Mastering the Labyrinth

Give me the child. Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City to take back the child that you have stolen. For my will is as strong as yours, and my kingdom is as great…. You have no power over me.
-Sarah in Labyrinth

Remember the movie Labyrinth?  A young, rosy-cheeked Jennifer Connelly on a 13-hour quest through a mysterious, often dark, muppet-filled labyrinth, at the center of which David Bowie, the Goblin King, has hidden away her baby half-brother.  Nevermind that she accidentally wished him away.  Nevermind that she isn’t the child’s mother.  Nevermind my long-standing crush on David Bowie.  Infertility is my Goblin King, and I want more than anything to be able to say to him, “You have no power over me.”

From the time  our heroine enters, the rules inside the labyrinth continually change at the whims of the Goblin King.  With each new trick he conjures up, Sarah repeatedly whines, “It’s not fair!”  Nothing about this is fair.  It’s not fair that when I finally found the man of my dreams, I also learned he was infertile.  It’s not fair that the one thing I’ve wanted my whole life doesn’t come as easily to me as it seems to for everyone else.  It’s not fair that I chose a profession based on my love of children, only to have it come back to bite me–being reminded daily of what I cannot have.  It’s not fair that the medications and procedures required for Hubby and I to be able to fulfill our primal instinct to procreate cost thousands of dollars.  It’s not fair that we have no idea how long it will take before we start to see enough progress to be able to move on to the next step.  Sarah eventually came to accept, even before the final twist, chasing baby Toby through an Escher-like stairscape, that life isn’t fair, and that’s just the way it is.

I wish I could come to the same acceptance of our circumstances.  I wish I could be at peace with our situation.  I wish I could say I believed, to the depths of my soul, that everything will work out.  But I am so unsure, and I feel lost in this maze.

It’s not just the medical terminology, infertility jargon, myriad treatment options (though many of them are not available to us), contradictory treatment plans, and  multiple weekly injections that have me feeling all turned around.  It’s also the wild swing of emotions: hopeful, despondent, impatient, resolute, confused, jealous, angry, scared, even numb.  It’s enough to make a girl feel a tad bit crazy.  And on top of that, there’s the financial stress.  It all adds up to a maze of walls so high I can’t see what’s around the next corner, let alone the ultimate destination.

And I can feel the weight of it on me.  Like the junk lady toward the end of the movie, piling on one meaningless trinket after another, until I’m hunched over and can hardly move.

But then I remember, Sarah made her way through the labyrinth with the help of her friends–Hoggle, Ludo, Didymus–those who had inhabited that place since long before she arrived.  And that’s why I’m so glad I have the ALI community to help me through when I’m feeling especially lost.  The stories of those that have gone ahead of me, faced the Goblin King and returned home with a child in their arms.  Those that are still in the maze, leaving markers along the way to guide the next desperate soul to come along.

And, of course, I have Hubby by my side.  We will face down the Goblin King together.  Our will is stronger than infertility.  But, like the Bog of Eternal Stench, infertility, once it touches you, is not something that can be washed away.  It will be with me always, even after Hubby and I have our complete family.  It can be treated, but not cured.  Defeated, but not destroyed.

10 thoughts on “Mastering the Labyrinth

  1. You write so beautifully! I’ve never seen the movie, but wow… I can relate to every-single-word you wrote. It is unfair and difficult. And there are no guaranteed results. But can you imagine *not* having the chance at IVF? I genuinely feel blessed that I get to utilize the best that science has to offer right now (even if it’s costing us an arm and a leg) – and… that hubby-by-my-side business, well, that is absolutely priceless! The funny thing about a labyrinth is that you never know… the destination could be right around the corner. I hope it is for both of us!

    • Ohmygosh! You have to see the movie! It’s so 80’s and campy and muppet-y and wonderful!

      You’re right, we are blessed to have the option of IVF, and, so far, we haven’t gone broke yet! I just wish we could get started already. Funny thing about IVF, you have to have some sperm to work with. Even just a few.

      Thanks so much for your comments. They always make my day!

  2. Like the junk lady toward the end of the movie, piling on one meaningless trinket after another, until I’m hunched over and can hardly move.

    I love this. I often feel this way.

  3. I love this post. That was a great movie and your analogy is wonderful.

    I wish you tons of strength in your journey.

    And p.s.: I’m convinced that all of the coolest girls have crushes on David Bowie.

    • Thank you and thank you. And are you also one of those cool girls? Because very few people in my life have implied that I’m cool in any way…unless they’re a lot like me!

  4. Your words could be my words. I’m so glad I found your post, so glad to know I’m not alone!

    You seem very cool to me.
    @slowmamma–ALL the girls have crushes on David Bowie…only the cool ones ADMIT to it!

  5. “Infertility is my Goblin King” Comparing infertility to the movie the Labyrinth? Wow. Awesome. Quite possibly the best infertility analogy ever. And I totally feel like that junk lady sometimes and not just because of the weight of my emotions. I have a vintage shopping addiction that is a bit out of control! Thanks for a post that was relatable and left me with a smile.

  6. Pingback: On Pregnancy After Infertility «

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