After my last failed IVF in April, I got really depressed. This is something that is common after an unsuccessful one. To put it simply, I always thought it was because when we IVFers found out that it “didn’t work”, that made us sad. However, I learned in April that what really ignites the depression is the sudden drop in hormones. For a month, we are pumping ourselves up and then suddenly, we get the call, “Your test came back negative. You should stop all medications.” Just like that: back to normal living. Not.
I never understood why/how women go through postpartum depression. I would think: but she has a BABY! Now I imagine the two situations are very similar. Our bodies have been through such turmoil and then suddenly all those hormones crash. Everyone else is moving forward with life and we’re left feeling like we have someone else’s brain in our heads. That’s what it feels like to me, anyway.
While I was depressed, my mother-in-law came over and gave me some gardening lessons. I never really entertained the idea of gardening, but when we bought our place it already had a beautiful border garden started, and I hated to see it neglected. It shocked me to learn how physical gardening could be. I mean, my husband is a farmer so I know how labor-intensive that kind of gardening can be, but I never thought I would get a workout in my little backyard. For the next couple weeks I was ripping plants out of the ground, hacking mercilessly at roots, and wrestling vines into submission… and sweating.
These things gave me great satisfaction. There was nothing I wanted to do more at that time than get rid of the dead, useless, and ugly parts of my life. Yet, I also wanted to make life grow! I still do. I yearn for it. So, in between hacking. I was planting new things, moving old shrubs to spots that are better for them, learning how to prune so that my plants would keep giving life.
Today I spent the afternoon putting together a terrarium with my mother-in-law and gardening a bit in my back patio. My garden feels like a mess to me and I feel like I have failed my plants in some ways. A few of the things I did in the spring brought forth life, yet some of my plants are withered and suffering. At times my body also feels that way (when it won’t do what it seems like it was meant to do).
Too many times I’ve heard the woman’s body/garden analogy, but I have to admit how very true it can be. There are things I need to tend to in my body, old habits I need to get rid of, and planning that needs to be done. However, these days are more for trusting in all the work I’ve already done and the prayers that have been said. These days I think if I feel myself getting depressed, I will be more prepared. I think I have better tools for bringing forth life.