When I decided to create a separate Instagram account and revamp my webpage last summer, I struggled to identify a name. I didn’t want to pigeon hole myself into only writing about infertility for the rest of my life. It was my hope that 10, 20, or even 30 years from now I’d have other things to write about. So, I came up with Living in the Midst… right now I’m living in the midst of my infertility, but imagined one day I’d be living in the midst of something else too. I just didn’t realize it would be so soon…
Whether you’ve taken the time to acknowledge it or not, we’ve been living in the midst of something all along. For me and many of you, it’s infertility. We’ve been living in the midst of infertility since that first doctor’s appointment, since the first blood draw, since the decision to stop trying, since turning the nursery into an office… we know what it means to live in the midst of something big. We do it every day.
This global pandemic amplifies what living in the midst looks like. Fear, anxiety, uncertainty. Compassion, joy, creativity. Depression, no motivation, sadness. Activity, fresh air, camaraderie. It’s been there all along but this heightened sense of uncertainty brings it all to the forefront.
Friends, we’ve been living in the midst of all of these feelings for a long time, but work, schedules, high productivity, and go-go-go have kept us from noticing it. Now that we’re forced to slow down and stay at home we see it all better. Instead of rushing past fear, anxiety and uncertainty, we see it sitting next to us at the dinner table. Compassion, joy and creativity are standing in front of us asking us to see them.
It’s been almost a year now since I’ve been thinking about what living in the midst looks like for me. Here are some things I’ve noticed…
I’m comfortable with both/and
My friend had a healthy baby girl on Wednesday and I am so happy for her! I am sad that I’ll never get to experience pregnancy, labor and delivery. I’m grateful we don’t have children to keep occupied during this extended time away from the school buildings. I wish we had something to occupy our time aside from dog walks and comparing work from home stories. Although I love the freedom of working at my own pace, I struggle without a daily work routine going into an office and seeing coworkers. All these contradictions invite me to constantly embrace both/and.
Feel the feelings
It’s easier to just feel the feelings as they come instead of pushing them to the side. Feelings are persistent — they’ll come back one way or another. For example, the other morning I was feeling really sad about the likelihood that my now postponed half-marathon probably won’t take place at the rescheduled date. I felt sad but I didn’t let myself really feel it. I didn’t think it was worth crying over considering all the other more important things happening.
It wasn’t until I was on a zoom call sharing this feeling that I started to cry… it was a safe place to cry and I wasn’t embarrassed about it, but had I allowed myself to really feel it earlier, I would have had the space to cry more or harder or whatever I needed in that moment. Living in the midst means feeling the feelings and not pushing them away.
Listening to what my body wants
When I’m truly living in the midst — trusting the present — I listen to what my body wants. I can tell when I’m thirsty versus hungry. I notice that a forward fold would feel good for my back and legs. I sense that my feet want to take a walk. I realize that rest is an essential part of life. I eat food that makes me feel good throughout my body, and not just satisfying the desire of my taste buds.
We’ve been living in the midst
I thought that living in the midst would help me manage sadness around my infertility. I hoped living in the midst would help me learn to live a good, full life. It has and does. I can’t imagine what the last few years of my life would have been like had I not embraced this mindset of living in the midst.
However, I’m also seeing that this mindset goes far beyond helping me cope with infertility. It’s helping me stay present during a scary time in our world. Living in the midst reminds me to drink water, go for walks, call my family and cry as needed.
You may not have noticed it before, but we’ve been living in the midst the whole time. This is our reality — and it always has been.