Wednesday, February 25, 2009

a presidential address to my ovaries

Last night, I watched the President address the joint session of Congress. (As a side note, this is the first presidential speech I have watched in, you know, about eight years. Give or take a month and four days. Approximately.) Public speaking is a big part of my life, so for one thing, I stand in awe of someone who has the speaking gifts of our president. He's damn good. I love that he uses grown-up words as if he expects us to know them (and as if he himself understands them as well), and beautiful phrases and elevated language. He makes me feel smarter. Or, better said, he makes me feel as if we, the people, could be smarter than I've thought for awhile. This is all good stuff.

Also, the conspicuous absence of Darth Vader was nice.

ANYWAY. Enough commentary. The point is, I heard advance reporting on the news all day long about what seemed to be the main theme of the speech: how would the President manage to balance the stark reality in front of us with a clear need for hopeful optimism among us? How could he come off optimistic, but not unrealistic? And how could he be realistic, but not depressing? (Was it Stewart or Colbert last night who cracked that the President's dour tone lately indicated that he was "trying to stimulate the economy through sales of Paxil"?)

Inspired by the erudition of the President, all I can say in response to the expectations for the speech is: Shit, man. Give the guy a break. How can anyone strike the right balance here? How hard would it be to balance hope and reality when you're facing the biggest crisis of your life?

Oh. Wait a second. I believe I might know something about this. About the struggle, anyway, if not the solution.

At my acupuncture appointment today, we talked about being open to the possibility of being pregnant. I admit freely that I am very torn about this. I am optimistic, more so than I've been for a long time. There's good reason for my optimism. Success rates in my age range are good. Our two main problems - poor morphology and endometriosis - are largely, if not entirely, bypassed by IVF. Things have been falling into place lately in some weird ways. I feel good. I do feel hopeful.

But 'feeling hopeful' is not quite the same thing as 'imagining that you actually could be pregnant.' I play this roller coaster game in my head, wherein I daydream about nursery colors and the smell of baby shampoo, and I start to think things like, "well, if we go to that wedding in July I would probably need a maternity dress," and, "I like these jeans, but what's the point of buying pants now?" And I go along like this for awhile, until another voice rudely interrupts and practically shouts at me: "YOU FOOL! Haven't you done this before? Don't you remember three and a half years ago, when you stopped buying pants and you bought that one bib, and you walked down the baby aisle at Target...and nothing ever happened? How stupid are you? Why would you do this to yourself again? Have you learned NOTHING these past years?"

And then the optimistic voice says calming things about how it's different now, and how there are actual statistics to back up this optimism, and about the value of hope itself. But the pessimistic voices are pretty loud. And rude. Half of my reproductive system is giving standing ovations to hope every thirty seconds, and the other half is sitting in its chairs, pouting and frowning and mumbling things about irresponsible spending in a time of crisis and about how this stupid stimulus package isn't going to work anyway and why are we even here, if these people would just stop clapping every minute we could go home and sulk in peace.

So I feel your pain, Mr. President. I'm stuck in the same place. (Although, thankfully, far fewer people are watching me on television.) I'm trying to vote for hope. I want to be open. YES WE CAN, right? That's right. Shut up, minority pessimists. Your time is over. It's time for hope. Audacious, ridiculous, beautiful, life-giving hope.

God bless you, and God bless the state of my ovaries. Thank you.


  1. hey there - i hear you on daring to be hopeful... i'm also starting my first ivf in early march. good luck!

  2. This post just hit me so hard, and tears pricked my eyes when I got to the part "irresponsible spending in a time of crisis". I'm so scared about our upcoming cycle, and in the same roller-coaster ride between hope and pessimism, combined with financial terror. Yesterday while watching an Oprah episode about tent cities in America I felt of the verge of canceling the entire thing.

    But, I am going to stick to the plan, take a deep breath and be open like you are. WE CAN DO THIS.