You all remember the "infertility" lecture day I had in my theory class last fall? Although that particular class was quite painful, the professor was one of those people I instantly connected with and knew early on that somehow, regardless of our paths, we would remain in contact. I'm guessing she is in her mid 50s? She's brilliant, graceful, strong, and compassionate...traits I admire so much. She is one of those people that I think of when I think about what I want to be like and where I want to be about 20 years from now. She's been a therapist for a very long time and has also taught part-time. In the classroom, she exhibits the perfect balance of compassion and boundaries. I can only imagine her techniques are the same in therapy. My PhD application that would lead towards a full-time teaching position at the university is due, and although I'm leaning towards that path, I'm still gathering information about my decision to abandon the therapist idea (for now, of course...I'm always one for leaving ALL my options open:-)) and teach full-time. That's one of the many things IVF has instilled in me (for better or for worse) - before making a decision, gather and analyze information until all sources have been exhausted.
I contacted this prof and asked if we could meet so that I could ask her some questions about both professions. She was more than willing, and we met for lunch today. After the lecture last fall, I told her about my infertility. So today, while discussing balancing career with family, she asked about how the family part was going...fair enough. I brought it up. I told her that we were getting ready to head back to Colorado soon...which led to a discussion about the shots. I told her that even the baby ones were difficult for me sometimes, not because of the pain, but because of the psychology of giving myself a shot. She looked me dead in the eyes, her eyes full of compassion, and said, "My husband gave me mine.". I cannot describe the emotion I experienced when she said that, when we connected in that moment.
She had talked about her son frequently in class, using examples when we talked about the stages of development, etc.. I know he is a teenager. I know from her stories that not only do I admire her professionally, but also her mothering skills (at least the ones she shared in class). After that precious pause, I asked "so that's how you got your son?". "No - he's adopted. The IVF didn't work.". I always assumed he was their biological son when she would talk about him in class. She then shared their trials and tribulations about the process - how she reached the point of being content with their golden retrievers...and then, the situation with her son came out of the blue (I'll spare the details). They adopted him when he was three. She said that the pain of the process went away once he was in their home.
I thanked her for sharing her story with me - with tears in my eyes.
It truly was the first time in a year and a half that I haven't felt alone. And I mean that with no disrespect to all the support I've had throughout the infertility crap from my friends and family...but this connection I made with her was different. She's the only person I know who has been through it and is completely on the other side.....healed in a deep way. And happy. And brilliant. And graceful. And continuing to make such a huge impact on those who come across her path.
We did talk about career choices. She stayed neutral, for the most part. The conversation ended with her telling me that she also felt a strong connection while I was in her class. And then she gave me the biggest compliment I've received in awhile...she said that she has some students she can't really see as therapists and some students she can see as fellow therapists, but very rarely does she come across students whom not only does she see as therapists, but therapists she would choose to work closely with. She said she thought I was the latter. And regardless of what career choice I make, I'll remember how I felt when she said that.
So I came home to news - a friend is pregnant, possibly another friend has decided to try again. Yes, we do live in a fertile world. But the connection gave me a boost of strength. I said "congrats" and meant it...I know there is happiness on the other side of this...I saw it sitting across from me at that little Italian restaurant.
4 days ago