Now, before you say it, I am aware that I'm not the first blogger to draw a comparison with chef, cook book author and TV personality, Julia Child. In fact, it was a chance encounter last night with the movie 'Julie & Julia' that was the initial inspiration for this post. I turned over to the movie just in time for, what I now realise is, a great representation of the conflicted feelings of infertility. Julia gets a letter from her recently-married sister, announcing that she is pregnant. This is a little bit of the dialogue between Julia and her husband (excuse any mistakes):
Julia: Dorothy is pregnant. Paul. Isn't that wonderful?
Julia: I'm so happy.
Paul: I know. I know.
But what you also need to know is that Julia is sobbing throughout this scene and Paul is holding her in his arms. I know that these awful, conflicted feelings are ones that we can all identify with. And this got me to thinking about Julia's life and, yes, some parallels with my own.
Like me, after having and leaving her own career, Julia got married and moved from country to country to be with her husband and support him in his work. Like me, Julia lived in China. Like me, Julia found herself in a foreign country without the children she hoped for. Like me, Julia needed to fill her time - for her, it was cooking and then teaching amongst other things, whilst for me it has been teaching and then training teachers.. at least until I gave up work to have fertility treatment and again, found myself in a foreign country without a child and with lots of time on my hands.
In Julia's time, I guess that there were few options for those who 'failed' to get pregnant - you just waited, hoped and tried to get on with life in the meantime. For Julia, that meant finding something that she loved, in which she felt a sense of accomplishment. And for her, that grew into a wonderful body of work and an amazing legacy.
And for me? On our move to China, I was lucky to find a fantastic job with an incredible boss who, over time (time which corresponded with our TTC*), helped me develop myself and my position into the closest thing I've ever found to my dream job. And I achieved a lot during my time in that job... for my students, for the teachers I trained, for the organisation and definitely for myself. And yet, once I realised that, here in China, I couldn't do my dream job and have fertility treatment at the same time, I resigned and didn't look back (see earlier posts for more on this).
I'm not sure what the future will bring and how I will tackle it. For now, this time off work gives me the opportunity to have treatment... surgery and IUI so far, IVF to come. If I don't get pregnant this year and we stay in China into 2012 and beyond, what will I do then? Go back to work and admit defeat? Stay off work indefinitely in the hope that our miracle will come? It's something I find very hard to contemplate.
During my minor breakdown at Dr F's, a thought flashed clearly into my mind whilst lying on the couch for the acupuncture... Don't look back, look forward. But then I checked myself because, for me, the future is where my mind runs out of control, spiraling down every disastrous 'What if..?' scenario. So rather than looking back or looking forward, I'm now working on staying in the present. And hopefully, the future will look after itself. And if that future leads to a child plus a publishing deal, a bestselling book and a movie starring Meryl Streep (though hopefully not playing me ), that would be fine too :)
* In case there was any confusion, it was my bloke and I that were TTC, not my boss and I. Though I'd be lying if I said it hadn't cross my mind...he just happens to be gorgeous! But that's another post altogether :)