Today I listened to Bon Iver’s Stacks and it’s been echoing in my mind all evening. I read somewhere that Justin Vernon wrote it when he was grieving a significant loss. Maybe that is why it’s resonating so strongly with me. For some reason the grief of months of struggling to conceive is weighing heavily. More heavily than usual. Maybe it’s the confluence of additional anxieties–my beloved grandmother’s lung cancer, and the surgery she’s facing tomorrow. The reminders of my grandfather’s death, and my father’s absence. Maybe it’s my feelings of stagnation and fears of inadequacy as I stare down my looming dissertation. I feel a kindred spirit with Vernon, who wrote:
There’s a black crow sitting across from me; his wiry legs are crossed
And he’s dangling my keys he even fakes a toss
Whatever could it be
That has brought me to this loss?
Maybe it was the phone call I missed from the fertility clinic, and the somewhat exasperated voice on the other end of the line, saying she needed to “review some results with me.” Maybe it’s the fear that all our careful planning is about to be undone. Maybe it’s the constant second guessing. Or the expenditure of money, time, energy that is just never enough. I don’t know what it is that is bringing me to the brink of grief, but my best guess is that I’m again faced with the realization that we are so not in control. We are making the best decisions we can, but none of this is ideal. This is not how we hoped to start a family–agonizing over every decision and second guessing not only our own motives but also those of the experts we’ve hired to help us.
The grief we are experiencing is one that other people cannot understand. No one else in our circle of friends and family has had to select a source of genetic material for their offspring and make all the explicit decisions about reproduction that go along with it. No one else can reassure us or tell us how best to proceed. If our plans are foiled tomorrow, no one else will understand what that means. It’s a truly alienating experience sometimes. And it weighs heavily.