Thursday, July 01, 2004

Infertility Island

A few days ago, the divine getupgrrl mentioned the feeling of being the last prisoner in the cell while others are pardoned.

This got me thinking about a particular image which I have been carrying around with me since my adventures in infertility began. It is not of a cell-block but of a large desert island.

The island is populated with some of the coolest, sassiest, smartest women in the world. There is a well established village, with an organised social structure- university, church, doctor's surgery, post office. There are also a number of outposts, where smaller groups live in tents or grass huts. Some women choose to live closer to the island interior on their own, emerging once in awhile when a passing ship is spotted.

There is a lookout tower, and this is usually manned by someone at all times. What are we looking for? The ferry, of course. This calls at the island dock on a regular basis. Quite often all the women on the island gather on the beach to watch the arrivals and departures.

Women whose time on the island is up, stroll up the ramp, clutching their boarding passes happily. Sometimes they blow kisses, and promise to write. A few do keep that promise, and their postcards and letters mounted on the bulletin board in the village hall.

The arrivals are usually a mixed bunch. Some step off the ferry with a bewildered look in their eye- like, "how the hell did I end up here? We were on our way to the Bahamas, and the next thing I knew I was on some damn island with a bunch of crazy girls." They spend a lot of time looking for the tourist information centre and asking when the next ferry is due.

Others are resigned to the fact of the detour, but confident their stay will be short. They prance down the gangplank, usually wearing a spangly bikini and clutching a dinky overnight bag. A few of the women observing on the beach look down at their own bikinis, once spangled, now frayed and faded. And the overnight bag has been long since washed away. They look at each other, raise eyebrows.

There are always a few who had a pretty good idea that a stopover on I.I. was inevitable. These women are toting gigantic backpacks, full of supplies. Mosquito repellant. Hammock. Battery powered fan. Pith helmet. Machete. Fishing rod. Guide book on how to build raft. We are glad to see these women, because they tend to be good in a crisis, and are always up for watchtower duty.

The saddest arrivals are those women to whom we once waved goodbye. We greet them with a hug, we wrap our arms around them to give comfort, and we escort them gently back to the guest quarters, where we try to ensure the beds are more comfortable and the air conditioning is on.

The ferry leaves at sunset. We watch as it steams away. And then we quietly disperse, making our way back up the length of the beach, back to the huts, the lagoon or the campfire.

All things considered, Infertility Island is not the worst place I have ever been. The weather can be variable, and the menu does tend to feature an awful lot of cake at times. But the company is undeniably excellent.

And if some days I walk the beach only to find my message in a bottle has washed back up on shore, well, I can but wait. Wait and watch for the ferry, which may one day take me home.

17 Comments:

At 9:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent post! Ah, Infertility Island. So much to see and do! Good times to be had! Shit, who am I kidding? Infertility Island bites. But, I whole-heartedly agree that the company is absolutely, positively top notch.

Danae

 
At 11:08 PM, Blogger lobster girl said...

What a great analogy! I.I. is indeed filled with women of the choicest intellect. And they make me laugh ... oh how they make me laugh. If it weren't for the siren song of the ferry, I might even want to loll about the island indefinitely just to hang out with these delicious island dwellers. But I am still trying to leave, because I want on that ferry. That, and I keep getting sand up my butt ... and I'm too fat for my bikini.

 
At 12:01 AM, Blogger getupgrrl said...

You're amazing. I laughed and cried when I read that post, AT THE SAME TIME. Not easy to do, let me tell you.

 
At 4:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow....that was great writing...

Really makes a good map of where I am ...the joys (and yes there are some like meeting all of you) the heartaches, the dreams, hopes, thoughts, terrors, remote feelings of the island, reminds one of the tears that we all shed, comraderie, and in the end knowing we are in beatiful life filled with realness that many others miss as they run their kids to soccer practice and complain they do not have any time, or spend too many hours in the office, or just forget to feel.

Not feeling seems to be the worst place to be in life. So for now I feel my infertility....one day I will feel the experience as I drop my kids off at soccer. Thank you for reminding me of the blessings of infertility....from the kitchens of the infertile gourmet.

 
At 4:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 11:25 AM, Blogger JJ said...

I knew I'd be here a while and I packed a lunch, would you like a sandwich?

If it weren't for all the other castaways it would be nearly as entertaining.

Beautiful post.

 
At 2:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was absolutley amazing, and you have now entered divinity in my book, along with getupgrrl. This image is going to remain with me for a long time.

P.S. I have my wilderness first aid certificate and know how to sail. And I am good at building fires.

Juno

 
At 6:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok here I am stalking again but that was just damn good writing! I had to double post my appreciation again this morning. bitter and sweet like a good bar of chocolate....is there chocolate on the island? -from the kitchens of the infertile gourmet.

 
At 3:21 PM, Blogger Jo said...

Oh, that made me weep. And laugh. And want to share my bug spray.

 
At 7:36 PM, Blogger Pazel said...

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale,
A tale of a fateful trip,
That started from this tropic port,
Aboard this tiny ship.

My mate was a mighty sexy man,
Thought his sperm was brave and sure.
To make a baby we set sail that day,
For a three year tour, a three year tour.

The weather started getting rough,
My emotional ship was tossed,
If not for the courage of the fearless crew,
My mind would be lost, my mind would be lost.

The ship set ground on the shore of this uncharted desert isle,
With PCOS,
Male factor too,
The miscarriages and their strife,
The ovarian dysfunction,
And The Rest,
Here on Infertile Isle.

(I love your analogy.)

 
At 9:24 PM, Blogger caro said...

Just wanted to say hello as I set up camp on the beach. I've known for a long time I'd be paying this place a visit, but I never expected to find such fabulous company here. Thanks for helping show me the landscape.

 
At 2:41 AM, Blogger Julianna said...

That was a perfect analogy. I was one of the ones without a backpack or toothbrush for that matter. Thank you for sharing.

 
At 4:47 AM, Blogger Tracey said...

That was brilliant. Thank you for saying what I could not.

 
At 5:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did pack a lunch, but I thought my stay would be short. After all, I could GET pregnant. Now I'm an eyebrow raiser.

Because of the people here, I don't think I'll ever regret the time spent on infertility island.

Great post.

patricia
http://laf.typepad.com/

 
At 4:35 PM, Blogger Freyja said...

I found this post through my friend Karen. I just wanted to say that although I've heard this particular allegory before, this was certainly the most expressive. Your words about hugging the returning visitors even made me tear up a bit.

 
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At 3:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heart-wrenchingly beautiful. You have such a wonderful way with words.

I took the ferry away a few years ago(after a nearly four year visit...should have packed more tissues!), but I remember my stay as if it were yesterday. Even now, I like to re-read this to be reminded of where I once was.

BTW, I'm thrilled for you that you finally got your boarding pass!!

 

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