Thursday, September 11, 2008

At Kafka's Gate

Here we find ourselves. There are throngs and throngs of us. A few stand and wait patiently. Many others roll up their hands into fists and knock, knock, knock until their knuckles turn bloody. Others roll up their sleeves and bang on the door with the sides of their fist and arms, throwing their whole bodies into creating a noise. The thud, thudding does not even reverberate through the massive cherry wood door, and it is unclear if it even makes a noise on the other side. Can anyone hear?

The only thing to do is wait, they tell us. But we also know time is against us, and each passing day could be like a death sentence. When that sentence may come, no one knows. But the only thing to do is wait. And not to give up hope. We are a sea of women clinging to hope.

Some of us have been here for a few months, and others for years. It's like standing in line for tickets to a rock concert. But standing in line does not ensure a pass, even if you were the first ones here. The one who came last could be the lucky one or the one who came after you. Or the younger one, or even the older one. You try to find a pattern. Is it the ones who are the fittest, or the softest? Or perhaps ones who consume this or that? Or the ones who fret less? But no one tell you. Perhaps no one knows.

In waiting, we turn to each other. Don't give up, we tell each other. It will happen. We speak with a certainty we don't allow ourselves. We bring back stories of triumph. So and so waited for years, and after five years, it happened. It could happen to you. We want to believe we could be the lucky one someday. So we try not to cry too much. What will tears bring? And why turn to pessimism when optimism may put you in better stead? In quiet moments, we fight the desperation that could suffocate us.

We never thought it was a matter of luck. We had grown up feeling entitled. I am a woman. Of course, I will bear a child. Of course. It is my role to carry an infant in my arms and call it my own. Because we're meant to and because nature intended it so.

So we stand here to claim our right. A voice then slyly comes around and says, why did you not claim your right when you could? Why, why did you wait as long as you did? Didn't you know this could happen? You should have known better.

Stunned, you turn to that voice and recount the years that you spent. You had to finish school, you had to work, you had to meet somebody, you had to wait until you had saved enough, you wanted to be ready, you had to this and that... But no one is there to listen. You're talking only to yourself.


  1. There will come a day when you will be a mother. And then you will look back on these difficult days as painful but distant memories.

  2. I agree with the prior poster that one day you will be a mother. I went through months of the infertility process. It was very difficult - emotionally, physically and financially. So frustrating - it seemed at the time that everytime I opened up the newspaper, there was some story about a 102 year old woman giving birth. I exaggerate slightly, but WTF? For me, adoption was a leap of faith because my heart did not understand how it was posible that I might love someone the same as my own biological child. But we did adopt a beautiful boy from Korea, and I know in my bones I could not love any child more. Knowing what I know today, I would not do IVF, but then I would not have my son, and it seems impossible that anyone else could be my child. Good luck.

  3. Thank you for your comments. I think adoption is a wonderful option, and thanks for sharing your experience. Unfortunately, many Koreans (at least those of the older generations) disapprove of adopting, and it is so wonderful that you reached out to this little boy. The world needs more people like you.

  4. This is 1:36. I just read your latest blog post. I will whisper congratulations and hope your baby is a fighter.

  5. 1:36 - thanks so much! I'm keeping my fingers crossed. = )