It's not, if you ask me.
Or Barbara Ehrenreich. Her new book has been added to my still-languishing reading list and I lurve her blog. Among the many salient points she makes, her book simply questions whether it's A) helpful, B) necessary, and C) healthy at all to constantly try and see the silver lining during very dark days. I couldn't agree more in the midst of infertility. I have built enough character. I have learned enough life lessons. I do not wish to revel in the gifts this diagnosis has brought me -- I can count hypothyroidism, 20 pounds of unwanted weight, and mild situational depression among the many presents bestowed upon me by this undesirable and seemingly never-ending phase of my life. I am pissed. I am sad. I need to express that, not cover it with platitudes and sucker myself into a "chin up, sport" mode of thinking that does not settle my conflicting emotions or solve my babymaking problems. And I tire of people offering their oh-so-helpful suggestions (just adopt! adopt an older child! donor eggs! donor sperm! just relax!) to try and armchair quarterback my infertility struggle. I prefer to muck around in my stages of grief during the wallowing period and then counter it with brief, manic bursts of energy and fortitude. It works for me. Realism with a tinge of hope, tempered by a dollop of anger. I can be resilient without being positive. Empowerment means different things to different people.
Here is the infertility vs. happiness spectrum as I see it:
I will not try to look on the bright side of infertility, because it has none. I don't want to attend infertility support group meetings, as some friends and family have recently suggested I should. I would rather go to a therapist and gripe to her until I feel better or our 50 minutes is up, whichever comes first. Or cry on my husband's shoulder. Or cry alone. (I also can't bear the thought of watching the support group roster rotate in and out as everyone gets pregnant but me....it's bad enough already and I'm not really looking to up the ante in my voluntary face-to-face interactions.) I don't want to take a break and "see what happens." No magical thinking is driving this fate, and no amount of time will change our situation. I want to have a child. I have to do extraordinary things to make that happen. And I have failed thus far, over and over. It hurts. You can't put a cherry on top of this shit sundae and call it good eats. Not now, not ever. And so I refuse to act like I'm content when I am not.
Here's my ideal infertility support group. We don't have to act happy. We don't have to search for hidden spiritual treasures in infertility, because it's not necessary to pretend to be blessed by this in some bizarro way when we know we're running on empty. We can be angry. We can be scared. We can cry whenever we want or need to. We can IVF or IUI cycle until our ovaries weep, and we can take breaks when we need to. We can have high expectations, or none at all. And we can stay in this club until we have our Nth baby (for the lucky), because we all got here on similarly shitty paths. We are Barren Bitches. We hate being unpregnant against our will and don't have to accept that we're somehow better off for suffering.