Winter is sometimes gray and bleak. My heart follows suit, finding an odd comfort in familiar pain. As the first signs of Spring appear, all green-shoots and warm potential, my mind ponders fertility. Tears roll in response.
Endometriosis and infertility have affected my self-worth in a profound way. My body swells as I bleed internally. In the mirror, I look pregnant. In my soul, I feel hollow, pained, resentful, and bitter. I fight with my body. I berate it. Why can’t you just work, you broken mess?
I think about what I want my body to do- procreate with my partner, cultivate life, grow in a meaningful way, nourish a hungry life. I think about what I want my body to cease- internal bleeding, building up scar tissue, keeping me swollen and hurting most days, and bedridden too often. I think about what endometriosis has stolen from me- youth, pregnancies, experiences, opportunities. I feel broken. I feel ashamed. It’s enough to crack a heart.
For many, Spring is a time of renewal and healing. Trees shake off snowy coats to push out new buds. Bulbs burst from thawing soil to reach for the sky. Robins return to the yard for worm-hunting. Folks dye eggs and dress in pastels. There is a sense of the world swelling with intention, and new life on the horizon. The days brighten but my outlook shades. I fight so hard to remain open.
I want to be fertile! I want to see a small human held gently to my partner’s chest. I want to be able. I cry as I write this, frustrated by circumstance, and feeling powerless.
It is healthy to allow pain in my life. I honor myself by creating space for grief and reflection. But there is a fine line between mindfulness, and being sunk in sadness. When negativity threatens to ground me, my arms wrap around myself in a hug. Self-compassion comes in gentle words, “Of course you hurt. You’ve lost so much. You’re trying so hard.” I remind myself of my power. I may not be able to get my body in line, but I have control over my actions. And I’ve got a lot going for me! I’m a purpose-seeker. I look for opportunities to nourish life. And I stand on fertile ground.
When words puddle in my brain, and the muse tickles, I respond. I encourage ideas to grow. I write and draw and paint.
When a child passes near, or climbs in my lap, I open my hands in invitation. I consider a small hand in mine to be a gift, one of the most bittersweet and healing acts in my life.
When I take to the trails, I lift my head to blue skies. I hear birdsong and follow fox tracks. I touch bark and leaves and lichen. I stop to breath deeply, allowing nature to infiltrate my wounded being.
When snow clears, I hold seeds in my fingers and cradle seedlings in my palms. I dip my hands into the garden and feel a rebirth. I sing to plants and tend to them with a gentleness reserved for delicate things.
Endometriosis and infertility cause me great pain. There is a nagging call to surrender. There’s an intoxicating draw to bitterness. Thankfully, there’s a life-beat in me that refuses to give in. I desperately want a fulfilling life. I seek it by engaging in nature, grateful for the things my body can do, and in awe of my own courageous heart.