Infertility, madness, and memory

WelcomeMatPhoto credit.

When I sit in the midwife’s office, waiting to see if the bleeding is another miscarriage, the time that passes is both immeasurable and long, the silence both a racket and a void. My husband, of course, has a stake in the outcome, but I am more aware than ever of my aloneness in this moment. That women carry children, bear children, nurse children—it is a special kind of burden, and I am feeling its sting as I try to take deep breaths. I think about my friend Addie’s truth: faith is an empty room.

It’s hard to know exactly what other writers mean when they speak their truths, but for me, this sentiment describes how any kind of faith, not just religious faith, but belief and trust in anything you can’t know for sure, anything out of your grasp, is essentially a journey of solitude. No one can tell you it will be okay. No one can shoulder what you fear. You may eventually find comfort in the experiences of others, but there is a significant portion of your time spent in isolation. It must be that way.

This blog will attempt to talk about my experiences in those empty rooms. Nonfiction writers and memoirists often have 1 or 2 topics they come back to again and again. The topics they just can’t quit, the ones that formed who they are. In my grad school MFA program, we quickly learned each other’s topics: cancer, family dysfunction, exploration of modern masculinity, sexual identity, evangelical Christianity, landscape and identity. We wrote about them over and over again, seeing our cancer diagnosis as it related to our spouse, seeing our sexual orientation as it influenced our childhood. We wanted to understand our obsessions and so we wrote our way through them.

This blog will tackle the two topics I return to again and again: my attempts to become and remain pregnant, and my lifelong history of mental illness. Though not related through cause and effect, they are in many ways inseparable to me because they inform so much of how I see the world. They have been at turns destructive and nurturing, terrifying and fascinating. If these topics are familiar to you in your own life, this blog may be for you. If they’re unfamiliar but you like entering unknown worlds, this blog may be for you. If you enjoy memoir and nonfiction as a genre, no matter the topic, this blog may be for you.



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