
But what if that is not how your life goes for you? What if you have to follow the road less traveled? The road of being diagnosed with infertility… of deciding to undergo treatment… of making the decision of how long to keep trying… of wondering what your life would look like if you never are successfully able to have your own children.
In the wake of David Bowie’s passing this week, I am being very reflective on the concept of reinventing yourself. A virtual chameleon in music, art, film and fashion, Mr. Bowie was a champion and pioneer of a constantly morphing persona to suit his life path – from Ziggy Stardust, to the Thin White Duke to Major Tom and more. His infinitely changing persona, forward-thinking songwriting capabilities and fierce passion helped teach generations of musicians about the power of drama, images, fashion and identity creation. He was a major influence in inventing glam rock and helped elevate music videos to an art form. Mr. Bowie created songs about living in this world as an outsider, a misfit of sorts, a stranger in a strange land. It’s clear that Mr. Bowie’s constantly changing personal image was an inspiration for later musical artists such as Madonna and Lady Gaga, who are also masters of reinventing themselves.
Yet even though Mr. Bowie was a master of relentless reinvention and metamorphoses, he was able to maintain a common thread in his messaging: one of empathy beyond our differences. Born David Robert Jones, I just learned that he suffered a physical blow as a teenager in a brawl that caused his left pupil to be permanently dilated – yet this supposed “flaw” only added to his uniqueness. He also experimented with gender identity taking that mainstream, able to be completely androgynous with a voice that went down to baritone yet reached as high as falsetto. This just further added to his ability to explore the stage and musical self-expression as well as himself. Remember when we share our unique light with the world, we give others permission to do the same.
Thank you and rest in peace, Mr. Bowie. I salute you. You truly are a great example of a life well lived – as well as overcoming obstacles against all odds.
It has often been pointed out that receiving a diagnosis of infertility is akin to being given the diagnosis of cancer, which is what Mr. Bowie died from ultimately. I can tell you firsthand how devastating it can be to learn that you and / or your partner are infertile. I also know firsthand what it is like to lose loved ones to cancer. When major obstacles in our life turn up, many days it can seem nearly impossible to think about how we will get through it… how we will carry on.
I’m here to tell you that you can carry on… that you can reinvent yourself.
We are more resilient then we give ourselves credit for sometimes. It is important to allow ourselves time to grieve when those moments arise in our lives. But it is equally important not to dwell there too long. We all have the capability to pull our bootstraps up, rethink our life plan, and reinvent ourselves at any time. Just because your life’s journey did not go as planned does not mean you cannot make the best of the hand that you are dealt. Also always remember that we all have our crosses to bear, our difficulties in life to contend with. We are all deserving of compassion as during the course of our lives, we will ALL experience setbacks, or feeling like the outsider, or endure losses that we need to grieve and heal from. We are not so different – the fertile and the infertile, the have’s and the have nots, the singers and the dancers – we are all here on earth, doing our best not only to survive but to thrive.
Don’t be afraid of the road less traveled. It may be just the right road for you, your unique talents and your experiences. There is more to life than one pre-determined role or life plan.
Please join me next week to hear more about my personal journey down the infertility path. I look forward to speaking with you. And I wish you the best on your journey.
This post is also available in: Arabic