When Hope Seems Cruel

I’ll admit it,  I’ve been caught up in the whole Hunger Games hysteria.  It started  innocently enough.  When I found out that the movie was being shot in North Carolina; more specifically, the arena scenes in my home county in forests that I frequented as a child, and the capitol scenes in my current city of residence, well, I had to read the books.

The books are not my typical genre of choice.  I’m not into dark story lines or stories that contain a lot of violence, but there was something about this story line that drew me in.   Since I  hail from Appalachia I’m  drawn to stories that originate from there, but I think what drew me in was the story’s main character, Katniss Everdeen.  In the books the story is told from her perspective.  If you don’t know the premise by now you’ve probably been living in a media-free cocoon, but simply Katniss is a 16-year-old girl who is primary caregiver to her younger sister and mother.  They live in a dystopian future under an oppressive totalitarian government that chooses 2 “tributes” from the 12 established districts (between ages 12 and 18) every year to participate in a gladiator-style, death match dubbed as “The Hunger Games”.    This is mostly for the entertainment of the privileged Capitol citizens, but it originated as punishment to the districts for a past uprising and serves as a yearly reminder that the Capitol is still firmly in control of every aspect of their lives.

I see some of myself  in  Katniss Everdeen although I’m not as brave as she.   She is an introvert by nature who has suffered painful loss in her life and is now just trying to survive her situation the best way she knows how.  There are people in her life that she loves dearly, but she has cut almost everyone off from becoming too close, because she is afraid that one day she will lose them.   In the movie she talks to her closest friend about never wanting to have children.   It’s understandable given the oppression she lives under.   On “Reaping Day” for the Hunger Games Katniss’ life changes forever in a moment of fate and choice.

Below  is a poignant scene in the movie (edited by the original poster for content–there was more said in this scene).   The President of Panem,  Corolanius Snow,  is speaking to the head gamemaker, Seneca Crane, about a situation happening during the games (not a spoiler if you’ve not seen the movie).  It speaks into a situation that has recently arisen in my life:

Why did that scene speak to me?  Well, recently, quite unexpectedly I was given an unexpected glimmer of hope concerning my fertility.   After many years of  fertility treatment and then many years of giving up I began having regular cycles on a drug (natural progesterone) that in and of itself shouldn’t have made my cycles regular.  To say that I was utterly shocked by my doctor’s declaration that I am most likely ovulating is an understatement.  I was FURIOUS!

That might seem like an odd reaction to news that just ten years ago would’ve thrilled me, but I was/am angry.  After all those years of hoping and praying and trying expensive fertility treatments it turns out that simple natural progesterone was the magic trick for me…at least to produce ovulation.  Now that I am 43 speeding on towards 44 it all seems like a cruel joke…too little almost too late.

I told my husband and a trusted friend the day I found out.  I cried my eyes out, and I  still can’t speak about it without crying.   I don’t think either of them understood my absolute devastation at hearing this news.   That simple statement totally eroded several years of healing I’d done in an attempt of finally coming to grips that we would forever be childless.   Of course, this brings up  a whole myriad of questions that I wasn’t emotionally prepared to deal with:

Could I actually get pregnant?  Do I want to get pregnant?  Could I survive a pregnancy loss?  Could I deal with a very high-risk pregnancy which is what it would be at my age?  And the biggie…do I actually want a baby at my age?

I do have answers to those questions; however, I’m not at peace about my answers.   On one hand I want to give God every opportunity to fulfill his intended will for my life and to give joy and hope to the people in my life that I love dearly, but on the other hand I’m not sure that pursuing the glimmer of hope I have been given is in my best interest or that  a positive outcome is even remotely possible.   I’ve  lived so many years on emotionally shaky ground that hope at this point seems like yet another doorway to heartache and pain.  That’s why right now I can relate to the hope being stronger than fear principle and like President Snow I just want to contain it before it reeks any more havoc.

18 thoughts on “When Hope Seems Cruel

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  1. Oh, Vicki, I can completely understand how you’re feeling right now. You finally find some pace with your situation and then something happens to turn it all on it’s head. It probably sounds crazy to someone who hasn’t been there, but I know that right now, I’d prefer the stability and certainty of being infertile to the whirlpool of emotions that come along with the possibility and hope. I’m so sorry.

    1. hi lisa! Exactly…sometimes the certainly of what you know is better than some intangible possibility (even if it’s something you dreamed of so passionately in the past). Of course nothing is certain in this life. If my husband were a father and my parents grandparents it would be easier to dismiss the possibility, and that’s what makes this so difficult in my particular situation.

  2. I get it.
    I’ve had a hysterectomy almost 20 years ago. I had a dream the other night that I was pregnant. I was excited and wondered when people would start to notice. Then I remembered I couldn’t have kids. I got even more excited because it was a total blessing from God. And I woke up to my reality, but for the first time I had a happy baby thought.

    Be gentle with yourself and let God do with you what he wills.

