People often ask me how we manage to work outside the home, keep up with the farm, and hold commitments to outside organizations (for me, I'm an officer in two, Paul's a member in both), and I quip something clever - or not - about how we just do it. In the back of my mind, I wonder sometimes how we will just do it in the future, when life becomes busier and more complicated.
The thing is, there's a whole other "project" of utmost importance going on in our lives, something I only recently thought about sharing here. Why share? Because over the past several months - the length of time this project has really been brewing - it's been all-consuming to the point that I can barely think of anything "farmy" to share about on the blog. We feed cattle. We comb them sometimes. I tend the chickens. Those things are all important...but they're just tasks right now, very secondary to the big one.
What's going on? Some of you have already figured it out...we're battling infertility. I see the irony of this given the relative fertility of our farm - we've had four calves born here, and hatched 21 chicks over two seasons. We see baby wildlife every spring, and our vegetable gardens bear fruit (er, vegetables). Meanwhile, Paul and I have struggled for years to create our own fruitful family.
We finally sought the help of specialists in July, and it's been a whirlwind journey ever since. We now have hope where we previously had only frustration. We've been through some treatments. We've done a lot of waiting with crossed fingers and prayers. We've been through some disappointment and heartache, and asked a lot of "WHY???" Over all we believe we are taking the right steps forward, and that it will pay off or it won't. We know even if in the end we can't have our own children, we have other options to share our deep love for one another with kids. We will be parents. Someday.
Infertility is such a taboo topic, which is so sad to me. So many people, some who aren't trying conceive or don't want to be parents at all, find their bodies doing what they're built to do with ease. The rest of us, a fairly large (and quietly mourning) percentage of our population, try and try and try, month after month after agonizing month. Thank God for online support groups, where we can lament the latest well-meaning but ill-researched and sometimes hurtful comment of people who.do.not.understand. "Don't worry, relax. It will happen. You're just trying too hard." "You should try this herb/that vitamin/this vegetable." "Have you seen this doctor/that doctor/my reflexologist?" Like so many things, there are no easy answers. At least we have a diagnosis of sorts; some folks are labeled "unexplained infertility." The infertility journey is stressful, expensive, exhausting...and yet hopeful. Sometimes I wish we lived in a state that mandated infertility coverage; Washington does not. In fact, for most of us, there is no insurance coverage at all. How sad that finances - the inability to afford up to tens of thousands of dollars to conceive a baby - often stop wonderful people from becoming responsible, self-supporting parents.
So. Why share all this now, and why here? We are lucky to have family and close friends in our corner who know what's going on, sometimes a little too much (it'll sure take the surprise away when it does happen for us, but the delight will be the same!). I guess I hope getting this off my chest will open the doors again to my ability to share farm stories, which are there but have frankly paled in comparison to this bigger thing. I do thank all my readers for sticking with me, checking in, and being a part of all of this.