I know I learned some things in Sunday school because there are parts of the Bible I know in the King James version.  Like the Christmas scripture, my favorite, featuring phrases like "they were sore afraid."  Similarly I remember God’s words to Eve in KJV: "in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children."   This doesn’t just apply to us.  Last night we watched "March of the Penguins" and it was very touching. 

The penguins share the work – the father has custody of the egg for a time until it hatches while the mother goes back to the ocean to feed, so she can return and feed the chick.  They spend about 9 months of every year just breeding – walking up to 70 miles to their breeding ground, finding a mate, making the baby, keeping the egg warm when it’s 80 below, all the while trading off responsibility for the chick or the egg so that each parent can make the trek back to the ocean to feed.  It really made me notice how strong the drive to procreate can be, and I needed that. 

A lot of people love the idea of getting pregnant and having a child as a force of nature, outside of their individual choice.  This is how it should be, in some ways.  If we focus too much on how we can make it happen, or prevent it from happening, we forget how in charge God is.  (He always makes sure to remind us).  But if having a baby is something that just happens, when do we think about the sorrow?  Because carrying a baby, and giving birth, and raising a child are (I am told) the hardest jobs on earth.  If getting pregnant is easy, we might be tempted to think that the rest will be easy too, because we never had to sign up.  We never had to balance the wanting against the sorrow. 

Those of us who couldn’t have a child easily went through some natural selection.  (Yes, evangelicals, I believe in evolution, and you will still see me in heaven, so chill.)  Those of us who don’t really, really want it went another way.  Those of us who still really, really want it will walk across 70 miles of ice, stick the needles in our bellies, spend way too much money, and endure all the other slings and arrows of infertility treatments, and that’s before even getting to the everyday sorrows of pregnancy and child-rearing.  It’s hard to really, really want something that your body just won’t do, and it’s humbling.  You wouldn’t harbor a dream of becoming a figure skater if your body wouldn’t do that, would you?  Fertility almost becomes a talent that we just weren’t born with. 

But procreation is a drive, and the penguins reminded me.  It’s something God put in me, and I have not been winnowed out by the shame of infertility, or the hassles, or the pain.  I started the second phase of treatment yesterday with high hopes; lowering my Lupron dosage and adding estrogen will raise my mood, I thought.  Maybe it will.  But the estrogen also makes my endometriosis worse, where Lupron suppressed it, so I spent 3 hours in agonizing pain in the middle of the night.  I used to have this pain a lot, before I went on the pill last summer in preparation for our canceled October cycle.  I hated that pill because it depressed me and I put on 8 pounds, but that pill shrank my endo to the point where I forgot how incapacitating the pain could get.  Now I hate this pain, and it is aggravated by exercise, which happens to be my solace.   So I don’t get much of a break, but at least I only get one problem at a time – low-estrogen moodiness or high-estrogen pain. 

In the movie "Tootsie," Teri Garr’s character is jaded by too much romantic disappointment, and she presses Dustin Hoffman’s character to tell her the whole truth, because she’s tired of bad news and she says "I just want my pain NOW."  Well, I am getting my pain now, and it’s a good thing.  Even though there will also be pain later, at least I am getting the gift of informed consent.  In sorrow I will bring forth children, if I get to at all, and I’m still signed up.

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