    1. Thanks Kris…I’m processing this very slowly as to not make any hasty decisions based on emotion. One of the reasons its been so difficult for me to move on is there has never been a line in the sand. There’s always a possibility hanging out there even if it’s remote. Not that I envy or think that people who have had hysterectomies have it easier…not at all. Its just another roadblock to healing to me until I go through menopause…


  3. I can also relate to this. After some years coming to terms with my no kids life, and oddly taking some satisfaction in having a regular cycle (it made me feel not quite so old as I was in my early-mid 40s), I had one of my first longer cycles. I remember the feeling of panic, the thought that I was now too old, that I was enjoying my life and that I wasn’t sure I wanted to go back to the life I had envisioned all those years earlier. I have blocked tubes, and so if by some ridiculous odds I did become pregnant again, it would almost certainly be another ectopic, so I bought a pregnancy test. In fact, over the years I’ve bought two or three. The relief when I know it is negative is worth the price of the test. It seems so weird – given all those months I took tests desperate to see a positive, and now I wouldn’t thank you for it.

    1. Yes…its certainly and odd feeling. Part of it for me/us too is that we’ve structured our life around not having kids and it would be a tremendous adjustment and would we have enough energy? So many questions…

  4. Vicki, I’ve been trying to come to terms with living my life without my own children and recently went to the OBGYN for my yearly exam (a new doc to me) who informed me that I may now be ovulating on progesterone (medroxyprogesterone to be exact) after being told for years that i would never ovulate without fertility drugs. In my head, I’m fighting to progress in this childlessness-not-by-choice, and in my heart i’m daring to hope. it’s such a fine line and makes me feel crazy. I’m 33 and just need to get off the roller coaster for my sanity and my husbands sanity too…yet it’s hard not to hope…because then it feels like giving up. I suppose there is so much I could write, but basically I just hope you can come to a peace beyond all understanding. question tho…what is the natural progesterone that you’re on…just wondering if there’s a more natural one than what i’m on. ( I was actually put on it in order to regulate my cycles.)

  5. Back in 2008, I read an article that said hope could be an obstacle to emotional recovery. I agree with that premise. But even knowing that it may prevent you healing and moving on, it is so hard to give up on that last vestige of hope. There were times when I wished for something definitive – for someone on the outside to say “it’s over” – take the decision out of my control.
    I really feel for what you are going through right now. You had come to terms with the hand you were dealt and now, you learn the cards may have changed – and beyone that to learn that maybe something could have been done sooner – just so frustrating.

  6. I understand. Hope can be dangerous. I’ve lost two pregnancies, both late in life (at the age of 40 and 41). My only pregnancies. Now I’m struggling to decide on whether or not I should keep trying, while at the same time grappling with how to cope with potential childlessness. Needless to say, I’m a wreck. I often wonder if it would have been easier to cope with this if I had never gotten pregnant. If I didn’t know what I could have a had, would it make it easier? Those pregnancies gave me hope that possibly could someday be a Mom, and now that hope is fading. I don’t regret having tried. I don’t wish the erase the fact that I at least was given a taste of it. That feeling was something I will cherish forever, but it also makes it hard to move on. These are difficult decisions we are both facing. I hope that you find peace whatever you choose, but there is one thing I don’t agree with. You are strong and brave, don’t ever forget that!

  7. just stopping by to catch up vicki. this is so perfectly and beautifully communicated, as always. reading this has helped me see your thought process a little bit better. I’m grateful for that. as you know, after 5 pregnancy losses we were blessed w a child at 44. considering our past, it was a frightening experience, and a shock as we were actively avoiding pregnancy… I need to remember that… we HAD had ‘enough’ and my mind and heart were mostly closed to future possibilities. we didn’t completely close the door and clearly God intervened. even though my heart will never forget how it feels to be cnbc… going through this new experience and making it through intact has caused me to more often promote ‘hope’ to others. in taking a moment here, I see how that can be an insensitive approach. I AM ‘for God’, his blessings and Will… AND for peace (and joy) and healing. for victory through Jesus and power over the enemy. my love and prayers are with you both always!!!

    1. Thanks Susan as always…had a long discussion with the doctor about this, this morning. Had more time than usual with him, so I was able to talk out my fears, and he understands. He’s not sure if there is any potential there or not, but with the weight I’ve lost in the last couple of years and the fact that my cycles have normalized he can’t rule out the possibility. He’s also checking to see if there are any polyps/pre-cancerous cells (God forbid).

      He also told me that he is devastated right now, because one of the nurses in his practice DIED while pursuing IVF a couple of months ago. She was going to an RE, and they over-stimulated her ovaries. This caused a blood clot to develop that went to her lung, and she died instantly! He actually teared up while telling me this and said that it’s making him reconsider how he feels personally about advanced assisted reproduction. I just cannot imagine…

    1. Hi Naomi…a lot has happened in the past year (and is currently happening). I’m hoping to update soon. No, I’m not pregnant nor have I adopted, but my life situation has changed quite a bit. I do want to get back to blogging soon as I really like writing.

  8. I needed to read this today, but i’m still not moving off the sofa, the worse commets come from my own mother ‘you’re better off without kids in this day and age’ it feels like i’ve been hit by a double barrell shot gun and then there’s the flippant comments at work if I feel ‘off’ someone will just say ‘you arnt pregnant are you?'(with a smile) I have all on not smacking them in the face. I work too hard and it is no compensation for me, but I now write and i’ve been published, but some days I just can’t bring myself to do it, now I am training to be a samaritan I hope this is my ‘cure’
    Loved reading the Hunger games by the way, now into the game of thrones, and like my new gardening hobbie, tried Church and I felt like a square peg in a triangle hole.

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