By Kathleen Guthrie Woods
When a woman says “I’m fine” to the man in her life, what she really means is “I am soooo not fine, and unless you are about to offer me jewelry, you better think verrrry carefully about what you say next!”
That’s a silly joke in our culture, but there’s a kernel of truth in it.
I was thinking about this earlier this week while I was at the last of a series of doctor appointments. For several months I’ve been dealing with some non-life-threatening but frustrating symptoms and have been doing all types of tests to try to figure out what the heck is going on with my body. When the last round of results came in, my doctor informed me, “Your blood tests are normal. Your ultrasounds are normal. You’re okay. You’re fine.” And I wanted to scream from the exam table, “Clearly I am NOT FINE or I wouldn’t still be here telling you I don’t FEEL fine!”
Many of you have shared similar stories from your dance with infertility, in which doctors, therapists, parents, friends, strangers, and fertility specialists have told you there is nothing wrong with you, it will happen when it’s meant to happen, you just need to relax…you’re fine. Heck, it started even earlier for me as I stood on the sidelines in puffy taffeta bridesmaid dresses (it was the ’90s) and dyed-to-match shoes, hoping I wouldn’t have to wait much longer to meet the love of my life/father of my future children. I didn’t feel “good, acceptable, or satisfactory” (Merriam-Webster’s definition); I felt like a freak of nature.
Some times events play out and the new paths we discover are better than we had hoped (maybe just a little behind our desired schedules). Some times bad things happen and we discover strengths we never before knew about to face and overcome challenges. Some times really bad things happen and we have to dig deep into our souls to find peace and acceptance no matter the final outcomes. And it’s when we reach within, I think, that we find we will, in fact, in time, be fine.
Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She is mostly at peace with her childfree status.