I’m so pleased to introduce you all to Amanda. She is the first person I met through blogging, when we met up for the APW bookclub in Antwerp last autumn. She comes from Mexico and is married to a Dutchman. When I asked her if she’d be interested in guest blogging on my one word, BRAVE, I had no idea that what she sent me back would move me so completely.
This is about what being brave looks like, when you’re walking through a painfully difficult period, when holding on to your dreams takes every ounce of energy you have. It’s about the bravery to recklessly continuing to believe and hope for better things.
When Fiona asked me to write this guest post, the first thing that I thought was that I am not really sure if I would say I’m brave.
If you look at my life from the outside, you’d probably say that I am. When I was 19 I packed my bags, left everything I knew behind and went to study in a country an ocean away from the place I grew up in, where my family and friends still are. Sure, the country I went to is the country of my dad and we still have family there, so I was not completely alone, and that was in part the reason that I could go there, since I could get a scholarship. But the culture was completely different and I was in for a shock.
When I think back to that time, I don’t think I was so brave. If anything, I think I was reckless. I did not stop to think of all the little things that would happen to me, that there would be days where I would feel very lost, and lonely. I had not imagined how, after effortlessly getting pretty good grades for my whole life, I would flunk my first year courses at the university. Or how, thinking I was so clever, I took the regional train instead of the intercity and ended up taking 1 h 15 min travel time for a trip that normally takes 18 minutes.
But all those experiences taught me something, brought me where I am and along the way I made friends for life.
Now, I find myself in a somewhat similar situation. After I finished my studies I came to the country of my now husband, and things are not exactly going as planned, in that as much as we’ve tried I haven’t been able to find a job in my field (veterinary medicine), and here I am learning a culture and a language yet again.
But I think the key is there. If you want to be brave you should not stop and think of all the what ifs, of what could happen. I think you should just jump. Just go, keep walking, remember where you want to get to and continue on your road.
This is all really easy to say when you are already on the other side, not in the midst of struggling with something. I am really afraid to even put this into words.
My husband and I got married a year and a half ago, and ever since we have been trying to have a baby. The doctors have made all kinds of tests on both of us and everything seems to be fine. We appear to be healthy. Yet even thinking about this apparent infertility scares me to a point where I just feel paralyzed. I’m not sure if we’re delusional, staying positive, praying and hoping every month and then… nothing. I don’t know for how long we should keep trying and hoping that it will happen by itself… that we are only one of those couples for whom it will take a bit longer. But is that it, or should we do something about it? And if so, when?
Last January the doctor told us to wait 6 months to a year time, after which we would start with IUI (a fertility treatment). And I am so so afraid. Afraid of the effect the extra hormones might have on me. Afraid of the outcome. Afraid it might be painful, take the magic out of it all, make it too clinical a procedure, too cold.
Sometimes I think it is just karma… payback, for having spent a whole summer “feeling” cows ovaries and deciding whether they were ready to be inseminated, and then palpating them again to see if they were pregnant. And pumping hormones into those that needed some extra stimulation. And still it feels so unfair.
I try to not think about all of this. I keep believing that if we just hope and pray for a bit longer, it will be just a matter of waiting. It gets harder when I see pregnant girls all over the place, from the office, to our neighbors, to friends and family close and far…. It all seems so easy on everyone else.
But I guess we just have to be brave, and face it, and keep walking, hoping we will get there, one way or another. Doing that thing, not thinking, just going. Being reckless; brave and reckless like I was once before.
You can follow Amanda’s story at her blog, Poppies and Ice Cream.
The artwork above is by tdurant on etsy.