Sometimes we know a fact so well, so deeply, so instinctively, that it is mixed with our DNA and mingled within our very essence. And it is exactly this kind of knowledge that leaves us without proper language to describe it. Words elude some knowledge. When that happens, we are aware of the information not at a cerebral level, but at a cellular one. We do not consciously “know”, but every fiber of our being knows and never forgets.
It is so difficult to define and discuss this level of knowing. It is almost impossible to fathom how utterly elusive and effective this sort of knowledge truly is. Periodically, the truth tries to let the conscious us become aware of its existence. These attempts show themselves in various forms of hunches, senses, instincts, or the proverbial butterflies floating in our stomachs. At times, events completely unrelated to the truth in question trigger a reaction that seems mystifying on the surface. And at other times, the only sign of this truth’s existence appears in the form of simple, glistening and unstoppable tears literally pushing the knowledge into the surface from inside out.
Despite all the signs, we remain utterly incapable of consciously recognizing what we already recognize deep inside. We know, but don’t know. We know deep inside and in every particle that makes our being. We sense the thing hidden inside, but our brains remain incapable of structuring a cohesive narrative for us to clearly comprehend. So we go on, lost and confused. We live in a haze. We move forward, dazed and wandering in the vast world inside, completely unaware and ignorant to the truth we already know innately.
Until one day, a thought is born: a coherent, intricate and detailed thought. And that’s when our conscious self catches up with our wiser more thoughtful inner self. How we become aware and how we obtain the knowledge varies immensely from situation to situation. The effect, though, is always the same. The effect is utter amazement, complete enlightenment and an awesome sense of AHA! Suddenly, the hugest of light bulbs goes on and the light shines on the knowledge that’s been there all along.
This is where I find myself now. Illuminated; amazed; enlightened; painfully aware. I feel like thumping my forehead and letting out a big fat AHA!
I’ve been engaged in the biggest and toughest battle of my life for four years now. The struggle to have a child has been the most difficult and gut wrenching thing I have done so far in life. It has also been the saddest, the loneliest, the scariest and the most grueling. And, even though I don’t believe me to be particularly dedicated or brave, I have perused this battle with all my might, heart, soul and devotion. I have been brave when there has been every reason to be scared. I have been mighty when I should have felt powerless and small. I have been dedicated with a laser sharp focus, even when it would have been easier to give up and move on. Through it all, I have been forced to swallow a reality that’s felt unreal and truths that seemed to threaten my very life. I have “welcomed” 4 IVF procedures and 5 IUI attempts, even though they’re some of the most humiliating things one could go through. They’ve drained me mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Let’s not even talk about what they’ve done to us financially. And through it all I’ve held a death grip on hope, even when there’s been every reason to know that there is no hope left.
I’ve done it all without any doubt or hesitation, fearlessly and single-mindedly. And despite all my soul searching and deep thinking, I have never really thought about the why behind all I am willing to do in this battle. Why am I still fighting so fiercely? Why do I keep going against all odds?
Then, while reading a dear friend’s email the other day, lightening struck, a light bulb came on and I had my biggest AHA! ever. Suddenly, what I have known inside ever since my very first miscarriage came up to the surface, slapped me in the face and knocked the truth into my consciousness. And then, I suddenly knew. And then, I finally had words to put to the hunch, the instinct and the intrinsic knowledge I’ve been carrying with me all these years.
I fight, I go on, I keep keeping on, I embrace the repugnant because being a mother to my children is vital to my survival. As vital as air, food and water. I don’t give up because all my life I’ve had people, things and places taken away from me and I’ll be damned if I allow motherhood to be taken away from me, too. I keep going because I refuse to live with the alternative. I stubbornly fight the seemingly impossible fight because this is my basic human right and the alternative is death. This is a matter of survival. This is my fate, my destiny, my life.
I am very familiar with loss, disappointment and grief. Don’t get me wrong. I am quite aware that everyone’s life has its share of the sad and the bad. But, I am not anyone other than me. I can only act on my reality and the facts that make up my life experiences.
And my life experiences are this:
I lost my country at ten. Everything I would have been, should have been or could have been was lost at that time. Every single thing that has happened since then has been a detour, an alternate, a substitution. I have lived a series of alternate lives since then. I’ve been the displaced adolescent, forced to live a choice-less life in a foreign land. I’ve been the immigrant teen, thrown into a new culture and expected to adjust and manage without any support or help. I’ve been the eccentric young woman who never quite fit in anywhere. I’ve been the dedicated law student, whose sole reason for going to law school was to do what was excepted of her. I’ve been the struggling law grad; the frazzled young attorney; the clueless legal professional; the frustrated artsy fartsy type who’s realized she’s not made to be a lawyer. I’ve been all this and so many other things. And all of them have been alternate selves, so different from the person I would have been had my world not exploded at the age of ten.
So, to be forced to face another detour- another what should have been- is a deep and unique personal loss and one I cannot and will not accept and learn to live with. As a child, I was defenseless and unprotected. So, I had no choice but to adjust and allow for the alternative to become routine. I cannot do that now. I will not. I rather be dead.
Procreating is biological, natural, genetic, automatic. It is what some of us do, even when we don’t mean or want to. The ability to give life is a given for most humans, animals and all living things. And yet, I live with the knowledge that I seem to be incapable of this most instinctual and per-ordained of abilities. How can this not hurt? How can this not damage?
For us to feel safe, for us to be sane, we must be able to rely on some facts and truths in life. Things like the earth beneath our feet is firm and won’t be pulled from underneath us; and that our parents would be there for us and would protect and love us; and that our bodies will function the way they were meant to. And yet, I live in a universe where none of these happened. I live in a world where nothing can be depended on. Nothing is fixed. Nothing can be taken as a given or be relied on. Noting is certain. Nothing.
Nothing, that is, except me. My world has one constant, one defender, one voice, one caregiver, and one real thing. And that’s me. So I refuse to give up on me. I refuse to adjust and accept the alternative this time around. I refuse to stand by and allow another life altering event create yet another alternate universe for me to get accustomed to. Enough.
So, I now know what I have known inside all long. I now know that I fight because I’ve lost the most fundamental and basic things I’ve loved and thought I could count on, and because I am tired of losing. I know that I keep going because to stop means to die. I know that I keep fighting because it’s the only way. And I know that I don’t give up because my life depends on this and nothing else matters.
AHA! A thought is born.