12 December, 2014

Gifts of Infertility Series - #18 - Reflection

I’ve always liked to think about things. Being alone with my thoughts has never really scared me, though as I say this I laugh to myself, because for some reason the last 24 hours have seen me go over events or actions that I thought I’d dealt with, where I’d learnt my lesson and, embarrassed and ashamed, would rather now forget. Rehashing at this stage is neither comfortable nor helpful. Mostly though, I am not afraid to be alone with my thoughts. I like to take time to reflect, and think about the present and what's next. I am a planner, so I often live in the future in my thoughts, sorting things out in advance, making plans, solving problems, being creative.

After my pregnancy losses and as I was first facing, then dealing with the aftermath of infertility, I began reflecting on myself. I’d done this before – we all do to a certain degree of course. I’d thought through marital issues and reflected on friendships and career aspirations. But when you are stripped raw with grief, it is easier I think to see yourself and others more clearly. I needed to do this, to be able to move forward in my life and relationships and to face the future.

I didn’t shy away from it though – I’m not sure I could have if I had wanted to. I’m sure I have quoted my husband before, when he said to me, “you don’t understand. I’m a man, and if we don’t want to think about something, then we don’t.” I was jealous of him at the time. If only I could do that! But I couldn't. So I was in many ways forced to face my relationships, the world, and myself. And to be honest, I found it both personally, and intellectually, satisfying. The world and people are a puzzle. Sometimes we can solve these puzzles, often we can’t. But it’s worth trying. (It is work that we have to do ourselves, but we don’t have to do it alone. I had lots of support and help along the way, as I’ve mentioned before.)

Reflection - thinking - is useful. That sounds so ridiculously obvious I am almost embarrassed to write it. But I see many people rush through life, filling their lives with activity and people and competition about who is the busiest or hardest working or with the best social life. Often it seems to me that they do everything possible to avoid confronting themselves, to avoid thinking and growing, and most sadly, to avoid being at peace with themselves. Maybe they are, and I’m being unreasonably judgemental. Maybe they’re just extroverts, and get their energy that way. All I know is that that wouldn’t work for me.

Being able to think, to reflect, helped me accept my life, my friendships, my past and future. Sometimes it gets in the way. It gets in the way of sleeping, of reading, and even, at times – though the intention is the opposite – of blogging. Still, I’d rather be reflective and thoughtful than blithely slip through the world without really understanding it, those around me, or myself. That, I think, would be the biggest loss of all.


  1. Ohhhhhh...I can SO relate! I'm an introvert at heart and actually living in Finland has made me even more at home as an introvert. I feel that in Indonesia people expect me to be more extroverted to "fit in". I love going deep into myself and have always loved it ever since I could remember. Even when it gets all confusing and grimy and ugly inside, I still feel a glimpse of pleasure from being able to get in touch with my inner self. I feel that I can't breathe mentally if I don't have enough alone time.

  2. I can relate too. I am also an introvert and I have spent a LOT of time these past 16 years thinking and writing and talking about the twists & turns my life has taken and what I want & need to do next. And being unemployed, I now have lots more time to reflect again. :)

  3. I read this article on NPR's (National Public Radio) website right before reading your post. It's very Relevant. http://www.npr.org/blogs/13.7/2014/12/12/370277353/do-people-like-to-think Apparently it's been found that people would rather administer an electric shock to themselves as opposed to being alone with their thoughts.

    As for me, I LOVE to think but not necessarily be introspective. Give me a problem to solve or a topic to think about and I love it. But reflecting on events that happened in my own life is hard. It's painful for me to rehash all of that stuff. I've dealt with some difficult things (not infertility related) in my life and my strategy has always been to push it to the back of my mind and not deal with it. As you can imagine, this hasn't been such a good strategy, so I'm allowing my brain to "go there" with all of the thoughts and feelings related to infertility and I'm truly reflecting on all of it. I must say that the healing process is much more efficient!

  4. Interesting how different women and men are, my DH and yours have as much in common as we do. Seems, Mali, we're both in reflective modes these days. Wonder if the coming solstice and holidays are also playing a part.