• Ashley

Holding On and Letting Go

Updated: Jul 20, 2018

Holding on is exhausting. All I’ve been trying to do during my season of being less-than-fertile is to hold on. Hold onto hope, time, energy, health, money, faith, and sanity (if I’m being honest). What a challenge to hold on to those abstract, fleeting figures. None of those are easy. Have you ever tried to hold time? Or even more laughably, hold onto money?

Here’s the paradox: the more I try to hold, the faster everything escapes me. The more I clench and tighten up, the faster the sand slips out of my fingers. Right now, my biggest challenge is time. At age 34 with a diagnosis of premature ovarian aging, time doesn’t feel like my friend. But I’m looking down the barrel of a long wait before we move forward with IVF.

This is where the “holding onto money” part comes in. IVF isn’t cheap. Duh. For some reason, having a kid is a luxury. Getting pregnant when your body won’t do it naturally is elective. Ending a pregnancy, for any reason - whether it’s choice or medical need – is almost always covered by insurance. Now this isn’t a political post. I’m not a hugely political person. It just blows my mind that our childbearing decisions are considered medically necessary when it’s ending a pregnancy, but the inverse of that decision is not.

Anyway, enough of my tangent, back to money. It’s almost funny how futile it is to hold onto the money needed for IVF procedures in the US. A flat tire here, a medical bill there, a home repair next. It doesn’t mean money is tight…it means that trying to have an extra $20,000 laying around before my ovaries stop working all together is working as well as you might think: not at all.

So how do you slow down time to save enough money? How to you problem solve this with so many variables to take into consideration? You think outside of the box. We’re exploring everything from getting jobs in a different state (one that has IVF coverage) to relocating overseas and taking advantage of our dual citizenship in Italy where we’ve found less expensive/more effective clinics. Both options require one thing from me: patience. They cannot happen overnight. Best case scenario, these options may come to fruition by the time I’m 35. How can I be patient when I’m trying so hard to hold onto time? Those two don’t equate: patience and trying to slow time.

The “how” is the tough part. I’m learning that the way to do this might be by letting go. It flies in the face of what every cell in my body tells me to do. It's a bold commitment. It is not easy to stop holding on. But back to the paradox: the more I hold on, the more things escape me. Imagine trying to hold water. If I squeeze too tight in my best effort to hold it, that water will be gone in a millisecond. If I stay lose, let go of the hold, relax my muscles, I’m able to cup the water in my hands.

This is my mission and my mantra during the wait. I will remember this paradox because when I let go of the grip I’m a happier person. I don’t see being less-than-fertile as the entirety of my life. Because it’s not. I’m able to see so many other parts of me when I loosen my grip and broaden my lens. So, for today, I’m going to go to work. Not as an infertile therapist. But as a therapist who has a lot to offer my clients. As a therapist who is passionate about helping people learn more about themselves and feel more comfortable in their own skin. I’m going to come home and spend the evening with my husband. Not as a wife with an empty womb. As a wife who is goofy and silly and can laugh with her husband. Those are the parts of me I get reacquainted with when I let go of the grip. Today, letting go feels really good.