I had just completed my first round of IVF in March and the emotions of it had hit me out of nowhere.
This was a big thing. A really big thing.
Going through the cycle, my feelings were kept in check by the strict timeline and my mind was busy making plans for the travel that I would have to do for cheaper care. It felt like a series of appointments or calls during the day and numerous shots at night then and I allowed myself to zone out and keep it moving but once home and finished – no more medications, supplements, appointments or phone calls – there was a screeching halt to it all that left me jolted. The reality of what I had just put myself through began to sink in. We spend months preparing our mind and our body for this the way people might prepare for marathons. For this costly and intimidating chance at parenthood, we put a lot into those few weeks only for it to oftentimes end without the desired outcome – a pregnancy or numerous embryos to save for later. It’s not a guarantee after all. With that thought swirling, I was so sure I wanted to be done and just turn around and skip happily back to my life ignoring it all but no sooner had I stopped the medications did I realize I really never was going to be done. As a fully infertile 30-something, this was it.
I would be doing this again and it stung.
There are many people boldly sharing their stories on Instagram and in my Facebook groups, for which I am so thankful. After my cycle I searched them out even more and read every word of their timelines and their stories. I was even able to share my own experience as someone who was finally on the other side but still I came back wanting. I hadn’t committed to any meetup groups or support groups. I had tried it once early on as an Endometriosis having 20-something but hadn’t continued on that path. Sharing wasn’t really my thing, I thought. Not really high up on the priority list. Talking to people about such personal, emotional matters? No thank you. I can give you advice, sure. I can tell you all about the retrieval process and how to take shots so they don’t hurt but did I get depressed? Did my anxiety increase along the way? I was keeping that to myself. I had the habit of looking at my infertility as The Diagnosis and IVF as The Procedure. Impersonal, get to it, get it done. I avoided the need to reach out to people just as I ignored the simmering emotional issues so as not to make it harder on myself but the emotions rarely listen to the mind.
I hit ‘post’ after having this National Infertility Awareness Week graphic on my Instagram dashboard for quite a while. Maybe a month or more. At this point I was only days away from the start of awareness week. My fear had led to delays but after all the emotional pressure, I finally gave in and told myself to listen. After hitting that button, I put all signs of it away, closed browser windows, turned off Instagram, shut my computer and walked away with a quickness. Not only was I acknowledging my personal feelings of infertility on the post, I was also posting for people to contact me. While my brain cried *please don’t find me please don’t find me please don’t find me* my sister was on her end of the city calling attention to that very post. Hours later it had managed to fade from memory when I checked my Facebook notifications to see a post of my sister’s that somehow involved me. My first response after seeing “We are so interested” in the comments was – Should I thank my sister or start screaming first?
I checked my messages and saw a quick note from a Randi Blair. Oh I had so many questions.
Is she really interested? What did I just commit to? What if I suck?
It took me far more time than it should have to craft a response but I was just short of shaking out of my skin.
She was indeed interested.
I committed to a photo shoot and to listen
Stop worrying about that part. Seriously, Gille, stop.
I could have all the talent in the world but what I needed most in that time didn’t depend on me and my camera (I see that so clearly now). I offered a shoot because that’s my comfort, my security blanket and I wanted to share as much of me with them as they were sharing with me. I couldn’t just write their story because I’m not a writer. Instead, I’m a photographer so I’ll try my best to write it here too. All in all, the point was first to listen and take in what I needed and then to share their story for others to heal too.
While reading this, please know that there is so much more to the Blair family that can’t be put into words. If I could infuse this post with the feeling of warmth and love that covers their home, I would just so you could feel it too. I hope the photos help to give you at least a small bit of that. If I could write with a perfect memory I’d like to think that I would tell you every single word of that first conversation but then a part of me believes there were points that resonated so deeply that they were meant for me in my journey in that time. I left feeling like I got what I needed for me and then also for you. For that reason, I’ll share their story and most of our meeting but will leave out some of the times where I teared up and cried 😉
So here goes.