24 April, 2020

When our world shifts beneath us

Mel got me thinking about how quickly things change and how, just three months ago, we were all blissfully unaware. Well, except my husband, who likes to be a bit of a doomsday prophet sometimes!

Yes, life has changed in ways we couldn't have imagined. The world has changed in ways we couldn't have imagined. Earlier this week, there was one day where there was not one single passenger arrival in New Zealand! That's unthinkable, not only because tourism is such an important part of our economy, but because New Zealanders love to travel (we kind of have to, stuck in our corner of the world) for business and leisure, and because we all have friends and family all around the world.

It made me think about when, in the past, we've had to deal with sudden change. We could all think of events that happen that suddenly change our lives. A year and a half ago my MIL had a stroke, and her life and that of her husband's was never the same again. In an instant, they couldn't really say good-bye, they didn't even have a moment to stop and appreciate, together, their lives and 63-year marriage. Bam! Everything changed.

On a lesser note, Fbk reminded me recently of the sunny Easter Saturday in 2016 when we took a whole lot of garden rubbish (ours and our in-laws) to the rubbish dump (along with the rest of the city!), and afterwards, as we were organising things in the in-laws house, I slipped down their stairs and broke my ankle. Any plans I had had for the next six weeks were out. I was housebound, and totally reliant on my husband. In practise, that's not much different to the current situation. Except that there was no danger outside, and after six weeks I was able to resume life as normal. Those are pretty big excepts.

Perhaps a better comparison is the day I learned I would never have children. I'd had two ectopics, and IVF hadn't worked (poor responder for the last two cycles) and my clinic had said they would not let me try again. As just a year earlier I had conceived my second ectopic with the help of clomid/clomiphene citrate, they said I could try that again but should have another hysterosalpingogram to check my tubes were still clear. So I did. I went by myself. I'd already had one a year or so earlier, and wasn't bothered by it. I assumed all would still be okay. It wasn't. When I could not see the dye flowing through the tubes on the screen, I knew what it meant. I got dressed, and drove home in shock, blinking back tears. In retrospect, I probably shouldn't have driven. But that was the moment you can probably all relate to in some way - when I knew that my future was going to be different than what I had at one time assumed, and had hoped.

The next day, everything felt different. Even though pretty much everyone else assumed life was going along nicely, with no outward changes. In the words of a friend of mine, I "hadn't had anything, so I hadn't lost anything." Oh, how little did she know! Our world had shifted, and we had to navigate a new world. I"m sure you can all relate to that. So many of us have had to face this when we realised our world had changed, and our No Kidding lives were what we would have. My ectopic losses were similar - the "worst case scenario" changed so many times, each time "worst case" got worse than I thought it might. So many people will have had similar events in their lives - losing partners, divorce, job loss, injury or illness diagnoses, loss of pregnancies or family members, housefires, etc. These are all very personal events that bring great change in our lives.

That's the parallel I am bringing to this pandemic situation, and the lessons I learned from the last time the world shifted for me. So I'm trying not to think about what we've lost. That's not getting me anywhere. I'm focusing on what I have. Besides, I also know how lucky I am in all this. Because this year, as the world changed, I am not doing it alone. We are all experiencing different seismic shifts in our lives. I know how much others, both here and internationally, are losing, and how much fear they are facing, at a time when we are lucky enough that fear here is hope, eventually, that we will all be able to focus on what we have.

My No Kidding friends know how to do this. We've done it before. We can do it again.

Kia kaha. Stay strong.


  1. Love the idea of refocusing, and yes, I can say I have had practice doing this during our journey of IF. This whole covid thing has been a big exercise in reprioritizing. When doors close, how do I continue to live a fulfilling life with what is still available to me?

    Regarding infertility, for me, this sentiment was one of the most hurtful: "You hadn't had anything, so you hadn't lost anything." People just didn't understand it was SOMETHING.

    1. I was actually thinking of you when I was rephrasing this. Because it's not just the No Kidding amongst us who have had to refocus this way.

      And yes - I don't think my friend realised what she said.

    2. *Phrasing, not rephrasing.

  2. Such a good post! This isn't the first time we're experiencing our world profoundly shifting beneath us, but yes now it involves the entire world. I agree that refocusing is a good way to cope and get through this. Refocusing on what I had helped me get through infertility too. Grieving the life we knew or the life we thought we were going to have has its important place too. But once we are able to look up, refocusing is a good way to go about things.

    1. Yes, exactly. I'm not denying the need to grieve, but hope we can all refocus.

  3. I am both struggling with the new reality and grateful for what I have while we are all going through this. It is something to think that this is collective trauma, that everyone is experiencing it at the same time. But just like infertility, everyone experiences it differently depending on their circumstance and their baggage.

    I'm sure your friend didn't mean to say exactly what she said, but ouch. Sometimes loss that's this intangible thing is extraordinary difficult BECAUSE it can't be universally seen.

    Huzzah to refocusing, and reframing things as best we can in the moment. ❤️

  4. Yes, yes, yes to all of this. Knowing we've lived through shifts before somehow helps in this moment.

  5. I know it's not remotely comparable on a global scale -- but when you wrote about dates when our lives suddenly changed and we had to accept and adjust to a new reality, my memory went back -- not to the day I lost my baby or when my last fertility treatment failed (although those are relevant too) -- but to those days when I was growing up, every 3-5 years or so, and my dad would come home from work with a funny smile on his face and tell us that he/we had been transferred to a new assignment in a new town. Just like that, our lives changed dramatically. We had to leave all of our friends and teachers and familiar places behind and start all over again somewhere new. I still bear some scars, but I wouldn't be me today without those experiences... and if you hand me a map, I can find my way around just about anywhere. (I know this city much better than my husband, who has lived here almost his entire life, lol.)

    As you said, we've done this before. And this time, we're ALL doing it, together. It helps, knowing we have company. :) Even if my experience of this pandemic is not exactly the same as your experience. Stay safe! :)