I want to be one of those women we all hate. One of those women that our families and friends hold against us. Yes, I want to be the woman who gets pregnant on a 'natural' cycle before we start IVF next cycle. It's 3DPO and I'm feeling optimistic.
How is it that I have these vast stores of optimism? I've written something similar on at least six occasions previously. Then I post something miserable and self-pitying just over a week later. Is this a chronic inability to learn? A wonderful piece of self-delusion that allows me to keep functioning? Just plain normal? I know many others do the same. Perhaps it's like that thing that we don't understand that women who've given birth say - that they remember that the pain was really bad, but they don't remember what it's like. Nature can't cope with us all being permanently depressed or freaked out about childbirth, so it makes us natural optimists instead. How do we manage to stay so optimistic despite all the evidence to the contrary?
A brief diversion if I may, then I'll get back to the point.
I forgot last time to update on the dream post. The quote was from Hamlet, so Reprogirl wins that one. It's the scene where Hamlet meets Rosencrantz and Guildenstern for the first time in the play. Got to love that witty repartee.
Then is doomsday near: but your news is not true.
Let me question more in particular: what have you,
my good friends, deserved at the hands of fortune,
that she sends you to prison hither?
Prison, my lord!
Denmark's a prison.
Then is the world one.
A goodly one; in which there are many confines,
wards and dungeons, Denmark being one o' the worst.
We think not so, my lord.
Why, then, 'tis none to you; for there is nothing
either good or bad, but thinking makes it so: to me
it is a prison.
Why then, your ambition makes it one; 'tis too
narrow for your mind.
O God, I could be bounded in a nut shell and count
myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I
have bad dreams.
Which dreams indeed are ambition, for the very
substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream.
A dream itself is but a shadow.
Truly, and I hold ambition of so airy and light a
quality that it is but a shadow's shadow.
Then are our beggars bodies, and our monarchs and
outstretched heroes the beggars' shadows. Shall we
to the court? for, by my fay, I cannot reason.
There's something in there I wanted to talk about, hence why I've pasted quite so much text. It's the "there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so". I've been thinking on that since I read the scene when I was writing the original post last week. Oh, no. was my original reaction. Even Shakespeare is out to tell me it's all in my mind. Do I really buy that? It seems as if it's proposing the ultimate Pollyanna complex - you can put whatever interpretation you like on anything that happens, and make it good or bad at your will. I've always struggled with this (even while loving Pollyanna as a child). Some things just are bad, right? What's good about Katrina if you're someone whose just lost your home or your family? What's good about the bad things I cited in my last post?
Ah, my Christian friends say. G-d doesn't send us what he knows we can't handle. It's all happening for a reason. You're supposed to learn something from this.
What exactly am I supposed to learn? Why did I have to learn it this way, so that H has to learn it (and suffer while learning it) at the same time?
But Hamlet doesn't mean this. Look at the next line - "to me, it is a prison". The point of the "there is nothing either good or bad" line is not that we have a choice with our thought, it's that objects and events are not meaningful in themselves. We experience them and think about them and in doing so we ascribe to them the meaning that makes sense for us. Every other event we've experienced has led us to this point and is therefore a contributor to that shaping. We don't have a choice in ascribing meaning - or at least Hamlet doesn't feel as if he has a choice. He's recognising that Denmark may not be a prison to others, but it is to him, this is his reality.
I'm going to hold on to this next time someone tells me to look for the lessons in my infertility when I'm feeling down. How I'm feeling about the situation is my feeling - my meaning. Perhaps in some instances I can chose that meaning by carefully considering what I'm feeling and examining to what extent I can shape how I'm feeling. But I am not going to look across this whole experience and decide that it's all teaching me something, and I need to find that meaning - to chose specifically a positive meaning - in order to cope. I think that searching for the good side in all of this would instead drive me insane. I'll enjoy the good moments of optimism when they come, not beat myself up about being happy for a few short days, even if I know that it's likely to end in tears. I'll let myself feel whatever feels right when the bad things happen. In the end, either way, we'll (all) be ok.
You may remind me of this next time I'm all about the floor cake.