22 October, 2014

Gifts of Infertility Series - #16 – Humility

Looking back at my previous posts in this series, I realised that you could look at this and be gobsmacked at my hubris. I sound as if I think I am awesome. (Actually, I am awesome. So are you. But recognising that and accepting it without apologising is still hard. We women are I think conditioned against this.)

The truth is that before infertility and loss I felt like many people do – indestructible. I wasn’t in perfect health all the time, but I was very lucky. I wasn’t the prettiest, or the thinnest, or the best at anything, but I had grown up lucky enough to take pleasure in being athletic, and academic, and being reasonably well adjusted socially. In other words, I was beyond lucky. I recognised this to an extent – I didn’t grow up with a lot of money, but I was lucky enough to travel as a teenager, and be exposed to many people who suffered from poverty and war and health afflictions that I never even saw back at home. So I knew I was lucky. Perhaps that lead me to thinking that because I had been lucky, I’d continue to be lucky. Deep down, we don’t really think it will ever happen to us, do we?

Until it does. And when it does, it is a shock. Infertility teaches us we are fallible in the most personal of ways. If we can’t fulfil what we think of as our most basic biological functions, we come to a place where we will either drown with the knowledge that we have flaws, or we learn to accept that we have these flaws and are far from perfect, and love ourselves anyway.

Accepting we are fallible is humbling. It is also, I think, liberating. Letting go of pride let’s us decide what is important to us, what we really want to achieve in the world, and most importantly, what we can achieve in the world.

Humility teaches us to consider others, to appreciate them for what they are – flaws and all - too. After all, if we can accept our own flaws and failings, we can accept theirs too.

I’ll finish with a couple of quotes I found: 
"Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real."
Thomas Merton 
"With pride, there are many curses. With humility, there come many blessings."
Ezra Taft Benson


  1. O dear, I thought I learned more or less 'enough' from my infertility journey, but this I'm going to have to redo. I do like to believe I'm awesome ;-) and I simply cannot stand my hipster boss for daring to disagree!
    And your quotes explain exactly the problem I have with my company and their pride thing.
    O well, I think you are awesome anyway, and love to read and learn from you.

    1. You ARE awesome, but you are humbly awesome (which is I think better than being awesomely humble)!

      And thank you for your too kind words. I am honoured to learn from everyone who visits here.

  2. Very true about this humbling experience of infertility. I was among those who thought we'd get pregnant easily. And because it's nothing like wanting to have more power or money or anything else like that ("only" a little person to love and teach and guide), the blow felt even more personal than if I had pursued power or money for example (because as you said, it's a basic biological function).

    LOVE what you're saying about our being awesome. That's AWESOME in itself! :-D

  3. You ARE awesome. ;) But yes, infertility can be a highly humbling experience.

  4. You are awesome!!

    And it is a humbling experience. At first, I was less compassionate about other people's problems thinking - well, Jeez - I'm 28 had cancer and infertile - QUIT COMPLAINING. But as my own emotions lessened, I found myself much more sensitive and concerned for others.