Labor Day - Finding Peace Amidst Infertility
Finding Peace Through Labor Day Weekend & the Back-to-School Rush
We all mark and take notice of New Year's. Whether it’s celebrating on December 31st/January 1st or another holiday that turns you from one to the next.
Or whether it’s Labor Day weekend. The unofficial end of the summer and beginning of the school year. If you are waiting for your family, for your babies to come, Labor Day can be tough. Seeing the school buses, the back-to-school sales, pictures of other people’s children in new clothes with bright smiles, can be more than tough. It can feel like the perfect reason to dive headfirst under the covers and stay there.
Most of you are too mature, too emotionally healthy to do that. I wasn’t like that. I did quite a few nosedives back into bed while I was in fertility treatment. Avoiding Labor Day was not an option. I was a teacher so there was no avoiding the back-to-school images or ducking away from the feelings of something brand new beginning.
Back-to-School Fertility Blues
I was able to touch those feelings as well, sometimes. Sometimes it did occur to me that perhaps a brand new season, unmarred by IUI or IVF failure, was just exactly what my husband and I needed. I enjoyed going back to school and meeting my new students and their parents. I yearned to be one of them, letting their children go, feeling hopeful for them to have a wonderful experience in the new school year.
Sitting with a class full of children kept me grounded in how children really are, really behave. I had very few romantic images of the perfect baby or child, although of course, MY child would never misbehave. Hmmm. Maybe I had a few romantic ideas about my child.
Sometimes I would look out at my flock of children, sitting and doing their work, or listening enrapt to a story that they had heard a thousand times and wonder. What would my child look like? Be like? Would they be more like the child in the front row? Or the one half hiding behind their friends? Would they be the one with their hand up first or the one who knew the answer but didn’t want or need to share it with the class and the teacher?
Teaching children made infertility easier in some ways and harder in other ways. I loved being with the kids. It kept me firmly grounded on a moment to moment basis, which kept my overactive brain from the thoughts of fertility treatment while I was with my class. The harder part came from falling in love with these littler human beings and wondering if I would ever be a mommy to someone like them.
It was always the not knowing that was the hardest.
Finding Inspiration & Peace
The brightest moments of hope came from the children as well. Helping and watching them learn new things that they had never done before. Observing them, willing to fail, willing to pick themselves up, try again and again and again. Often with little resentment that they hadn’t gotten it the first or thirty-first time.
They inspired me.
I let their hopeful attitude towards life and learning fill me up. It turned the corners of my mouth up, lifted my heart from despair and fear. Their smiles brightened me. When I thanked their parents at the end of the day, I could see the parents questioning smiles back at me. I never explained to them how having their children helped me through my days and made those days so much brighter. Still I thanked them.
A favorite memory. Watching my class of first graders on the playground, simply running as a group. Swooping here and there, in unison, shifting without any formal organization. Feeling the full joy of their bodies and hearts. Transforming their running into soaring.
Like a flock of birds.
I’ve always found peace in watching birds.
Find your peace this Labor Day. If it’s diving into bed and staying there, so be it. If it’s turning your face to the sun with the corners of your mouth slightly lifted, so much the better.
May the fall season bring all of your dreams and hopes to fruition, like a late harvest.
About Lisa Rosenthal
Lisa has over thirty years of experience in the fertility field. After her personal infertility journey, she felt dissatisfied with the lack of comprehensive services available to support her. She was determined to help others undergoing fertility treatment. Lisa has been with RMACT for eleven years and serves as Patient Advocate and the Strategic Content Lead.
Lisa is the teacher and founder of Fertile Yoga, a program designed to support men and women on their quest for their families through gentle movement and meditation.
Lisa’s true passion is supporting patients getting into treatment, being able to stay in treatment and staying whole and complete throughout the process. Lisa is also a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, which is helpful in her work with fertility patients.
Her experience also includes working with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and The American Fertility Association (now Path2Parenthood), where she was Educational Coordinator, Conference Director and Assistant Executive Director.