Begin at the Beginning

When life gets hard and overwhelming my mom has always told my sisters and I the same advice: It’s like eating an elephant; just do it one bite at a time.  My favorite variation on this sage theme is from Lewis Carroll in Alice in Wonderland.  The King says to the White Rabbit: Begin at the beginning, go on till you come to the end, then stop.

Simple, right?  One step at a time.  The problem is when you aren’t sure what the end looks like, it’s hard to know if you are still at the beginning and how far to go on.  I feel I’m preparing for battle with no map, no battle plan, no guaranteed outcomes, in fact no guarantee the battle will still require fighting next month.  Not to mention it’s a battle I would never expect I’d fight.  You see I am one of those emotionally tough girls and always rather ambivalent about children.  Sure, I assumed it would happen one day, maybe unexpectedly, maybe planned, and I’d grow into the foreign role of Mother as millions of the not-so-maternal have done for generations before me.  I did not forsee a baby as something I’d have to fight for, tooth and nail, and at the expense of many emotional, mental, physical and financial resources.

Nonetheless here we are: an infertile, middle-class California couple surrounded by embarrassment, dodged questions and poor test results.  I’m not alone but let’s be honest, every bit of planning and execution in this marriage is all me.  As I said I am a tough girl, and I can do this.  I’ve got a rock solid faith and a pragmatic, business mind.  Not a lot in life has come easily, and I’m no stranger to working hard. Starting from this infertile beginning I will navigate a way and go on until the end, whatever that may be, and then I’ll stop.


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